Many of you know who Tj Perry is, some of you might not even know that he exists. However, Tj, is a great rider and someone to have a great in-depth conversation with. I don’t know him personally, but I’ve seen his riding and it is very aggressive. I thought it would be a great time ask him some questions and get his input on some topics. He talked about how hard it was to ride when he first started riding, to how he now helps new riders get started with some of the basic tricks. His riding is great, he can do stuff on the front and back wheel. A lot of people do give him **** for having an opinion on the global-flat forums, but I think that he is a great overall person and his riding speaks for itself. This is a real lengthy interview, so sit back and relax. Don’t forget to leave him some comments. *Color Pictures by Sam Perry*
Name: Thomas Jonathan Perry
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Sponsor(s): Bunnyhop Bike shop
So Tj, how are you doing today?
I’m doing quite well. I just got off work and managed to ride for 5 hours today. I got two new tricks on film so I’m pretty happy with how the day panned out.
Who/what got you into riding?
When I was like 14 years old a bunch of guys in my neighborhood had BMX bikes to jump ramps, curbs and what not. It looked like a lot of fun so I asked my parents to buy me a bike (I had a 3 year old Wal-Mart Huffy mountain bike or something) and they got me a Dyno Zone. This was back in ‘99 I think… Anyway, I got this bike to go out and play with the other kids for lack of a better description and they pretty much shunned me and called me a big poser for buying a BMX bike. I eventually coaxed them into letting me ride around with them a bit, learned to jump a small kicker and bunnyhop curbs. Eventually the ramps were destroyed by a disgruntled neighbor and all those kids kind of left their bikes out to rust. I really was enjoying myself at the time so I didn’t want to stop just because we didn’t have any ramps so I looked up what kinds of tricks you could do without any ramps online. I went through the first twenty pages of Infoseek (sort of like Google, but shittier) for “bmx freestyle”. Eventually I found Bobby Carters web page and saw some videos that he had put up. I was completely blown away that people could do this stuff on a bike and started trying tailwhips down the street from my house. I thought I had been ridiculed before when I bought the bike initially, but when I tried to ride flatland these kids laughed me off, threw things at me when I wasn’t looking, and just talked a ton of **** while I was trying to work on the basic tricks. Eventually winter rolled around and we had an unfinished basement in my house, so I spent the winter learning tailwhips and when I came out in the spring knowing how to do that, it pretty much shut those kids up for a while. One of them actually approached me away from the rest and told me how much he respected what I did and invited me to come ride ramps with him. I put flatland on the back burner until around 2000 when I decided to try it again so I bought an S&M Sabbath and started doing fork glides and learned the rest of the basics. It was a huge pain in the ass because I didn’t have access to videos (I didn’t even know about Danscomp at this point) or decent parts. My bike was well over 40 lbs when I started because I ran Alex Triple Wall rims, a Kink street sprocket, Castillo bars… Man it was a total tank. Sorry, I’m rambling. Long story short I entered my first beginner contest in Maplewood, New Jersey after meeting Paul Vail through his website bmxtrix.com, won the contest and I just kind of kept going on from there. I know that’s a very long winded story, but getting into riding wasn’t easy for me, and I had to go through a lot of **** starting out and when you’re 14 and everyone is making fun of you the moment you roll down your drive way until the time you call it a day, it was a very frustrating time.
How long have you been riding for?
Like I said, I got my first bmx bike when I was 14 in ‘99 but I didn’t start riding just flatland until 2000. Before that I could barely bunnyhop let alone do anything flatland specific. The following years I would periodically quit and skateboard for 4 or 5 months. I did this for about 3 or 4 years so I think in the first 4 years of my riding I had only been riding maybe 2 total. I think altogether I’ve got maybe 7 years of riding flatland under my belt, but I don’t really know how you measure breaks VS actual riding time so who knows.
What type of rider are you, pumping, spinning, rolling, or scuffing?
I like to do everything actually. I think it’s very important to learn how to scuff properly with both feet to give yourself a really solid foundation for tricks later on. I never did this in the beginning and because I rode opposite, neglected learning how to scuff with my left foot. I actually didn’t know how to scuff with my left foot until I learned how to scuff halfpackers in 2002. Up until then all I could do was funky chickens and I wish someone had told me how important it was to do both because it would have saved me a lot of trouble down the line. I like to pump because for me it’s a much more efficient way of gaining momentum, and I feel more “together” with the bike. Sometimes when I scuff a lot it doesn’t feel as natural to me as pumping. I like to spin but I’ve never really liked seeing people do it throughout an entire link. For me it’s always been pretty easy to spin, so trying to roll and pump just seemed more interesting to me.
A lot of people seem to nominate you as the “bully” on the internet, but they seem to look past the positive things you say and are doing for flatland, like the beginners thread, how do you feel about that?
I usually get kind of irritated that people refuse to recognize when I’m trying to help people out, or when I try my best to make a thoughtful contribution to whatever discussion is going on because they saw something I said months or even years ago and just clung to that instead of reading what’s on the page. A lot of what happens is that people just read into words on the internet differently person to person. I think that’s why sometimes people will completely disagree with me on the internet, then I say the same thing to them in person and they go “Oh, I get it.”
I try very, very hard to be approachable and accessible to younger riders starting out because that’s what Paul did for me when I started out. I think it’s really important to have riders who have been involved in the sport for a very long time involved in the progression of new riders even if it’s just talking to them about flatland. When you’re a kid and you discover flatland all you want to talk about is riding your bike and the parts you want to get and sometimes it’s good to just have people to do that. I was just talking to a kid over instant message that was like 12 or 13 living in New York City, and it was just so refreshing to hear the enthusiasm he has for the sport and how badly he seems to want to learn. If telling someone like that to go practice tricks they want to learn makes me a bully then so be it. I’d rather be cruel to be kind than indifferent towards the interests of others any day of the week.
I also think people often confuse constructive criticism with malice and while I understand where people can’t make the distinction, I really don’t think it’s fair to label me or anyone as a hater especially considering the fact that I never just **** out some half thought out opinion then run away from it. If anyone has a problem with an opinion I hold then I’d much rather have someone confront and talk to me about it rather than just dismiss what was said because they’re too lazy to come up with some sensible rebuttal over a comment they most likely misconstrued from the get go anyway.
Could you explain what your thoughts and overall outcome is for the beginners learning thread?
I started doing that because I saw there was an abundance of threads where beginners were asking many of the same questions over and over, and very rarely getting a clear and concise answer. I felt like if I organized it a bit, and gave them a way to get in contact with me to talk about things privately it would be a much more productive way of dissecting the problems they were having learning tricks, and a much easier way of talking about how to set up and maintain their bikes. Overall so far I’ve been extremely impressed with the reactions I’ve gotten and the support that the thread has garnered. It’s such an incredible feeling to talk to a rider who can’t do a trick one day that they’ve been trying for days, weeks, or even months and having them come back to you just a few days later saying that the advice you gave helped them learn what they wanted. I don’t have kids but it’s about as close to holding onto a kid learning how to ride a bike, gradually taking your hands off and letting them roll away on their own. Not that beginners are like 6 year olds or anything but I think the idea is the same.
I think sometimes there is a glorified idea of what pros are and aren’t and I wanted to break down that barrier a bit. I’m not a great rider but I have been riding a long time now and have learned a lot of tricks during that time, so if there is any way I can pass on what I’ve learned to someone else in a way that will benefit them I’ll take every opportunity I can to make sure that it happens. We’re so isolated most of the time, and when I was starting out I was really outcast because I was simply trying to do something different, and I never want to see that happen to someone starting out. Whether we like it or not, we’re all in this sport together, and as long as it’s still in its infancy I think everyone who can help should. If I never had met Paul, I don’t know where I’d be with my riding now. He was like my flatland Godfather and if I can even do 1/10th of what he did for me with someone new, then I feel like I’ve helped flatland grow in a place where it may have had trouble rooting down in the first place.
What do you think of the contests popping up in North America this year?
I think it’s incredible and it’s got me incredibly hyped this year. I was riding with Tyler Gillard down at Voodoo jam last year and since it was the only “major” contest taking place in North America, I was just so incredibly bummed on the state of things. I didn’t know if there would be a Voodoo the following year, and everything seemed really bleak. After going to Jomopro though I’ve just been so incredibly stoked on everything that’s going on in the US and the enthusiasm I feel is just blowing up exponentially. I’ve been pushing myself harder than I have in years just because I can literally FEEL flatland taking a deep breath after years of what has felt like it being in a coma. It sounds overly dramatic, but I honestly thought North America was dying out something fierce these last few years, and it was just a breath of fresh air to have been proven wrong.
Where do you think flatland will be headed for 2009?
Man, I don’t even know any more. Europe is blowing up like crazy right now, and it seems like every few months there is a rider that pops up out of nowhere that is just so damn good that you think he’s one in a thousand. Then another one pops up and it just knocks you back even more. I think it’s going to grow a lot this year since it seems that the gap between street and flatland has finally begun to be bridged. Listening to Catfish talk about it on that RideBMX interview I could tell he felt the same way. Street riders in Richmond have been coming to my parking lot to learn hang 5s and other tricks just because I think their eyes have been opened to the possibilities of incorporating flatland. I think when you can buckle down and learn something as difficult as a hang 5, you start to understand where flatlanders are coming from and this interdisciplinary sharing of tricks and styles is just going to explode in our faces (in a good way) not only in 2009 but for years to come.
What is it like getting to be picked to judge a contest?
It’s a real honor, and a huge responsibility. I’ve been to contests where I’ve seen judges blatantly pick favorites before they ever put a score down on paper, and I’ve always been disgusted at the injustice that stemmed from it. Pros are there to make a living, and if someone has a great run, there shouldn’t be someone sitting at a judges table ready to take that away from them. People have had a serious problem with me online because they think I’m biased, but I think if you asked any judge who has sat next to me at a contest you’d find that I’m a huge hard ass when it comes to fairness.
From what I’ve read on the forums, you said you use to compete, but how come not anymore? You could definitely ride in the Pro Class.
I’m extremely competitive. Even with the global-flat battles where I run the risk of losing nothing and winning nothing, I’ve been getting up at 6 am every day and riding until 12 in the afternoon, then going out again in the evening just so I can pull the best **** for my runs. When you are doing it just for fun it’s one thing, but when you’re doing it for money and you have to actually pay 100$ on top of travel expenses to have your ass handed to you diced up on a silver platter by Justin or Terry, it just isn’t worth it. I’ve thought about competing, but just the thought of it stresses me out. When I used to compete am, I would do my entire contest run every single day 5-10 times in a row. If I screwed up or even slightly sketched, I would start at the very beginning and try again all the way to the number of times I wanted to pull it. When I couldn’t ride the way I wanted, or my bike broke, I was a basket case. If I went into a contest without doing this for months on end prior to the event, I would have panic attacks and just be irritable. It also REALLY slows down progression because you spend all this time dialing in tricks that don’t have any practical value in learning something new after a certain point, and I’d much rather learn new things than focus on the old. I still dial tricks in, but only to be included in the grand scheme of another more complex link. It’s just not worth it to me anymore. I wouldn’t mind competing am again, but like you say some people think I’m pro or something so that’s kind of out of the question.
I know this is going to be a flashback for you, but you were in Diversion 3.0, what was that like?
It was really, really, REALLY weird. I was psyched on it of course, but the attention was kind of jarring. I thought my section sucked hard because like I just mentioned all I really had were contest tricks at the time and I hated how I rode. It was cool, but I wish I could have given Bobby (Carter) better tricks.
Not many people knew you were “sponsored” by AXION shoes, whatever happened with that?
God. I won amateur in Toronto in 2002 and the Axion rep was there and decided to hook me up. I got shoes for about a year then he just disappeared. The guy was a total flake and that whole company was just so poorly run. The shoes were god awful too despite it kind of being my job to hype them up at the time. They always fell apart hahaha.
You recently got hooked up with a local bike shop where you live, how did that end up happening?
Bunnyhop Bikes set up shop around the corner from my apartment and I started going there for tubes and little things whenever I could. Luke the owner is an incredibly cool guy that has been in the Richmond bike scene for quite a while. I didn’t buy much because most of what I needed was on Flatland Fuel and it sometimes took longer to get things through the shop than it did through Pat so I always went with stuff online. One day I went into the shop to see if they had a small part or something and they said they wanted me to ride for them. I said sure and now I bother them pretty much every day and I’m sure they completely regret it because I’m such a nuisance hahahaha. I really love the guys that run the shop though and they’re doing their best to promote BMX in Richmond. They’re good peoples.
To most people your bike set up seems a little kooky, how is it set up?
It’s funny, when I ride other peoples bikes they all feel so small. I’ve always set up my bike huge just because I’m really tall, so for me it feels natural. I run my bars high and my frame long because I need the extra room. Even with how I set it up, I still have back problems from being hunched over. I don’t go after specifically light parts, but I like even weight distribution so I guess that is a factor in how it’s set up too.
It seems that a lot of people give you a hard time on the forums, do you just ignore it or battle with them?
Sometimes it’s funny to battle with people because people have such goofy convictions. I have them too, but having people argue a point to death that just makes no sense gets pretty old. They give me a hard time because I’m TJ and not because of what I say most of the time. I’ve seen some flat out inflammatory stuff go completely unchecked on there and nobody says a word, but if I say something even remotely controversial they pile on. I get a kick out of it mostly so I don’t know why they even bother anymore. I’m not going anywhere so they might as well just stop trying.
Do you ride by yourself mostly? Or with a group of friends?
I’ve always ridden by myself. One summer I rode a lot with another guy that lived in Leesburg named Josh King who is absolutely sick. The problem is around other people I don’t really progress. I don’t mind people watching me, but having another rider even seeing what I’m doing is really distracting. I don’t even like going to jams anymore because I feel the eyes on me even if nobody is paying attention. It’s a mind game thing but I prefer to ride alone if possible.
Describe a typical session of your own.
It varies from day to day. I usually try to eat a power bar and drink some coffee/redbull before I go ride. I have a really hard time getting to sleep at night so caffeine is just part of my daily routine. I do a ten minute stretch in my room, pump up my tires, check to make sure everything is working then I head out. I’ve been starting out my sessions with things like pumping megaspins double footed to get my body warmed up, then stretch some more…drink some water and then focus on what I want to do. Sometimes when I lose my focus throughout different seasons I go out without any goals which is a really big no no. That’s what I like about these global flat battles because I know exactly what I want to do, and I will not stop riding until I pull it. It was 95 degrees in Richmond today and I just wouldn’t let myself stop riding. Eventually I fell pretty hard because I got dizzy from the heat and decided to call it a day, but before then I had a few times where I was about to go in and said to myself “just one more try…”. That’s my ideal session, where I walk out the door with something to prove to myself and if I can’t pull it I’m a ****ing loser. I’m incredibly hard on myself and I try to film as much as possible because I feel like if I force myself to show others what I’m doing, it has to be the best and it has to have a certain feel. It’s just my own way of lighting a fire under my ass I guess.
What is the scene like from where you’re located?
There’s me and a bunch of street riders, but no other flatlanders until you hit Virginia Beach about an hour and a half away. Apparently there are some riders outside of Richmond, but flatlanders are a goofy bunch and they haven’t made contact with me so for now I’m pretty much alone.
Any new up and comers we should be aware of?
Sagaris in England is definitely one to watch. I think he’s only been riding a couple of years and he’s already doing some incredibly hard rear wheel pivots. There is a 14 year old French rider that popped up on the forums that has a lot of potential. Adam D(iclaudio) (I don’t know how to spell his last name, sorry Adam!) down in Texas has some really impressive stuff. Those kids over in Kassel I think it’s called are getting pretty good too. It’s tough because I haven’t seen too many new guys in the US that I’ve really stopped and said “whoa” at in a while. I don’t know if that’s because there is a lack of coverage or they just don’t come out of the woodwork.
What kind of music do you listen to when riding or hanging out?
I used to listen to a lot of post-rock stuff when I rode like Godspeed you Black Emperor and Mogwai, but not anymore. I’ve been listening to a lot of electronic stuff from Diplo and the Fabriclive sessions as well as the BBC radio one experimental broadcasts. There is some serious cutting edge stuff out there that is great to ride to. I’ve been into dubstep since last winter and it seems like it’s really starting to catch on in flatland which is pretty cool because I think the beats fit riding really well. It’s really all dependent on my mood though. I was riding to some really weird Jamaican dub today because with all the heat and the types of tricks I was trying, it just kind of fit. When I’m riding I usually don’t just turn on my mp3 player and go. I usually try a trick to a song, and if it doesn’t fit my mood or my style at that very second, I change it until I finally come across something that blends. I’m weird about that though heh.
You were a part of the bikeFLAT team, what was it like riding with those guys?
I don’t know actually. I only rode with those guys a few times whenever we crossed paths at Jams. Alex and Jesse are both two incredibly nice and brilliant guys. Alex came down to my house in northern Virginia one time and we ended up sitting down with my dad talking about an experimental substance he was working on out in a lab in California. I like riders that have more going on in their life outside of riding and the Caps brothers definitely have a lot going on.
Who were some of your favorite riders growing up?
I used to be a big Stephen Cerra fan because I saw Connect and saw he was doing the same spinning fork wheelie things I was doing (his stuff was much harder obviously). I used to see Martti (Kuoppa) but when you’re a beginner you can’t grasp how difficult and original his stuff is until you have a few years under your belt. I’m still not sure I fully understand some of the things he does and I doubt I ever will. I think I’m part of a generation of riders who didn’t grow up on the Plywood Hoods because I had never seen a Dorkin until Dorkin tTen, and even then it just didn’t really register with me. Chase (Gouin) and Kevin (Jones) outside of the obvious six degrees of separation never had an impact on my day to day riding so I never looked up to them. I used to really love Nathan Penonzek too. He was awesome.
Who are some of your favorite riders now?
There are tons. I love Dane Beardsley’s riding right now because of all of his rear wheel stuff. I think his riding is such a drastically different style than mine I just have to respect the hell out of it. I love Adam Kun and Matthias (Dandois). They’re both wonder kids and I don’t get how they can be around my age (and younger UGH) and be as good as they are. I love all of the English riders too. Sam (Foakes), James White, Keelan (Phillips). All awesome. The Japanese guys…Jesus, I can’t even name how many riders I just love to watch right now because it would take up too much of my time. Let me just say there are a ton of absolutely awesome riders that I love watching and I can’t pick favorites hahaha.
What does flatland mean to you?
I don’t know. I think I’ve resigned myself to the fact that flatland to me is not going to be anything like it is for anyone else. It’s like being in love. Millions of people have written songs, stories, poems about it, but nobody has really nailed it in a way that everyone can understand. That’s sort of how flatland is for me. Indescribable. Like, whoa.
If you could choose one place to ride in the world, where would you go?
I don’t know actually. I think if my spot were in better condition and they repaved it so it was much smoother I’d just want to go there. I like traveling, but I don’t like riding in other peoples parking lots. Feels weird.
Do you go to school or work at all?
I’m attending Virginia Commonwealth University as a history major and I work as a dorm security guard. It’s the worst job in the world and the people I work with spend most of their time talking about celebrities and getting drunk so I just keep my nose buried in a book for the most part. Tonight they had a two hour discussion about the dangers of “swan flu”. Idiots.
You seem to be very interested in politics, does it have anything to do with your riding or relate to it at all?
It doesn’t have anything to do with my riding, I just know that politics shapes the world that we live in and it’s important to stay educated and informed as best you can so people don’t pull a fast one on you.
What are your thoughts on webvideos compared to DVD’s?
They’re great. I think the stuff SEVisual is putting out is just as good as the older Intrikat videos. Just bomb tricks, great editing. The whole package is just nice. I think it definitely takes away from people making money off of DVD’s, but was there really any money to be made anyway? I don’t know, I never got involved in that.
If you could choose one person to ride with, who would it be?
I’m going to get a lot of flak for this because it makes me sound like a fanboy, but Matthias Dandois. The whole time I was filming him in New Orleans he was just so pumped to be on his bike trying new things. I just liked his sort of whimsical intensity. I think Simon O’Brien is a very close second. Just an incredibly nice guy that can do pretty much whatever he wants. Comedy option: Chase Gouin.
How many hours do you put into your riding?
There are some periods of my life I won’t ride for weeks because I can’t stand the sight of my bike. Recently I’ve been getting 4-5 hours in a day, but I know in a few weeks I’ll get angry and burn out and find something else to do instead. It varies between no riding at all to 5-6 hours a day. It all depends on what I want to learn and what my state of mind is.
Why do you seem so harsh on guys that ride crankless?
Here’s how I look at it. If someone wants to write a sonnet they have a very specific form that they must adhere to in order to call it a sonnet. The same thing goes with Haiku and many other forms of poetry. Flatland isn’t really poetic in my eyes, but there are certain constraints that I think we should put on ourselves as riders or else riding just seems kind of stupid. Part of flatland is the manipulation of the weight of the bike. You can bend the rules by putting together a lighter bike with cranks, but when you take those cranks off in my eyes you’re breaking the rules and therefore no longer riding flatland. You’re riding a scooter. It’s harsh, but I just feel that there is a standard that should be set in what I think a complete bike consists of, and cranks are a part of that.
Your set up seems to change quite a bit, you had brakes, now you don’t. Do you see yourself as a brakeless rider for a while?
I’m brakeless right now because I’ve never really run back brakes and since I’m not even touching the front wheel at the moment it’s pointless to have them on there. After getting my finger caught in the lever on a bike flip and nearly breaking the damn thing off, I figured it was a safety hazard to keep them on there. I don’t change my set ups that much in terms of how the whole thing is put together. I was running the same cranks for nearly 7 years until I picked up the KHE’s I’m running now at a really crazy discount. It’s all roughly the same geometry. I don’t get why or how people change up frames every few months. I think it’s silly to deliberately throw yourself off that much so abruptly and I don’t like changing things if I don’t see a reason to.
What are your thoughts on companies like The BYKE Project, Redbull, Levi’s, Nike, etc., helping out BMX in general?
I think it’s awesome. I don’t care if they plaster their banners around contest venues. They’re helping sustain the contest scene and I’m 100% for it even if the bottom line is advertising.
Do you consider yourself just a flatlander or a BMXer?
Flatlander first and foremost.
Who do you think is one of the most underrated riders?
Cory Fester. For all the hype Matthias (Dandois) and other riders get through the contest scene, nobody touches the difficulty of Cory’s tricks. I saw Impulsivity and then I saw Cory’s new video part and Cory’s **** was just SO much more difficult than anything I saw in Impulsivity outside of Martti’s (Kuoppa) whiplash runs. His tricks are insane but because he just kind of does his own thing in your basic Levi’s he kind of floats under the radar. I think the problem is is that people see his tricks and they’re so hard they don’t even register. It’s like Stalin said, a death is a tragedy, a thousand is a statistic or something to that effect. Cory drops tricks that are the equivalent of flatland nuclear bombs and when the body count is added up nobody blinks an eye. It’s astounding really.
Why do you think there are more unknown flatlanders popping up all over the world and not that many in the U.S.?
It’s definitely a cultural thing. Riding your bike here, while “neat” is still kind of perplexing in the eyes of most people. Everyone here is often maliciously put off from doing what interests them. Don’t be an artist, you’ll never get a job doing it. Don’t be a musician you’ll always be broke. It’s stupid and it’s backwards and I think in the grand scheme of things this attitude will hurt the United States not only in flatland but in many areas of our society. Basically it boils down to a cultural difference that won’t change overnight no matter how many X-Games we have. In the end it boils down to “shut up, go to school, get a job.” And it’s saddening to see how much potential is being squandered not only in flatland, but in all sorts of alternative ways of life.
When you were younger and someone told you, “You’re not going to very far in life riding a kid’s bike in circles”, would you get mad or try to turn it into something positive?
This attitude brought me into not only flatland, but a large number of things that I’ve gotten involved with. I taught myself how to play the piano because some people in my life at the time said I wouldn’t be able to do it without knowing how to read music. I taught myself how to draw despite hating art in school. I taught myself how to do some lower level professional game design despite people saying it was too difficult. It just drives me to prove people wrong basically.
If you could change one thing about BMX, what would it be?
I wish people would stop trying to segregate us from the rest of BMX as flatlanders. It’s really irritating. I also wish people would stop crying about flatland staying underground. Those people should shut up, stay in their secluded parking lots and keep their backwards attitudes to themselves. Just go away already if you don’t want to help. Flatland shouldn’t be underground. If you love it, share it.
What are your thoughts about flatland being mainstream versus it being underground?
I think it should be however people want it to be. I don’t think anyone should be forced to be a showman and rep the sport, but I don’t think people should be clamoring for some golden era that relatively speaking never existed in the first place. We’re here so we might as well make the best of it and complaining that the style of riding you liked watching ten years ago is no longer prevalent doesn’t really do anything to help things one way or another.
Where do you see flatland in the next 10 years?
I always wonder about this, and then another year goes by and I’m completely blown away at how much has changed. One thing we take for granted is how incredibly dynamic and fluid the sport is. Not only with the tricks and styles but with the organization and attitudes of the riders themselves. A lot has changed in the last year or two, so to predict how the next ten will unfold would be pretty ridiculous
What are you going to do to keep flatland alive?
I don’t know because I don’t know if what I’m doing is keeping it “alive”. I want to help new riders find their footing and point them in what I personally believe is the right direction towards learning how to learn and learning how to appreciate what they’re doing. I think we have to keep in mind that while we’re few what we do is pretty remarkable. Some might say that it takes a certain type of person to ride flatland and I completely disagree. I think it takes a certain kind of mindset and I’d like to show people that even though the goals they set for themselves might be miles and miles away, they are completely capable of getting there. I’d like to do what a music teacher does and just show people what might be considered a better way of doing things, and when that pays off with an individual rider and they can see the progress the change in their attitude and how motivated they are is just incredible. If you can get people filming themselves and making a record of their progress from week to week and they can look back on a month ago and see how far they come, it rejuvenates their drive and spirit to continue on with the sport. This isn’t ALWAYS the right way to go and everyone works differently, but if I’ve learned anything from the beginner thread, it’s certainly a formula that works with a hell of a lot of people.
The cornerstone in the growth of the sport is and forever will be motivation. If people lose motivation, they ride less, and eventually they might quit altogether. If you can continue to keep people motivated and psyched on riding, the sport will grow. As more and more people seem pumped about the sport, the image improves and the attitude spreads
Here is the section where you can give shout outs/Thanks.
Thanks to Luke and Neil at Bunnyhop bikes. Without these two guys I wouldn’t be riding nearly as much as I am right now. Thanks to Paul Vail for being a good flatland Dad and Eric Mitchell for being a good flatland uncle. Thanks to Ondo for putting together the online battles and thanks to Martin for giving me a place to talk a lot of ****. Thanks to Pat at Flatlandfuel not only for giving North America a place to get flatland specific parts, but for pretty much being the ultimate patron saint of the sport in our neck of the woods. Thanks to Pralex for making me laugh. Thanks to every person who ever gave me ****, because without you I would never have anyone to prove wrong.
Hope you enjoyed doing this! Thanks again!
I’ve enjoyed doing it. I hope it gives some people some insight into my motivations as to why I do the things that I do and prevents future flame wars over misunderstood internet message board posts hahahaha.
Is there anything else you would like to say or add?