by Adam Guild
Who are you?
A flatlander called Ed Nussbaum, born January 4, 1976 in NJ.
What is your first bmx/freestyle experience?
Once I learned to ride a two wheeler all I wanted was a BMX. It was the early 80’s and I didn’t know anything about freestyle. There were trails by my house and I used to go there and ride all the time. I don’t know how much air I was getting but the feeling of being on my bike was all I cared about. Then I saw RAD when it came out and that might be the first glimpse I had of freestyle. That didn’t directly influence me at the time but having seen it was probably key in my later understanding of freestyle. I am pretty sure what really drove me to want to get a freestyle bike was seeing my friends neon green Torker 2. I was in fifth grade then and I thought that bike was sick. I was so intrigued by all the dope parts. I had no idea what a Gyro was at that point or what it did but I knew I needed one. I think I went out and bought a pair of Skyway axle extenders that weekend. I also started buying BMX magazines and found a video at some video store. Woody was on the cover doing a Miami Hopper and he wasn’t even in the video. The video was rad though. It had Fred Blood and RL Osborne and the old Camarillo ramp crew in it. I knew of them from the magazines and it was really cool to see freestyle in motion finally. Chris day was in the video too and I thought his riding was awesome because he rode so fast and had all the boomerang skills. Right after seeing that video I went out and learned frame stands on my old BMX. I was a freestyler from that moment on. I called every bike shop in NJ trying to hunt down a 1987 GT Pro Performer and I finally got one in the summer of ’87. I was so stoked.
Who or what influenced you most?
That’s a hard one to answer. My influences have always changed over time. Hip-hop and people in my crew were always big influences. Skateboarding. Other NJ riders. But I didn’t even know any riders for the first year and a half of riding. I was a huge fan of Martin Aparijo and Josh White. When I read an interview of Dennis McCoy I was real stoked because it really made it sound like flatland was going somewhere. Then in 1988 I went to this freestyle club that was going on at the 4-H in my county. That’s how I got into the NJ scene. Erin Donato was there riding and was already doing tricks I never thought I would be able to learn. I was still doing track stands and maybe some boomerangs on the pegs. Erin was doing funky chickens to freak squeaks, locomotives and decades. All that. I was blown away. Erin was always a big influence. Dorkin 3 was probably the biggest influence of all though. That was the first real riding video I got and it also exposed me to a lot of music for the first time which I can’t even imagine my life without. There was no turning back after seeing Kevin and Mark riding to Straight Outa Compton. That’s when I
knew flatland was what I wanted to do.
What are your thoughts on bikes past vs. bikes present?
Bikes were the bomb then and bikes are the bomb now! Bikes will always be the bomb! Seriously though, the evolution of the frames and parts is dope. I am really glad the bash guard era didn’t last too long. I had a Hooligan and I think I used the bash guard once.
When I got into riding everything was so hype. Bikes were all colorful and every frame had some gimmicks. Some were good some were bad but I always liked that the freestyle bikes looked so good.
The introduction of the flatland bike was great too. I remember being at a Rampateria contest and a few dudes had the Homeless Soul Bro. That frame was the hottest thing out back then. It was short and straight up flatland. It also had the double dropouts which helped quite a bit. By that time I was pretty frustrated with thin dropouts and weak parts. That frame really made me start to realize that function was the most important thing in parts.
Then there was a time when you could hardly get any flatland frame. All you could chose from was the Shorty, the Big Daddy and the Morales if you could even find one of them. I got the Shorty. There was nothing to worry about at that point. Nothing on earth was going to hurt that frame. I got one once they got lighter and it was still a tank. It was a heck of a lot better than a bent axle and smushed dropout every other week though.
Once Pulse pegs came out that was dope. It always sucked having to put seat posts in the end of the old GT tube rides. Thinking back it is amazing that people stuck with it. Parts sucked. The bolt on peg changed a lot for BMX all around I think. It was finally relatively comfortable to have your feet on the pegs.
I think right now though if a rider starts out with a hooked up bike they are going to have a lot of advantages we didn’t have back in the day. But that’s just my opinion because we all know it is the rider that counts. But I would prefer my feet not to hurt let alone my back and wrists. My body hurts enough from crashing that I don’t need all the fatigue when I’m actually riding well.
Who was/is in your crew?
Back in the day my crew was the Doses crew, mainly Adam Guild, Mike Wilson, Rodney, and Erin Donato. Those are the people I rode with the most over the most years. All those cats have always been in my crew and always will be. Even though there was other riders that we all rode with quite a bit, these people taught me a lot about living and not just riding. Everyone had their styles and tried different tricks. I think that helped me develop my own style and I’m grateful for that. I always looked forward to weekend long flatland sessions back back in high school and college. Whether it was a Runion Ave. session, a Dunellen Station session or a Rutgers session that’s all I was looking forward to. Once we all started riding at the Rutgers Stadium it was on. It was dope to have such a solid riding spot and so many riders out riding.
The west coast crew is Shawn White, Chad Johnston, Bobby Carter and Eric Stephano. That’s the crew right there. We make shit happen out there. On the wheels, on the reels, on the reals and the deals, whatever. Watch out for this crew in 06 when I make my Cali comeback. That’s right, I’m heading back to Cali like L.L.
I also have a worldwide crew past, present and beyond. You know who you are.
Describe the different stages of your progression?
1. Wannabe(1986): just learned about freestyle but needed a freestyle bike. I learned frame stands and foot jam endos on my Sears BMX.
2. Poser(1987): got a dope GT Pro Performer and could only do a frame stand and a foot jam endo even though I had Discompose.
3. Beginner(Rampateria days): I think around 89 I was learning some tricks. I started to progress one I met some riders. I know my first contest was in 89 and it was an ABA comp that Charlie Huber held. I got to see some dope local riders there for the first time. That’s where I met Erin and she beat me in 13 under beginner. A couple of years later I started going to the Rampateria contest and running the show. I went to the last TC comp and then entered every Rampateria contest when the bike shop moved. I know the year I entered beginner I got the year end title and got a big trophy. For some reason I could ride good in contest back then.
4. Soul Bro days(whenever I was riding my Homeless): I learned a lot of stuff on the Soul Bro. I forget what vids were out but I was already chilling and riding with the Doses Crew so shit was on. There was a lot of motivation to progress and more than that we were just all about riding. Progression was just natural for all of us because we were so into it. Anyway, my homeless got stolen and I was bummed. I was 18 and it was at the Shimerville contest. That was a pretty bad year for me. I crashed my car too and had no loot because I built up a brand new Shorty.
5. Expert(what year was the Chelsea Pier contest?) I rode in expert at the Chelsea BS and that was a pretty pivotal contest in my riding. I hadn’t been to many comps but I was riding a lot. This was a big comp too. Flatland was off the hook. Primo was blowing up and Mckinney and White were in NYC for this. I met them after the comp and they gave me a pair of pedals and I rode them for 5 or 6 years. They only gave me the pedals because I was chilling with Donato though. If they saw my run they probably would have threw me off the pier. That night Erin and I drove back to the stadium and rode. I learned the Karl Kruizer Kickflip that night. I was so motivated. That summer I rode my ass off and progressed a lot. Adam Guild made sure I had those red Primo V Monsters on my bike so I could keep busting out.
6. Pro(1996): I’m pretty sure I started entering pro in 1996 at the Toronto contest. I drove up there with Adam and Erin and rode really shitty. I’ve never been a contest rider but I felt I was doing some original stuff so that’s why I started entering pro. The next year at the Riverside BS contest I got ninth place so I was pretty stoked. Just qualifying was dope because I was a nobody.
7. California(2000 to infinity): this is where my riding really started to take shape. My University degree was just a step along the way compared to moving to Cali and progressing in flatland. I was finally able to focus on riding and now worry about school or responsibility. It was just me and my bike, a part time job and a ghetto apartment. I went to some contests and traveled a lot during this time. I drove across country in a 84 Civic and went to the X Games in Philly but what I remember the most was eating rice and beans and riding six hours a day and watching the sun set over the LBC pier. It was the time in the parking lot that meant everything to me. All of the times I pulled something for the first time or thought of a new trick, most of it happened here.
How did growing up in the NJ area effect who you are both as an individual and a rider?
I don’t think it’s about the place as much as the people. NJ has got some real people and that is a rare thing. I really appreciate growing up around the people I did. Not to mention the east coast hip hop. I’m east coast all the way but the weather sucks for flatland so I have to be somewhere else against my will. When I can afford a loft space in NYC that’s where I will be.
What’s up with Sick Child Bikes?
You tell me.
Where is freestyle/bmx going?
NJ to CA to TO to CA
Who has been most helpful to you along your riding trip?
Anyone who has ever complimented me on my riding, Or as of late anyone who has said something good about SickChild.
Any last words?
Be true to yourself.
Special Thanx etc etc etc
I can’t possibly type all of these names out. But… Doses Crew, Shawn White, Intrikat, Diversion, Animal, Inopia, Primo, Jason Pitshke, and Revenge Ind., anyone who has let me crash, Woody Itson, Robert Castillo, All the SickChild riders out there, and the ladies in my life. And the doctors who keep sewing my face up good when I hit the pavement.