What can I say about the one and only Stauffer? First I’ll start with just saying how honored I am to write this. Now that that’s out of the way, I guess I’ll start with the background. The first time I met the kid was a late night Somerville session and he offered to drive me home (I had every intention of pedaling from Somerville to Hillsborough at 10pm, I was 12) This kid introduced me to speeding and cruise control while cruising down dukes in his Astro van at 55mph, which I’m proud to say, is still around and driving. That was 10 years ago. Chris fell out of the scene when he thought the sport had died in the area, and the kids he regularly rode with had dropped the sport. He sold his bike, and had no thoughts of riding again, until I came along. We randomly crossed paths again due to him working at the movie theater with the majority of my friends from high school, and seriously freaking them out when I yelled Stauffer and he yelled in return Van Homan (these were the nicknames we were given and up until 3 years ago I didn’t realize his last name was in fact Lauder). After a chill ledge session with one of the best police encounters in both of our BMX careers (I encourage you to ask one of us about it, the story is truly amazing) Chris had the itch again. I sold him a complete bike and he has been shredding ever since. That was 3 years ago. He’s brought back with him a feeling and nostalgia I lost ten years ago, in the days of the 420’s and me being the snot nosed little kid too scared to talk to anyone. Watching him flow through the new 10th is honestly like watching a part of my history live again. He’s built the 420’s all four times they were plowed, and still rides like he’s in 2000, which looks awkward as hell on a modern bike set up. My favorite part is his lack of remembering what he can and can’t do, and will often be found asking me “Hey, can I do a toboggan?” or “Was I able to do that once?” to which my answer has been and will always be yes, whether he could or not. He still embodies BMX after being out for years, becoming a racecar driver, builder, “professional fun haver,” and an equally amazing person. I’m super proud to call him a rider and a friend, and now, with even more happiness and the fullest of hearts, team mate. He is the newest member of the Efinger family, and I couldn’t be happier to have him on the team and to return the favor for that ride home 10 years ago. Look for him to pop some more this year, come up and talk to him and share the happiness he spreads. Just don’t let his riding theory scare you, and be cautious when actually attempting his way at riding, as I hate admitting, sometimes it really is the best way to go about it. I give you Chris “Stauffer” Lauder and his undying riding style and theory. So next time you go out to ride, always remember “Just Hop And Hope”
Name: Christopher Lauder
Years Riding: 12-16
Sponsors: None. But I do ride on the Efinger’s BMX team.
How did you get into riding?
Well back when I was around 9 or 10 I saw this kid riding on my street. Oddly enough his name was Chris too. He rode flatland and I thought it was awesome.
You told me that you first wanted to ride flatland, can you give us some background on that?
He taught me simple stuff like riding backwards and that spin-around-on-the-front-wheel thing I can do kind of. He moved away a year or two later and then I was kind of on my own for inspiration until the first X-Games.
Cool, talk about that X-games. What made you choose BMX over skateboarding or something else?
Balance (or lack there of). I bought a skateboard after seeing it the first time and very quickly learned that it’s way harder then it looks. At least I could stay on my bike while moving. I watched X-Games flatland and was completely mesmerized by it. The jumps looked easier so I grabbed a shovel and carved a lip into my front yard and started jumping it. A few years later my dad took me to the X-Games 4 in Philly and I had Trevor Meyer sign my helmet. That was my prized possession till I lost it. It was a black helmet, gold ink, and baller.
That’s awesome. So can you say flatland has had a lot of inspiration in the way you ride now?
Definitely. Not so much in my style or riding but just the way I view other riders. My style is more of just “hop and hope”. Any nut case with a pair can bomb a gap for a picture, but half the stuff flatlanders spend years trying to pull off are still not something anyone is gonna pull first try. So when I’m out riding and someone has a totally different style of riding than me, I don’t look at it as weird, stupid, or gay. I see it as “Could I do that? How much work did that take to learn?”
That’s interesting. You say you have a “hop and hope” style, but I don’t believe you, you do some pretty outrageous things. Do you have a certain mindset when you’re going for tricks or lines?
Not really, most of the stuff I do is really just me trying to have more control than I actually have. Since I got back into riding about a year ago, I’ve been relying mostly on muscle memory and what I think I should be doing for the trick rather than the actual skill. You wont see me doing a lot of lines because I’m not confident enough to be consistent. I know I can hop pretty high and I can aim for a general area, but my brain just doesn’t process what’s happening fast enough to be smooth most of the time. So I usually just hop for what ever I’m doing and hope I don’t die.
You just got back into riding a year ago? How come you stopped riding and what made you pick it back up again?
Well a while back I did a lot of martial arts, like MMA style. I was training for that 5-6 days a week, going to school full time, and working full time with a girlfriend. Time was kind of scarce and if I got hurt on my bike it was harder to fight. So I started riding less and less until I just stopped completely. My old BMX bike got traded for a transmission and other parts for the car I was building at the time. And then I was out. A few years later I reconnected with Rich Danielsen. We were friends and rode back in the day but lost touch after I quit. It turned out we had the same group of friends, but only knew each other by nicknames that didn’t make sense to normal people. One night we went to Applebee’s and had a few drinks. We decided we shouldn’t drive yet and he wanted to ride his bike. So all the kids we were with came over to watch him ride a spot with a little ledge. The spot at the time had two police cars sitting in it when we all rolled up. We made friends with the cops and they not only gave us permission to ride but turned on their spot lights so we could see. I hopped on his bike and hopped around a little and it all came back to me. A few months later I walked into Efinger’s and bought a complete Premium Three Ring.
I know you were involved in the Manville trails back in the day and they were being rebuilt this summer until the hurricane came through. Give us some insight on that.
I rode the old BMX trails in Manville for 5 years. I was there pretty much every day I could be. Most of the jumps were much bigger and harder than I could ride at the time, but I was still there doing what I could. I quit riding shortly after they got plowed, now that I think about it.
When I found out the trails were being rebuilt this past summer it was just like a flash back. All the guys I used to look up to were there digging and riding. The only difference I was riding with them this time. It’s a weird feeling I get when a guy I used to look at as a hero says “Hey it was cool riding with ya, I’ll hit you up next time”. And just like that I’m a little schoolboy again with a big smirk on my face and at a loss for words.
Who were some of those guys you rode with and looked up to and still do?
CJ Marcincavage, Ernest (I don’t know his last name), Tony Hudson, and Mark Smith. There were a few others that I just don’t remember their names, but I know their faces and riding.
I know you are really into cars, do you think by working with cars it has enhanced your ability to have control of your bike skills as well? Also, you talked about how you rely heavily on muscle memory since you’ve been riding again. So, basically what you’re saying is that your mind has developed and it’s easier to figure out tricks than it was say, 15 years ago?
Working on cars made me learn to think a little more. I have a better understanding of how and why things happen now. When I was younger I didn’t really think much and everything was trial and error. It was also a lot harder to do everything because I was a lot smaller. Unlike kids today that look 18 when they are 10, I was a little kid when I was 16. So I couldn’t just muscle the bike around. I had to learn a little bit of technique in order to be able to grind things that were stem height on a 48lb bike. Now I’m bigger and my body remembers what I learned from riding years ago, I just have to put the pieces together and be less scared to try new tricks.
Your riding is definitely different from what I’m used to seeing and you do some wild stuff. Sometimes I wonder if you really have any idea what you are doing.
What or who motivates you these days to get on your bike?
I used to ride to try and be able to do more tricks or better tricks than other people, thinking along the lines of contests, but now I just ride for me. I didn’t start again for a “Anything you can do I can do better” argument or bet. I started because I missed the adventures, meeting new people, the exercise, and just the pure fun I always have. BMX is responsible for most of my friendships in one-way or another. Even the first night I rode again there was a story. When it comes down to it, I ride my bike for me. Everything I do on my bike is for fun. My oldest friendship and the best times of my life would have never happened without my bicycle.
You seem to not really care about BMX politics and general and could care less about what is going on with the web videos, do you think that helps with your riding?
Yes and no. I feel like a lot of what’s going on in the industry is great but at the same time really has no effect on me. I’m not most companies target demographic. I don’t even notice the difference between half the parts I ride. When I change a part on my bike it’s usually only because I broke it. I only notice a change in back end length for about two manuals before it all feels the same. The weight of my bike doesn’t affect my riding. I ride two pegs and rear brakes (because I like being able to stop). As for online videos, I don’t know anyone’s name anymore. So I have no clue who is riding, I don’t have a favorite rider anymore. But watching videos still gets me pumped and gives me ideas for tricks to try. I like watching videos when I have the chance, but I watch them purely for the riding and nothing else.
Who do you ride with on a weekly basis? And are there any newcomers you see that we should be on the look out for? For the people you ride with, do they motivate you to keep riding and trying new tricks?
Consistently, I ride with Rich Danielsen, Kyle Petrick, and you. I met a kid at a local park who just moved here named Nick. That kid can rip it up and he’s only 18. I’d keep an eye on that one if I knew his last name. My riding is different then most of the people I ride with. Rich and Kyle have no pegs, no brakes, and like to manual about. You, Louis, have front and rear brakes, four pegs, and ride flatland. I like to hop onto things and thrash them up with my pegs. So riding with everyone together brings me to places I might not go and gets me to try things I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
Awesome. Well thanks for letting me interview you dude. Do you have any thanks or shout outs?
I just want say thanks to Efinger’s for setting me up with a bike again and to all of my friends on two wheels, regardless of what genre you ride as long as your riding.
Awesome, anything else you want to say?
I love you Louis Orth <3. Thanks so much for putting me in the spotlight. It means a lot to me.