AI – Jeremy Ball

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          Late last year I sent a message to Jeremy saying “I’m into BMX and I would love to ride with you sometime” to sum it up. We met at Rays MTB Park in Cleveland and rode for a bit. Towards the spring of 2017 he invited me over to start digging on his private trails. I have never really dug before since there was none where I ride. I learned how to dig from Jeremy and how to drive a 3 wheeler (somewhat). Jeremy has instilled in my mind that working for something and then riding on it feels so much better! Jeremy is all about work ethic and having fun on a bicycle in any condition. He has gone to the level of getting a mini bowl put in his basement that is 4 foot tall and goes to vert with a 9 foot height clearance from ground to ceiling. He rides that during the winter with trips to Rays MTB Park, it keeps him on his bicycle.

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How long have you been riding? I have been riding formally for 25 years.  I began racing when I was 9. I learned how to ride a bike without training wheels when I was 2 ½ though.

What got you into riding? My dad raced motocross, so when we were younger, my brother and I always wanted to be like him.  That was an early motivation. Then there was the movie Rad, which was a big inspiration for me.  I love that opening scene so much.  I remember making my mom rent that for me all the time from the video store.  

The person that showed me formal, organized BMX, was my friend Dan Tappenden.  He had the first ever BMX magazine I had ever seen, which was BMX Plus! His family also took my brother and I to our first ever BMX race in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  That is where we got introduced to Props because he won it in a 50/50 raffle as well.  As far as informal BMX, like trails and stuff, I was introduced to trails by the Strieby brothers.

What inspires you to ride? I think the memories and the feelings that you get when you have a session inspire me to ride more than anything. Nothing beats looking back on the day and having that full moment of how amazing everything just was.  It is hard to explain, but there’s a feeling you get when everything is just perfect, when you are driving home with your friends or sitting around a campfire.  That feeling, if you could bottle it would be priceless.  That feeling is why I ride.

When you go to ride do you have an idea for new tricks or just go there and whatever comes to you, you try? I’m not going to lie, I haven’t really thought about a new trick in a while.  I do try to figure out some new variations now and then though.  I often think about something I want to do that I have done before when I’m untarping or driving to my trails.  Then when I start riding, sometimes I’m motivated to try it, sometimes I’m not. I always see how the day goes.

What is your biggest accomplishment in BMX so far? My biggest accomplishment would be the relationships and memories that I have made through BMX. The trips that I have been on, the places I have seen, and the friends I have made have helped create so many vivid memories, memories that I just sit back and smile about.  I think those memories are the greatest accomplishments.

What is the biggest problem in BMX that you have noticed? How do you resolve that problem? My BMX is awesome.  I don’t have any problems with it. I love my BMX and everything it stands for.  Other people may have something else going on, but to be honest I don’t know what it probably is and I don’t even really know who they are. I’m sure they don’t know who I am either, so I am not going to let someone who I don’t even know impact my view or perception of BMX.

Who is your favorite rider? Why? That’s a tough one because there are so many ways to answer this question.  I have my brother, he is amazing.  There is Joe Rich, equally awesome. Then there are people like Van Homan, Mark Potoczny, Nick Bruce, the Halahans, Max Bimar, Ryan Ruhl, Brian Foster, Hannah Roberts, Cody Diggs, and so many more.  Bikes are too awesome to pick just one.  There are too many good people to make a short list.

Are there any places you plan on traveling to soon? I am getting ready for my weekly winter treks to Ray’s MTB in Cleveland, Ohio.  I am so blessed to live relatively close to there. The people who run it are the best.  Kona Joe, Jeff, Keith Miller, Paul Rad and so many more make that place incredibly epic.  

What is your favorite place to ride? I like my jumps personally.  They are on my property and built the way I like stuff built. I love the quietness of the scene, the limited crowd, and my family being nearby.  

What is the dream place to ride? I would love to have one more day at the Grizz in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Just one more day would be a dream come true.

What is your favorite web edit or video part? My favorite video part ever is Van Homan’s Holy Fit part.  Prior to that, it was Van Homan’s Criminal Mischief part.

Do you like your BMX scene where you live? Yeah, I love my scene because it is my friends and I.  It isn’t big by any means, but I think we have a good time. We aren’t exclusive, and sometimes I wish there were more people, but I think big scenes can be over saturated. I do ride alone a lot, and while people may not get why I like riding alone, I’m around a lot of people every day with my career, and being alone is sometimes needed.

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What is some advice you would give to a BMX rider that is kind of falling out of BMX? I think with everything that goes on in people’s lives, it is natural to fall out of BMX a bit.  It is not like you can’t come back to it, or the piece of culture that is BMX will actually go away from inside of you.  I think once you are a BMXer, you will always be one.  I would imagine that when I am 80, I’m going to look at a bank to wall and think “wallride” regardless if I am riding anymore or not.

What is one way you deal with injuries? When I am hurt, I just deal with them the best I can. I really love to ride, so I often just push through them. 

What is one thing you love about BMX? I think it is just riding a bike in general that I love.  Being able to cruise down the road, or over a jump puts a smile on my face. The people you are around, the opportunities it opens, and the culture that is shared are also so awesome.  I think if everyone were to look at everything you can gain from just being positive and cherishing moments that happen because of a simple bike, BMX as a whole would be way better.

What is one thing you look forward to every year in BMX? I always look forward to my first runs on my jumps every year.  Knowing that I get one more day, one more year of something that means so much to me is awesome.  I also look forward to my weekly trips to Ray’s MTB in Cleveland with my friend Nick Kintzel.  Great friendships always give me something to look forward to. 

Where is your favorite place you have traveled to in BMX? I can’t pick a favorite.  Every place has something great about it, even the bad places had something amazing going on.  

What was one of your most memorable BMX memories? One of the owners of Deluxe has a really great set of jumps close to Lake Erie. On the last Deluxe trails trip on the East Coast, after a session at his spot, we rode up the road and had a swim in this beautiful giant lake on a warm summer night.  The waves were about 3 feet high and we were body surfing them into the shore.  My friends were there, the moon was out, we had just ridden a great spot, and I kept looking around feeling full, like this moment can’t get any better.  I would probably have to say that was my most memorable moment.

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Photo Credits: 360 Lookback and Table – Bryan Mitchell @ishootmi, 360 – Teddy Pieper @tedisgraphic

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