How old are you? A very young 47, ha ha. It always amazes me when I think back to watching the dads race in the 80’s and 90’s. It was scary to watch! Now I have friends 50 and up that still kill it at the trails and track. And then there’s DMC…wow.
How long have you been riding? Not that long compared to most actually. From 1983 until 1998 and then 2014 up until now so about 19 years. Fortunately I came out of the long break pretty well, all things considered, even though I didn’t touch a bike during those off years while raising my family.
What is the dream place to ride? Easy one, G Club (Gentlemen’s Club), Steve Crandall’s home trails in Virginia. Definitely on the bucket list for this year. It’s about the friends more so than the place to me. I go to a lot of amazing trails, most of which are over my head skill wise, and always leave smiling from the connections with my friends. Steve’s will be exactly that.
What is a problem that you see with BMX today? I prefer not to think of anything in BMX as being a problem. I like being part of the solution whether it is bringing sidehack racing to the track, fundraising or podcasting. BMX is diverse. There is something for everyone. I most proud of the annual fundraiser that I put on because it brings all of that diversity of BMX together…while doing good for those in need. If you look at it that way, BMX is doing pretty damn good. We all appreciate each other whether we race, ride trails, ride park or ride street. That’s why I connect so well with Scotty Cranmer. He just wants to see people on bikes. The other plus is the amount of girls/women riding these days. They have such a great thing going, like nothing I’ve seen before. Big ups to the women!
What is a memorable BMX moment that you remember? Any stories? I was never at a level of notoriety in my first round of BMX in the 80’s and 90’s but I always had fun. I bought my first house at 20 years old, not because I was wealthy, because I busted my butt. The first thing I did was build trails at that house. They lasted eight years and were visited by everyone from Brian Foster, Tim Strelecki and the Schwinn team to Robbie Morales of Cult to the MTB Olympian Todd Wells (back when he rode BMX). The most memorable event out of that was when Keith Mulligan came and did a scene report at the trails and my friends and I really got to express ourselves on something we built. One side memorable story from the Schwinn day was when Kiyomi Waller, a super fast Pro from that era, stayed in my basement reading every magazine I had from years of subscriptions. I don’t believe he ever even saw the trails. Anyhow, my most memorable moments were right there in my backyard.
What are some ways that you deal with injury? First I cry and moan like a man child then I reevaluate my risk versus reward. Then I go right back to the risk. The reward is that I’m still able to ride another day and still work my dwindling bag of tricks.
How had riding affected your life? Positively? Oh man, I’m going deep on this one. First of all, I lost my hair at the age of 13 due to an auto immune disease call Alopecia Areata. I started BMX right after that. I was too embarrassed to do team sports since my father had me wear a wig. The amount of confidence I gained by constantly trying to be the best I could be on the bike was huge. I can’t imagine where I would be now without that. The acceptance of my BMX friends was critical. I truly don’t believe I could have found that anywhere else, definitely not in school. Those are tough social years years for any teenager. Fast forward to my late 30’s and a neurological disease popped up in me called spasmodic torticollis, basically a muscle pull of my neck that makes it difficult to keep my head straight at times. The reason I mention this is that once again, BMX came to the rescue. Friends are happy to see friends, bottom line. I don’t have to prove anything. Just be myself. All because we have this connection that is larger than us. It’s amazing.
What is your biggest accomplishment in BMX? Off the bike for sure. I had some single digit national numbers back in the day and a few contest and trails pictures in magazines but they don’t come close to the annual fundraiser that I put on. Sure it is a lot of hard work and frustrating at times but that payoff on the day of the event is beyond measure. This will be the 4th year and with lots of help from friends and tracks, Shoreham BMX and the Trumbull T.R.A.C.K. have been trusting of my plans and so helpful which has allowed us to raise over $35,000 over the past three years for John Lee of FBM, Stephen Murray of Stay Strong and Scotty Cranmer. This year will be for the family of the incredibly inspirational Kevin Robinson on July 29th at the Trumbull Track in Trumbull, CT. I miss him so much.
What is DDR? DDR is a team that my childhood friend Corey Unger and I started in our late teens in the 80’s. It stands for Dual Directives Racing which remains fitting because I’m always in BMX for more than myself. We started it as a homemade number plate company and sold shirts too. Corey didn’t stay in it long so I decided to keep it going and supported a local and national team, all for fun. I hand cut plates for years to help fund the team. When I got back into BMX I picked up where I left off and had shirts and plates made, old school style. It has morphed into an award plate company/hobby for events like mine and a few others I’ve donated for like the NY Grands street race, Mullaly Park jam, Austin Augie’s Manhattan street contest, etc.
Why did you start making a podcast? I had been searching for BMX podcasts for my commute to work and realized there aren’t many. They are a few out there are and they are doing a great job in the area of BMX they are interested in but they are very specific and somewhat regional or international. I still listen to every one of them and support them completely. About a year ago I started thinking, rather than be frustrated about certain topics or areas not being covered I should do something about it. Like I always say, be part of the solution, not the problem. So basically I debated with myself for the next nine months and The BMX In Our Blood was born. My goal is to represent the East Coast with face to face interviews with riders, male and female, from all eras of BMX. Some of my guests are from the East Coast but live in California but there East Coast history is deep. The whole project has been way out of my comfort zone and I don’t feel I’m a great interviewer but I have the passion and that’s all you need to be satisfied with anything you shoot for.
Are there any extra words you would like to have in the article? Wow, I think I’ve taken enough space already. Thank you so much for taking the time and interest in what I’m all about. We are all a team in this. When I thanked Stew Johnson recently for a compliment on the podcast (and told him I’m not really good at this), “None of us know what we’re doing…it’s the true spirit of BMX, DIY!!!! I’ll leave it at that, BMX rules no matter how you live it!