I mean, I guess dudes can live with one nut a la Lance Armstrong and former Philadelphia Philly John Kruk, but is that really an optimal way of living? DeGroot picked up on my nervousness/total lack of overall coordination.
“When was the last time you rode a bike?”
“Uh, a year or two ago.”
The skate park was divided into two areas; what I like to call the “Double Diamond,” where pros like Chad, Mark and Rob Dolecki (Pro BMXer/photog for DigBMX.com who snapped some killer images you can see here) make incredibly difficult shit look incredibly easy, and the “Kiddie Pool,” where myself and my friend Zach Goldsztejn from Mountain Dew rode around to get a feel for our bikes.
Having never done this, going down even the slightest of declines is a nerve wracking experience. Even a simple move called a “Bunny Hop,” where you literally hop on your bike until both wheels come off the ground, is hard to do. But it’s been a long time since either DeGroot or Mulville had any difficulty doing a Bunny Hop.
DeGroot turned pro when he was 19. “The first trick I ever did was on a curb where you smash your front wheel in and your back wheel pops up, called an “Endo.” I didn’t have a brake and you just smash it into the curb. It felt like you did something aside from just riding in a straight line.”
Mulville also turned pro around that same age. “I just really loved to jump — jumping was always my thing. A lot of other kids wanted to race or whatever but it was just too competitive. I just liked jumping and would get kicked out from a young age for doing it.”
In BMX, there are two sorts of riders: “Flatlanders” and “Jumpers.” And if it sounds like two warring factions, in the BMX subculture, it really is. Flatlanders, like DeGroot, stay on the ground and do technical maneuvers involving their hands and feet and a ton of coordination. Jumpers, like Mulville, get huge air and perform tricks.
“My go to is a Superman,” said Mulville. “Where you jump out and extend your arms and legs off of the bike completely and soar.”
Here’s Mark Mulville, “jumping”:
“I stay on the front wheel pretty good,” said DeGroot. “I like to ‘front wheel boogie'; front wheel riding backwards.”
Here’s Chad DeGroot, “carving a bowl”:
To get up to snuff on current BMX slang, I had Chad and Mark break it down for me:
But, as I would learn, that’s what’s cool about BMX — there’s room for any style and every rider brings their own flare and interpretation to a particular move, from the way they build their bike (the size and weight of the frame, tires, etc.) to riding with no brakes because the cords can “jam you up” when performing tricks.
Tags: BMX, Bunny Hop, Chad DeGroot, DigBMX.com, Eminem, Europe, Henry Winkler, Japan, Juliette Lewis, Kickstart, Mark Mulville, Mountain Dew, Mountain Dew Kickstart, Orlando Skate Park, OSP, Paul Eide, Professional BMX Riders, Rob Dolecki, Russell Crowe, sparkling juice beverage