Flat Snitches: Episode 3 / The Backyard

Intro: Effraim.
Interview: Effraim & Pete Brandt.
Photos: Tim Treacy.

Welcome to Episode 3 of Flat Snitches, an educational resource on the history of trick inventions in flatland. We have a very special guest for our third episode, Ladies and Gentlemen… Tim Treacy from San Francisco! Tim was one of the first pioneers of the scuffing technique in flatland in the 1980’s. San Francisco was a hot bed of creative talent back in the day at Golden Gate Park that are now legendary in flatland circles and via coverage in Freestylin’ inspired riders across the globe.

Have you ever done a backyard? Maybe a two footed rolling backyard in the modern era? Were you ever curious. Where did this trick come from?

Episode 3 focuses on the Backyard, myself and Pete Brandt dig beneath the surface of this trick and interview the man behind this staple move in flatland. It’s time for the interview!

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Repo: Sportzone Veres Contest by Rob Alton

Text/Photos: Rob Alton.

Four months of hard work finally paid off on Saturday at Sport Zone. The larger room and new floor was perfect! Three riders could ride at the same time and we definitely needed the extra space as there were 36 riders from 5 countries at the event. It was a combined contest, the Hungarian Championships in collaboration with Bringasport (Hungarian Cycle Federation) and the Veres Verseny 2019.

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Repo: UCI World Championships 2019 Chengdu China

Text: Effraim.
Photos: EC, The Agency Photo.

The finals day at the UCI World Championships was a great day for flatland. The day started with Women’s flat and four riders knuckled down and give it their all, Irina Sadovnik was battling a knee injury and with the help of Trish and her medical skills she was able to ride. Sometimes when you are faced with a physical obstacle such as an injury your focus is heightened. The injuries were stacking up in China and kind of became one of the main topics of everyones discussions during the two week trip.


Lionel Cardoso on the MIC duties, and David on the decks. props to these guys who killed it throughout the series and the two weeks in China!

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Day 2: UCI World Championships / Chengdu, China

Day 2 at the UCI World Championships in Chengdu, China was a good one. Starting once again wet with over night rain rearing it’s ugly head. In fact it seems to rain every evening here and certainly when it does, it clears the air.

We headed down to the contest in a shuttle at 8am ready for the 9-10am practise slot before qualifying started at 10am. 36 riders to get through, we were using live scoring in qualifying for the first time.

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Arrived at Fise Chengdu!

After a long day travelling from London Heathrow to Beijing and onto to Chengdu beginning on Tuesday afternoon, myself and my girlfriend Alex arrived in Chengdu on Wednesday evening. We were accompanied on the flights out by Lee Musselwhite, Hank who is judging BMX park, and Blake Bird who judges roller blading on the Fise Tour. So that definitely helped make the flight a pass a bit quicker.

We got picked up from the airport by my girlfriends brother Ed who lives in Chengdu and works as an English translator, whilst the others got their shuttle to the host hotel that I would arrive at the following night. I spent the night walking around downtown Chengdu, and discovered marble spots exist everyday as well as random skateparks on the sidewalk built into the landscape. I wish I had my phone with me at the time to document the madness.

Normally at these big contests it’s off to the host hotel and I don’t really see much of the cities. So this time made a nice change, not to mention waking up to an English breakfast in the morning was a real treat. It was however, raining on Wednesday morning but due to clear. So no rush to get to the Fise venue. So after a chilled morning, I took an hour taxi ride to Qingshui River City Park on the outskirts of Chengdu for the contest which turned out to be an ordeal. The taxi driver dropped us firstly, 25 minutes away from the venue. Luckily Ed was on hand to translate and explain this is not where we booked to go, half an hour later and in a different taxi we arrived onto an amazing River City Park venue.

ED and Alex left to go back to Chengdu and go hiking in the mountains whilst I judge the Fise World series along with Alexis Desolneux, Kotaro Tanaka and Hiroshi from 430. I stayed at the event and caught my bearings with the layout of the venue and generally find out where everything is and shoot some photos of some the riders during practise. The floor looked a lot better than the first two rounds, and I spoke to a few of the riders out on the floor who said it was much more solid than Montpellier.

Most of the sites I use to put together FM are blocked in China, although thankfully my email and FM is not blocked. So I can update from the contest at least. Qualifying starts today at 2pm, 38 riders, followed by the Women’s Class. I will update results when I get some wifi later. Hope you enjoyed this little break down from Chengdu.

Flat Snitches: Episode 2 / The Gadget Whip

What a response, we got from the first episode of FlatSnitches. Myself and Pete are super stoked and humbled by all the feedback. FS is a labour of love dedicated to being an educational resource on the history of trick inventions for flatlanders spanning across all generations of our artform.
What we realised after the first episode is that these are episodes that can be updated as useful information (“art of facts as Pete calls it) comes forward. This wasn’t something we considered when we started FS.
We had numerous riders, for example reach out with further information about Jesse Puente doing the Plasticman after we published the first article. Articles can be updated much like tricks are, you get a refresh every so often and learn more about tricks you love to do on the daily.

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Flat Snitches: Episode 1 / The Plasticman

Intro.

Welcome to a new section of Flatmattersonline that has been brewing, not unlike the cuppa right next to me right now as I get ready to drop this first episode. After a lot of talk back and forth with Pete Brandt, “Flat Snitches” is born and dedicated to help educate the flatland community on the history of trick inventions and most importantly showing some love to the architects that came up with each trick along the way, not to mention the evolution of each move with other riders putting their twist on it.

Who came up with what trick and when, is sometimes a grey area, but myself and Pete Brandt after all our years of experience are as best placed as anyone to attempt to do this.
We Kick off Episode 1 with the Plasticman, and talk to the trick creator, Jesse Puente about the tricks history and evolution into another move entirely.

When I think about Jesse Puente, his energy springs to my mind. I always recall when he commented “You bust, I bust” back when we both rode for KHE in the late 90’s, his energy was contagious. Always thinking about new tricks and concepts, he made me want to have new tricks every time I would see meet him at contest across the globe. Jesse’s energy brings me to the plastic man and his desire to create something fresh.


Jesse, rolling the OG Plasticman in Shimersville, PA back in 1994. Photo: Sean Parker.

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James McGraw & His Custom New Ride

Intro/Interview: Effraim.
Photos: James McGraw.

I’m good friends with James McGraw, and even I was surprised that number one he left London Bikes, and number 2 that he managed to keep this custom ride build quiet off social media until it was done. After a quick chat with James, I was pretty curious about all the details of his new ride and figured you at home might be as well.

Like everyone else on social media I saw your new bike post. No more London bikes and a custom bike build, what’s the story?
I feel very blessed that for the past 30 years I have not really had to pay for a bike. I have had a lot of sponsors over the years and London Bikes has been one of the best. For me the change is not any kind of bad blood or issues its simply time I do something 100% my way. With a sponsor you get some input but ultimately there are trademarks of a brand that you deal with. Ultimately I just no longer am willing to compromise my riding just to get a free frame. My new bike is built around how I ride and the style of tricks I want to do. My next birthday will my 50th and with age come ailments that hinder my riding. For years I was a front wheel prominent rider, however I developed really bad back issues due to the leaning and body position of front wheel tricks. At one point I considered quitting do the the constant pain. Instead I found back wheel to be therapeutic in the sense that I ride in a more vertical position which relived the pain I developed from leaning over on front wheel. With that said Will from London has made a very good bike that he designed for what fits his riding, for me it is way to short and I feel limited to back wheel. I took a look at all the bikes I have rode over the years and really thought about what geometry worked best for front wheel and back wheel. I realized the last time I rode front wheel I was riding a longer frame which in theory allowed me to stand more upright during the tricks. I also looked at seat post angle which directly affects the position of your seat location. With the old seats you could move your seat forward or backwards on the seat rails to compensate position but the new seats you can only change the angle of the seat. So seat post angle is a very critical point of reference depending on your height and the style of tricks you wish to do. Also we made sure to build the bike around the forks I ride to insure that the rolling head tube angle is exactly as I desired. Different forks can manipulate the rolling head tube angle of the bike depending on the length of the forks. Bottom line is after months of really thinking about these factors I realized that I could build a bike based on my body size and ailments that would allow me to ride both wheels again. Simply put at my age I don’t know how long I will be able to keep riding at this level, so I built this new frame in a effort maximize my potential as a rider and remove any limits I may have due to a production frame that has a more generalized geometry as opposed to a very rider specific frame.

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Voodoo Jam 2019: The Scott O’Brien Interview

Interview: Effraim.
Photos: Fat Tony, Leo Furmansky and Red Bull.

It’s the Voodoo Jam this weekend in New Orleans. I caught up with the main man, Scott O’Brien for this exclusive interview. To talk all things Voodoo, sit down, grab a cuppa and enjoy this one.

Voodoo Jam is just round the corner Scott, what’s the plan?
It’s been 15 years since the first Voodoo Jam and the plan hasn’t changed much at all since then. Focus on a quality event and the riders experience. I believe the more simple we make things the better the event is. The riders are what Voodoo Jam is all about so I try to stay focused on that.
Other things surrounding Voodoo will be a Pre Jam on Friday and the after party. Both of these events are made for the Flatland BMX community to just come together and hang out as real humans not social media world we live in nowadays.

We will also throw a Best trick contest into the mix of the finals. I’m sorting out some details with that now and I’ll release those details soon.

Lot of meetings back and forth with Terry? What are you guys mostly discussing mostly?
Yes Terry and I meet often about Voodoo. We discuss everything that goes down with the event. He handles sponsorship, funding and media. So we go back and forth on that. I run the actual event along with a ton of other things. It’s a team effort for sure so we have to stay in contact all the time.

Who is sponsoring the event this year?
Red Bull, Raising Canes, Tiger Balm, Flatland Fuel, Profile, IGI, Heresy, TTM Lifestyle, Grind Legacy, Scuffington Post, Monolithic Eric, Hector Garcia with Neue Creative.

What’s the format this year?
It’s the same format I used 15 years ago. With two exceptions. Top 14 will go to the finals and top 4 of the finals will battle for podium spots. 3:00 runs of course. The final battle is 1:00 each Three Times. So each rider will go three times for 1:00 in the final battle.

For two years I believe we experimented with head to head and I didn’t think it was fair so we got away from that.
The way we do it has a great mixture of traditional with a jam style battle at the end.
I’m taking 14 to the finals because I just love for more riders to have opportunities.

Voodoo is a high energy contest, where does your inspiration come from for the format and feel of the event?
I’m always inspired by the riders themselves, living in New Orleans, music, traveling and of course I get a lot of inspiration when I ride.

If you had to give you three priorities for a Flatland event what they would be scott and why?

Secure a great location. Because location is everything.
Schedule is most important. Staying on a tight schedule allows everyone to enjoy the event and no sitting around. Time is valuable. Somethings happen and things run late at times. But you must keep a tight schedule.
Don’t force things. If it’s not gonna work don’t just throw it together. There needs to be quality in what you do. If you can’t find quality then it’s not worth doing. Flatland BMX deserves quality in its presentations.

Who you are psyched to see ride this year?
Sergio Balu for sure and the Thailand riders as well. But I honestly loved to see everyone. It’s an honor to be in the same room with all of these guys.

For all those that can’t make it, will there be a livestream?
Yes Hector Garcia will be interviewing riders and live streaming most of the day. It will be on Voodoo Jam Facebook page.

If you could give three places people should go and see in New Orleans, where would they be and why?
Do your research and visit local restaurants because the food is amazing here. Definitely walk the French Quarter area and check out the vibes on a Saturday or Sunday during the day.
Everyone says Bourbon Street but I say Frenchman Street at night hit up some local jazz music and enjoy that.
Uptown New Orleans is also amazing with beautiful homes and shopping on Magazine Street.
Um, that’s four haha.

For anyone sitting on the fence, cant decide. Should I go to Voodoo or not what would you say to them?
Well I don’t want to convince anyone to be honest. Just ask the riders that have come to Voodoo if they enjoyed it.
I always love to hear the first timers say, “Why haven’t I been coming to this”
It’s a Flatland BMX Party. Why wouldn’t you come ?
Besides, we never know when the last one will be.

Good luck for the event, Lot of people supporting the Voodoo jam Scott, any final shoutouts?
First off shout out to all the riders that travel to Voodoo Jam because they are the ones the contest is for and they are the ones that make it special. They have enriched my families life with an experience like no other. My kids have a better understanding of this world because of their experience with Voodoo. For that I will always be grateful to the riders of Voodoo.
Id like to thank my parents for being super rad humans, my family for all the support, Terry and Vanessa Adams and the entire group of people that support Voodoo.
Trophies Brian and Lil Robert.
My second in command Paulo.
Hector Garcia for his endless help and always sending me stuff on time.