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.

Continue reading

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.

The Sietse Van Berkel Flatmattersonline Interview!

Intro/Interview: Effraim.

At the FiseWorld in Hiroshima, Japan last month it was on my list to catch up with the Flatmattersonline 2018 Breakthrough Rider of the Year, Sietse Van Berkel!

Sietse is one of those riders that has been on the brink for a number of years, last year he stepped up in a big way blowing the flatland world away with his final submission for the Master of Creativity finals and taking a well deserved win.

I dig into what went into his Master of Creativity entry, his horrific head injury that followed, from being the MOC winner to judging. Winning the FM award, his elegant style that is like no other, getting on Four pegs and Deco, his mindset training for contests and some surprises came out throughout the interview that I won’t spoil.

This is pure gold, is down grab and cuppa and listen to what Sieste and I have to say in our one hour 14 long conversation that taught me a lot and hopefully you at home listening.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time for the Sietse Van Berkel Flatmattersonline Interview!

Continue reading

Dez Maarsen Interview Part 1 and 2 / How to Build a Career in BMX when you’re the underdog?

It’s already a good week here on Flatmattersonline, yesterday we had Matthieu Bonnecuelle’s amazing new edit. Today we have the Dez Maarsen Interview, Lionel Cardoso made the trip from Paris to Holland to catch up with Dez and discuss his life, habits, his daily routine, growing up with in Holland, his fears, motivation and really dig into how Dez built his career. This interview comes in two parts, so you are definitely going to want to grab a cuppa and enjoy this one!

The Flatmattersonline Pete Brandt Interview!

In my opinion, You couldn’t really script this story.. Who would have thought my childhood hero would organise a go fund me fundraiser to get me out to San Francisco and the One Love Jam.

Wait what????

How many would do this or even think about doing this for another rider? It is and was an amazing gesture. So much so I pinched myself at various points of the long flight over to SF. Is this really happening??

As Pete broke the news, aside from my initial disbelief, and thoughts of finally riding the clocktower and going to the One Love Jam. This was finally my chance after ten years of running Flatmattersonline to interview Pete and ask him all the things I was curious about over the years.

I first travelled to SF when I was seven years old with parents, then again at 14 years old and to compete for the X Games in 99, and 2000. The city definitely strikes a chord with me, it is my favourite place to travel in the world. So much history here, the bridges, all the different cultures, the views each way you look, the people, you can ride around Embarcardero and see all the famous skatespots just a throws away from the legendary Clocktower spot that Pete rides everyday, making the 40 minute BART commute from across the bay in Fremont.

I have met Pete numerous times over the years at contests across the globe, and even at the San Francisco X-Games twice which we discuss in the interview.
I haven’t however, hung out with Pete for any considerable amount of time, until this dream trip. I think it’s fair to say we got along so well I now consider Pete a close friend and we share a lot of the same music tastes, views on flatland, we both vibe off skateboarding, and best of all just a lot of laughs and good flatland sessions.
As I approach my 45th birthday in March, seeing Pete still going as hard as ever was a massive motivation to me “hey you can still do this and work a full time job and juggle family life with kids” and be an absolute monster to boot.

There are multiple layers to Pete’s life, which we cover in this interview. The term “legend” gets over used a lot, but Pete really is a flatland legend. And in fact as I now call it he is an “architect”. Pete has helped shape the spot/artform we all love, have you ever shove-it’ed mid trick, done a crackpacker, held a hitchhiker on the peg instead of tyre, used plastic pedals, use a freecoaster, these are all things Pete invented and made them popular and the list goes on.

The man deserves a BIG interview so much I can’t even stress this enough. Our sport/artform needs to respect the architects that shaped what we love today, and Pete is still going hard and infact I can almost guranteed he’s the last to read this and will be out shredding at the clocktower without a care in the world other than riding his bike and doing what he loves on the daily.

Over the years, I have met just about everyone in the flatland scene and Pete is the realist rider I have met. This guy eats, sleeps, and breathes flatland, and he totally gets it.

Grab a cuppa, and make some time to learn about one of the best riders to ever do it. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s do this, the Flatmattersonline Pete Brandt Interview! This is for all the hardcore riders out there, proud to bring this exclusive to the flatland scene.

Effraim Catlow / Flatmattersonline

The Flatmattersonline Pete Brandt Interview Teaser!

Have you ever met your childhood hero? Last month, I got to hang out and ride with Pete Brandt for the first time for an extensive period of time, since I have known him. When I received the news that Pete was organising a Go Fund page to get me out to San Francisco and the One Love jam. To be honest, I didn’t really know whether to scream, or shed a tear, what I can tell you for sure is I was very hyped and super excited to get out there. I can remember talking to myself and saying, “right this is it! It’s time to get the interview I always really wanted on the website.”

I had the time of my life, riding and hanging out with Pete everyday during my trip to California. After approx two weeks of editing, plus going over footage, and general tweaks that come with putting something like this out (I have never worked on a video for so long, hence why FM updates have been a little slow…). The full interview will drop this Friday, today to whet your appetite here is a little teaser.

Words cannot express how hyped I am to drop this interview on Friday, Pete is a true architect of Flatland, and a man that deserves the utmost respect from all of us!

Stay tuned!

Matthias Dandois Interview – His Secrets to becoming 7 X World Champion!

Do you want to know Matthias Dandois’ secret to becoming 7 x World Champion? What makes him motivated, how much he rides and so on… Lionel Cardoso, the man behind Freestyle Tactics caught up with Matthias for this revealing interview. Don’t miss it….

Re Up: Jean William Prevost Podcast

With Jean William Prevost aka Dub taking the 2018 Flatmattersonline Year end awards by storm, it seems to me as good a time as any to repost the podcast with Dub from last year at Bike days. It was really interesting to catch up with Dub and pick his brains and here his opinion on judging, the flatland scene, competing, and the struggles he faces day to day.