Photography: Matthieu Metivet, Simon Warsan, Jean-Francois Boulianne.
This past winter, Jean-Francois Boulianne made his travels south to Peru and Colombia to avoid the harsh cold Canadian winter.
No one could have anticipated the Covid 19 pandemic that was to follow, and JFB has held onto this edit for a couple of months.
When Jean first hit me up with the edit, I asked what he had been up to during the winter, as I had seen a few posts on social media and was curious what his story was, and he seemed to be away from home for a long time.
After a few conversations back and forth, it became apparent to me that I should showcase this amazing edit a little differently than your normal Must Watch video breakdown.
Without further ado, it’s time to learn a little more about Jean’s travels and enjoy this edit, as the story goes deeper than just tricks, and captures for me what BMX is all about….
Yo Jean, I recall you were on vacation for a long time during the winter? I don’t know much about your journey? Tell us about it.
Since I started riding years ago, winter have never been my favorite season. My 3 years in China gave me a taste of what and “endless summer” feels like. When I stopped competing and traveling mostly for contest, something was missing in my life and it was the traveling part not really the one related to contest tough.
The moment I booked those trips (Colombia 1 month and Peru 2 months), everything felt right in my vision of an extended summer. I had plan the Peru trip first as an exploration and training vacation. Then talking about it with close friend here in Montréal, Simon Marsan and Gauthier Saint then decided to join the Peru trip for 2 weeks. As for Colombia trip, I was mostly looking for a month of training before the Xmas holiday with not much exploring involved as $$$ was limited for the whole winter project.
Who did you stay with out there?
As all of you know Flatland is a small community and I do enjoy that. Years ago Jean-William Prevost introduced me to Juan Camilo Niebles. Juan is representing Colombia on an International level with his original trick and warming attitude. I spent 1 month in his apartment, cooking, riding, laughing and doing yoga. Over that month, we became really good friends, I got the chance to give back by offering him an opportunity at Cirque du Soleil.
In Peru, I was renting mostly airbnb as I needed some space to connect with myself and reflect about my goals, vision and values in life. I met with all the local rider from Lima on a weekly basis. They really help me understand the Peruvian Culture, and what Flatland mean for them.
Was this purely a riding trip to escape the winter in Canada?
The principale purpose of theses two trips was riding and progressing solely. In Bogota, Colombia I learn a lot about food, and the fast pace culture of a South-American megacity. Peru was more of a complete trip as it included exploring nature and other parts or the country as well. South America to me is really a land of discovery, and a peaceful place where you don’t fell stuck in the caucasian mindset.
Will you be competing on a world wide stage again?
I am not sure I will be. I definitely prefer those kind of trip where you can discover more about the scene, and the country itself. I also get inspired a lot when there is no contest around, and that is really where I want to put my energy and focus toward. I always felt rushed during contest travel, and this is not a direction I want to head toward.
The new edit for Reklamtion Bikes just dropped, which line are you most happy with?
I am really happy about the 3rd link which is the one that got me 3rd place on the IGI Pegruary online contest. This link is a culmination of 3 tricks I was working on during these two holidays. The whole sequence was not ready to be filmed as all 3 tricks were not consistent. I pushed myself to pull it, telling myself it was my gift for this winter escape.
Obviously right now isn’t a good time to travel, if you had to give three top tips to travel what would they be?
1-Choose wisely, somewhere affordable with a good spot and other nature activity close by. You can stay longer and do more sessions by spending less money in housing and food. You definitely should talk to the local rider to get some information about the training facility. Finally its just nice being able to take a 3-4 bus to get out of the city and relax on a beach or discover a nice forest.
2-Minimize your belonging, there is nothing worst than having too much stuff to cary on from one airbnb to another or when you get out of the bus station. I usually bring my bike bag for the plane and leave it at a rider house, I then continue my journey with a soft bag for bus travel.
3-Make memories, we only live once. Make the most of the trip hangout with the locals, explore, do everything that you can and come back tired if thats the case but don’t waist a trip that’s pure pollution bro 🙂
Whilst on vacation, what else did you do besides riding?
I brought my computer to work but that didn’t happen as much as I wanted. I really explore each city and get to know my self around. I really love trying new food, so I spent a lot of my budget on restaurant and trying different snacks.
Nature and outdoors is taking a bigger place in my life everyday, I feel as a Flatland rider I was always in city and doing contest, but not getting the chance to see what local nature can bring to us “urban human”. I enjoyed reading books at the beach, climbing mountain and practicing my Spanish with the locals.
To finish this recap of my trip, what I want you guys to keep in mind is that yes Flatland is a big part of our life, but we also gotta build around it and choose some value and hobby that concord with our own personal nature beside the sport.
“Cheers and stay positive, explore, fail and succeed!”
Thanks Jean for your time, great to hear the travel story and give some background to this awesome edit!