San Francisco Trip: Day 2

Yesterday, Tuesday 14th was my first full day in San Francisco. Once I had my bike built up I made the 40 min journey by BART to the Clocktower to meet Pete for a session. Pete works literally down the road from the CT, so regularly starts work early so he has the afternoon to ride.

I got off at the Embarcadero stop on BART, the Clocktower for all of you that haven’t been there is literally a 2 minute pedal if that to the riding spot. I met Pete at the spot who was already way into his session as I arrived at 1pm. The sun was shining, a little windy but hey it’s January. I was glad to be outside riding in a t-shirt, as I hear news that its blowing a storm at home. It made me feel even more grateful to be out here in SF riding with my child hood hero, some things in life you just cant script.

One of the things that stood out in my mind, was Pete saying no day is the same at the CT. Today we had some busker playing metal all day, as our soundtrack. Well mine, as Pete has headphones. And hardly any skaters the whole time we were riding, maybe 5-6. I met a skater from Berlin who was in town filming for a new part, then heading straight to Barcelona. Yesterday had totally different dudes from Monday, Pete said this is completely normal down there.

We rode for a good 4 hours back and forth sharing the spot, super motivating session. About three hours in Pete started talking about a new hitch he wanted to do. Straight bar steamroller step to the tyre bar flip to pedal steam, I started to relearn teakettle pivot to halfhiker in order to do something new with it, after I landed mine. You could tell Pete was not leaving till he got it, but unlike mine. Pete was throwing a line into the new switch, after about an hour he landed it! Today we both pushing the concepts further, where I for the most part ride on my own it was super cool to share the drive with Pete to get what we wanted and actually watch it get done!

After the session, I wanted to grab a tea at Starbucks across the road. Yes I know, I am so English! We reflected on the session, music, spots in SF, and started talking about Wednesday’s session already. When we headed back to the CT, there had to be over 20 skaters at the spot and again all different people from the day before. I asked Pete, how many skaters would you say live in SF? “Has to be around a 1000 skaters!”… Can you imagine going somewhere and asking the same question about flatland, that would be crazy to say, yeah there’s around 1000 flatlanders. We headed back to the house to meet Pete’s wife, Karissa and the kids. The first full day was a belter, more of the same today!

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