A podcast covering all things BMX related, photography, art, design, space, nutrition, & many other topics hosted by Kip Williamson & co-host Chip Riggs.
Episode 43 - Chad Johnston
Back in the early to mid-80s, BMX freestyle was still somewhat of a new thing. Companies were in a race to invent and create components that could turn the average BMX bike into a full-blown freestyle bike.
In a short period of time in addition to standing platforms built into frames, forks, and handlebars, a number of components that were more on the side of gimmicks and gadgets were released into the BMX scene for consumption.
Almost every company came out with an odd invention or two or at least a variation of something already being done. Flip-up fork standers, frame stands, screw-on pegs, flip-up pegs, frame extenders, bar extenders, Buff guards which protected your foot from the backside of the fork, seats where you clicked a button, and the nose of the seat extended, brake guards, locking brake levers, and the Potts mod, which allowed you to run the front brake cable through the center of the stem bolt, and into your fork.
Within a few years, the sport of BMX freestyle went through several extreme changes, including the difficulty of tricks, the quality, and design of the bikes, and the disappearance of almost all of the unimportant and mostly unnecessary gimmicky components.
Enter veteran flatland rider Chad Johnston. Chad's always pushed the bounds of reality and progression with his riding. It's hard to believe that someone who rode during the 80s would currently be brakeless and pegless as a flatland rider. That's exactly what Chad has done for the past going on 14 years. Removing your brakes and pegs certainly doesn't make things easier, but Chad enjoys the challenge with his less is more approach and has put out several video parts to further prove his skill level and creativity.
We caught up with Chad and talked about how he got into BMX, the first time he saw flatland up close and personal, being featured in the BMX Plus 101 Freestyle Tricks Part 2 video, how the inTRIKat name came about, making some of the most iconic flatland videos of all time, taking off his pegs in 2007, he and his wife Amy starring in a music video, his signature S&M frame, bars, and stem... his relationship with Chris Moeller, approaching age 50, and what he's doing now...
So get comfortable, crank up your speakers, and get to know the man behind the inTRIKat plan... Chad Johnston!
Episode 42 - Simon Tabron
Back in the mid-80s, there was one trick that was considered crazier than all the rest, and that trick was the 900... Mike Dominguez, Brian Blyther, Dave Voelker, and many other talented riders came close but to no avail... and then... in 1989 at a 2 Hip King Of Vert Contest in Canada... a young Mat Hoffman pulled off the unthinkable, which sent shockwaves through the BMX industry. Again it was proof that a once thought to be impossible trick could be accomplished.
Up next and closely behind to complete the 2 1/2 rotation aerial were Dennis McCoy and Jay Miron... As flips and flairs became the new trend in the early 90s, spinning 900s became mostly an afterthought for years to come, simply because of the risk of serious injury.
BMX freestyle had become almost as big in the UK in the 80s, as it was in the United States... oddly enough, the ramp scene exploded with some amazing talent, and very quickly some of the best vert riders were no longer just from the US.
Along came the eventual master of the 900 from Liverpool UK, Simon Tabron. Simon pulled his first-ever 900 at the World Championships back in 1991 in Aalborg Denmark. Unlike the majority of vert riders, Simon was drawn to the trick and seemingly gave it a try, at or near the end of almost every one of his contest runs at X Games, Dew Tours, and other major contests around the globe.
Simon was somehow able to make this monumental and dangerous trick which claimed so many injuries, consistent... but not without eventual consequence. In fact, Simon quite possibly has dealt with more pain and injuries from the 900 gone wrong, than any other rider.
Even though Simon wasn't the first rider to pull it off, his name is certainly synonymous with the 900.
We caught up with Simon and asked him about the early UK BMX scene, his relationship with fellow vert rider Scott Carrol, his first time competing against Jamie Bestwick, the impact Mat Hoffman had on his life, what classic vert trick he still wants to learn, pulling 900s consistently, riding with some of skateboard vert's biggest legends, being one of the top BMX vert competitors for over 20 years, his reason for taking off his pegs and brakes, serious injuries with the 900, and does he see himself competing in BMX vert in the future.
So get comfortable, crank up your speakers, and get to know UK BMX vert legend... master of the 900... Simon Tabron.
Episode 41 - Dizz Hicks
When I think of mid 80s BMX and heavy metal, one rider comes to mind and that's Dizz Hicks! His style was symbolic of the era... He rode it all, flatland, quarter pipe, and short ramp aka a wedge ramp. Dizz is one of the most well known and electrifying riders to ever touch a BMX bike.
While Dizz created the first ever upside down flatland tricks which were way ahead of their time and could bust a respectable 7-8 feet on the quarter pipe consistently, he became most known for riding the short ramp. During the summers of 1985 through 1987, Dizz traveled with his sponsor CW Bikes and hit up bike shops across the country rocking his heavy metal style, extreme raditude, high speed flatland tricks, and super tweaked kick turn variations.
In fact, the CW shows were probably the only BMX shows where the audience piled up behind the short ramp, so they could get a closer look. During his time on summer tour, he'd spend no less than 10 minutes per show riding a ramp, that most others struggled to ride at all. BMX fans loved to watch Dizz and they couldn't get enough! He extended tricks and stretched his body beyond belief and gave photographers plenty of time to snap some of the coolest pictures in BMX history.
We caught up with Dizz via Skype and asked him about his early BMX career, the first time he saw freestyle, building his first wedge ramp, riding for the Gork Trick Team, his heavy metal persona, creating upside down flatland tricks, riding and partying on the CW summer tours, vanishing from the sport, dealing with addiction, getting back on his BMX bike in 2009 for an art show, getting inducted into the BMX Hall Of Fame, and what he's doing now.
The fact is, there's never been another rider like Dizz in BMX.... and there probably never will be! So get comfortable, crank up your speakers, and get to know the man, the myth, the BMX legend, King of the short ramp... Dizz Hicks!
Episode 40 - Rob Nolli
Rob Nolli has been one of the biggest names in BMX freestyle for well over 25 years. He's one of the best all-around BMX freestyle riders to ever do it winning flatland, dirt, and park contests as well as finishing in the top ten at several major vert contests. There was a time when Rob was a threat to win any contest he entered regardless of who the other riders were. Rob was a top competitor in comps like the X Games, ESPN X Trials and B3 events, the NBC Sports Gravity Games, and Dew Tour for years, while simultaneously being one of the busiest show riders in the sport. Working for GT Bicycles Rob performed thousands of demos including NBA and NFL halftime shows, fairs, and bike shops in all 50 states AND around the globe.
I was lucky enough to announce a ton of shows with Rob throughout the years and he always put forth a solid effort every time he was on his bike, leaving the crowd wanting more. Now in his mid-40s... Rob owns his own BMX show company called the BMX TRICKSTARS and makes a living putting on demos at schools and special events.
When it comes to BMX, Rob is one of the busiest people I know but we were lucky enough to catch up with him at the Master Blaster Planet studios and ask him about growing up in Vermont, the first trick he got known for, working at Disney World, riding for GT Bicycles, overcoming his biggest obstacle to put on a show, winning the bronze medal at the 96 X Games, starting his own show team, current tricks he did 20 years ago, and his recent health scare that kept him off his bike for the last 6 months.
So get comfortable, crank up your speakers, and get to know a FL BMX legend we've come to know, as "Super Rob"... Rob Nolli.
Episode 39 - Catfish
Catfish... aka Zack Yankush... One of the most controversial people in the history of BMX. He's a jack of all trades and a master of many. He's announced major contests like the X Games and Dew Tour, done demos for Nitro Circus, had a tv show called Strangers In Danger, and co-hosted The Come Up podcast... he's been an announcer at nearly every single major BMX event in recent years, and he continues to announce contests around the globe.
Zach started riding in 1985 and has a deep history in BMX freestyle. He's super passionate about BMX, and always has something on his mind to talk about when it comes to the behind the scenes aspect of the sport. Over the past several years he's become known more for his opinions off his bike, than on it. Zack isn't afraid to call out anyone or anything if he doesn't agree with something.
We caught up with Zack and asked him if he looked at himself as a controversial symbol in BMX, his roots in the Ohio scene, how he got started announcing BMX events, the craziest thing he's ever seen while announcing a major contest, the time he pulled a triple decade in a show, working for DK Bikes, announcing the Bikes Over Baghdad tour, and being a co-host on the tv show, Strangers In Danger.
We also covered a few controversial topics which have been on Zach's radar recently and gave him a chance to explain his side.
So get comfortable, crank up your speakers, and get to know one of the biggest voices in BMX... It's Catfish... Zack Yankush
Episode 38 - Chad Kagy
When I think of the X Games and BMX legends, it doesn't take long to get to the name Chad Kagy. Chad was a force in BMX Park, Dirt, Vert, and Big Air and always a threat to win any contest he entered. He was also a rider you looked forward to watching because you never knew if he'd pull something out of his bag of tricks that nobody had ever seen before.
Chad grew up in Northern California which had always been a hotbed for BMX talent. Seemingly every generation of Freestyle has seen a high level of riding come out of that part of the United States. From back in the early 80s with one of BMX freestyle's first crazy guys Hugo Gonzalez, to the Curb Dogs with Dave Vanderspek and Maurice Meyer, followed by Mike Kranaich, and flatland legend Pete Brandt.
The 90s were no different... In addition to Kagy were Norcal shredders like Ryan Nyquist, Cameron Birdwell, and Joey Garcia who burst onto the scene pushing each other's skills while taking major contests by storm, at a time when the X Games and BMX on tv were exploding!
As Chad got older his focus shifted predominately to BMX Vert and Big Air, pushing both events to new levels of craziness, while stocking up on even more X Games medals including a gold in BMX Vert, and 3 gold medals in BMX Big Air. Chad went on to become one of the biggest names in X Games history winning a total of 15 X Games medals. Eventually, a number of serious injuries would take their toll on Chad's body long term... with marriage and eventually having a kid, he decided it was time to call an end to his competition career.
We hit up Chad via Skype and got the lowdown on how he started riding BMX, the NorCal scene and some of its history, winning the Bronze medal at X Games for BMX Park back in 99, how he made the decision to ride vert, moving to Woodward to train with the best riders in the world, blasting the 27 foot tall Big Air quarterpipe, his relationship with Kevin Robinson, being a part of Nitro Circus, doing the Bikes Over Baghdad Tour, and the injuries that brought an end to his X Games career.
So get comfortable, crank up your speakers, and get to know a true X Games BMX legend... Chad Kagy.