Mike's journey, Part three.
First of all, I would like to apologize. I wanted to finish the interview a long time ago. However, Covid had brought lots of changes & I did not have the time.
I hope 2021 will bring us back to reality. Enjoy the last part of the interview & happy holidays!
In the last part, Mike shared his feelings on Bmx, his vision of the accident he had, his view on the IG generation & more. If you haven't read that part yet, go check it out & come back.
Bmx is changing but is not dead. It's bigger than ever before, transgender people are riding, women are ridding and pushing the scene a lot.
The culture is growing a lot!
It is great to see all the culture involved! Back in the day, it used to be just Nina and just a few others. Now there's a huge scene, I hope that keeps growing.
When I had my back injury, I avoided Bmx because I thought I wouldn't be able to ride again & it was just too painful. When I finally came back, what surprised me the most was how the women's scene had grown. That made me happy.
I feel you, I also thought I wouldn't ride my bike ever again. I am really hyped to see what's next. They are improving really fast & some of the tricks they're doing are crazy!
Personally, my favorite rider is Teresa Williams, I don't know if you know her?
No, I don't know her but would be nice if you can show me some of her ridding.
I will. From my point of view, she's like you. She's pushing the game ridding high and stylish.
That's amazing. I have seen some girls ridding & I was like: ''Holy f#ck'', there's a girl from Russia. I cannot remember her name but any time I see a new clip I'm like: ''What the f#ck", it's really cool.
Teresa is from Spain, she isn't as crazy with tricks as some other women but she's ridding always higher and more stylish than anyone else.
Tricks don't matter. It's all about the feeling. You & your bike, you go high, you land with your front wheel first and the back wheels follow, you lean back on the next jump. It's all about that flow, about that feeling.
I'm with you there! She's ridding that way & in the women's game, I think she can have a huge impact as you did. Some women pushing the game with tricks & she's all about ridding clean & with style. I love that.
That's what a lot of people look over to, that itself is just another game. All the movements, all the style. That takes another kind of talent. It has nothing to do with the trick style of ridding. Totally different and equally as impressive.
That's why I disagree when people say "Bmx dead or dying." It has changed but that was always the case. in the '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s, or now. Bmx was always changing & evolving. What could be happening is that the people saying that are nostalgic of times when they were more involved in Bmx. Is not Bmx itself dying but, the Bmx they got to live.
What I have noticed the most, I mean, I didn't pay attention for a long time because it hurt me a lot. What I've noticed the most now is that there are not as many people riding everything as it used to be. For me, it was always about having fun on a bike so, the people I traveled with or the people at home and myself, we would have ridden anything in front of us because we just wanted to have fun, to keep that smile on our faces. So, to me not doing that is just strange.
That brings me to another something else. Bmx has got so big that now there are let's say small sub-cultures within the bmx-culture. When I started riding, we were not so many so, any new rider you'd bump into was automatically your friend. You already that something huge in common. Now that's not the case, I was living in Bcn for a long time & nowadays lots of riders would just ignore each other.
(Mike laughs) That was the same for me at the beginning. It would have been so thrilled to get to know new bmxers. I don't like that vibe, that's not real Bmx for me. Look, I started skateboarding first, I was almost the only one skateboarding in my elementary school and maybe 3 or 4 would skate at lunchtime. Then Bmx became kinda the same thing in Utah, the race scene was growing but just a hand full of us would ride trails so any time I saw another kid that rode Bmx I would be like "wooow dude" & we would become instantly some sort of friends. I am still that way, anytime I see someone on a Bmx I'm like "what's up dude?" I'm talkative & friendly. When I see anybody ignore someone else, I have the feeling that they aren't real bmxers. (Mike laughs)
Exactly! That's why I don't understand a lot of the IG generation. I feel more bad vibes & some people wouldn't even talk to you if they don't consider you as "cool." Before I broke my back, I would have ridden anything with anyone because I just wanted to have fun. Now, I still do that but really often I bump into people that don't see it the same way and I have to say that nowadays I spend even more time with the trails community because the people there stick to what Bmx represents to me. If you travel today anywhere in the world and you see anyone with a trail set up on their bike, I would just go and talk to that person. It is like when I first started riding Bmx. I don't have the feeling with the rest now.
Yes! I love trails man. My roots are kinda racing and when that became too serious the trails scene was everything to me. Just having fun & doing whatever you wanted. Then our trails got crushed & and an indoor-park was built so, we started ridding there, then more & more cement parks were built. To us, the transition to riding everything happened naturally. It's all about having fun. Anyway, I never wanted to mess around with vert-ramps because you case once & you're f#cked (Mike laughs)
That's the point, is all about having fun so, why Bmx nowadays is so serious? I mean, If you can live out of Bmx, fair enough. But if not, which is the case for most people, we are just riding kids bikes! remember to have fun!
It's all different from person to person. I know that a lot of people or well, I would say some people take themselves kinda seriously & that's okay. You can live the way you want but that's not the way I want to live my life, I want to have fun, smile, laugh & love, you know? I pretty much don't take anything seriously. I choose to laugh & joke around & stuff like that. Life's hard enough, you know what I mean?
Definitely! I try to laugh as much as possible.
Me too, that's what life is about. Enjoying, filling happy, and so on.
I don't want to say that being serious about ridding & trying to live from it is bad but, maybe you could do that while having more fun. I think it all changed when the money from big corporations started to be around. Then lots of riders started to get more serious because of it.
Hmm, I am only speaking from my perspective the scene changed. People changed. When I won the Dew Tour, the riders that were competing with me also wanted to have fun on a bike but, there was a lot of money involved so, they got really serious as soon as they got to the roll-in.
To me, that was not my scene. A lot of them would be head down on their hands, thinking about their runs and sometimes not even smiling so, I felt like f#ck this! So, I dropped in, rode & on the way back I was always playing with the fans & giving them 5 and so on. I was like, this isn't real so let's have fun! (Mike laughs)
Yeah! That's what I mean! You can have fun while riding at a high level. That's why I love the trail scene. Normally, we don't even have contest. We have jams, we laugh, get wasted, & push each other to ride better & not the other way around.
I love that dude. Riding & having barbecues & stuff, that's the best to me. I mean, contest back in the day, when I first started going was like that. There wasn't a lot of money involved. If you won, you could get 200 dollars & to me, I was like, "Yoo that dude is rich!" I felt like I was never going to do that anyway. I mean winning or make finals. So, me & my friends would just have a good time. We would just do trains & stuff. Then Mountain Dew, Vans, & big companies started to get involved & I was like, f#ck that dude! Let's have fun.
I understand that your sponsors want you to make finals so they would be named there and so on. Coming back to the IG topic. That's the good thing about that platform. If you have enough clips, even if you're injured you can keep on posting & and be present. So, your sponsors can be happy anyway.
I used to hate IG. I was off for two years then a friend told me, do it as you want to, make it fun & that's what it did. I did my way, started to have fun & connecting with nice people like yourself. Talk, put a smile on someone else's face that's somewhere across the world & hopefully brightens someone's day. I try to look at it that way & since then it became so more enjoyable. I used to look at it like something that would drag me. In the beginning, I had to do it because of my sponsors & that was okay to me but, when I didn't have to, the little punk-rocker kid inside said: "You cannot make me do this anymore." (both laughing)
I didn't have IG for a really long time. Then while traveling I decided to have one because is a really good told to connect with people but, it can also drag you so, you gotta be careful.
Yeah, exactly! The good thing about it too is that you can make the world really small & be in touch with all your friends around the world, see what they are doing and so on. The cool thing we did, is that we had a Square One Insta whatever story. Bennett linked like 5 of us, we were life & people could interact with us. we just had fun. That was cool.
For me was always about love & trying to share good vibes. There are enough bad things in the world today so, I think we have to try to unite us with the little things that make us happy.
Sure thing! In the end, we grow up, we have bigger responsibilities & so on but deep down, we still just little kids trying to have fun & to be loved.
Yeah, In the end, is not about stuff but what you've learned & what you give, how you can help others & things like that. If you can help others with things like teaching someone how to ride a bike & sharing your emotions that's good because that's kinda helping people grow. We are here to learn & have joy.
I cannot agree more with that! wise words.
Well, Mike. To finish I have a couple of quick questions that some friends sent me. The first one is: Can you tell us three songs to keep you hyped while ridding?
Hmm, Lately I've been listening to a lot of the music I used to listen to when I was riding my bike to the trails from my school. I really like punk-rock bands like the Swinging' Utters but, being honest, any type of good music gets me stocked. I really like Bob Dylan, the old Elvies, ACDC, just good music, you know?
I love your answer because I think that music is like feelings. Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down & you can always find good music to go with your emotions.
Yeah dude! I sometimes listen to classical music & the face of my son is always like "what the f#ck are you listening to?", I told him that he'll grow up to & then he'll understand. Music can drive your emotions, make them stronger or weaker & that's cool.
The next one is quite quick. Gobbo a friend from Canada says hi!
(Mike laughs) Hi Gobbo, I hope you're doing well.
Then my friend Beto asked: Mike, do you eat cereals for breakfast? If yes, do you like them soft or crunchy?
(Mike laughs) Well, I like to eat them crunchy. But I would eat them either way, I'm trying not to waste any food. This morning I had oat cereals if he wants to know. (Mike laughs)
The next one is a real question. What means the trail scene to Bmx?
Wow, that's a good one. Trail riding is like the natural evolution of racing which was the origins of Bmx so, I would say that trail riding is a little bit like... Hell, not a little bit, it's a lot like the soul of Bmx. Is keeping the origins alive. So that being said that means a lot to Bmx. It is the heart & soul of Bmx.
Is there a trick that you loved but you felt you couldn't do it properly?
Not really, when I loved a trick like tabletops or lookdowns. I had to do them over & over again because they were really fun so they got to the point where I was happy about myself. If I have to say anything, I would say tailwhips. I didn't love to do them but I did them because it was pretty fun even though I always felt like I sucked at it. I never chose a lot of tricks to do, I just did the ones I loved & did them to my liking.
The last question is from my friend Howard, you have to imagine a British accent with it: Mister Aitken Sir, does pineapple belongs to pizza Sir? (both laughing)
Pineapple on a pizza? A lot of people don't like pineapple on pizza & they think it don't belong on pizza but... let me think of a good analogy. I'm trying to think of one on a bike really quick. Does a freecoaster belong on a bike?
To me not pedaling backward is cheating. Anyway, I have to say that there are people doing really good stuff with freecoasters nowadays. It just depends on what you like. Do you like freecoasters? Use one. You don't like pineapple on a pizza? Pick it off.
There's a guy from New York that owns a pizza place here. He's always like: "You have to fold the pizza like this!" kinda like a taco, "if you want pineapple on your pizza, then get out of here", "if you're from Boston, then you're are crack-head" & I always think: "Dude chill, why so negative? this is America & if I want pineapple on my pizza, I'll get pineapple on my pizza" (Mike laugh)
Do you like pizza? then do whatever you want, just enjoy your life & if you don't like pineapple pull that shit off (Mike laughs) is that simple!
I love that answer, Mike! Well, that was it. would you like to add something?
I would you say to people try to not take life so seriously, keep on smiling & don't even worry about that! Go enjoy your life & all it'll happen naturally & thanks for having me. It was really fun to talk to you.