Growing up in the Bronx I was turned
on to Freestyle at an early age. My parents bought me my first
bike (a Ross…curved frame tubing, monkey bars, banana seat…the
whole nine) for my seventh birthday. As soon as I got on that
bike, riding was just in me, something that felt too natural
to ever want to give up. Riding around the neighborhood for
a few years I happened upon some guys doing some crazy shit
at the time - bunnyhop 360s, curb endos, and of course, the
wheelie. Those guys were my first inspiration.
I rode flatland at first, like everyone else in those days.
I had a lot of fun, and it was a super-creative outlet; I could
think of trick possibilities, go outside and try stuff for hours
without the trepidation of breaking myself off too badly. I
always kept with it because I could do it anywhere, on the corner
or wherever. Even in the living room when my parents weren't
I entered my first contest in 1985, the AFA (American Freestyle
Association) Masters Series Finals in Manchester, New Hampshire.
I didn't do very well; I don't think I pulled one trick. The
one disadvantage I've always had was I got incredibly nervous
at contests. I still do. When I did manage to put it together,
I would do well.
The first time I ever won money competing was at a local contest
in the Bronx in 1986. I was on that day, and even though my
front brakes broke off during my run, I still managed to beat
everybody including the local hotshot crew, The Rad Dogs, and
claim the $25 first place prize. I still have to laugh today
when the old school riders remind me of the day I beat The Rad
Dogs on their home turf and didn't even have the benefit of
As I became older and more daring I'd go jump curbs and small
hand built wooden jumps. Dirt
jumps were fun too, my favorites at the time being the Baja
jumps in Van Cortlandt Park, still around to this day. Even
though I've always had a blast jumping,
for some reason, I always wanted to be a quarterpipe rider.
I wasn't very good though. Always scared of the height and every
time I'd ride one I would usually end up on my shoulder from
going over the bars after hanging up. Plus, I'd never be able
to get much practice on one. There weren't many in the Bronx
at the time, and whenever one would spring up it would eventually
get torn down, or vandalized (sometimes even stolen) a few days
later. So I happily stuck to flatland for the first ten years,
which I always had more control over and was better at anyway.
Jump to 1990. Around that time I found out about Mullaly
Park in the South Bronx. I had moved to California by then
and been there for a year but decided it was now time to come
back home. This new skatepark had opened up and it was a perfect
opportunity for me to ride vert as much as I wanted. They had
a brand new halfpipe that was built by the NYC Parks Department
and some local contractors and this thing was solid! It wasn't
going anywhere. So I moved back home in 1991 and that was the
first time I'd rode a modern day vert halfpipe, learning the
basics like rolling in, controlled airs over coping, disasters
and sprocket stalls.
I rode at Mullaly for a couple years until (surprise!) one Fourth
of July some locals decided to set fire to the vert ramp - again.
A few years before the same dastardly thing had happened but
vert riding was important then and the staff of the park along
with the local riders re-built the ramp. This time though I
had no such luck, mini-ramp riding was the new rage and everyone
decided to cut the ramp down to seven feet and fix the damage
from there. No more vert riding for me. From that point I pretty
much didn't ride vert for more than four years until, after
moving to Virginia, I discovered a ramp that was close enough
to start messing
around every once in a while. I'd ride that once, maybe
twice a month but wouldn't be able to really start hitting vert
regularly until I moved to Richmond
permanently in 1998.
When I was living in Richmond, Virginia in 1999, ESPN held a
contest there and I had an epiphany. I went to the comp and
was amazed. I saw old friends and made many new ones. I rediscovered
how much I missed riding, missed being around the people and
most importantly, the lifestyle. I said to myself, "This is
what I want to do again." I hadn't entered a competition in
probably close to five years, was not riding flatland much anymore,
vert was my focus, yet had never ever competed on a vert ramp.
That's when I decided to devote my time to becoming serious
again about what I wanted to do with my life and that was to
not waste my time doing anything else but what I loved doing.
After that, things were never the same. It was on now! After
being unsuccessful in 1999 (I tried to turn pro twice that year,
but ended up breaking bones before both contests…that contest
nervousness again) I finally entered my first pro vert contest
in 2000. I left Virginia and made the move to riding full-time
in 2001. Today I compete and do demos and shows as a Professional
Rider. I've learned things on my bike that I'd only dreamed
I'd ever be able to do. I travel many weeks out of the year,
meet new people, get to ride great ramps and ride with amazing
I also try to stay active within the sport besides riding. I
freelance for ESPN and other media.
Along with other riders, I'm involved in creating a professional
riders organization, FBMXPRO. When I have time I judge events,
both professional and amateur, as well as work with younger
riders to help develop their riding talent or professional careers.
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Seal, Machine Head…Vivaldi
|Riders Who've Influenced Me:
||Mike Dominguez, Josh White, Jamie
Bestwick, Kevin Jones
NYC is great as a place to ride during the warm months. There's plenty
of street spots, good ramp parks to go to and plenty of people to
ride with. I like the fact that I have a place like Mullaly Park to
go to that's close to home. I'm comfortable with the ramps and familiar
with the neighborhood and locals. The downside about riding in New
York City is that there is still not one indoor place to ride your
bike. You would think a city as large as this would have caught on
by now. But reality is, as it's always been, if you want to ride indoors
in the winter, you're going to have to drive at least and hour and
a half each way. As my chosen profession, it's very difficult because
I need to ride as often as possible to be competitive. If I want a
vert ramp to ride when it's cold or inclement, I have to go to Woodward
Camp, four hours away. I'm fortunate enough that I have the opportunity
to go there pretty much whenever I want and they support me.
FIRST AND FOREMOST, I want to thank my Mom and Dad
for buying me my first bike and supporting me in only a way that
loving parents can. I'm forever indebted and I would not be where
I am today without their help. Also, my brother, Howie, for
his inspiration and support.
MY SPONSORS (past and present): Dave and everyone at Zoo
York; Dan, Chip, Tom, Ann, and everyone past and present at
W Helmets; Naoto, El Marko, and E-Dogg at Diatech Brakes;
Dave and Randy at Tioga;
Eddie (and thanks too Collin!) at 661; Bruce and everyone
at ATi Grips; Collin at AXO; Gary, Ed, Sharon, Steve and
everyone at Woodward
Camp for their years of support.
All of U.N.D.: Louie, Rob, Casio, Joe Buff…no matter who moves away
and comes back, the Bronx will always be here; Rob Coyne, and Thaniya
and Jevaun for their priceless support for building this website and
helping take me to the next level; Liam McDermott, Chris Hallman,
Chris Carlance, and everyone else for their photo contributions; Jamie,
Tom, Kevin, Axel, Alistair, Johnny Rocker, Chad, Chris C., Kim, Erica,
Hallman, and everyone living at Woodward for all their help and for
being a friend.
This list could go on and on. I know I've left people out but anyone
that I may have not included or forgotten who has helped me out in
the past…you know who you are and you rule!