Starting From Flatland...

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 home.

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 front brakes.

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.

...To Vert

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.

Today...

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 riders.

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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Name: Danny Parks
Birth Date: 1/26/70
Birth Place: NY, NY
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 195 lbs.
Home: Bronx, NY
Riding Since: 1980
Click On The Logos To Visit My Sponsors:
Other Hobbies/Interests: Basketball, Motorcycles, Fast Cars
Music: Cocteau Twins, Pantera, Lush, Seal, Machine Head…Vivaldi
Riders Who've Influenced Me: Mike Dominguez, Josh White, Jamie Bestwick, Kevin Jones



Riding In New York City:

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.




Thank Yous:

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!