Coming from Berlin, it was a no-brainer that I wanted to show the sweet dirt jumping spots that haven't been in the spotlight yet. Berlin is big and we have many spots! What sometimes amazes me is that often good riders haven't seen the other spot that is just 40 minutes away. I guess people these days just spend too much time on social media instead of taking small road trips with bike buddies. It's about having fun riding your bike with your buddies. This is exactly what I wanted to show with this video from the Propain Team. Speaking of spotlight… it seems that the bike industry has forgotten about dirt jumpers a bit, so that also motivated us to do a trails video.
But... maybe I should do a double flip on my 40th birthday? The double flip I didn't make back in New World Disorder 4 in 2003… Seriously, there is a strong fighter side in me that really would do it, but my "being a father" and Yoga side is thankfully stronger now!
Around 2004 I was on a trails trip on the east coast with Aaron Chase, Kyle Ebett, Adam Hauck, Jeff Lenowsky, Aaron Lutze plus more, and it was an eye opener to see those amazing spots. I knew them from BMX videos and mags—some of those spots are 20 years old!
BMX legend, Fuzzy Hall, once said to me on the subject of trails/dirt jumps:
It's so much work to have a good dirt spot!
I am lucky that I have a BMX background because in the beginning when I switched over to MTB (in 2000) the image from mountain biking was not the best. BMXers just had a shaved legs spandex image of MTB.
MTBers were sometimes messing up the trails with a full-suspension and big nobby tires in the wet, not digging or showing respect to the locals, but like it is for walkers and bikers in the mountains, there are big egos and people who don't get it on both sides. So just talk to the locals. See if they need help, often its just to show the good will and that's enough. Take your trash with you. Respect the work that went into those trails.
One friend in Berlin once said to me, those jumps mean a lot to him, he had spent 10 years slapping and building them, and there was a time where he was not feeling well personally so the trails fell apart as well. Now he always keeps them spot on.
Some kids that just show up at spots just don't get how much work it is to have a really good dirt spot. It's almost a way of meditation and therapy. You don't feel good, so you go out in the woods and dig some jumps and forget the negative thoughts—slap some anger out at the jumps.
Speaking of nature, did you know that your immune system is getting recharged and kept healthy for weeks when you go deep into a natural environment, breathing in all that healing oxygen? We need to take a break from the rush of our daily lives. It's so important. Switch that phone off! Health Benefits From Forests
• Boosts immune system
• Lowers blood pressure
• Reduces stress
• Improves mood
• Increases ability to focus, even in children with ADHD
• Accelerates recovery from surgery or illness
• Increases energy level
• Improves sleep
There is also a joke between trail builders; "why go to the gym when you can slap some dirt and get really buff." Buff BMX street riders were especially mocked if they did not help dig but went to the gym instead, even when the sun was shining. But you have to master the technique of using the shovel left and right handed, your back will need the balance.
I have to admit, to my shame I have never been a huge digger. Here I am typing about trail bosses & diggers, but not myself. I'm showing my respect for them!
Trails Boss: there is always a local that is totally ruling a set of jumps and
is a boss at building and keeping the spot clean and fun. Philip Baum is a Trail Boss
He has his own spot and to help understand how much energy he puts into it; the location is on a Moto X Track. In exchange for having this land and his spot there called "The Backyard", he spends 250 hours a season fixing the Moto X Race Track with a machine. That's some dedication right there. He is a pro working with wood and big excavators as well.
Some of My Own BMX Trails History
As a Racer
I loved finding new lines at the local race track in Berln, jumping it from all sides and building new things. I was always the kid that was good at jumping. I started doing shows with local BMX stars when I was 12. In 1989, when the Berlin wall "came down" we were booked to do many shows at car dealers because many East German's were happy to trade their Trabby for a western car.
In Berlin, we also had BMX spots that were a mix of trails and race tracks from early on. As far back as 1983!
In 1994 I was in Las Vegas
for one year, living as an exchange student with an American family (found through a BMX magazine where I asked for a family through a letter) and living my BMX dream, racing all over the states. It was during this time that I got to ride really technical, flowing dirt jump spots that I knew from the magazines.
For example the famous California spot “Sheep Hills“ (Ed: which recently flooded) and riding with my idols that I knew from the magazines—people like Brian Foster and Todd Lyons.
I was a buff racer
and pretty stiff! (I quit math in high school and had weight training and sport class every day instead. The American school system is pretty funny.)
Plus I did not ride the school bus, rather, I rode my BMX 10 miles a day.
It was a big eye opener. Actually Brian Foster
laughed at me and said he knew it when I cased a jump at Sheep Hills and I broke my frame. But he was so nice he took me to the S&M
( hardcore BMX Brand from California) Factory where I did get a Frame cheaper! Casing in front of my Idol… I took this as motivation to get better.
So after Sheep Hills and seeing Brian Foster with so much flow and style, I knew this is what I wanted to learn, and when I went back to Las Vegas with my friend TJ Lavin (who was just beginning his dirt jump career) it motivated me a lot to see TJ and what was possible on a bike. When I came back to Berlin I quit racing and started dirt jumping.
Check this trails building Video
. It shows the art of digging quite nicely.
There is quite a dirt jump trails scene out there, it's just that the industry doesn't really take notice too much. It's been like that for many, many years and it doesn't matter if the industry likes Enduro and E-bikes more. We're still out in the woods digging and riding trails.
Also check out canyoudigit
a web Page dedicated to Trails. I love that it will always be fun to watch a rider with bike control and style flow through the trails even when in more recent years video game tricks came into reality.
Many companies don't even have dirt jump bikes anymore as part of their program, but I see so many good dirt jumpers & freeriders out there going for their dream of being a pro rider! I also see their press books in my email inbox. I understand both sides, the company side and the one from the riders… so being a Team Manager isn't so easy sometimes, making both sides happy and not taking it personally when riders get treated as an "Excel budget row" that gets deleted.
It's not about the Money and there are far bigger things happening in the world than dirt jumpers & freeriders risking their bones. Boys, I hate to say it but there is something coming! You have to do your homework and treat your body well so it can heal and deal with all those crashes that are stored in your body! This is something you don't realize when you are in your early 20's. I know what I'm talking about here and I will be able to help soon with a yogaforbikers
Again, big props to all the trail builders out there.
Thanks to Viktor Strasse
for the pics and 20ZollMedia
for the Videos! So cool to work with friends and that are bikers as well!