Cole and Gilley go nuts on HELLTRACK (original photos: Shigeo).
Yes, yes, I realize that TransWorld SKATEboarding is a magazine about just that—skateboarding—but in an effort to brave the madness that is Skate & Create, the Fallen team took to one of their other past times, BMXing. Like true children raised on the movies Rad and BMX Bandits, they threw themselves with reckless abandon over the S&C obstacles—even holding an impromptu high hop contest (or whatever it’s called). Unfortunately, I can’t show you for the sake of Skate & Create secrecy (look for the October Skate & Create issue soon), so I put in some clips from the inspirationally hilarious movies Rad and BMX Bandits. And, I asked Chris Cole (part owner in the BMX company Cult), Fallen photographer Joey Shigeo and handyman Ben Gilley (he’s still Emerica flow, just helping out) about their life as part-time BMXers.
Did you watch Rad as a kid?
Yeah, I watched the shit out of Rad when I was a kid.
You guys were in the S&C warehouse and started getting heavily into the bikes. Who do you think was the best out of the crew?
Joey [Shigeo] surprised me. Joey’s good man. I don’t know. Ben Gilley got down. He did the reckless abandonment flip onto the stage.
He gapped up a jump to the stage and pretty much did a Rough Rider nosewheelie before bailing.
[Laughs] He went up it straight over the bars three times in a row to wrestling mat slam on the deck.
He actually bikes the same way he skates.
I think he does life in that manner.
So, as far as your involvement in bikes, are the rumors true or false?
They’re true. It’s all my homeboys who were starting a company called Cult. So, I was like, I’ll help out my dudes—get involved with my homeys and get behind what they’re doing. Whether it’s a skate shop [Reign] or a bike company, we all want to do the same thing and have a good time—do something that’s challenging and rewarding.
Who are the main dudes involved? You said Morales?
Yeah, Morales. The dudes that run the company are all homeys—Chase Hawk, Chase Dehart, Dakota Roche… It’s been around about three or four months. We just put out a video.
What’s the highest bunny hop you’ve seen? Do they have bunny hop contests like our high ollie contests?
Do you know how high it gets? Is it like chest high?
Yeah, it’s so f—ked. Those guys can go so high. We don’t understand, but some of the spots those dudes ride don’t compute as spots to us.
It seems like they have so many more options, because their tires can go wherever. Like, grass can be transition or something.
Yeah, some dudes are kind of elitist about that and think that landing on grass is kind of wack. But, I think landing on grass is sick, `cause if I could do it I’d be amped.
Well, you think about any of those skate parts where people ride into the grass on their ender or whatever and it’s pretty tight.
I know, right?
Have you seen the movie Rad?
I have, but I didn’t see it when I was a kid, though. I saw it a little bit later.
What’s your favorite part?
There are so many. It’s pretty rad when he was learning the backflip. I really liked the part where he’s riding away trying to escape from the cop, riding on logs. Then, there’s the whole dancing scene where they’re at a school dance and they dance on bikes—it’s like a freestyle scene. There’s a part in that scene where there’s a stunt double acting like the girl and it’s clearly a dude. He might even have a mustache. But, the hair’s so bad—it looks like it’s brown felt or something. On “Hell Track,” there’s that Kixx bowl and he does a 360 out of it or something.
[Laughs] It’s funny, because that movie’s like BMXing’s Gleaming the Cube. But, we don’t bike, so it’s really not as offensive to us.
It’s just kind of funny.
When did you start dirtbiking?
I’m from the Inland Empire—the I.E—so all that stuff’s in my blood. We did it all.
You bike on dirt mounds before you even learn to walk, right?
Pretty much. I grew up doing all that stuff and know how do a little bit of everything, but excel at nothing [laughs]. The older I get, the more my I.E. roots come back. Like, I have this overwhelming urge to raise my truck [laughs]. I fully bought a dirt bike a few years ago—like mid-life crisis.
What’s the gnarliest thing you’ve done on a dirtbike?
I jumped this gap back in my college days, over this ravine thing. It was a straight bunny hop.
I asked Cole about the bunny hop contests and he said they had them.
Yeah, did you see the one at Skate & Create?
Jamie [Thomas] was killing it. They were doing it over boards. Jamie’s got BMX roots for sure. Tommy [Sandoval] cleared a lot too. They were battling it out. They have footage of it, I think. Tommy used to ride bikes. He has a steel plate in his face where he faceplanted. He broke his face on a BMX bike back in the day.
It’s crazy how many of you got into BMXing.
Well, it started with Lindsay [Robertson] getting bikes he was into as a kid. He found this 1990’s Auburn off Ebay. Then from there they all got hooked up by FitBikeCo. Now they all have Robbie Morales’ bike.
Yeah, Cole’s fully backing their company, right?
Yeah, it’s crazy just talking to those guys, `cause they really respect everything in skating and they see what people like Jamie did back in the day with Tum Yeto, like leaving and starting their own companies, and they’re doing that.
Gilley was cracking me up, too.
There’s just a photo of him flying through the air. Have you talked to Gilley yet?
You gotta talk to him. He used to have a BMX posse back in Alabama. He used to skate with the BMXers.
I heard you used to roll with a BMX crew.
Pretty much, yeah.
So, when you were back out in Alabama, that’s how you got your shit done?
Yeah, my friend opened a skate shop and I pretty much ran it from the skatepark. After a while, nothing really changes at the park, so the skaters stop coming and the bikers come. When the skaters left, the bikers weren’t hated out of the park, so it was just me and them. I started rolling with them and then they put together a bike for me. I would ride it at the park sometimes. I used to ride them as a kid.
Did you ever see Rad then?
The movie Rad? I lived on it. Before that, did you see BMX Bandits?
Yeah, I remember that one. Wasn’t Nicole Kidman in it?
Yeah, I had those two movies growing up.
Shigeo was saying the long rail you did at the end of your part in Reason to Believe was originally a BMX rail.
Yeah, it was in Austin, Texas. I remember I went out to Austin, because I would go out there a lot to skate, and we were at my friend Adam Young’s house. And, there was this guy there and I was like, I knew I knew this guy. I was asking him if I knew him, but he was like, “No, no.” All of a sudden, I was like, “You were in Road Fools 1” and he was like, “How do you know that?” We went to the bar that night and it ended up being me, him and Michael Sieben. So, the guy got me a copy of Road Fools 1 and 2 and this guy named Taj grinds this kink rail and so I asked where it was. Then, those dudes in Austin showed me. I used to go there a lot and skate with the bikers—there were no vibes or anything. I don’t know why these different groups hate each other anyway.
Have you ever done anything that’s just way outside your abilities?
I backflipped into a foam pit. I wanted to do it on the resi thing, without the pit, but I was thinking, “Man, if I mess up and break my leg or my ankle, I’m gonna feel like an asshole.” I guess I ride a bike the same way I skate [laughs].
For more on BMXing (`cause I pretty much know nothing except for what I’ve learned from Rad), go here—these guys seem to know what’s up.