I remember a few years back when I first heard of Dan. It was on bikeguide, from a video he posted. The kid was riding Ben Hittle’s ramp and was just sick. As time went on he developed into this even more amazing rider and apparently it has started paying off. Check out what Dan has to say.
Photo: Andrew Dubicki
Greenville, NC/Annapolis, MD
Simple, Avalon Bike Shop, Team Jeff Dupaul
Started off racing about 10 years ago and then got into freestyle I guess you could say about 6 years ago.
What was it that originally got you into BMX?
I learned to ride a bike at a pretty late age of 7, but then once I did, I couldn’t stop riding. I would go ride around everyday and would jump off little bumps everywhere. It just sort of evolved from there. Also started racing and that helped out a lot.
How are things going with Simple these days? Anything big going on you are excited about like trips, videos, or some new products you can tell us about?
Things are going really well. Just went overseas this past summer and met Niels Thanild and a lot of the team and I am really happy to be a part of it. There’s not too much going on right now, but they just released 3 new frames that are all really nice. Go to sidewalldistro.com and scroll down a little bit to check those out.
Maybe it is just me but it seems like it has been a little while since you have put out a web video. Are you working on anything that people can expect to see these days?
I made a little skatepark edit a few weeks ago. As for other videos, I’ll probably make another edit sometime soon and also a random sort of video with a bunch of different people in it. I’m also filming some clips for an upcoming Team Jeff Dupaul web video, which should be done in several months.
Have you been doing much traveling lately? I know you said you were in Denmark recently?
Over the past several months I’ve traveled a good bit. Did some travel around the east coast going to Connecticut, Ohio, Philly, Woodward, and New York which was really fun. Then I went to Denmark for 3 weeks at the end of June for Simple and it was amazing. Got to just hang out and ride the whole time with a bunch of awesome people and experience being in a new and different place. Thanks again Niels!
Do you have any big trips planned or places you would like to go anytime soon?
I don’t have any trips planned right now, but I’d like to go to Austin, California, Australia, and back to Europe sometime.
What is the scene like these days from where you are? Any dudes you think are coming up? I know Ben Hittle and you are pretty tight right?
Well I just moved to Greenville for school and the scene here is pretty crazy as most know. As for back in Maryland, the scene is getting better. It seems like there’s more and more kids riding and progressing, which is awesome to see. As for people coming up, definitely watch out for Garrett Reeves and Ben Hittle. Ben and I rode pretty often when I was back in Maryland so I guess you could say we are pretty tight.
Ben’s ramp is pretty epic. How much do you get to ride that these days? Do you feel like you have had an advantage with your riding because of it?
When I’m home I ride it around once a week. It’s one of my favorite ramps for sure. I used to ride it like 4 times a week a couple years ago, and I still haven’t got bored with it at all. I do feel that it has helped my riding out a lot. It pretty much taught me how to air.
How have you been injury wise from riding? Or are you pretty lucky.. knock on wood?
Last year around this time, I got stuck in a turndown and landed on my face pretty hard, breaking my nose, fracturing some bones in my face, messing up a rib, and knocking a few teeth back. Then, a few weeks after healing up from that, I fell doing an icepick on a 6 ft. quarter and broke my collarbone. I’m pretty sure I’m the only person that could manage to hurt myself doing that. Since then though, I’ve been pretty lucky (knock on wood).
How are you feeling about contests these days? Any you plan on hitting up?
It depends on the contest. If it’s a smaller contest, they’re usually really fun. I went to the FBM Belmar contest last month and it was so awesome since everyone was having a good time and there was such a good vibe. I do want to hit up other contests like that whenever there are any within not too far of a distance. Bigger contests like the Dew Tour stops I’m not too crazy about though. It would be fun to ride in one, but a lot of people take them too seriously. Also, some of the tricks being done these days in those contests are just getting ridiculous. I do respect them, however, it seems like “progression” has turned into just doing one more rotation of some sort, rather than coming up with a unique variation or something new and different. It seems like originality barely exists in these big contests anymore. For example, I watched this past dew tour stop and noticed that someone made top 3 in park who only did spins and tailwhips in his run. The tricks were crazy and hard, but I find it a bit strange how someone can do so well in a contest by only doing 2 tricks. I also remember watching a dirt video from the Portland dew tour stop and was in awe at how many people did almost the same run, all including 360 double whips on the last jump. It’s like turning into diving where everyone does the same exact thing, but just tries to point their toes a little more. It was really nice watching Mike Aitken win dirt this last stop though. Shows that there’s still some hope.
Photo: Tyler Northrup
If you could go on a trip with any 5 people, who would you pick, where would you go, and why?
I don’t think I could narrow it down to 5 people. It would definitely be 5 of my friends that enjoy riding with though. I do know that one of them would have to be Denny Pascasio. Funniest person I’ve ever met and an awesome guy. I’m not sure exactly where I’d want to go though.
You have a pretty solid reputation on the internet from forums and stuff. Did you ever expect people to be as into your riding as they are?
Are they? I guess I didn’t expect it then.
Who or what are some of the biggest influences on your riding?
Sergio Layos had a big influence on my riding. I saw him ride at Woodward the first time I went when I was 12 and it was the first time I had seen someone with really good style ride. I was blown away at how he made everything look so good and how high he went. That was right when I started riding ramps so I wanted to learn to do things like he was doing. Haha.
Do you have any good stories form riding involving cops/security/midgets/hookers/pissed off pedestrians?
One time we were out riding street at this little spot at a bank that we always ride, and this crazy old man walks out of a restaurant and comes up to us. The first thing he says is, “why the hell are you riding at the bank!!?!?” Then says, “Why don’t you just ride in your own yards… I bet it’s so no one will see how much you all suck!” We were all baffled at how this guy came out of nowhere and just started saying all this to us when we weren’t doing anything to bother him at all. He then started walking away while we were still riding. He probably made it about 30 feet away from us, when my friend flipped over on a nose wheelie and had to hop over his bars. The old man decided this was a prime opportunity to stop the fun and take my friends bike, so he took a hobbling sprint toward my friend’s bike (keep in mind that this guy was at least 80 years old). My friend got there right before the old man could though and got his bike. I could not believe I just saw an old man hobble that fast and try to steal a bike.
What is one trick you will never get sick of doing?
If you could change anything about BMX, what would it be and why?
For it to be a bit more accepted by people who don’t ride. It’s annoying getting kicked out of a spot or something just because you’re on a BMX bike and people assume you’re either damaging something, causing some sort of trouble, or will sue them if you fall.
Photo: Tyler Northrup
Where do you think you would be if you never got into BMX?
Probably skateboarding. I stopped racing when I was about 10 and 11 to skate and I barely rode, but then I realized that riding was more fun so I thankfully stopped skating and went back to riding all the time.
What are you up to when your not on your bike?
Just hanging out, wasting time on the computer, going to class, editing or filming something, or shooting photos.
If I remember right you are in school. What are you going for? How much do you have left?
I am going for media production. I just started about a month ago so I pretty much have 4 years left.
Do you do much filming and editing yourself these days? What kind of gear are you working with?
Not a ton of it, but I do like to do it pretty often. I recently just bought a Sony vx2100 and Century mkII fisheye from my friend which is awesome.
What is a dream sponsor of yours? BMX related or not.
Any decent shoe company would be awesome since I go through shoes pretty quick.
If you could only eat at one restaurant/place for a month, what would you pick and why?
Probably some sort of Italian place where I could eat a lot of pizza and pasta.
Have you ever been in a fight? and did you win?
No I haven’t.
What are some things you would like to accomplish in the next few years?
Just keep riding and progressing and also doing well in school.
If you could be a professional at any other sport, what would you choose and why?
Probably snowboarding since it’s probably the most fun sport other than riding.
Any favorite bands that come to mind?
The Mars Volta, Circa Survive, Irepress, Explosions in the Sky, Minus the Bear
What is the last movie you saw?
I saw most of The Butterfly Effect on tv the other day.
You win the lottery, what is the first thing you buy?
Photo: Tyler Northrup
Are you voting at all for anyone this year?
Not sure yet. I probably will though since I just turned 18 and now can, even though I’m not into politics at all.
What has made the biggest impact on your life and why?
Probably my parents since they raised me and taught me so much.
If you could change anything about the world, what would it be and why?
Just for everyone to get along and stop fighting wars over power and what not. I don’t understand why everyone has to deal with middle aged to old men who just want to control everything. They are no different than anyone else so why should they be able to cause so much trouble for the rest of the world just because they want to be powerful and have money? That probably sounded really dumb. Also, as random as this may sound, it would be awesome if cars were replaced with tubes that took you everywhere. Like you could get into a little capsule that would have the same amount of space as a car so you could take your bike, then just launch through a tube to get wherever you want to go.
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
Thanks to God, my parents for supporting me so much, Niels at Simple, all of my friends and everyone I ride with, Ben Hittle and his parents for letting me ride his ramp all the time, Donald at Avalon, Rod at Pedal Pushers, Sidewall Distribution, anyone who’s ever helped me out or supported me in some way, and Kurt for this interview!
Anything else you would like to say?
park edit from Dan on Vimeo.