Mark Flip… or Filipowicz is one name you have probably heard if you have been around BMX long enough. Mark is one of the owners of Albe’s and the new guy that’s handling the team manager role at Redline. He’s also one hell of a rider too. Flip is a real good example of somebody who makes and keeps the BMX business awesome so let’s find out a little bit more about his different roles in the business…
Name: Mark Filipowicz – Most know me as Flip
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Years riding: We’ll leave this one blank.
All right, so let’s try and start this from the beginning. When did you originally start riding BMX? What was it like riding with guys like Jesus and Fred Flintstone?
Cute! I started around the time Rad came out. I’m an 80’s guy. My bike was lighter than Fred’s since his wheels were made of stone.
Over the years you have rode for a few different brands, right? Who all have you represented over the years? Which ones treated you the best?
My first hook up was Albe’s. Funny now that I look back. First hook up and I end up eventually being one of the owners. As far as bike companies go, I rode for Bully for many years back when it was booming. They treated me really well over there and the only reason I left was because the company started to fizzle out. The owner just didn’t seem to want to move forward with it. I ended up getting flowed stuff from Standard and then Mutiny.
When did you get involved with Albe’s? You are just one of the owners along with a few others, right?
Albe’s was my local BMX shop growing up. I was a pretty good rider at a young age and used to come to a lot of their comps. I made friends with a few of they guys that worked there at the time and ended up working there as well. After a few years a few of us bought the original owner out.
I’m sure you get into everything at the store, but what are more of your specialty roles that you handle when you are in?
I do a lot of the web stuff, team, photos, ordering, emails, sales, road trips, ect…. I’m a jack of all trades and master of none!
Over the years, you have managed to some how prevented aging by partying way harder than a lot of the younger guys in the business. What’s the key to keeping up with the newer generations of riders? Is it part of your contract with Albe’s to know how to party?
Hahah! My mom’s side of the family are like vampires! They seem to stay up all night and require little sleep. I seem to have that jean. Since I’m awake all hours of the night I might as well have fun with it right?? I’m a big advocate of having a good time so if you plan to hang out with me I’ll probably force you to have a good time too.
You recently took on a new role that not too many people are aware of yet. How did the team manager of Redline come about?
When Tim (Fuzzy) Hall was stepping down from the Redline TM gig they asked him if he had any suggestions of who would be good to replace him and he brought my name up. I’m really good friends with Brandon Dosch and Hucker who were already on the team so I figured it could be a fun job. Dosch and I went to Seattle a few months ago to visit SBS (Redline’s parent company) and were blown away by how cool everybody was and how into bikes (BMX, Road, downhill, ect…) they all were. After that trip I really felt good about being a part of it. I had honestly not really paid too much attention to their products other than the aftermarket Device frames up until that point. Once I dug deeper into their stuff I found that they do and AMAZING job over there and in many cases just get over looked. The aftermarket frames and parts and super good and the complete bike line is just as good and even much better in most cases than some of the “Cool” brands.
I don’t even want to imagine how hard it is going to be to fill the shoes Fuzzy Hall left. Do you have any other responsibilities outside of handling the team for Redline?
The hardest part of the job will be babysitting Hucker and Dosch. Those two are off their rockers on and off their bikes. ADHD to the fullest but VERY entertaining. Other than making sure those 2 don’t kill each other I’ll be at all the Dew Tour stops and hopefully we’ll get some road trips going. I’d just like to make the team more tight knit and fun.
I know I texted you the other day and you said you were on the road with the team already. Was the trip kind of your personal welcome to the team / get to know who’s on the team thing or was it something that was already planned?
It was kind of a break in trip. A lot of they guys hadn’t spent too much time together before so I wanted to make it more of a family feel. Basically we just spent a few days at Woodward East on our way to the Ocean City Dew Tour stop. The Redline crew was Dosch, Hucker, Brandon Christie, Josh Hult, Kris Marcum, Tyler Fernengel (The new kid I added to the team) and myself. To make sure all was light hearted Albe’s guys Jamie Chalmers and Cody Bowers tagged along. Everybody got along GREAT and we had so much fun riding and partying. Really stoked on all of them now.
What are some of the goals you have for Redline’s team now that you are starting to get the job all figured out? Do you plan on making any team cuts or additions? More trips? Videos?
Now that I know everybody is tight and get along great together I plan to set up some trips after the contest season ends. In a perfect world I’d like to add an established street guy to the mix. And maybe some up and coming flow kids. Anybody interested?? We have been talking about getting all the team guys their own GoPro cameras so maybe we’ll get some fun video stuff going too.
What kind of advice do you have for kids looking to get sponsored these days?
STAND OUT!!! Don’t learn the same tricks as everybody else. And even if you get really good don’t EXPECT anything. Remember that the reason you started riding your bike was for fun. Do everything you can to keep it that way. Travel, film, go to comps, meet people and ALWAYS BE FRIENDLY!!! If you get lucky enough to be one of those people that gets a hook up and gets paid or gets to travel on someone else’s dime be stoked and thankful.
You have also spent quite a bit of time judging events like the Dew Tour over the years. How did you get into that? What was the best event you judged? What about the worst?
It’s a cool gig that definitely has it’s ups and downs. I get to travel and watch the most amazing riders at their best. As a rider that’s probably the coolest part. The downfall is there is always people that disagree with the judges. We can never make everybody happy.
Do you have any plans on judging some events this summer or are you pretty much overloaded with Albe’s and Redline stuff?
Between Albe’s and Redline I’m pretty damn busy but as far as Dew Tour stuff goes I’ll be at them all anyway. When they ask me to judge I’m always down. I really do enjoy it.
Anything else you have on your plate these days? I figure there couldn’t be too much more since you have two boys that have to be yours based on their level of awesome. When are they going to pick up BMX?
My boys are so RAD, crazy, wild and funny. Kase (6) has been riding since he was 3. Talem (4) is just starting to fiddle with his BMX bike. He likes crashing into shit on his big wheel too much. When I’m not in BMX mode I’m in family mode. I’ve found that I can still be a grown up and a kid at the same time once I learned balance. It’s all about balance!
What kind of advice do you have for the people out there looking to start a shop of their own some day?
From a business point of view I’ll tell you it’s a bad idea. We work a ton and get little in return as far as pay or appreciation from a lot of the kids we help out. On the other hand I have a ton of fun and love going to work everyday. We have fun at the shop and I have met some really awesome people because of BMX / Albe’s.
What about people who are looking to be a team manager or event judge?
I don’t think those are the jobs you go and look for. Those are the kind of gig’s that kind of find you. In my opinion if you need to have been around the sport for quite a while to do one of those jobs the correct way.
I know you still find quite a bit of time to ride these days. When can we expect a new edit from you?
Since people seemed pretty into my last edit I was pretty pumped to start filming for another. This summer has been pretty hectic so I’ve pretty much nothing filmed. I do have a few things in my head that I know I can do, I just need to get myself to do them. I have to prioritize what order I do things in because it takes longer to heal when you get old, Hahah! Tech things that may take a lot of tries first and big shit that may get me hurt last.
What do you do to keep things fresh for you after all these years?
Wash my underwear??
How can people keep up with what you are up to these days?
Facebook (Mark Flip) or on the Albe’s and Redline pages. I find myself tweeting a lot on and off through the Albe’s twitter (@AlbesBMX) as well.
Anything else you want to say?
Thanks to all my friends and family inside and outside BMX. My extremely supportive wife and the guys at Albe’s that are constantly picking up my slack when I travel. Thanks to Redline, Profile and Odyssey for the support on the BMX side of things. Like Joe Walsh says…. “Life’s been good to me so far”