I don’t remember the first time I talked to Mike, but it was a while ago. He is one of those guys who just likes to ride for the right reasons. Mike is a part of the Presence crew up in Montreal, and was definitely in need of an interview. I shot him some questions, and he brought it back with some photos, a bunch of words, and even an all new edit just for this interview. So check it all out, and then leave Mike some love in the comments!
Name: Mike Fiz
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Years riding: 11 ish
What was it that first got you into BMX? Any real early memories come to mind?
Going to Vancouver is what got me into BMX. While visiting my aunt in 97 I saw a black mongoose with the chrome forks and bars at a bike shop and my mom just decided to buy it for me. It ended up sleeping in my closet for a year, till I realized I sucked at skateboarding and just started going to the skate park with it. My first memory is that all my buddies and I looked up at one of my friends cousin. He had a crazy mohawk and he would do 3 taps and stuff off curbs. It was the raddest thing I had seen!
You are one of the guys behind Presence BMX. What’s that group of guys all about? Have you guys started working on another new video yet?
I cant really talk for the others. I guess it can represent something different for everybody. But personally I see it as a group of friends, and Presence is just a label to identify what we do. We like to ride our bikes and we try and showcase whatever we do. There is seriously soo much shit goin on in bmx right now, its fun to have something to show for, cause we wont be doing this forever. Jeremy is the one that puts all the work in the Presence vids and basically all that Presence does! Without him I don’t think any of this would be possible. The rest of us do our best to help out, but he is the core of Presence. As for projects this year, I know jeremy is doing a Nationwide vid with a bunch of riders from all over canada and from what I’ve seen theres some serious stuff goin down (Greg Flag!). Everyone has been stepping it up, its crazy , I guess its like that in every scene but every time I go riding with the crew I see guys doing stuff that I’ve never seen them do before.
The scene in Montreal seems to be pretty dialed. Now that the weather is getting nice, where have you been riding?
Yeah! Our scene is getting bigger and bigger all the time, I’m suprised on how many people are riding now, whether its mtb crossovers or kids just starting from scratch, there’s a lot of people to hang out with! I basically ride around my place, I live in Little Italy which is pretty central on the island. I’m like 10 min from downtown so I guess I basically ride whatevers around. There is so much stuff to ride that you can’t really get bored.
It seems like you have endless spots to ride in Montreal. What are some of your favorite places to ride?
We do have a lot of spots to ride, I guess there are alot of spots that I overlook and don’t really spend time riding, I like to ride banks and wallrides. I used to never ride ledges cause I grind on the right side and I had RHD but recently I got a LHD so I’ve been riding more ledges and catching up to all those grind thingys! Theres this one ledge on a random street in the plateau that I like to go to, it’s about 6 or 7 feet long and is over the bars. Its in a rad little park. I guess it depends on the feel of the spot, it may sound funny but in my case thats how I see it, which explains why I hate riding the Olympic Stadium! It feels like your lost in an open sea of concrete that has no purpose. I can agree that the spots around the stadium are fun to ride its just the vibe that I get from it just makes me not want to try anything. the fullpipe is an other story thought, that thing is fun! I think that out of all the spots we have my favorite spot has to be the curved wallrde that is a couple streets away from my house. Its hard to do stuff out of it cause its pretty long but its fun to ride. I don’t session it that much but I always hit it when I take the bike path.
Who is your usual riding crew these days? Any up and coming guys you think people should be looking out for?
In the week I usually ride alone or with Alex Ji, sometimes I ride with Jeremy. It depends really on our work schedules. I tend to just lay back and hang out at the bike shop most of the time. The Bike shop sells mostly fixie stuff so I go on rides with the fixie dudes. Sometimes I ride with Corey Dewey, Greg Flag, Mike Cardin, and Dillon Lloyd. There are so many people that I ride with on a weekly basis that it would be kinda stupid to start naming them all!
There are soo many guys that should have attention, Montreal doesnt get that much exposure. There are soo many good riders everywhere that most of the time i guess its just knowing the right people that can make the difference between being “Known” and being unheard of. The other day I was at the Taz and this kid comes up to me and asks me tips on how to do barspins. I try to explain to him the best that I can but I find that its basically a trial and error thing when it comes to tricks, anyways after I’m done talking to him he just hauls ass towards a quarter and boosts a flair 3 feet out of a quarter! I was like WTF is going on. But three names that first come to mind and they are starting to get exposure have to be Greg Flag, Corey Dewey and Dillon Lloyd, I think Greg is going to explode soon! He just does the craziest things out of nowhere like it was nothing and backs it up with the randomest quotes! Corey just does his thing all the time and always seems to be in a good mood, plus I think out of our whole scene he must be the most dialed rider when it comes to rails, and what can I say about Dill, he can do everything and hes only 16, I’m really happy he got picked up by macneil. And from what I heard from Jay and Harrison when macneil was in MTL they seem pretty stoked on him, so thats rad!! Theres only one thing with him though: He just has to grow out of those jeans he has with the zippers on the back pockets! hahaha an other dude people might hear of in the near future is Justin Kirnan. Everytime I ride with him im suprised on how good he is, he makes everything look soo easy. I like the fact he is developing his own style now and not just copying and pasting what he sees from certain pro riders because that guy has talent!
Do you have any big trips planned for the summer?
I dont think I will be travelling much this summer, I’ve been living with roomates since ’02 and I guess its time for me to move on and get a place of my own. I found a new place which is pretty sweet, I’m stoked it is about 5 min from downtown its a ground floor and I have a backyard! But going from paying rent with two others to paying rent alone will affect my financial situation a lot. I’m probably gonna take care of my stuff and anyways there is always a bunch of riders that come to town and I like showing people around. Plus I just got a new bike this spring so im going to have to save up money so I don’t eat $3 vietnamese subs for a year straight! I know that the crew have been going on small weekend trips to upstate NY and ottawa and stuff so I might hit up one of those.
Where are some of your favorite places you have had the chance to ride at?
Well, last year we went on a week trip to NYC and Philly which was awesome! I had never been to New York and that was a blast, I think I had more fun riding down broadway with all the yellow cabs than riding the actual spots. That city is crazy, I couldn’t comprehend that there is a daycare center downtown in the middle of a Y intersection! We were eating at Wendys and I was looking at that and telling myself: These kids are gonna be sooo used to city life that the the rest of the world will probably be meaningless to them. When you think about it I’m pretty sure some people never really go outside NYC because seriously, there is no point to it, Everything is there! On that same trip we went to the 2×4 premiere in Pennsville which was pretty sick! and then my addiction to WaWa subs Began! All in all I havent really rode in a lot of places besides Montreal, Boston, Philly, and New York but riding famous spots youve seen in videos opens your eyes up on how much some of the stuff people do is crazier than it looks! Especially those two stairsets Ty Morrow barspin then 3’d at the Sommerville banks in Boston. I wouldn’t even consider a deadsailor down one of those, my arms would probably give in and I’d break my fake teeth!
How did you knock your front teeth out? I’d imagine the gap is filled with fakes?
It was my NFT crew initiation! nah just kidding. It happened in Nov 2005. Jeremy and I went to Central Park in Trois Rivieres for a private after hour session and at the time i had a normal chain with one of those Alliance halflinks, anyways to make a long story short: mix a bitch crank, wrong timing, a perfectly executed nose manual to hang nothing, and a ramp and the end result was 4 broken teeth and a shit load of stitches. I am soo lucky Jeremy was there, he waited a super long time at the ER with me and drove us back to MTL at like 2 in the morning. He was soo tired, he basically drove the whole way back with his head outside the window just to stay awake! I don’t know what I would have done that night if he wasn’t there. I think the worst part out of this whole ordeal was eating soup for a month staight and not being able to brush my teeth for at least 2 weeks. Once all the swelling went down i had to get my teeth removed cause they were dead and there was nothing to do with them. It was hard at first considering I was 19 and I needed fake teeth but thats when the fun started!. At the time I worked in a clothing store and when i came back from my sick leave it was around Chirstmas, I didn’t have fronts cause my gums were still swollen, so my boss told me NOT to speak to customers and stuff so I wouldn’t scare them away, ahahha! I remember singing the “All I want for Chirstmas is my 2 front teeth” song all the time while working, it was pretty rad!
What are some of the things that really get you pumped up to ride?
Music does a lot for me, I guess listening to the right thing at the right time can trigger something that makes me want to go outside and ride. Feeding off others also pumps me up. It doesnt even have to be bmxing. For example: Liam from UAB set up a skate night this winter and I would go and ride with the skaters cause seeing them ride Uab would motivate me more than riding with all the bmx guys. Beats me why but it worked! Media helps a lot also. I watch a lot of web videos, but I find they dont keep a lasting impression. Full length vids is where its at in my mind, its sooo fun to do and most of the time you can watch them over and over without getting bored . My personal fav is Joe Cox’s vid Tomorrow we work; everything in that vid is mint to my eye.. and ears! props! besides that I especially like pictures in magazines: Dig and Ride UK always have nice clicks. Its weird, Some pictures give me instant motivation to ride, I don’t know why. I guess it lets my imagination work its magic or something.
Who or what are some of your biggest influences on riding?
I really like the UK street scene. I find that The UK in general has always been a step ahead, whether it would be music wise, fashion wise, riding wise etc.. I know that is my opinion and others might not agree, but i find that they are less hungry than what I see from the US. Its more about enjoying themselves and doing what they like. Thats what I love in riders people that just go about and do their thing, dont get me wrong I love seeing Garret Reynolds do all his crazy shit but I’d rather see someone do something super simple and make it look good. Not that what he does doesnt look good,.. hahaha you know what I mean.
What keeps you from getting burned out and quitting BMX?
BMX is very important to me, its what keeps me going mentally and physically but its not 100% of my life, I ride for fun and I don’t take myself that seriously. I don’t have to go out and do tricks to enjoy myself. Some days just jumping medians and riding in traffic while I go to work keeps it interesting. I think you can only get burned out if it takes to much place in your life, or if you feel obligated to ride for somewhat reason. Thats why I never wanted to work in a bike shop, I don’t want riding to be associated with work in my head. Riding is there to get me away from the stuff that bums me out. Its my way to express myself, create and get rid of the negetive stuff that pisses me off and so on.
Have you been filming for any web videos or projects outside of Presence stuff?
Well, Yah I filmed the web edit to go with this interview because I had nothing really on the web. I guess this interview kinda motivated me to have something new, at first I wanted to make a remix edit of last years stuff and skatepark stuff. Last year I was super motivated for the video so I was pushing myself more, but after looking at all my stuff I wanted to have something better, a lot of the stuff in my Presence part was stuff where I was trying something else and I just couldn’t pull it. I’m kinda lazy most of the time and I just hang out, it kinda sucks that both dudes didn’t really film in the same format even though they have the same gear but in all im pretty happy on how the web vid came out, I think it is representative of what I’m into. As for other stuff ill try and get some clips in for Presence but i havent really been filming a lot with jeremy this year and Brad Hill asked me if I wanted to film some stuff for FU3 so i might try and get some stuff in that too. Alex Ji just bought himself a D300 so I’ve been taking a lot of pictures with him, thats what i like to do the most. Plus alex is super fun to shoot with and hes got a good trigger finger, he always pulls it at the right time, it always ends up being me that puts a foot down a million times.
Are you the kind of rider who rides better or worse when the camera is on? Any reason why?
It depends, there is a lot of stuff that I don’t bother to do unless the camera is out, I have a fulltime job and i cant afford to smash my head for no reason or at all for that matter, so i try and keep it mellow. Usually when i try stuff its cause im pretty confident about it and it doesnt take me too many tries. Usually as soon as ive done it its pretty much in the bag. Im not a hucker, ill think it out first and whenever i feel it ill go for it. I dont think ive really ever done anything that was too crazy. But I guess i tend to be more confident when the camera is out and go a bit faster than usual.
What do you think you would be up to if you never got into BMX?
Hahha, I’d probably be in a band, and work nights and a local bar. Thats what everyone who has no future does in MTL
What are you usually up to when you aren’t riding bikes?
I’m usually at work, I work 40hrs a week. I tend to walk a lot also, I like to listen to music and just walk around, its crazy to see everything going on about their day and your just a part of their life for a split second, you’re like part of the scenery. I just like the fact of not having to go any where and not having to do anything and to just enjoy the city. There is soo much to do at night here, i love going to shows and there are shows every other night here! Its pretty rad. On weekends I tend to overdose on coffee at cafe Olympico. Its a long wait in line but its worth while! That place is in the Mile End and its seriously the best Coffee in town! The mile end is awesome! That neighborhood is like a bizzarre melting pot of hipsters and Orthodox jews. Its got a bunch of good little places to eat and cool stores. A buddy of mine owns a shop called Brakeless which is on Parc ave ( Brakeless.ca). He sells mostly fix gear and some BMX stuff. I spend a lot of time hanging around there. That place is like my second home
What do you do for work? Did you ever go to College?
I went to college when I moved to montreal, it was the main reason why I was moving, but the city kind of made me drift away from my studies, I was from a small town and suddenly being free to do whatever I wanted took a toll on my grades. Plus I didn’t really know what I wanted to do really so I just dropped out. I worked shit jobs for a while and maybe 3 and a half years ago A riding buddies dad was looking for someone to work in his glass shop. So he hired me in and ive been there since. At first it was really hard cause I did NOT know anything about whatsoever. My Mom raised me, and would go to my dads house every other weekend. So I can basically count on both hands the number of times I mowed the lawn. But thats changed now. Its a really cool job and it pays pretty good, some days I can be making tables and stuff for art exhibitions, and other days i can be doing an order of 20 screen doors, it really depends. We work on movies also. Most of the glass in The Punisher and Death Race was done by us.
Have you ever been arrested for anything? How about in a fight?
Nope! the only time I was in a fight was in grade 7 and it sucked! I did get a fine once when i was 14 for skidding in some grass. It just proves that cops in small towns have nothing better to do!
What’s the craziest thing you have ever experienced?
The neighborhood that I work in is fucked! Every other day there is this Hooker on rollerblades that works the streets, I see it all: pimp fights, hooker fights, you name it. But I think one of the craziest things I ever witnessed/lived was on a roadtrip with Eric and Jeremy. We were on the highway heading to Toronto and at one point we we on the fast lane, we were on an inside curve and as we are going by, in the other direction a semi truck tipped over on the jersey barriers seperating the highway and slid right over us! Then it went right back on its wheels and continued its way. It WAS SCARY to say the least.
What would it take to get you to go a round with a UFC fighter? How about a midget?
hahhha, mmm… I went to a UFC ish type event for free last year, a buddy of mine worked for it and gave me free tickets. It was the most boring thing I had ever been to, it was like a freak show. Personally, considering I live in Montreal, there are A LOT of places that I could 69 an other man and I’m not really in to that idea! A midget is even worse, im 6″2 so he would just have to stand in front of me and he’d be at the right height! its just not my type of thing. hahahha
Approximately how many girls have you dominated? Any good stories?
it depends on what kind of domination youre talking about! If leather is involved I’m a beginner! But im going to have a spare room in my new place so I guess I’m gonna dedicate a room to that! One thing I do know is that my friend Rob particularly envies my female “entourage” hahah. but on a more serious note, I was in a long term realtionship for about 4 years but when we broke up I kind of went on a rampage! I won’t tell you all my stories but the last girl I dated the way we met is pretty cool!
Last april I was at work and I was listening to the radio, It was April 2nd exactly. Anyways, I’m listening to the radio and the host chick is blabbing on about Miroir Noir( the arcade fire documentary film) that is supposed to premiere at a venue in the city. She then says that there were rumors that Arcade Fire were going to play after the screening but that they sent out a Memo saying it would not happen cause they were in the writing process of their new album due to premiere in spring 2010. She then says that they also confirmed they would play two exclusive songs of their upcomming album called “April Fools Day” on Sunday april 5th at Star Academie (french version of american Idol). When I heard this I was standing there in my workshop telling myself ” are you kidding me” so I called the station and kind of mocked her a bit so she would realize she got sooooo aprill fooled! She then came back on the air and kinda made people think she tried to fool them, hahhah. so I called back! After I hung up i was just baffled, I wanted to know what she looked like. So I went on the internet, cause she had given me her name and I found her on Facebook, 15 emails later we were on a date, and we ended up dating for about a month.
What are three things you can’t leave your house without?
My Teeth, my contacts lenses, and my keys.
What is your idea of a good night out?
Tremblay-good music-girls-antics-no hang over! When Mike Jiz comes out anything can happen!
If you could committ one crime and get away with it… what would you do?
Steal large amounts of money!, Wait…….. I don’t even have to commit that crime I just have to work for the Government!
What are some things you would like to accomplish in the next few years?
I’d like to ride as much as possible, cause its one of the things I enjoy doing. I know I won’t always be possible to do the things I do, I’m only 24 the doctor told me that I have the back of a 35 year old. Besides that I’ve been thinking about going back to school, I’m just not sure what I wanna do. If that doesn’t work out I’ll either try to get my working cards so I can have a better wage or become a hippie artist and sell paintings for a living. If painting a table set red is considered contemporary art im pretty sure I could pull some shit off!
First song, movie, and website that comes to mind?
Dancefloor by The Legends, Fubar, Yimmy’s Yayo
What is the best advice you have ever been able to give, or been given?
ils faut s’aimer avant d’aimer. (its french but its true)
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
Yeah! thanks to my parents, family, Fanny, Jeremy, Alex Ji for putting the web vid together and for all the pics , Dewey, Mike C, Greg, Eric and all the Presence crew, Sylvester and the Brakeless crew, Ian at Tiger Distribution for helping me in my constant quest of having 1 pair of unripped Jeans, Everyone at Jarry park, Vincent Allard and Simon Villeneuve for taking time to come out and film, the BMXFU guys ( I hope that Jiz doesn’t STICK to me, hahha!) and all my friends that I hang out with on a daily basis. Anyone who has helped me with bike stuff; Campeau, Ace, Wade, Guiom. Liam for giving us a place to ride in the winter. Romados Chicken and Cafe Olympico for being the best at what they do and making my stomach happy!, Everyone that I’ve ridden with, showed around or have been shown around. I guess thats about it…
Anything else you want to say?
Come hang out in Montreal this summer. You might never want to leave!