Ryan Douglas Fudger
(I had Walter Pieringer snap a photo of me the day after I got beat up in Paris. I look like a disaster. Good times, for sure.)
Oceanside, California…as far north I can go and still be a “San Diegan.”
You work at Ride BMX magazine, What do you do there and how long have you been there?
Running on almost five years now. Official title comes in at Associate Editor…there’s no quick answer, but pretty much Jeff, Keith, and I all do the same: shoot photos, write, generate content for the website, respond to way too many e-mails, do all the behind-the-scenes time-consuming stuff, and squeeze some riding sessions in between.
What is the best parts of your job? What is the worst parts?
The best part of my job is that I’m sitting in an airport on my way home from hanging out with a bunch of funny as fuck Australians, going to Baco Jam in Florida, riding Mirra and Nyquist’s personal warehouses, and going to a wild Halloween party with a bunch of people that I looked (and still do) up to as a kid. The worst part is that no matter how awesome things are, it is still work. There are always things that you have to do that you don’t want to, dates with your girl that you have to cancel because someone wants to shoot a photo, and the combination of landing flat for 12 years and spending way too much time on my laptop is taking it’s toll on my wrists.
What kind of gear do you shoot photos with?
I have a Cannon 1V 35mm body, a Cannon 1D Mark II digi body, a Hasselblad 500 c/m, two Quantum Q-pack flashes, and a bunch of lenses that attach to all of them. To any photographers out there: feel free to learn on digi, but you’ll enjoy film in the end.
Where are some of the places you have been able to go to this year?
I’ve actually been more wild places this year than years past. I was riding in a car with Gary Young one day and I said, “Lets go to China.” Two months later we were in Shanghai and Beijing for two weeks, got a bunch of culture shock, and rode in between. It was my first time out of North America and it’s made every trip since then seem mild in comparison—every time we left the hotel it was a certified adventure. I recently went on Megatour with the DK team in Europe; we spent time in France, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany. The story from that will be in the January issue of Ride, so I don’t want to get into it too much, but I will say that I experienced what it’s like to get punched in the face multiple times by a Paris thief.
(I told a few people before I went to China that I all I wanted to come back with was a photo of me standing in a sea of people. Photo: Gary Young)
I remember reading in the magazine part of the job is being able to run from the cops or people trying to steal your camera stuff, what’s your best story of having to run from the man?
I don’t know if it’s a combination of getting old or what, but I haven’t had anything incredibly wild at my time at Ride…at least nothing worth really typing. It’s funny how much your motivation to run from the cops changes when you imagine how much it’ll hurt to get tackled with 50 pounds of camera gear on your back. I have had plenty of close calls, sirens over my shoulder as I duck around a corner, and guns pointed at me throughout the years, though.
Your pretty big into cars, what’s your car putting out now days? Did you and Morgan Wade ever race? Who is the next person your calling out?
I was pretty into my VW, but one day while I was cruising to work a connecting rod decided to let go and the engine popped. I was sort of expecting it…doubling the horsepower of a car will do that. To fix it, I made the decision build a new engine myself…having never pulled an engine before. A solid year later, the Volkswagen is all built up, sitting the garage, and ready to run around with about 500hp, but I’ve sort of lost all will power to spend anymore time or money on it. Morgan and I never raced, but my car was always faster (sorry buddy); it had a little more done to it. I was actually the one who helped Morgan get his car together after he drove mine. I’m calling out anyone who thinks they can take my automatic 1996 Nissan Sentra.
(I was bored and pulling the engine from my car was worth remembering. Figured I should act like I was stressed out instead of stareing at the camera like a moron. If you look close at the engine block I’m sitting on, you can see the hole.)
Back in the day, sandiegobmx.com was the best site around along with the Dirt Bros. What ever happened to the site, and what ever happened to Dirt Bros?
The site was something that I wish I could have kept running, but I just didn’t have enough time to do on the side. I tried to pass it off to a couple of people, but it never really happened. Dirt Bros is slightly complicated… basically, Dirt Bros was always more of an idea or a way of life than an actual company. In the end it really came down to too many hands in the pot and no one could support themselves off of DBI. Those days will go down as my “golden years” of sorts—hanging out with all my friends, being ratty as all hell and doing whatever, but still having the time of my life. I’ll run a sticker til the day I die…
Rick Thorne or Mountain Bikes riding street, does it ever get old?
It sort of does. I actually think Rick Thorne is a really nice guy—even with all the stuff he has going on, he still does his best to share the wealth and hook up his friends. But, unfortunately, there’s always a martyr. He puts himself out there and people respond to it one way or another, and I admire him for that. With that said, it doesn’t mean that I won’t take a pot shot every so often…and that doesn’t mean that I don’t like him, either. I actually heard a rumor that he wanted to fight me up for my comment in Gary Young’s Props interview, which is pretty wild. That question wasn’t planned and it really just went down like that, so hopefully that’s just stuff getting put through people’s shit-talking filters.
As far as mountain bikes, I still think that shit is lame. A BMX bike has been engineered (I use that word loosely) over two decades to serve a purpose…and it does a really good job of that. Just because you can jump a spine on a floppy, spongy mountain bike doesn’t make it cool or progressive. It’s like me showing up to a skate park on a long board and thinking I’m hot shit because I can do a boardslide. I never had the intention to cause a “mountain bike jihad” or whatever I saw someone on Defgrip say, but I’m allowed to have opinions and I have a venue to get them out there, to some people’s dismay, I suppose. People can have as much fun as they want riding mountain bikes at a park or wherever—they’re entitled to do what they want, just as I’m entitled to think it’s lame. I don’t think it was ever really a big deal to me, just another subject to have in the letters section. And, for all the shit I talk in the letters section of the magazine, I’m actually an all right guy. Promise.
(After riding the giant park in China for a while, I made Gary[Young] shoot a photo of me carving the fullpipe. I’m obviously no Joe Rich, but the pipe is something like 22 feet, so I was pretty psyched.)
5 influential people in your life?
Gary Young and my granddad. Not sure if there is five.
4 things you cant live without?
Friends, fun, food, water.
3 places you have never been you want to go to?
South Africa, Russia, and Japan. Anywhere I can go, walk right outside, and instantly know that there will be something worth remembering.
2 places you have been and never want to go back to? And why?
My go-to answer for this has always been Florida, but there’s something worth the trip, now. I’d say that Paris sort of sucked, and Cleveland, Ohio. Not a fan.
(I don’t shoot photos ever, but I think I needed one for a staff bike check for the Ride site or something. This school is right down the street from my place. You have to creep at this hop since the bank is about a bike length and a half before the drop. Photo: Brandon Turner)
1 Car you dream about having?
There’s really too many. I’m willing to go in on a third of an Ariel Atom if anyone wants to join in.
What is the most awkward request you have gotten from a person emailing you or letters for Ride?
For a little while there was always little girls wanting my phone number and shit, which I found weird on multiple levels. There was a kid that said, “If I can’t have you no one can” once. Then there was a guy that wrote in multiple letters about a robot that was in love with its creator, from the robots perspective…in poem form. Those we’re probably the oddest ones, especially since they were hand-written and came in over the course of months. I never did anything with them since they were so abstract, so I think the guy finally gave up.
The magazine is undergoing changes over the last few issues and the next few to come, can you give us some info about what’s being changed and what’s to come?
I like to call it Ride reinvestment. People have had their gripes with the magazine, and I can see why at times. But there were a lot of things going on behind the scenes that people weren’t aware of—those obstructions are gone. We have our new Art Director, Dwayne Carter, who worked for Transworld Skate and most recently Slap, and he has been working on a full redesign that’ll be in the January issue. We’re going to a larger size, better paper stock both on the cover and in the magazine, and switching up a lot of things content-wise. More lifestyle, bigger photos, more spreads, full-feature interviews are back, and all the stuff that can go online, are going online (how-to’s, product tests, etc…). We want to make a magazine filled with entirely exclusive content and the best photography possible.
What are some things you would like to accomplish in the next few years?
I don’t make plans, I don’t set goals, and I’ve never had a “career” in mind. I went to college for graphic design before I dropped out to work at Ride, and I was only there because I got financial aid to go to school. I used to break down the hours I had to spend at school and how much money I got from financial aid so I could use it as motivation to show up. I consider myself very lucky to be in the position I am, and I’m reminded of that everyday I wake up without the aid of an alarm clock.
Who are some people you haven’t had the opportunity to meet but you would really like to?
I’ll say Dave Mirra, because I’ve met him probably four times and I’m pretty sure that if I walked up to him tomorrow he would have no idea who I am. I don’t mean that in a bad way by any means; he probably meets five new people every time he stops for gas.
(Favorite pool ever, RIP. Brakeless tire-jammer thing in the love seat. Photo: Brandon Turner)
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
I thank all my friends, family, acquaintances, people on the Internet that talk shit everyday and then are really cool in person, and anyone and everyone in between.
Anything I may have forgot you would like to add?
I think we’re golden. Or maybe bronze.
And in good sense, I searched youtube for San Diego BMX in hopes of finding an old edit from there, and I came accross this, I remember being stoked on this when I was like 13!