All photos by Chris Marshall
Zack is one of those riders who I’ve always been a huge fan of since the day I met him at a Baco contest years ago. Zack’s riding has always been absolutely nuts and, regardless of his current sponsor situation, he’s constantly pushing himself and staying in the small light of BMX that can come and go very quickly for a lot of pros. With a few changes to his sponsors list now and at the beginning of the year like joining The Daily Grind‘s pro team, we figured it was more than an appropriate time to get ahold of him to find out what’s new and a few things about him we didn’t know. Let’s see what he had to say!
Name: Zack Gerber
Location: Currently in Tampa, FL
Years riding: 14 years
What was it that first got you into BMX? Any early memories come to mind?
Two things come to mind. First, I remember my older brother always doing wheelies up the back street as a kid. Being my older brother, I looked up to him, and wanted to do what he was doing. Second, was being in motocross at a young age. A bad wreck had me spooked, so I picked up a BMX and started racing that instead.
You have been riding for Redline for a while now. How are things going with them? Do you have any trips or signature parts in the works you can tell us about?
Things were going well. I was working on designs for new logos and decals for complete bikes. We were also working on a frame together. We had a two prototypes together. However, as you’ll see, they’ve decided to go a different direction at the end of the year.
It was just announced last week that you had joined The Daily Grind team. How did that opportunity come about?
I had gone down to Dayton, OH to ride. We met up with everyone at the secret DIY spot that the Daily Grind dudes had built themselves. Had a solid session there and around town. After that, with having met everyone, they invited me on a road trip to Cleveland. Pretty fun time. After a few weeks, after the DIY jam, Gremlin, Jonathan Bechtold, hit me up. We talked for awhile about it, and once my contractual obligations cleared up I became part of the team.
Do you have anything cooking with Gremlin yet as far as trips or anything goes?
Right now it’s the ATL trip. Since I’m already down in Florida, I plan on driving up and meeting them in ATL. I’m staying for the Tampa Spot Roast. I’ve got some DG product to sell and give away.
When can we expect that welcome edit?
Yes, I’ve just got to get it put together. I’ve also got to wait and see if some of the clips where we got photos of end up going to a magazine. I don’t believe in an edit being out before the photos are out. Magazine first. Video second.
Any other sponsor news you can tell us about?
I’ve got nothing.
Over the past year or two, things with your riding have really taken off. Not to say you weren’t a crazy rider, but I just feel like you had a lot of opportunities finally happen. How has the last two years been in comparison to let’s say 5 years ago?
I consider those my dark years. Basically my transitional phase from one aspect of BMX to another. As I got more into street, I was introduced to a lot of people. That’s how I met Chris Marshall, the photographer. I think I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not met him. He put me on to meeting a lot of east coast dudes. I made a lot of friends out there now. East coast is the realist. So much talent, good vibes, and great spots to ride.
I know you were a pretty heavy contest rider when I met you back in the day, but lately you have transitioned into the street game. Are you into contest still or is it just something you aren’t feeling?
Texas toast was amazing. First contest I’ve rode in over a year. Previous contests have always been stressful. Too much anxiety to enjoy. There’s a lot of pressure in big purse contests. Whether or not people are trying to claim they’re having fun. They still want to win. I’m not trying to live in competition. All I want is my piece of mind.
Speaking of street riding, you have been pretty notorious for pushing things with the front flips down stairs and the flair off the loading dock coming to mind. How the hell did you ever decide you wanted to try tricks like that?
No one else is really doing it. Cool or not. Figured it might as well be me.
You’re pretty consistent with your edits. Have you been filming much as of late? Any videos or video parts in the works other than your welcome edit for The Daily Grind?
Right now, I’m working on a DVD with my friends. Not sure of the name of the DVD or when it’ll be out, but it’s a work in progress.
You have been getting a fair amount of travel time the past year. I know I saw you at Texas Toast for a bit. Where have you had the chance to go this year?
I’ve been all over this year and am grateful for that. Been to both coasts a few times.
What are your travel plans for the future looking like? Any plans of hitting warmer weather for the winter? Anywhere in particular you really want to get to?
With what little money I had, I came to Florida. After this, I don’t know man. Likely, going to have to save up and travel again. I got invited to Cali. I’d like to make that happen.
Where have you been getting most of your riding time in these days? I feel like a lot of the parks in Ohio have closed down?
The Flow closed. That’s a total bummer. There’s a lot of public parks here. Streets pretty good, too. Ohio weather is crazy. It’s been 60 in December, we usually end up riding outside. If it’s not warm, we just bundle up, and try and ride. Other than that, it’s a 3hr drive to Rays, Chenga or Ollie’s.
Let’s say you got a fat budget to take any 5 riders anywhere in the world for a week to film. Who do you bring, where do you go and why?
Alex Hetrick, Jake Coulson, Spencer Foresman, then either some of the Columbus dudes, LFS crew or DG dudes. Whoever could make it and call off work. Definitely Ryan Howard. Trips with him have always been memorable. Probably go to Barcelona, and if I need to explain why you probably don’t ride.
Who were some of the riders who really influenced your riding when you first started getting into riding?
ECD 4 was one of my first VHS’s. Butcher was my first idol. Vic Ayala, too.
Who are the riders that really get you stoked to go ride these days?
My friends. My friends are some of the best riders in world. Sponsored, big time, or not they all kill it.
Do you ever find yourself getting burned out at all? Anything you like to do to keep things fresh?
I guess this explains why I’ve done every aspect of BMX. Maybe I’ll start riding flatland after this.
What do you think you would be doing these days if you never got into BMX? Any early memories come to mind?
Youngest memories, I was way too into video games. I’ve always had every new game console. At least until I started getting really into BMX. I wrestled all through school and into college. That was a big hobby of mine beside riding. I played a lot of guitar. Maybe start a band? I don’t know. My mom was part of the humane society, so I’d likely be volunteering and working with ASPCA. I’m not sure. Could’ve been a million things.
Are you working at all these days or is BMX keeping you busy enough?
BMX for now.
What’s the shittiest job you have ever had?
I was a full time janitor for three years.
If I remember right, you’re into cars, right? What are you working on these days? Are you still into VW’s?
I am, but not into tuning them or anything. More or less just keeping mine running. I’ve never had the income that’d allow me to do any type of that work to my car.
What are you usually getting into when you aren’t riding these days? Are you really good at anything else?
I’m into drawing. Like I said, I was doing decal designs for Redline completes. Also, really into filming and photos. I’m working on a 35mm project booklet that’ll come with our DVD. Cool idea. Everyone that has a section gets a few fun saver, point and shot cameras, and take lifestyle and riding photos on out trips together. The result are always good feeling, real personal photos.
It’s Friday night… What are you getting yourself into? Are you much of a partier?
I don’t drink but I’m not above going out with friends. I’m not really a social creature. Except around other BMX riders. My Friday night tonight consisted of looking for spots and pizza with friends.
What’s one thing you could use more of in your life and one thing you could use less of?
You know that good feeling you get that comes from the middle of your chest? I sound weird, but yeah. More of that good feeling. I could always go for a decrease in stress. I do as much as I possibly can to avoid it, but sometimes in inevitable.
What’s the something about yourself that might surprise people?
I’m a huge classical music enthusiast, and I contribute to NPR.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Wherever it may be, I know it’ll still involve my bike.
What’s the last movie you watched, website you visited and song you heard?
I can’t remember what movie I last watched. I barely watch any movies. Do DVDs count as movies? If so, Deadline. Last website was likely Google. Last song was Alice Cooper – Poison.
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
My parents, the real reason I’m here. My girl, for caring and taking care of me. My friends, for all the fun times. My sponsors, for keeping me rolling. My bike, for being my drive, my pleasure, my pain. Finally, thank you for this interview Kurt. I appreciate it, and it was awesome getting to see you in Texas.
Anything else you want to say?
“To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift.” -Steve Prefontaine