There’s a lot of good things I could say about Mike. In fact, I don’t think there’s a bad thing anyone could say about Mike. He’s a shredder that always smiles and has a good time on his bike, loves a good road trip, and just an all around good dude. This past year I’ve got to get to know Mike a lot better and I figured it was well overdue to get him an interview. With Mike being busy with school, work, and traveling to Europe, things got slowed down a bit, but that’s perfectly acceptable to me. It’s finally done, and it turned out awesome. Check out what Mike has to say, along with some real good photos, and then leave him some love in the comments!
Name: Mike Potoczny
Location: Independence, PA and I live in downtown Pittsburgh during the school year.
Years riding: 14 years
What was it that first got you into BMX? Did Mark beat you up until you started pedaling at a big ass jump?
Actually, I first got into Motocross and I raced that from 3 to 7 years old. Then my uncle’s friend who rode BMX gave us Juvenile Trickery, which is a BMX classic. After that, I got a GT Interceptor, we got into racing, and it was on from there. We switched our motocross jumps into BMX jumps and that’s really how our trails got started.
Obviously, your brother is Mark Potoczny, Professional BMX extraordinaire! haha. How rad is it for you to have somebody like him around all the time to motivate you, and help you progress? Do you feel like it’s cheating to have your own personal pro trainer?
We really motivate each other. It’s pretty weird but we’re good at completely different tricks and we push each other to do each other’s tricks. We’ve had a lot of sessions where we’ll try some stuff together too. It’s awesome to always have a good friend to go riding and my brothers been that all my life. Haha one funny thing is when I was little I use to beat Mark all the time in local contests and he use to get real ticked. Maybe that’s why he’s so good now, he had to be better than his little brother.
Living down near Pittsburgh, you have a lot of options to ride. You mentioned that you started racing first before getting into trails. Where were you racing and then where did it go?
I started racing at 7 years old and our local track was South Park BMX, seriously one of the best tracks in the world. I still enjoy riding it now. Racing usually turns into trail riding and everything went from there. We rode mostly trails because we didn’t get a skate park until I was around 10 years old. Our scene was influenced a lot by the PUSH crew so most of my early years of riding was on the track and the trails.
Where can you be seen riding usually these days? What are some hot spots for a session these days?
I just got back from Europe and our trails are finally getting smooth so I’ll be cruising at home a lot.
Who’s your usual riding crew? Any up and coming guys besides yourself that people should keep an eye out for?
I’m down to ride with anyone, but I usually ride with my brother Mark and Ryan Wert the most. We have some locals out at our house Josh, Billy, Keagan, and Charlie. Then all the dudes from Pittsburgh make it out a lot too. Kyle McCory and Wert are two dudes to keep an eye out for they’ve been shredding.
What’s with you always smiling? Is it just your way to confuse the people you are riding against in a contest? Make them think the contest is supposed to be fun so you can climb the ranks while they goof around?
You know if I’m not having fun I’m not going to ride my bike. So if there’s not a smile on my face then why be riding? BMX is suppose to be fun. Going to a contest is just riding BMX to me and that’s fun.
You managed to land yourself in the finals in Toronto. Did you expect to make it in? What was your favorite part of that contest?
The contest was fun but the best part of the whole weekend was the burrito shop right up the street from the hotel. I think contest are blast when you go and there are 20 of your good friends to go hang out with. That way you have a good time on and off your bike.
Do you have any plans of hitting up a few more contests this year at all?
I just go to ones that sound fun. Nothing in the plans right now.
You and Mark are always down for a road trip. Where are some of the places you guys have ventured to the last few years?
Over last summer we took a five-week trip around North West America with Wert. We got to see a lot of national parks and random places. We rode probably 6 really good sets of trails and tons of good cement in Oregon. It was probably the wildest trip of my life. We took another trip through St. Louis, OKC, and Austin over my winter break. We’ve made countless trips to hang out in Orlando and ride the trails. We always head up to any contest up in Milwaukee. We’re down for anywhere. This summer should be a lot of good traveling. We already went to Europe and I’m in D.C now. We’ll see what else happens.
Where are some places you haven’t been, but would really like to go to someday?
The goal is to see every continent in the next couple years. Also, I haven’t went to Hawaii yet and I really want to go there. Hopefully, I can fit that in within the next couple of years. I really just want to see everything.
So you and Mark recently made a trip over to Europe for a tour. What brought on the idea for the trip? Was the trip designed around riding or just hanging out and seeing sights?
All of our trips are usually about both. The first part of the trip was a lot of riding we rode a lot of trails in England and in France then after that it was seeing the sights/riding.
Where all did you guys go while you were there?
We hit up England, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic and Switzerland.
I know you guys spent quite a bit of time riding while you were there. Where were some of the spots you guys got to ride?
A lot of trails, we went to MX trails, Peynier, about 5 sets of trails in England, Nike Tunnel, Mellow Park, and random skate parks and sets of trails wherever we were.
If you have to compare the U.K trails to PA trails, who wins?
In volume, I’d have to say U.K. There is just about a good set of trails in a half an hour distance in any direction in England. But trail wise, I like both.
What were some of your favorite parts of the trip? What about not so favorite?
Every time I go to Europe I get obsessed with Kabob stand food, so that’s a favorite. As well, it was awesome to see friends and make friends all over. It was cool to see how, sometimes, you could not be able to verbally communicate but you can enjoy a riding session with a person because BMX kind of transcends all languages. Haha my least favorite part, the expense.
What was the craziest thing you saw while you were over there?
We were in Paris with our friend Sara. Sara and I were talking to these 3 random girls at the Eiffel Tower. We were just hanging out and then this French guy comes up to us and asks the 3 girls we were talking to if they wanted to go drink with him and his friends. They all politely said no. Then this dude starts screaming and calling them all whores. He starts grabbing them and trying to like pull them away. So, one of the three girls just whips out a knife on this French dude. I’d have to say I’m impressed by this French dude’s bravery because he didn’t leave for like 5 minutes after the knife was out. On top of that, his finally reaction to this girl holding a knife on him was whipping out his balls and walking away.
Your riding style is hard to explain. I mean 270 E.T’s to pedal stall to tire grab out is just a little too much for me to try and figure out in my head. What is it about those crazy combo’s that you like so much?
It’s just kind of fun to see what is possible. I like to see if I can add a trick into something or out and mix it up a little bit.
What’s one trick that you can’t do for the life of you?
Hard 270s. I take it every time.
If you had to look back over all the years and pick one trip, session, day, or just moment in BMX that you could go back to. When would you want to go back to and why?
There was a point where there was Section 8, Chenga World, and Studio 334 all in a short driving distance from my house. I’d probably go back then when they were all still open, every weekend was a different skate park and an awesome session.
Lets say you and Mark are given a huge budget, a van, and a camera. Who are the 5 people you guys bring with you and where do you go?
I’d take Brian Yeagle, Chris Doyle, Ryan Wert, Mark Mulville, and Brian Foster and go to all the trails around all the East Coast trails.
Do you have any ideas of where you would be today if you never got into BMX?
I really don’t know. I have a theory that my personality developed because of BMX. I might have been good at baseball. I quit baseball because my coach use to bench me because I’d go to race my bike over baseball. But I do a lot of things outside of BMX. I go to school right now and I’m studying History. I actually just got elected student body president for my college. I also played tennis and acted a lot. I’m not really sure where I’d be. But I don’t think I’d be as out going if it wasn’t for BMX.
What are you usually up to when you aren’t riding?
Right now besides working, I’ve been doing a lot of school and student government stuff. Other than that just hanging out with friends and doing whatever seems fun.
Do you find it hard to focus on school when there is always something going on with bikes that is probably more fun?
It’s the worst. I really enjoy school though but just sometimes when it’s a beautiful 70-degree spring day and I have class all day its rough. But I usually sneak in a half an hour session in between classes and just go to my next class nice and sweaty.
I’d imagine your parents are very supportive of what you and Mark have going on. Do you think anything you guys do these days surprises them anymore?
Haha not at all. I had a party the other day and my parents said, “That’s all?”
Speaking of partying. You seem to be a pretty chill and relaxed guy. What makes for a good night out for you?
It doesn’t really matter to me. I’m down for anything. Sometimes I go out parties, sometimes just chill with some friends, sometimes all night riding sessions.
I feel like you are pretty good with the ladies. What’s your go to move for breaking the ice?
I don’t really have a go to move, and I think that’s why I’m pretty good with the ladies.
Have you ever had to use your brute strength to eliminate somebody in a fight?
I’ve never had to fight anybody. I almost got in a fight in England because Mark took this guy’s Transformer costume and wore it around the bar.
What’s the last song you listened to, movie you watched, and website you visited?
Song- TSR by Against Me, Movie-Wet Hot American Summer and website-my colleges website
If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
Teleport. That way I could travel anywhere I want to in an instant. Well, as long as I could teleport my bike with me.
What are some things you would like to accomplish in the next few years?
Graduate college on time and travel to all the continents.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given, or able to give?
This advice wasn’t given directly towards me but one time I heard Chad Degroot tell someone a life moto and it was “Have a good time, everytime.” And I think that’s something I’ve been trying to apply to my life ever since. Haha, and I always like the classic Rad quote, “Pretend you’re in the lumber yard Cru” Mark gave me that one at Toronto. I think that’s what actually made me ride good.
Where do you plan on taking BMX in your life?
Right now, I just want to have as much fun as I can possible have with it. Do as much traveling as possible and maybe do some contests. We’ll see. You never know where BMX can take you. I just hope it will take me around the world. If it doesn’t I’m still having fun.
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
My biggest thanks is to my parents. I couldn’t thank them more. They support anything I want to do. They let us build jumps throughout our yard and have hundreds of people over to ride it. I couldn’t thank them enough. I’d like to thank my brother for always being down to go out riding and have some fun. As well, big thanks to Mike Cottle at Obmx, Jon wells at Sun Ringle, and Shane at Round Two BMX. Thanks to all my friends and anyone who’s taken me in and let me stay at their house. Finally, thanks to God for everything he’s ever given me.