Lynden Chartrand Interview Ft. Andy McGrath

27 Apr Lynden Chartrand Interview Ft. Andy McGrath

Photo Credit: Andy McGrath.

Back in December 2020 when we were planning our re-launch for the Northern Embassy, the admin team released an audience survey. Our aim was to get some insights on our community so we could build out content that people would be stoked on. Andy McGrath was one of about a hundred riders who submitted responses. In his survey submission, he shared a private link to a video he filmed of Lynden Chartrand. I’d seen Lynden’s name pop up periodically in random BMX media before, but I honestly wasn’t too familiar with his riding. I watched the video and immediately shared it with the admin team. After viewing 4+ minutes of hammers and exceptional spot use, it was clear we wanted to learn more about the guy. I reached out to Lynden and Andy to see if they’d be down for an interview. They obliged and a few months later, here we are. Dive in to get to know one of Canada’s grittiest 20-something street riders… 

Current residence:

Lynden:  Vancouver, BC.

Andy:  Victoria, BC.

Age:

Lynden:  21 years old.

Andy:  31 years old.

Sponsors, hook-ups, or crew affiliations:

Lynden:  I got on Killemall BMX Distribution around the end of July 2017. That was the first time I got a whole bike and a bunch of gear for riding! My local bike shop, Koops always hooked me up with great prices whenever they could. Marrianne was the best person and she always treated me like family. I recently got put on Volume Bikes for the Canadian team through Killemall. I’m pretty excited to see what opportunities it opens up.

We had a handful of friends on a team together. It was called “Riffs” and that was sick. We did a bunch of jams all over the province. It got a bunch of us out biking. I don’t think I would have met Andy if it wasn’t for Riffs and all those dudes. Other than that, my friends and I always had funny names for ourselves. “Moose Meat Mafia” is the family brand. Hahaha. My uncle came up with the name and it stuck.

Andy:  Cashmole, Medium, and Hevil.

Day job:

Lynden:  Right now I’m in and out of work. I was doing renovations for a small company, mostly carpentry work. COVID has really been hurting things lately. There are lots of rules and regulations which is great, but just not for finding a new job. So I’m trying to keep busy doing what I can to make ends meet.

Andy:  I’m currently pulling wire for Raincoast Electrical.

You have a very raw style of street riding. That seems to be less common these days, especially with younger riders. Who are some riders that influenced your style?

Lynden:  I didn’t get into much BMX history until the last couple years, but I’ve always been into the whole Animal team. Edwin, Hoder, Steven Hamilton, and Garrett Reeves are some of my favourite riders. My good friend, Colby Burns had a lot to do with the way I ride too. I always enjoy a good Hango video as well; those never get old.

Photo Credit: Taylor Stos.

You grew up in Prince George, right? What was that like?

Lynden:  Yeah, PG born and raised. It was sick. I lived in town until I was about 10 years old. Then my dad and I were living on the outskirts of the city around Old Summit Lake Road. The winters are deadly; it’s super cold and there’s a ton of snow. I got to rip around on snowmobiles for a good portion of my teenage years so we were always trying do something crazy. The summers were nice. We wouldn’t get much rain so the sun was always blazing. All in all, I love my hometown. It had its ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything. Prince George as a kid was awesome. My dad used to race motocross back in the day. He got me into BMX racing when I was about 6 years old. I did that for like 9 years so that took up most of my time.

High school was tight. I got into trouble with classmates, but most of my teachers loved me. I got told by a couple of my teachers that I was an “old soul.” I always thought that was funny. I wasn’t the most obedient student in high school and I definitely had a temper. I was also biking more than I should’ve been at the time. I ended up getting kicked out before my senior year. I worked for my dad and did some college program to get all the credits I needed to graduate. I wasn’t in the program for long, but 2 semesters with some real characters made it feel like quite a while. I graduated a year late and got out of town ASAP.

What’s the BMX scene like in Northern BC?

Lynden:  The scene in Prince George was popping off before I even knew what a BMX scene was. There was a BMX house (the Fern house) pretty close to the skatepark. So as soon as I got introduced to those guys, I was hooked on being a “dirt bag” as they called it. I met tons of dudes from Dawson Creek all the way over to Calgary. They’re still good friends of mine to this day. Northern BC had a rad scene.

Is there much for street spots in Northern BC? Do you feel you were developing into a street rider when you were living up there, or did it take moving to the Lower Mainland to really get immersed in street riding?

Lynden:  Man, the spots we had were buck. We grew up looking for roofs drops and handrails. Everything was big though; most of the handrails in town were bar height or higher. I think I was definitely developing into a street rider in PG. I grew up riding everything. Racing really helped me get used to going fast and falling; I usually wasn’t scared to pedal. I was a park rat for a good 2 years before I realized I like street. I remember coming to the Lower Mainland and all the spots confirmed my love for street.

Photo Credit: Andy McGrath.

Why did you move to Vancouver?

Lynden:  I definitely moved so I could ride more. I’d been on multiple road trips to Vancouver throughout high school so I always knew I wanted to live there. Everything just started to fall into place after I finished school. I saved up and went on one last road trip. I was only supposed to be gone for 2 weeks, but I ended up staying for 2 years… My dad was super cool about it all. As long as I wasn’t digging a hole in his pocket, he was stoked. I moved into Cashmole at first and I was on the floor for 3 months, rent-free. So I’ve got to thank those guys for putting up with me and giving me a chance. Now 3 years later, I’ve got man of the house; it’s pretty crazy how things work out.

Photo Credit: Taylor Stos

What is Cashmole? 

Andy:  Cashmole originally came from the brain of Brent Webb (where most of the funniest shit comes from). We had some app on his phone called ‘Rap Chat.’ It’s a freestyle recording app that’s super easy to use. We spent half a year “rap shit talking each other” (a form of venting to the roommates about some bull, and/or deep dark storytelling about come current events we view as wack). We made some seriously sick songs: Grand Daddies Caddy, Scullet Day, MothaFucka Pay Me 40 Bucks, and Mitsubishi Auto Plant. We ended up with like 600 songs and it was obvious after listening to them that you really wanted to be a Cashmole.

At this time, Riffs was putting anyone on the team who produced an Instagram edit. Brent was posting sick edits 2-3 times a week, mainly riding the alleys around the house. There’s a 25-minute video of those edits mashed together. Search “Cashmole Pyramid Conspiracy” on YouTube. This put Cashmole in the same category as Medium Corporation. Search “Medium Corporation BMX” on YouTube. With Brent not wanting to be on Riffs (the proper alpha thing to do), it helped him push Cashmole harder. The house slowly became Cashmole. We ended up pouring concrete in the alley due to the landlord selling cars in the backyard. He was actually cool with it. 2 years ago we trannied up a tree. It has turned into a pretty sick spot. So I guess you could say Cashmole is the house…

With that being said, you can also cashmole someone’s beer, bar ends, eggs, front seat, shoes, tires, weed, phone chargers… Pretty much when anything goes missing and no one is really owning up to it, you just got cashmoled. Once that happens, the perp (the one who did the moling) becomes a cashmole. When the self-proclaimed cashmoles recognize that someone has been cashmoling them and/or say that another mole is leaning towards the take side on the give/take pendulum, cashmoling can become a dangerous game for learning to share. For others though, it’s an easy way to carelessly snag cold ones and stone their dome upon arrival as they Skip the Dishes to gain more time for activities.

It was also a brand with no products to keep the boys stoked when Riffs finally fell through: Cashmole Lifestyle Supply n’ Select.

Andy McGrath in the Cashmole alley. Photo Credit: Lynden Chartrand.

Photo Credit: Taylor Stos.

What’s the Vancouver / Lower Mainland scene like these days?

Lynden:  There are lots of riders, but not everyone gets along. Haha. It is what it is though. Everyone knows how to be civil, but there are still some cliques running around. It’s all love; we encourage skaters/bikers to ride the backyard. As long as they respect our rules, they are good.

Andy:  After watching Anthem 2 hundreds of times, it was time to get off the Island. In 2011, I moved to Queensborough. I spent 4 years in Queensborough and 6 years in East Van. Both were sick. Vancouver is big enough that there’s lots of little crews to cruise with. It’s pretty easy to not hit anyone up, leave the house on your bike alone, and bump into others riding.

I moved to Victoria last March, but I’m sure that: 1) Titan is still probably barking, 2) There’s gotta be a new guy from Oz who boosts, 3) The 4 pegs n’ spliffers are stoked on a new used pair of corduroys, 4) Night time street ridaz are still finding a place to drink, 5) Randy’s embezzling, 6) Early morning Hastings boys are still very organized, 7) Medium Corporation is still making millions, 8) Mercer just breached a $40 lifetime membership, 9) Deaner came up on a GoPro at Seymour (we’re gonna be big timers soon), 10) RT has one big scandal lined up, 11) Vanier is probably looking alright due to no Kush plus the jumps under the bridge are always dialed ’til next year, 12) The animal house is still flowing, 13) Plaza still isn’t real street, and 14) The boys at Cashmole are on the roof. Van was sick though. I feel like I caught the end of Hevil, got to work for Smith Con (the BMX dream job), rode Woodyard while it was peaking, saw the end of Canadian Concrete, filmed a bunch with Surrey [Steve], went on a few of those No Bikes trips (they were the sickest), rode enough Hastings to feel like I didn’t waste too much time, saw Hango and Teet do wild shit in person, had Stew Johnson stay at Cashmole, rode/dug at Kush, built a cement spot in the backyard, and met a bunch of style birds along the way. With like 70 parks and endless street, I feel that Vancouver has the most to offer the average BMXer on this side of Canada.

Photo Credit: Taylor Stos.

Photo Credit: Taylor Stos.

At some point while consuming BMX media, I remember seeing that you had the nickname, “Rez Ron.” What’s the backstory on the nickname? Did someone give it to you? Was it a nickname you liked or did it have some negative connotations with it?

Lynden:  Hahaha. Well I first got it from my homies, Tor Green and Brandan Goodine. I used to have super raunchy long hair, like gnarly looking. So we were pulling up to Tor’s place, probably just going to chill, and out of nowhere he looks back and says, “Man you look like the native Ronald McDonald…” I thought it was hilarious so we just shot off funny names until Rez Ron came out. I entered a Canadian Concrete contest in Penticton one year and put my name down as Rez Ron. After that, it just stuck.

There are so many different versions of the nickname. It depends on who you are and how you know me. Most of my roommates just call me Ron. It was Ronny Boy for a bit. I felt like I could always tell if someone was trying to use it in a demeaning way. I had some occasions when peeps would try and say some shit, but I’d shut that down right away. Usually it was only my homies using my nickname, and they always had my back when I wasn’t feeling it.

As an indigenous rider, have you encountered any forms of prejudice or racism within the BMX community?

Lynden:  Not so much in the BMX community. Everyone that I’ve been around has enough respect to just acknowledge your skills, no matter your race. For sure there’s the odd stereotype or name calling, but you got to have tough skin. You can’t let someone else’s opinion shoot you down. I know who I am, and wouldn’t change it for better or for worse. I feel like how you handle those situations really shapes who you are. My mom always told me to save my breathe: “Some people don’t deserve it.” So I’ve been working on picking and choosing my battles lately.

I can think of a handful of talented, indigenous riders in Canada. Are there any indigenous riders you’re particularly stoked on?

Lynden:  Hell yeah. Shout out to my homie, Shelby Hare. He’s been my homie since day one. But man, there’s a ton. I’ve got a bunch of friends from up north that are native and they kill it. There’s also that one dude, “@smokedsignals” on Instagram. I’ve always thought he was doing good for himself: Riding with all the people I’d like to meet one day. Haha. He recently made a page on Instagram called “@enlightenatives” and hit me up for a clip and some info about my background. I thought that was dope. I’ve got mad respect for that.

Shifting gears, let’s talk about your most recent video. How long did you guys work on it and where was most of it filmed?

Lynden:  We started probably a week into me coming down for my “road trip” and finished in late 2020. All in all, it was like a 2 and a half year process. Andy killed it. He has an older set-up so only he knows how to mess with it. I kind of left it to him for a while. We were just trying to see how much stuff I could get. We didn’t really have a plan for where the clips would go or what the project would be.

Mostly everything was filmed in Vancouver. I did the one double peg hop over into the weird rock bank in PG. Me and a couple of guys from the Riffs crew went up for Colby Burns’ wedding and Andy happened to bring his camera. There were a couple clips from Kamloops, but I really wanted to make an all-street part from Vancouver.

Andy:  The video was almost finished for the last 6 months, but I’m glad we waited. It can be a real bitch trying to put together a full street part that both the filmer and the rider end up liking. Lynden ended up with like 2 minutes of clips that didn’t make the cut in the end. With him always getting better, we just needed a few more hammerish clips to make it a “real part.” I ended up just letting Ron take the camera out with whoever in hopes a clip would come home. He kind of finished it on his own.

Photo Credit: Andy McGrath.

What clips were the most challenging?

Lynden:  There were a couple that took a while, but a lot of it was pretty smooth. The one double peg hop over in the dark took me a lot of tries and it definitely hurt the most. The U-Haul wallride was the scariest for me. I remember Andy was the one that was like “Yo, try this.” I didn’t even want to do it at first. I remember being up there yelling, trying to hype myself up.

What’s it like filming and riding with Lynden?

Andy:  It’s a real treat. The first day I met him in PG, he stacked a minute of footage. Lynden really wants to get clips. Ya boy’s got mad hops. He is not scared of big drops. Going fast doesn’t seem to bother him. I feel like for a younger rider, he takes filming somewhat seriously. Lynden doesn’t wanna waste time trying some tech line. He would rather jump off something and be finished. He is the easiest person to ride with alongside a bunch of people, yet still focus on getting clips. We’d leave the house, stare at some janky set-up, try to convince each other it’s not that bad, and then finally decide it will work. Cruising with Lynden and Butler was probably the most productive trio.

Lynden and Dave Butler. Photo Credit: Andy McGrath.

Do you have any memorable stories to share that happened during filming?

Lynden:  Oh yeah. I had a hell of a time the first year down here. There are too many to tell and most of them aren’t for everyone. Probably the best thing to happen to me though is my beautiful girlfriend, Elizabeth. We’ve been together for almost 2 years now. A lot has happened in both of our lives, so I couldn’t imagine being where I am without her.

At the end of the video, there is a tribute to Carlos “Tito” Andre Veloso who passed away on August 11, 2019. I remember reading the news story about a BMX rider that died while trying a stunt at the Vancouver sea wall. Are you comfortable sharing a bit about what happened?

Lynden:  Yeah, for sure, That was my brother on the news. Carlos was 11 years older than me. He is one of the reasons I got into BMX. I got my first bike when I was 4 and ever since I was hooked. I remember going on rides and the whole time I was just trying to keep up; forget about doing anything cool. He taught me the most. Anything to do with “street smarts” I got from him. My bike got stolen a couple times, but he’d show up a week later with it on his back. Haha. He was buck. He definitely went down a dark path for a while, but as soon as he had his son he flipped his life right around. I got the most love for my brother. He is one of the few people in my life that I really looked up to. Not for his actions so much, but for how mentally and physically strong he was. He had the biggest heart, but it was funny because whether he made a good or bad impression on you, you’d always remember him for that.

I didn’t see my brother for a good 3 years. We had just spent a week together before the accident. He was up visiting with his wife and three boys. It was cool; me and him got to spend a lot of quality time together. I didn’t realize how much he still loved BMX and how closely he’d been watching all my videos. I really cherish the last week we had together; it was one to remember for sure.

Anyways, he drove back to Calgary with his family and flew back the next day. He was going up north for work I believe. So my mom—who lives in Prince George—drove to Vancouver to help him out and give him a ride back up for work. He just flew in from Calgary on the 11th. I had picked him up at the Vancouver airport around 6:00 PM. We got back to our place and got an 8-pack of beers. I remember asking Andy if my brother could borrow his bike so we could go cruise. My brother hadn’t been on a bike for like 4 to 5 years. He was never too crazy, but he could grind like a mother fucker. So he was feeling it and started hopping up a couple 3 and 4 sets; we both got hyped. We ended up cruising down the waterfront and we stopped at this lookout spot to have a beer. If you knew my brother, you’d know that a couple beers wouldn’t be much of anything for him. I started telling him about this gap I wanted to do for an intro. I got the idea from that Trey Jones and Colt Fake video where Colt jumps into the swamp. So the whole situation was silly. It was just me and him. There was nobody around as spotters and nobody at the bottom, and he hasn’t rode in years. The set-up is about 3 to 4 stories up. You have to gap out over a set of stairs, a piece of glass which is around the same height as the top of the stairs, and then past a 10 to 15 foot concrete dock at the bottom. You literally land in a 50-foot by 100-foot square in the ocean. Shit is nuts. Super doable, but super fatal as you know already. I showed him and he was hyped. He has always been buck; not just with bikes, but life too. He said he wanted to do it and I didn’t have the balls to tell him no. I ended up posting up at the top with both our phones. I had faith in him, but definitely had a bad feeling. There are always going to be the “what ifs” or “what could I have done” thoughts. That was eating me up alive, so I had to stop blaming myself after a while. Anyways, he ended up casing the glass with the bottom bracket and the tire. It sent him straight over the bars, head first. I didn’t see how or where he landed after that; I was running down to the spot. I had to hop a fence and jump to the dock to reach him. By the time I got there, he had been floating in the water for about 4 minutes. The impact alone was enough to kill a man. I was in the water trying to keep him up for about 7 minutes before someone helped me get him out and perform mouth-to-mouth and CPR. It took about 20 minutes before the fire department got there and took over. I already had an idea of what his condition was; I just couldn’t believe it. I fished out Andy’s bike from the ocean and got all my shit together. It was wild man. There was like over 50 people there watching me scream bloody murder, asking for help. Only one guy helped; shout out to that dude. I forgot his name, but he busted both his ankles trying to make it down to where we were. The whole thing was surreal. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

What do you hope Carlos will be remembered for?

Lynden:  His love for his family; no matter what he would be there for them. He was such an amazing father to his boys, Odin, Connor, and Daniel, and a loving husband to his wife, Tauni.

For his loving side. Not the crazy Tito; he could have a temper.

He will be remembered doing something he loved: BMX. The fact that he even tried that gap shows how wild he really was. No fucks given with anything.

“Fat, tall, or small, they all fall.” – Carlos Andres Veloso

Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing this story. 

Photo Credit: Andy McGrath.

Let’s wrap things up. Taking a look to the future, do you guys have any other projects in the works you’d like to talk about?

Lynden:  I have been filming with Matt Perrin for a full-length video he has been making for all the homies in Vancouver. So I’m excited to see that! I recently tore my ACL and MCL filming for that video. So I’m gonna be out for a bit. I’m trying to rush the surgery, but with everything going on with COVID, it doesn’t look too promising.

Andy:  BMX wise, I’ve always just ran a few timelines for videos that could turn into something. There’s a Riffs one, a Medium one, and one I just drag shit into so I don’t have to go back and re-capture. When someone starts stacking more than others, they get their own timeline like Ron did. I also feel like for a lot of the dudes who have half parts, these could be their last parts to be proud of. I kind of sit on their footage, rather than make a bunch of montage edits people don’t really remember. So I guess yes, there are Riffs and Medium edits in the works.

Any last words or shout-outs?

Lynden:  I would like to thank everyone who helped me get to where I am, my family especially. They’ve always had my back with all my choices. Shout out to my dad. The guy recently broke 5 ribs so everyone pray for him. Haha. He’s 54 years old and is going through this for the second time. Shout outs to the boys from Cashmole: Andy, Dillion, Dave, Brent, lil’ Dave, pretty much all the older dudes that gave me the opportunity to get out here. And shout out to Blaise for waiting so long for my edit to come out. I know it took a bit, but I hope it was worth the wait. Finally, I’d like to say thank you to the Northern Embassy! Thanks for this interview and the opportunity to tell some of my story. I appreciate all of the feedback on my edit and hope you guys are stoked on the next one! Much love to the BMX community. Without it, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. Happy Skullet Day. See you.

Andy:  Butler at Medium Corporation, Ron at Cashmole, RT at Riffs, Blaise at Killemall, Brent at Luxury Edition, Lando at Atlantis, Chris, Steve, Sam, Rob, Roode at Hevil, Adam Dyke at Heavy Nettle, Luke at GLMN, B Real at BMX, Josh at 3 Ride, Bissat at Gorilla Jam, Brad at Rock Bay, Luke n’ Dilly at Kush. Anybody who ever brought the scene together by making something or throwing jams, anybody who has hauled and held a camera so the boys try harder, and anybody who has ever given up their old bike parts so the boys can go ride… That’s the type of shit that keeps the bird hard.

Photo Credit: Taylor Stos.