Author: Aaron Gates

14 Apr No Bikes 2017

For this past year’s no bikes trip we hit some old haunts and a couple of spectacular new ones. Our group of riders spans across a ton of different areas – multiple states and provinces, but it was basically birthed in Kelowna and Nelson. There are a couple of new parks in that area and I just like going to the Kootenays, so we took a trip.
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29 Jan BC Interior Trip

Slade sent this one through, featuring himself, Kostya Chimkovitch, Jon Fredlund and John Thompson. I’m assuming that Kostya put the video together, since he’s been rolling around with a camera lately. It’s a pretty nice little tour of the parks around the Okanagan these days, with some killer riding. The parks get AMAZING near the end of the trip, so you’ll want to hang on for that.

Bonus trivia – the rail that Kostya crashes on in the first clip (and later pulls) was first done by pro skater Ryan Smith as the ender in his Nobodys part, in 1997. That video also featured this classic part from Simon Barry (that you should watch).

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24 Apr No Bikes 2016: Orcas Island Boat Trip


Words: Aaron Gates Photos: Cary Lorenz (film), Aaron Gates (digital), Brandon Sakelerides (fisheye)

In about June, my wife and I learned that we had kid number 3 on the way. If you’re thinking this is the weirdest way to start a bmx article, well yeah. It was also a weird way to start a bmx trip. I mean, it was a little while before a dozen guys would come to town and rip apart a bunch of parks around Puget Sound, but it was a defining thing for this trip for me. The weird part, of course, was that nobody on the trip really knew what was going on.

Cary Orcas 1Foot
Cary Lorenz – Orcas Deep End [Gates]

I tell this story as a strange window into adult life, knowing that most people reading it won’t have been through this and some never will. But you’ll all experience weird life things at some point. As you get older, lots of things will come along that take up a lot of time and make bmx seem less important. You’ll either find a way to keep integrating bmx into your life as these changes happen, or you won’t. And either option is just fine. I’m lucky enough to have a half dozen skateparks and a bmx track within ten minutes of my house, and my first two kids have taken to riding pretty easily. I still manage to get out and ride – not enough to feel like I’m accomplishing anything, but enough that it’s still fun.


We’ve done no bikes trips every year since 2009 or so and most of them have involved lining up a bit of help at home while I took off to some other state for an extended long weekend. This trip was (thankfully) close to home. One thing about having a kid – the first three months after you find out it’s happening are the worst. You can’t really tell anyone about it for various reasons, but it’s also the time you need the most help. Things were a little challenging, but we wrangled the help that we could get and just went for it.

Cary Lorenz – Port Townsend [Sakelarides]

I felt a little weird about just going on like things were normal, but one thing I’ve learned about growing up is that if you don’t make habits and stick to them, things you enjoy will fall by the wayside and you end up doing a lot of nothing (and that my wife is amazingly patient with my hobbies). This trip is a habit at this point.

Don Delp – Oak Harbor [Sakelarides]

One great part of this was having my kids around – they hung out at the campfire a little bit and came out riding on one of the days. Now, don’t get me wrong, bringing a four year old and a five year old to a skatepark is a real pain. They’re not very good at paying attention and you spend most of your time making sure they don’t get run over, but I think it’s something cool that they’ll remember and I look forward to doing road trips with them when they get older and more aware of their surroundings.

James Van De Kamp – Port Townsend [Sakelarides]

It’s not just me either. We always have a huge range of ages on our trips. The first time I met Butler, I was about 16 and Dave had a baby girl. Now, we always bring a young guy or two that’s only a few years older than Butler’s kid. I see other guys going through big life stuff too, and the complexion of the trip changes as guys get married, start families, and move around.

Slade Scherer – Port Townsend [Sakelarides]

All that said, this was a banger of a trip. Orcas Island is a real adventure – it has one of the best skateparks anywhere and a gnarly hill bomb that roasted through a brand new pair of shoes for me. I made a point of putting a trip together where we’d travel mostly by ferry, and that worked out really well. There were a few good parking lot hangouts and riding the ferry lets you see Puget Sound from a very cool and different perspective. We swam in lakes and the ocean, stopped by Seattle BMX, rode all sorts of bowls and calmed any tension with Four Lokos (this was also a bad idea and those things are awful!).

Ridgeway Transfer
Mat Ridgeway – Surfin’ Orcas [Gates]

With that as an introduction – enjoy this giant pile of photos! They’re in no particular order and all of them are from somewhere around Puget Sound in Washington.

Slade Orcas Wallride
Slade Scherer – Orcas Wall [Gates]

Post Script: Strangely, I wrote all of the above before I learned (along with the rest of you) that Embassy was soon to be finished. Like most of us who started out posting here, my posts became less and less frequent up to the point where I was just hanging around to write about this trip each year and maybe interview someone interesting every once in a while. I always appreciated the ability to just drop in when I had something really good to share. Not having to worry about running a site and maintaining regular content was a very wonderful thing to me, and I can’t thank Jeremy, Prashant and Cory enough for keeping things running so well for so long.

Embassy was especially important to me as an ex-pat; I haven’t really lived in Canada in almost 15 years but have been able to connect with my friends, my scene, and my roots through this site in a way that helped me feel like I still had a place there.

I (Aaron) will still be around and will probably put together similar stuff. Since I don’t have anywhere to put it anymore, I set up an Instagram account up for bike stuff (@nobikes_). Check it out if you want to see photos of adventures like this one. More importantly though, follow @presencebmx to get the latest on Jeremy’s new video. Jeremy’s made some of my all time favorite videos over the years and I can’t wait to see Last Stand.

Portland Dudes – Caleb and Tony [Lorenz]

James Orcas
James Van De Kamp – Orcas Transfer [Gates]

Andy McGrath in the bobsled track [Sakelarides]

Caleb Reucker – Super Tech Ramp Rider [Sakelarides]

Don Delp Tree Excursion [Gates]

Orcas Ferry [Gates]

The Top of Mt. Constitution – Orcas Island. Starting front left: Ty Scott, Mat Ridgeway, Cary Lorenz, James Van De Kamp, Caleb Reucker, (middle): Slade Scherer, Dave Butler, Tom Arden, (back): Don Delp, Loren Lyftogt, Tony Piff, Brandon Sakelarides, Andy McGrath, Aaron Gates.

James Oak Harbor
James Van De Kamp – Oak Harbor [Gates]

Tom Arden [Lorenz]

Greenake [Lorenz]

First Stop – Tacos and Coffee [Lorenz]

Muk Train
Mukilteo Train [Gates]

Whidby Ferry
Whidby Island Ferry [Gates]

Cary Corner
Cary Lorenz – Pocket air at Port Townsend [Gates]

James Muk
James Van De Kamp – Mukilteo lines [Gates]

Slade Muk
Slade Scherer in the Mukilteo clam shell [Gates]

South Park
Rained out of South Park 🙁 [Gates]

Another ferry line [Lorenz]

But there’s sandwiches! [Lorenz]

Deception Pass [Lorenz]

We found lakes everywhere. This one was the best. [Lorenz]

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12 Mar No Bikes 2015 – Odds, Ends and Other Stuff

Left to Right: Andy McGrath, Greg Rooke, Seth Bernard, Matt Horak, David Clay, James Nelson, Aaron Gates, Mat Ridgeway, Tony Piff, Slade Scherer, Nick Lindstrom, Colby Brouilliard, Wayne Anasogak, Cary Lorenz, Ty Scott, Duke Hardcastle, Dave Butler.

Vans, lakes, salt flats, temples, hot springs, dams, bike piles, twins. This is the good stuff.



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26 Feb No Bikes 2015: Gallery by Aaron Gates


Seth Bernard – Layton, UT

I’ve been fotunate to grow up around a lot of awesome bike riders, many of whom were on this trip. We had lots of different styles – street guys, trails, concrete shredders. We rode a lot of stuff. Mostly parks, but a lot of stuff.


David Clay – Bonneville Salt Flats


Andy McGrath – Layton, UT


Tony Piff – Salt Lake City


Cary Lorenz – Heber City, UT


Greg Rooke – Ketchum, ID


Tony Piff – Hailey, ID


Matt Horak – Somewhere in Idaho


Mat Ridgeway – Salt Lake City, UT


Cary Lorenz – Salt lake City, UT


Mat Ridgeway – Salt lake City


Greg Rooke – Heber City, UT


Matt Horak – Heber City, UT

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21 Feb No Bikes 2015: Fat-Trax Gallery by Greg Rooke


For two years in New England, Fat-Trax was my bmx family. I was very stoked that Greg, Matt, Seth, James and Colby could join our crew of north westerners for this trip. The shop itself is a mainstay in the New England scene – owned by an old skier, but run by locals in the bmx, skate and snowboard scenes. The New England crew covered the most ground of all of us, branching off to hit Colorado after everyone else headed home.

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19 Feb No Bikes 2015: 35MM Gallery by Cary Lorenz


Each year, I’ll map out a course of skateparks that I want to ride in a new part of America and invite a few carloads of friends that I’ve met over the past two decades of riding bmx. As many of us get older, these trips are a way to remind ourselves of simpler times when we didn’t have jobs, kids, or significant others. To be clear, adulthood is great and I think there are amazing benefits to all of those things, but every once in a while it’s therapeutic to be able to set the every day heavy lifting aside and hit the road with the only concerns being where to camp and how long we’ll last at a bunch of epic concrete giants before security, darkness or exhaustion forces us to move on.

Cary Lorenz brought a 35MM camera and captured this adventure perfectly (on film!). We’ll be posting more photos and an edit from our trip through Idaho and Utah in the days to come.

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11 Jun Andrew Lazaruk in America

In Lazer’s own words:

This video came together by accident kind of. We had plans to go on one weekend trip to check out some new skateparks and brought a camera along to get a few clips/photos. I ended up seeing Aaron more frequently than planned after that and we were able to ride more and check out more new parks the next few times as well.

This ended up showcasing my favourite parts about BMX though, riding cement bowls and going on trips with good friends to ride and find new ones. We hadn’t been to the majority of these skateparks before, so just getting out somewhere new is always part of the enjoyment. Especially in the areas we went too, there was either an awesome ferry ride or scenic drive to get to the spot. We never set out to film crazy stuff, just happened to document some fun stuff at the amazing places we visited. Can’t wait for more trips like this!

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