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24 Apr No Bikes 2016: Orcas Island Boat Trip

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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.

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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.

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[Lorenz]

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!).

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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.

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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.

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Portland Dudes – Caleb and Tony [Lorenz]

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James Van De Kamp – Orcas Transfer [Gates]

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Andy McGrath in the bobsled track [Sakelarides]

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Caleb Reucker – Super Tech Ramp Rider [Sakelarides]

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Don Delp Tree Excursion [Gates]

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Orcas Ferry [Gates]

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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.

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James Van De Kamp – Oak Harbor [Gates]

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Tom Arden [Lorenz]

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Greenake [Lorenz]

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First Stop – Tacos and Coffee [Lorenz]

Muk Train
Mukilteo Train [Gates]

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Whidby Island Ferry [Gates]

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Cary Lorenz – Pocket air at Port Townsend [Gates]

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James Van De Kamp – Mukilteo lines [Gates]

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Slade Scherer in the Mukilteo clam shell [Gates]

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Rained out of South Park 🙁 [Gates]

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Another ferry line [Lorenz]

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But there’s sandwiches! [Lorenz]

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Deception Pass [Lorenz]

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

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19 Apr PEACE OUT

It’s with heavy hearts that we announce today the end of an era, our last post at Northern Embassy. It’s hard to believe we’ve already existed for more than 6 years now, Northern Embassy was created to showcase Canadian BMX talent and give scenes a place to share their work.

In our hey day, we were banging out original content every couple of weeks. with less contributors now that has changed. We have believed in doing things right or not doing it at all since day 1, which is why it’s time for us to call it a day.

At the time which NE was created, we felt no other media outlets were truly giving Canadian BMX the proper attention it deserves. Which was the main reason for it’s creation to begin with. Today we feel that DIG and Ride have really stepped up their Canadian coverage over the last couple of years.

Throughout the hundreds of edits (215 videos on our Vimeo channel https://vimeo.com/user5177092/videos) , interviews, colabs, contests, clothing runs and even a trip to Barcelona, it has truly been a wonderful ride. BMX in Canada is at an all time high with more riders than ever, more spots than ever. Please expand your horizons beyond instagram, support your scene and continue to make Canadian BMX the best anywhere.
A huge thanks to Prashant Gopal, Aaron Gates, Zach Rampen, and Cory Beal who truly made this place happen from day one.  As well as anyone else who ever contributed to the site, anyone who helped us with any contest,or  anyone who let us film them or interview them over the years. A big thanks to our sponsors for truly believing that we had nothing but the best intentions from day one. Most importantly thanks to Canadian BMX for being the best and letting us show that for years.

Jeremy Deme
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08 Jul History: Spots/terrain

As BMXers we travel countless KMs to ride new spots, parks and trails. Our girlfriends and non riding friends have to endure our stopping and scoping of spots when they have absolutely no idea what or why we are looking at these things. We know/knew that a family summer vacation is also scoping new spots along the way and hopefully bringing your bike along (if you’re parents are that cool).

Although we look at cities and architecture in a much different way than those who don’t ride, an interesting and scary thought is to imagine if these things did not exist. Imagine if handrails were never made to help people down stairs. Imagine if cement/ asphalt was not across our cities but rather gravel and grass (@rodeopeanut). Imagine what’s to come which we have not yet seen.

Here are some interesting dates and history on some terrain we ride and maybe take for granted today.
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28 Jun USA Tripin in LUXURY

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May 14th, 2016:  Fresh across the border, none of us could believe me made it across, with no issues in an 1983 converted school bus with 4 BMX bikes on the back.

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May 15th:  Lake Anita state park in Iowa, we set up and cooked some good food to fuel us for the long drive ahead of us the next day.

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May 18th:  Denver Colorado, we met some awesome local dudes and the showed us some dope spots. Austin Karker was getting some good height on this rare natural half loop.

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May 22nd:  Salt Lake City Utah, hit a small skate park up and it rained a bit but it ended up turning out ok and we got a couple clips in the streets.

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May 23rd: Salt Lake City, On our way to Reno Nevada we seen this lake and had to stop. It was just amazing to see.

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May 25th: San Francisco California, Rolling across the Golden Bridge, it felt really good to finally make it to California after a long drive and a couple problems with the bus.

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May 26th: Mat Stiehl throwing the bars with a nice background before we rode up ever hilling San Francisco

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May 29th: Los Angeles California, Austin Karker getting some air in a ditch we were cruising through.

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June 1st: Los Angeles California, we all put some work in on this famous LA spot and end up with some good clips.

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June 4th: Venice Beach California, some good times cruising around enjoying the beautiful weather and beautiful women.

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June 5th: Long Beach California, last day in Cali Austin grabbed this 180 tree bonk over the rail before we made the journey to Las Vegas.

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What an unbelievable experience this trip was with a bunch of great humans. 2 broken brake lines, 1 burnt out fuse, 1 burnt one head light, 1 broke wiper blade, 1 broken passenger seat, 4 liters of extra motor oil and one messed up radiator but the bus made it home and so did we, 10600km later.

http://www.weareluxury.bigcartel.com/products

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19 May BMXFU X Northern EMbassy Camping shirts

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Over the years we’ve had some limited but memorable clothing runs. We’ve been wanting to do a collab with BMXFU forever and the stars aligned to create this beauty of a shirt.

This shirt represents some of the best things that come hand in hand with BMX, being outside, exploring unknowns, camping with buds and so much more. To be fair the dudes at BMXFU did all of the work but we couldn’t be happier with how they turned out! Support the homies and grab a shirt while they still have some, grab a hat, a pin, some wax or whatever else you might need knowing every penny you spend is going back to them riders at BMXFU. Click here to cop one
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28 Apr TBT Corey Dewey – Ten Pack Video

Been feeling nostalgic today and stumbled onto this beaut on the hard drive so decided to post a late TBT. You’re favorite riders actual favorite rider, Corey Dewey put in work for the Ten Pack video which earned him last section. Hard to believe the Ten Pack video is already 5 years old, give the full vid another watch here while you’re at it. If you think for a second Dewey doesn’t still kill it, you couldn’t be more wrong.

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06 Apr Greg Henry – 9 to 5

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Greg Henry has been a part of the Canadian BMX scene for well over a decade now. As an OG BMXFU member, an awesome biker and all around bad ass dude with pretty much the best attitude ever, we hit him up for our second 9-5 installment.

What is your 9-5?

I work as a residential plumber / gas fitter. I can’t really describe what my regular day is like because it varies so much.

What made you decide on that trade and what kind of schooling/ knowledge did you have to do for it?

I spent a lot of time before construction working in kitchens. I loved it, but realized the hours and the life style didn’t work well with also trying to be a productive biker. I realized construction trades would be something I could do, make decent money and still have time to ride kids bikes. Plumbing is a five year apprenticeship.

Was there ever a time that you weren’t working or studying, only riding?

No, I’ve have always worked full time or been in school full time.

Does your work schedule give you a good amount of biking time?

That’s the best part of my job. I work 8-430 mon-fri. Most my BMXFU brothers have a similar work schedule so we always get a few mid week sessions in after work. During the summer we try to get out of town to ride street somewhere different each weekend. And as far as work and going on trips goes. As long as I give reasonable amount of notice I’m always good to go.

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Do you view having a job/career throughout being a sponsored rider as a positive or negative?

That’s a weird question because I never considered not working as an option. Even though I’ve been riding for a long time I was never really natural good at the beginning. I just gave’r really hard. I didn’t get my first real sponsor until I was I think 21. Past the days of day dreaming about being a “pro bmxer”. I genuinely still really love riding and I always have. I’d be doing all the same shit if I never got hooked up. I don’t think work has ever held me back as far as riding goes. If anything it makes you value your free time. If I didn’t have to work I’d probably just send it and get hurt a lot.

What is a typical day in the life in your work?

25% coffee 10% BMXFU group chat 25% talking about work 40% work

What’s the best BMX trip you’ve ever been on?

Way to hard of a question. Any BMXFU trip.

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What advice would you give younger riders who aspire to be sponsored?

If your riding right now only because you want to get sponsored you should probably quit. If you ride because you love the act of riding and the places you go and the people you meet through riding. Keep doing it. Ride as much as you can. You’ll probably get good. Maybe someone will give you a free bike and pay check for a few years. Maybe they won’t. But it’s ok! Because you can get a job so you can get what ever bike you want, go on what ever trips you want and enjoy your life and be thankful you got to be part of the coolest subculture / hobby ever. BMX

Thanks/ shoutouts?

Merritt, MacNeil, BMXFU, Repset, parents, girlfriend

What’s in the plans for 2016?

Work hard, play hard. Also trying to get sponsored by faxe and Meet Justin Trudeau

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Photos by Trent Barker

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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.

PART I: PHOTOS BY AARON GATES

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PART II: PHOTOS BY TONY PIFF

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