Northern Embassy

The best source for exclusive Canadian BMX content from coast-to-coast.
Isaac Barnes – S&M X 1664 X DIG

16 Jan Isaac Barnes – S&M X 1664 X DIG

You may have already spotted this on DIG but Isaac Barnes is a Canadian Boss Hawg so obviously we are going to post it as well. Apparently these clips are those that didn’t make the cut for the upcoming S&M dvd. Based on how banging they are, we can only imagine how crazy Isaac’s section will be!

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Amos Franke for Etnies/Timebomb

13 Jan Amos Franke for Etnies/Timebomb

Around this time last year, Amos Franke was pretty under the radar in Canada. The people who have known Amos, know he’s had some exceptional abilities on a bike for sometime. The eternal Nelson hippie, combats his typecasting, with the dedication of an Kenyan endurance runner. It’s great to see Amos getting the support he deserves, through great companies like Etnies BMX and MacNeil Bikes. Look out in 2015, as this is just the appetizer to the smorgasbord of footage Amos is sitting on…

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Dorian Giordano | Welcome to 3 Ride

12 Jan Dorian Giordano | Welcome to 3 Ride

Chances are that if you’ve ever ridden Joyride at some point or other, you’ve probably seen or met Dorian Giordano. Dorian is only 11 but his bike riding is not what you’d expect from a typical 11 year old. Expect big things from this little shredder! Filmed and edited by Tyler Rizzi.

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10 Jan Mike Gray Interview

Mike Gray Joyride chillin'. Photo by Joel Fortin

Mike Gray Joyride chillin’. Photo by Joel Fortin

The first time I met Mike was at a tiny park in Elmvale Ontario. He rolled in, cruised around for a little bit and then did a huge 180 and snapped his head tube clean off. It looked pretty damn bad, but he didn’t seem too phased and instantly stood up and laughed it off. It was crazy. Since then Mike has made many moves, including getting picked up by various sponsors and making his way down to good ol’ California. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the dude, Mike is one of the best riders to have come out of Canada in the last few years, he’s made a name for himself by constantly producing ridiculous web videos, killing it at various contest, and just being a G. While he was back in the Toronto area for the holidays, I decided to hit him up to see what he’d been up to lately.

What’s good Mike, thanks for doing this interview! How you been?
Hey Joel, been good. Not totally healthy, I’ve had a pretty bad ankle injury for a couple months that is healing up well. Besides that I’ve been in good spirits and staying happy off my bike.

So first off how old are you, where are you from and where are you currently living?
22 from Newmarket, Ontario currently living in San Diego CA.

Mike Gray Toothpick. Photo by Joel Fortin

Mike Gray Toothpick. Photo by Joel Fortin

What first got you into bmx?
Riding the warehouse. A small indoor skatepark in Toronto. It was where all the local pros rode and it taught me that bike riding is all about having a good time with your friends.

You definitely have a unique style in the sense that you ride bigger setups than most people, what influenced you to start riding the way you do?
Thanks dude. I grew up riding with amazing people and I feel like we all influenced each other to go bigger. Sometimes I feel like a big drop is less gnarly than a flat rail … I guess it just depends what your used to and comfortable doing. I am stoked on anything dope.

Who did you look up to when you started riding? And who do you look up to now?
I looked up to Darren Berrecloth when I was a kid. Brandon Semenuk, Ryan Guettler, Colin Mackay, and of course everyone in Dave mirra freestyle BMX. The majority of my time on a BMX I have been looking up to Garret, Dennis, Chad, Simone, and pretty much everyone.

What is a typical day in the life in Cali for you?
If I’m healthy, it probably starts with a park session at one of the many local parks in the SD area, and throughout the day probably find me hangin’ and filming with the homies. Maybe go surf and play some ping pong and eat some delicious sandwiches.

Who do you ride with out there?
My roommate yuungfern, Dennis, Christian, Connor, Chris Martinez, Josh Rosengreen, Glen, Blake Peters, Doeby, Joey, Demarcus and all the locals! Theirs a lot of dope crews all over the city.

Mike Gray. Photo by Joel Fortin

Mike Gray. Photo by Joel Fortin

Where did you travel to this year and what destination was your favorite?
Favorite place was Malaysia for sure. Going on a journey to the other side of the world with a few friends/riders that I look up to so much, everything about the trip was ideal and surreal.

What are you into outside of bmx?
Family, Girls, Good food, music, surfing, hanging with friends, having a good time.

Well I think that’s it! Any shout outs?
Thanks for this opportunity Joel, you’ve been killing it lately.
Shout out to everyone that supports me: Joe, John, Colin and everyone at Haro Bikes, Brian and Joey at Demolition Parts, Jerry Badders at Vans. Cam and Howie at Sensus, My Parents and all my friends.

Follow @mikegraybmx on instagram

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TBT – Mike Fiz

08 Jan TBT – Mike Fiz

Montreal OG, whiskey appreciator/connoisseur, glass cutting expert and music fanatic, Mike Fiz has had some issues with a bad break on his wrist the last couple of years but continues to lurk in the shadows of Montreal’s streets and alleys. This edit goes back 4 years to December 2011 but is really a testament to Mike Fiz’s riding and spot selection, filmed and edited by Pierre Gauthier.

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07 Jan Think Local: BMX GALLERY 4130

View More: http://kararohlphotography.pass.us/bmxgallery4130

BMX Gallery 4130 opened up in Calgary, AB on April 1st, 2011. From that day on, the Calgary scene changed for the better, forever. Three Calgary shredders who have deep roots in BMX in Calgary, Alberta and Canada in general made it happen:

Brad HannafordGrew up in Calgary as a racer, went to the Worlds (1993?) a few times, and his Dad owned one of Canada’s first BMX shops “Dlite Cycle”. He was a racer, but always had a freestyle bike, and was riding street before we even had a park. Brad still races (ranked 3rd national for 30+ over) and rides a bunch street, park, etc. Brad deals with the payroll, and is BMX Gallery’s race specialist.

Devon RohlGrew up riding in Strathmore AB on his farm in 1992, started racing, and then got into the freestyle scene pretty quick. Has been living and riding in Calgary ever since. A great city, which he is proud to call his scene and home! Devon deals with book keeping, social media, and events.

Matt ThomasMatt has been riding since he was a young teenager digging trails in the NE of Calgary. Shuv Trails (1996) was his baby. Matt shreds everything these days, still digs, and has an unreal indoor ramp in Strathmore AB called the #mattcave. He is the shop manager, and the one that deals with everything, and then some. He kills it.

****** All shop Photos by Kara Rohl*******

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Matt: Stop yelling you guys! (matts in the shop yelling at locals.) Shop life….

When and why did you guys open up BMX Gallery 4130?
Brad: When? that’s a good one.
Devon: April 1, 2011
Matt: There was no jams, hard to find parts, everything was bunk.
Brad: Yea basically, I was tired of ordering stuff from the states all the time. No Shop to go too.
Devon: A city of a million people, you couldn’t buy any parts!
Matt: I remember I wanted a black chain and brake cable…couldn’t get one.
Brad: Haha! Good luck! Yea, so basically a hardcore lack of support for the BMX community, I guess.
Matt: Scene was dying. That’s about it.

What was the overall vision of the shop and what makes it unique?
Brad: I remember when the overall vision was that we were going to have a miniramp. Build the shop around a miniramp.
Devon: and that died…
Brad: Yup, that was quickly gone.
Devon: I just didn’t want a shop that was a messy jumblefuck of parts everywhere.
Brad: Yea I guess and it sorta took on the whole art gallery feel when we found the space that used to be an art gallery.
Devon: I just wanted all the brands to have their parts profiled together. You go into so many shops and all the sprockets are together in a pile, or stems, whatever. I felt like if we used brands marketing we could sell stuff better.
Matt: Yea, you could actually see how awesome some BMX (brands) stuff is, instead of a mess of plastic baggies.
Brad: for sure, or a pile of sprockets or something.

Why should riders support their local BMX shop?
Brad: Cause they need a place to change tubes
Matt: laughter… I’d say so they can have jams, parts, and a BMX scene. Before when there was no shop, everything was dying off.
Brad: not much going on without a shop.
Devon; And each shop that’s been around has done different stuff, but we really try to give back to the BMX community as much as we can.

Where did you guys buy your BMX parts growing up?
Matt: Dlite, B&P, Mission and Dans Comp.
Devon: all of the above.
Brad: Pretty much. I was on the B&P racing team for a while, and that was so bunk that my Dad just had to start up his own shop (Dlite Cycle). That pretty much sorted me.
Devon: Yup, I rode for Dlite, and Mission for a long time.
Brad: I bought some stuff from Mission in between the shop (dlite) and here. Not much. Didn’t seem like BMX was happening that hard at the time.
Devon: Oh yea, you had a 10 year Hiatus?
Brad: Maybe, yea.
Matt: 10 Year!?
Brad: Well I always had my bike, and always rode my bike. Just didn’t like go to the park or shit. I wasn’t into the scene.
Devon: year fair enough.
Brad: never not had a bike. Never sold my bike.
Devon:yea, to buy a car?
Brad: Yea, fuck that shit. I didn’t ride my bike to have girlfriends and stuff. To do sex n such hahaha! .

View More: http://kararohlphotography.pass.us/bmxgallery4130

How many jams/ contests have you guys held since being open?
Matt: 36
Brad: 420
Matt: Been a few, random street jams, shop jams, parking lots
Brad: well if we count them back…
Devon: Get rad (Rad 25th anniversary),
Brad: Three Hills
Devon: Battle of Alberta
Brad; Did we do any Mills jams?
Devon: oh yea, the shop anniversary jams. Couple other ones. Back alley Jam.
Brad: Back alley jam was sweet.
Matt: Jams with 10Pack and the other one with the Shadow guys
Devon: Battle of Alberta, I don’t know there has been lots. There fun, brings everyone together.
Matt; Lets do another one.
Devon: Let’s do a Chinook Jam. A winter one. Like no date, but just put the word out ahead of a Chinook. Get people to ride street.
Brad: Pop up jam.
Matt: 120 Days till spring!
Devon: Hahaha! There will be like 5 jams by that time.
Brad: True. All the Red deer dudes say they go to Sylvan lake on Friday nights. Yea, or the two dudes at Matts.
Matt: go to #mattcave

What’s the raddest thing that’s happened at the shop since it’s been opened?
Matt: The Rad or Richard Gallant jumping the fence in the back
Brad: That’s what I was gonna say! Richard jumping ht efence from the grind boxes. Rad Jam was sweet, but it wasn’t…..
Devon: I just thought it was crazy that Eddie Fiola and all those dudes were in the shop buying shit.
Brad: that was crazy. And remember we put on the Cru Jones helmet and sat on all the museum BMX stuff?
Devon: Oh yea, they shipped it to us and we fired through all the boxes checkin it out we were so stoked.
Brad: it was Awesome. Hollywood mIke Miranda pink Hutch… That was awesome. Maybe that was the raddest thing?
Devon: I think the Richard Gap woulda been it, if he would have landed it.
Brad: Hahaha! That’s true. It was still Gnarly.
Devon: it was very Gnarly.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened since you guys have been open?
Matt: laughter.
Devon: I think it was when Matt was attacked by the drunk guy with the shoe.
Matt: Yea the shoe attack, or the drunk guy that stumbled in here on a busy day with a bag of blood, bouncing off the display cases. Or maybe the giant coiler left by our front door.
Brad: It’s awesome that it all happened to Matt. Laughter.

View More: http://kararohlphotography.pass.us/bmxgallery4130

How’s the Calgary scene these days and how does it compare to a decade ago?
Matt: Oh snap.
Brad: a decade ago I didn’t even ride my bike.
Devon: the scene is strong these days.
Brad: Yea, I’d say the scene is super strong. Tons of young kids getting really good.
Devon: I feel like 10 years ago there was a huge drop. A lot of kids didn’t care about BMX. They skated. And now I feel like BMX is almost more popular then skating in Calgary.
Matt: Yea. there was a lot less freecoasters and plastic pegs rolling around. Now there is a lot more younger dudes.
Devon: 10 years ago felt like the 90’s.
Brad: yea, 10 years ago was the ashes of the 90’s.
Matt: there was still street and mills. Trails were good.
Devon: It’s true, it’s all the same shit. Nothing has changed terrain wise.
Matt: Nope. Same stuff to ride as ten years ago.
Devon: more people.
Brad: more people, more whips and bars. Laughter

What’s your opinions on BMX trends?
Matt: They’re amazing.
Brad: I love BMX
Devon: I feel like it’s an endless cycle.
Brad; we wouldn’t be in business if they didn’t exsist.
Matt: Trends definatley help out. Like the cassette to coaster to cassette to coaster. Type stuff. Keeping it different and keeping people trying different things.
Brad: Yea I think without people starting new stuff, trend setters, everything would just be same forever and that is just whack.
Matt: Bring back the chain wallets though!
Brad: Chain wallets. Laughter. And bash guards. Not like sprocket bash guards, I want ones that attach to the frame. Dave Volker type shit.

Do you have a message for rider’s who order their parts from US mailorders?
Matt: Goodbye Canadian BMX shops. Hello…..
Devon: I get when kids order the odd thing. I just hate it when they order everything, and then they come into the shop and want us to help them out with our tools, or show them how to put it on.
Brad: borrow the tools… I think they just have to look at it as, if everyone ordered there shit off dans, there would be no bike shop. Then where would you go to borrow tools, or watch a video or see parts? Meet your buddies… I don’t know, I’ve ordered shit from the states, but only when it’s a serious hassle to look for it here.

Final remarks or shout outs?
Devon: Thanks to all our awesome customers and all the BMXers in Canada!
Matt: Everyone that’s come by. The canadian distros. Cru Jones, Laurie Laughlin,
Brad: Laughter Laurie Laughlin didn’t come, she doesn’t get a shout out. But cru def does.
Devon: All the pros that have come through with the distros.
Brad: 1664, 10 Pack, Kill em all, Ryder, Vans, PBR for hooking us up with stuff for the events.
Devon: Embassy
Brad: Northern Embassy for keeping it real
Devon: All the team guys and draft picks. Matt for running the shop.
Brad: Matt ofr shop managing
Matt: all the crazy people for keeping it exciting.
Devon: shout out to BMX
Matt: Jay Miron, Basic Bikes
Brad: Laughter Did you see that flip book on Snakebike of Graham Pye?! That was sick. He was doing a turndown in kneepads and short shorts… that was awesome
Devon: Shout out to G Pye.Shout out to Ken Dowdle. That guy is awesome.

Matt: K all you kids in the shop shout out BMX MOFO!!
KIDS: BMX MOFO!!!

matt
Matt Thomas

devon
Devon Rohl

brad2
Brad Hannaford

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06 Jan Think Local

tinklocal
You’re watching tv and a car commercial comes on. Your dad bitches about the car he bought last year being $4,000 cheaper in the commercial than what he paid, before realizing he’s on an American channel and that’s USD pricing. Even if you wanted to, you aren’t able to buy a brand new car in the USA as a Canadian. Even though we’re talking about thousands of dollars savings, it simply can’t be done. However, you can buy a bike or bike part from the USA to save a few bucks, but is it worth it?


Many are guilty of doing it at one time or another, but the reality is buying bike parts from the USA is in no Canadian’s best interest. Why you ask? Think of any BMX event you’ve ever attended in Canada. Think of that time you broke something on a Thursday night mid summer, right before the weekend and needed a quick fix or replacement part from your local shop to ensure you could ride that weekend or go on that road trip you’d been planning for weeks. Or that Saturday mid day where you needed a quick fix to keep your session going. Think of any of your buddies who have ever gotten a deal or a free part from a shop, distro or brand in Canada. Think of that indoor park that gives/ gave you a place to ride all winter. Think of your local shop who have helped get a skatepark built in your town or city. The list could go on forever but essentially buying parts in Canada means your money goes back into BMX in Canada, plain and simple. As 1664’s support your local shop campaign has said “Local shops support the scene and are the people spearheading most major projects, jams, contests and local rider sponsorships”. Any person who has ever been to a Metro Jam or Street Justice will tell you that BMX was in their blood forever after that, similar can be said for any young riders who have had the chance to ride with international pros on their home turf.


The flip side of this is in the price you see listed in the USA, which looks much lower at first glance, ends up being much more expensive upon receipt. 3Ride have an awesome calculator (http://www.3ride.com/v2/info/USA_CALC/) which gives you a better idea of what your final price will be, which is never as sweet of deal as you initially think. Joe Mamma in Ottawa also have an interesting Bike pricing comparison (https://joe-mamma.myshopify.com/blogs/news/16124648-its-cheaper-to-buy-in-canada-than-in-the-u-s). Not to mention in the event of a warranty or any kind of small part issue, your local shop can help you out right away.


At Northern Embassy always steer clear of any product talk/ industry talk because this site is and will always only be about Canadian BMX.  However, we strongly believe in supporting our own country, and also supporting the brands, shops and riders who support Canadian BMX. Over the next year we will be doing a few shop profiles under the Think Local tag, to push an important message and maybe convince a few more riders to support/think local. Starting with BMX Gallery 4130 in Calgary who are easily one of the raddest BMX shops in Canada, owned and ran by riders who support the Calgary scene to the fullest, and have shown their support to NE since the beginning. Check back tomorrow for the feature.

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