Author: Aaron Gates

04 May No Bikes – Alaska

Alaska was a dream trip that was a decade in the making. Since we started doing No Bikes trips in 2009, the general theme has been to go to interesting places, often out of the way, to ride cool stuff. Although Alaska was always bound to meet the first two criteria, the third is an open question to most people. I know that there is a lot to ride in AK, but others have found that idea to be somewhat unbelievable. After ten years of evolving crews and memorable trips to Washington (twice), Oregon (three times), Montana (twice), Utah, and BC (twice), six of my favorite people came to visit my favorite place. The above video contains nine minutes of highlights from the summer of 2019. Read on for some photos to preview a ‘zine that will come out later this year (for those who like hard copies, and want to know more about Alaska and this trip).

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07 Aug Drifter Dave Memorial Edit and Jam

Chris Silva put together a 50th birthday edit for “Drifter” Dave Stewart, who passed away last year. Dave was a longtime Toronto and Rexdale local who had sections in the legendary ICC DVDs, built trails, and was well known across Canada for his longevity in bmx.

Drifter Dave’s 50th birthday jam is happening tomorrow (August 8th), 2 pm, starting at the Toronto Music Garden.

https://youtu.be/hGmkzoEyx5s
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04 Aug Weird and Revered – Vagabond Squad

“Vagabond Squad” is a full-length BMX video from the Weird & Revered crew. Filmed from 2016 to 2019, the project is community rooted with a strong focus on the Edmonton BMX scene. Although a majority of the clips are from the crew’s home city, the footage spans 9 countries, 8 American states, and 4 Canadian provinces and territories. Full and split sections from: Thomas Henderson, Jesse Baraniuk, Logan Kirzinger, Joe Weidman, Mark Stanway, Duke Thomson-Kurz, Andrew MacLeod, Cary Lorenz, Kyle Lafleur, Sean Tiffin, Ted Bambrick, Tyler Horness, Justin Schwanke, and Derek Bolz.

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15 May The King of Streets

Richard Gallant Lives in Calgary, AB. He is one of the great Canadian street riders of his generation, and produced some of the wildest video content to come out of Canada in the 2000s. After Richard posted a very old clip of a crazy ledge combo last week, we reached out and he sent over a few more things (either his parts, or things he was in that he was stoked on) to post here and on Instagram.

Additional Words by Jack Nicholl

It’s not easy to sum up who Richard is in a few paragraphs. He’s a one of a kind, skinny dipping, roof dropping, hurdy-gurdy playing, psychedelic bike riding, snow covered rail bombing, kind and genuine human being. The word Legend comes to mind, but he’s probably too modest for that title.

My first encounter with Richard was at the Rad 25th Anniversary contest in Cochrane. He rode in the contest in a tiny pair of shorts and a leather vest, looking like Andre the Giant and riding like an absolute maniac. I asked somebody who the hell the the guy in the booty shorts was, they just told me “That’s the King. The King of Streets”.

After moving to Calgary, I got to know Richard. Everything he does, he does with passion. His music room is filled with dozens of eclectic instruments that most people haven’t heard of. He plays them all skillfully and runs them through a suitcase filled with effects pedals. You can find him there messing around with distorted Hammered Dulcimer jams, or playing his massive harp pasted with Boicott BMX stickers.

Richard’s riding is as rad as his music. He can balance of gnarly and tech, and he’s been doing it for decades. Occasionally, he unearths clips of himself as a skinny 15 year old kid. Dropping off buildings, slamming through railings, it’s like he grew into how burly his riding was. I suppose riding an Eastern Hercules will either break you or make you into man of mythical proportions.

The more I think about it, the word Legend suits him just fine.

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11 May Chase Davidson in Australia

Chase Davidson spent some years down in Australia and put these clips together when we all got stuck at home. it’s a great mix of park riding and some spots, with cameos from a few of the Aussies that I always want to watch ride skateparks. I asked Chase to give a little background on where he’s from and how the video came together.

I’m from a small little town called Cottam out near Windsor, Ontario but have been travelling worldwide pretty steadily since 2013. Thes epast two years I spent down in Aus on a Working Holiday Visa. Most of the clips filmed for this had no real objective of being in an edit but then COVID-19 came in and I felt it was a good time to throw it all together.

Due in part to being on the road so often, most of the riding I do is usually solo in the early mornings so I’m looking forward to getting back to Canada in a few weeks and riding with all the homies in baconeggsbmx again.

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04 May Embassy Decade in Review: The Rise of Hango

Because Embassy started at the beginning of the decade, almost the entirety of the website has existed over this period. One of the great functions of the site has been to serve as an informal record of things that happened in Canadian BMX. In this series, we’ll attempt to bookend the decade and call back to some of our favorite things that happened over the last ten years.

The last Nelson contest took place in the winter of 2003. It was the end of a long and storied tradition in Canadian BMX, but it was also the beginning of something. Dustin Guenther won that contest, but right behind him was 16 year old Jordan Hango, riding his local indoor park. BMX media was pretty thin that year, and the only write-up I remember seeing was from Wade Nelson, who pronounced that “Jordan Hango is the future”. He was right – Jordan’s riding is so undeniably pure, gnarly, and effortless, that it was inevitable for people to take notice. And in a way, it kind of had to be.

I don’t claim to know Jordan well, but I have known him for a long time. The most obvious thing about his riding is that if he wasn’t in the spotlight, he would still be doing the exact same thing. I don’t get the sense that he ever put much into getting sponsors, and he’s where he’s at now because it’s impossible to see that guy ride and not be blown away by it.

Of all the guys putting out big video parts this decade, I don’t think more than a couple of dudes can touch the volume of full throttle wild sections that Jordan’s put together. It would be easy to wax eloquent about how great everything is, but better to just watch the parts, compiled below.

Blazeguard. John Thompson made some of the most epic web videos of last decade, so the anticipation for this one was high. I think if there was a videographer equivalent to Hango’s riding, it’s probably JT. Very talented, super dialed, and just a guy that executes well. The video only had three parts, but this was one of them, and it’s so good.

Holy Fit. Legend has it that Hango wasn’t supposed to have a part in this video, and a few Fit guys came to the Northwest on a filming trip not knowing much about him. After that trip, he was probably getting a section in this thing. The fastplant rail combos in this one are amazing, and at 2:40 he conquers a spot in Vancouver that everyone’s driven by a hundred times but nobody thought was possible to ride.

Fit web videos. These were web videos. (web videos!)

Atlantis – Battle of the Birds.

Atlantis videos. These parts are the best, because they have such a natural feel to them. It’s pretty clearly just Jordan out filming with Schubert and whoever else is around, and then throwing in some absolute deadman stuff for good measure.

Atlantis – Splyglass.

Fictional Finalism.

X-Games. And then, for at least a moment, a wider audience got a bit of a glimpse into just how good Jordan’s riding is. The behind the scenes descriptions from Moeller from the full episode are perfect (it’s out there if you search for it).

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23 Dec Embassy Decade in Review: Bad 4 Life

Because Embassy started at the beginning of the decade, almost the entirety of the website has existed over this period. One of the great functions of the site has been to serve as an informal record of things that happened in Canadian BMX. In this series, we’ll attempt to bookend the decade and call back to some of our favorite things that happened over the last ten years.

There’s a tendency in BMX to define large parts of the culture by its urban areas. So much of BMX is centered around what’s happening in LA, Austin, and New York. So much of Canadian BMX is centered around Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal (and Calgary, and Edmonton, and Winnipeg, and Halifax, etc.). These cities are where the distros, the skateparks and the best street riding are. They’re where riders move to when they leave home for a bigger scene, and generally, they produce most of the content that we would want to post about on a website like this.

Canada isn’t quite that way though. Past the big cities, most of the riding scenes in the country are small. A group of friends that knows another group of friends an hour down the highway. A local skatepark that may be new, or may be 20 years old, ramps and jumps in somebody’s yard… this is how a lot of use grew up.

Brodie Gwilliam’s videos paint a picture of the extreme other side. Among the rise of urban street riding, Brodie and his group of (kind of) misfits seemed to explore every random town on the prairies, they rode waterslides, and literal rocks, and they did it all in super clear high definition on one of the first RED cameras to shoot bmx. The fact that all of this existed at all, in the form that it does, doesn’t make much sense. But it’s amazing.

Justin Schwanke interviewed him for Embassy here. Jeremy interviewed him about their full-length Let’s Get Fistical here.

The B4L video that I’ve watched back the most was the “Van Life” edit, from a two week trip Brodie took to Vancouver. Peak Ridgeway, Andy, and Dave Laliberte while travelling around in Mat’s $300 van.

Amidst all of that exploring, the Pinnacle of Brodie’s filmmaking this decade was the “Bush League” series. Filmed mostly (entirely?) on his own farm, he rides the most ridiculous obstacles. Modified ramp setups, tractors, hay bales, farm equipment, and so much more. Brodie’s riding really holds its own as well. It’s one of the most well-executed and unique projects I’ve seen in BMX, and he put together three (!) amazing versions of this concept.

While Bush League 1 exists, and is a pretty fun collection of Sask locals riding nothing, the second through fourth episodes are where Brodie really found the style that defines the series. And they’re unreal.

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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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