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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.
I remember watching videos of Justin riding his backyard ramps for ages, and it’s insane to see how much the ramps, along with Justin’s riding have progressed. Too much awesome shit in this to name, on a coaster or a cassette it’s no doubt J-bone knows how to get creative on these ramps. DIG posted this fantastic video, along with some words by Justin about BMX as an art form.
In a BMX world of instant (or insta) gratification, dvds or non web based projects have become less and less existent. As much as everyone is entitled to their opinion on the subject, we at NE will always appreciate the physical aspect of a dvd project over anything else. Being able to easily watch a project/ time in people’s lives for years to come is worth a hell of alot more than any web based format. Atlantis seem to share that opinion as this is their second full length dvd since opening it’s doors in Vancouver in November 2014.
With a stacked team of Western shredders including: Carl Arnett, Matt Desson, Brad Hill, Wink Grant, Andrew Schubert, Owen Dawson, Jordan Hango and more, some of Western Canada’s biggest guns are behind Atlantis and have put in work for SPYGLASS. If you have any pre-conceived notions about what a shop dvd is, throw them out the door because this is an amazing Canadian BMX DVD, end of story.
Carl Arnett gets things started in typical Carl fashion. Full speed ahead pegless action with no shortage of variety or spot selection. The intro clip of the half cab which cost Carl a busted wrist is ridiculous.
Daddy Desson follows up Carl with a solid variety of Desson stuntin. Rails, whips, hangers, Desson continues to kill it and also at speed. His last clip is pretty unreal, amazing spot and perfect spot usage.
Brad Hill and Wink Grant split a part which is probably a personal fav just because they are both smooth cats and compliment each other very well. Wink has really come to be an underrated western Canadian rider with steez most of us can only dream of having. Bob also has a deep bag of tricks and eye for good spots which makes any of his footage a treat.
The mix section is also bangin, too many dudes to name but you’ll recognize them when you see them and they shred. Colind Fried’s clips are amazing. It’s also nice to see some Orlando clips in there, it’s always good to see the dude working his ass off to keep things running smoothly still getting out on his bike despite a busy schedule.
Next is Andrew Schubert who killed it on his bike and behind the lens. Schubert edited and filmed this video (Orlando filmed a bunch as well, “the backseat driver with an icey hand on Schubert’s shoulder”). Schubert’s entire part really varies and his last few clips prove he can also drop hammers.
Owen Dawson continues his annihilation of Canadian rails. No rail is safe. The kinked curved rail is unreal, among a bunch of other craziness.
Last but not least, Hango wraps it up in Hango fashion. Where to even begin with Hango, still one of the most under rate Canadian riders ever, this section is further proof. Name every color of Adidas Buzenitz Hango wears in his section and win a pair of Adidas shoes (feel free to email them your size with no mention that we told you to).
It’s hard not to give anything away in these types of things but I feel confident saying this DVD will easily be one of the best Canadian BMX dvds or BMX dvds in general for that matter this year. The riding is really good.
It should be noted this entire dvd was filmed with VX’s and VX footy never looked so good. Editing is absolutely on point as is filming throughout. The soundtrack is a breath of fresh air being a wide mix of genres which works incredibly well and suits each section/ rider very well.
Spyglass is a DVD that you watch for the first time and genuinely get really hyped to ride. It also makes you want to watch it over and over again as there’s a real good overall vibe throughout mixed with great riding and perfect filming/editing.
There’s a genuine feel to some of the best BMX dvds in which the collective group of friends are just having a good time and the clips come as a result. Nothing is forced or un-genuine, and Spyglass is exactly that. Do yourself a favour and snag a copy and support Canadian bmx/ dudes who’d rather ride bikes, cruise their city and have a couple beers after a day’s work than worry about youtube views.
The Calgary scene has always been rad, here’s further proof. “a very serious freestyle bicycle motocross video filmed in Calgary: Jay park, Austin Odegnal, Matt Thomas, Richard Gallant, Jon Alden, Chay Nelson and other buds too”