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GT – Seriously Fun Bangers

Talk about the video that nobody saw coming… Sure, there were some murmurs here and there, but damn, GT's Seriously Fun hit like a sneak attack with banger after banger. This was GT's first full-length video in years—and really, the first official offering showcasing the new current GT team. The 20-minute video debuted right here on Ride for 72 hours and hopefully you caught it. If not, well, consider these bangers and the words from the beasts that committed them as a little teaser and reason enough to get yourself a digital download here or you can keep your eyes peeled for the DVD, which will be available soon at GT dealers and packed full of extras including past GT edits and a big secret bonus menu.

Brian Kachinsky

“When a setup is nearly perfect it leaves little excuse not to try something you've never done.”

Brian Kachinsky has proven to us time and time again that for him, no rail is too steep, kinked, or gap to pegs too far. But his section in Seriously Fun really shows how far Brian has progressed with the more technical setup orientated side of things. It’s awesome to see a seasoned veteran pro like Brian continue to progress and push it harder than ever with a few new NBDs under his belt as well.

GT Seriously Fun Bangers Brian Kachinsky

Brian Kachinsky’s nollie to grind skills are well established, but sending one to 40/60 on a rail/brick ledge—at night no less—that’s some savage shit right there. (Photo: Josh McElwee)

How's it feel to clock to two NBDs in one session?
That session was incredible. It was like four straight hours of sessioning the same spot and coming up with more things to do. The session started at 9pm and ended about 2am. I love nights like that.

You've been on the hunt for a nollie-to-manual for a while, right?
Yes and no, I've definitely been looking for a good one, but also knew of some that could work but was just always looking for better. I had never done the trick on a rail, only ledges… so a rail was going to be a whole new ball game. I remember trying nollie manual after I did the first nollie ice in the 2009 X-Games and kept missing my tire. I'm glad that this many years later I was able to get it done on a legit rail. It felt just as good as I'd imagined it would.

I'm assuming the nollie gap 40/60 was, well… that setup looks like it was asking for it…
That was definitely a set up thing. I hadn't really even considered a nollie gap to 40/60 prior to finding that one. I'm glad it worked out. It was like 5-6 tricks down the list of things I wanted to maybe try if everything prior to it went well… and everything did go well so I sent it.

Although the setup looks perfect, were there any things about that were stressing you out?
Yeah, I guess the fear of the unknown stressed me out a bit. When a set up is nearly perfect it leaves little excuse not to try something you've never done. At the same time… you've still never done it and the only way to know is try. The fear of the unknown is scary and you know that if you pass this chance up, you might not find one that's more perfect.

Which was a more of a battle, the manual or the grind?
They were both about equal. They both had their close calls and battles before I was satisfied with it.

Which are you more hyped on?
I'm more hyped on the nollie gap 40/60  because it as something I thought of on the spot but didn't think I would actually do it…it's amazing what adrenaline, momentum and confidence from previous successes will make you do sometimes.

Is there a specific reason why you ended up doing them at night?
Yes. This is the reason. My friend Dave Zovko and I went to rail earlier that day to try to nollie manual and it didn't work out due to cars parked in the way. After that plan fell through we looked at this spot at the end of the session. I was super hyped on the spot and wanted to ride it immediately but Dave was busy from 3pm-9pm that day. Knowing that Dave is always up for a night session I just said "let's session this tonight". Dave was of course down for a night mission. I also phoned up Josh McElwee also and he came down from Pennsylvania at a moments notice to shoot photos and it was on. We lit it up and got shit done. 

What clip in your part scared you the most?
Easily the shift over gap to pegs on the bridge. I think that's one of the scariest things I've done on a bike actually. The clip goes by pretty quick in my part and is self-filmed since Josh was shooting photos. No other filmer was around but I just really wanted to get that done right there and then. I didn't want to wait or think about it anymore. The set up is nearly perfect and it's not the biggest gap in the world but the consequences are as dire as it gets. The drop on the other side is 100+ feet I think? It's pretty much certain death.

Jason Phelan

“I really do love the challenge and the feeling it brings when you conquer something like this.”

Jason Phelan is one of those riders who has a trick for every spot. No matter how imperfect a setup may be, if Jason thinks it’s cool, he’s going to figure out something to do on it. And with his well-rounded skill set and seemingly endless list of tricks, Jason can adapt to almost anything. Jason handled a few less than ideal spots while filming for Seriously Fun, including this drop into a ditch.

GT Seriously Fun Bangers Jason Phelan

This setup had been laying wait under the 6th St Bridge in Los Angeles for years. Thankfully Jason Phelan took the leap when he did because the bridge got torn down soon after this photo was shot. (Photo: Zielinski)

What were your thoughts when you first saw the setup? 
This spot really is one that’s worth traveling for—it’s an amazing hipped bank spot at the end of a crazy tunnel. Little did I know the paparazzi knew myself and the GT team were coming. They were already waiting and setup when we arrived ready to pap the photo, models and sports cars at hand just for some background filler.

It was a pretty wild scene down there. Would you mind describing it a bit?
Lots of people shooting for all kinds of everything. This is where the magic happens. If you want product shots, car shots, model shots,BMX shots, syringe shots, this is the place to be. You can also get a great sun tan down there so make sure to bring cream if you're heading down.

Did having all of those people milling about mess with your head?
BMX is one big mind game so having lots of crazy people walking out from an alleyway directly into my landing sure was messing with my head.

Can you describe the setup for us?
The biggest thing for me about this setup was the run up was super sketchy and rocky, you got a push start and about a crank and a half before dropping onto a skinny pipe to drop. I only joined the freecoaster club about a week before so it was hard not to try put a little crank in—which certainly would of sent me over the bars. Sketchy setups are what I prefer to ride, though. I really do love the challenge and the feeling it brings when you conquer something like this.

If I remember correctly, you were between doing the no-hander and toboggan. You can do toboggans with your eyes closed, so how was it letting the hands go on that setup?
I really felt the no-hander was the trick to do on the setup. Again it was just sketchy with the speed and the fact that I couldn’t half-crank due to joining the freecoaster club.

What happened after you landed… did you go into the water? I can't remember…
I think I actually jumped the hip after and missed the water, boring, I know. I usually like jumping into the water also.

Jeff Ludwig

“Conway gave me the extra push and said, "you better get this man, it looks like you’re grinding down a mountain."

Back in the November 1999 issue of RideBMX magazine Rick Moliterno was documenting doing a new grind that he called a 60/40. The setup was a shitty looking gravel/dirt bank to a tall yellow rail—the feat was extremely progressive for the time. In the 18 years since, a lot of riders have dabbled with—and misnamed the 60/40—but when it comes to wacky peg placement grinds, Jeff “With Glasses” Ludwig is the man (shout-out to Butcher, Rob Wise, Dan Conway, and Ryan Howard too). Jeff sent a 60/40 down a behemoth rail for the Seriously Fun video and here’s his recap of it…

GT Seriously Fun Bangers Jeff Ludwig

Jeff Ludwig and THE 60/40. (Photo: Zielinski)

You fired this one out on the GT Connecticut trip and I remember you sending me a photo of it before the trip even happened. Can you recall your thoughts when you first saw that beast? And how long did you have to simmer on it before finally going there to shoot it?
I was on another adventure with the LFS crew when I first saw her. I remember jumping out of my car and immediately placing my bike in the positions for the 60/40 and the 40/60 grind and thought, this would be insane. It appeared to have some evidence of tire sidewall rubbing and grind etchings on the lower rail, but the top was clean. I took two run-ups and said, "Okay, I'm coming back for you." For about two weeks before the GT Connecticut trip, each time I thought about the rail my palms would get sweaty and my heart rate would climb. I knew the only way I would pull the trigger was with the additional motivation brought by Conway and the GT dudes.

You've done a lot of wild 60/40s. How does this match up to others you've done and what makes this one different?
The previous 60/40 grinds that I have done were on much smaller setups. These things are surprisingly rare. You have to find the ideal conditions to which the back wheel fits in between the railings without too much rubbing while the peg slides on the top without the front peg getting caught up in any uprights. If the rails are too close together for the 60/40 grind than you can eye up either a 40/60 or the 40/60 crooked version. If the rails are like this one, where the top rail is significantly higher than the lower, the setup calls for the 60/40, not a 40/60. This is because the pedal position limits mobility and of any sort of exit plan. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it definitely makes things more chaotic.

What were some things about this setup that made it challenging or scary?
The shear size of the railing configuration and the length of the stair set made this really scary to overcome the initial bunny-hop blues. That's the most challenging part of doing any trick. You've got to remember that you have either done the trick before and/or possess the skill and bike control to maneuver into the position and exit unharmed. Once you're beyond that mental barrier, it's game time. 

The rail put up a pretty good fight and made you jump on it a few times, care to elaborate on that ordeal?
The really unfortunate aspects of setups like these is that they are all different and there isn't really a place to practice the in's and out's. This one threw me a new curveball. My original idea was to grind straight through and pull up and land flat, but that didn't happen. The back wheel caught the bottom railing and I was sent over the bars immediately. Then, I tried to exit left at the end and my wheel got caught up on the bottom rail again. After a few more hard falls, a swell-bow on its way and a dented shin, I was ready to give up. Conway gave me the extra push and said, "you better get this man, it looks like you’re grinding down a mountain." So I got up and sat at the runway for another minute or so collecting my thoughts to erase the crashes from my memory. The only way out was to hop out a tiny bit early before the bottom rail goes horizontal. That was it. I stomped it and rode away with the biggest 60/40 grind I've ever done.

And… this ended up on the cover. Did you even have an inkling of a thought that could be possibility? How did it feel scoring a cover and for doing such a gnarly rail move to boot?
Never in a million years would I have expected to earn the cover photo on RideBMX magazine. I remember there being talk of an article with the GT crew about the trip, and I was definitely motivated by that rumor to get some photos for it. Cover? No way. The only thought in my head was that I had a few things in Connecticut that I had my eyes on and needed to get done for the video. Cover though? I was sitting in a cartography class when I got the calls from Mike "Smallfry" Almodovar and Dan Conway about the news. I calmly left the classroom, then bolted down the hallway out the back door to talk about it. To say the least, I was hyped. After the magazine with the 60/40 grind on the cover dropped, a team meeting with the GT crew was called in by the team manager, Ben Ward. So we all met up at the headquarters were I was surprised once again with a magazine in a picture frame, two beers smashing over my head and a giant welcome to the pro-team by Brian Kachinsky. Best Day Ever.

Albert Mercado

"I was instantly like, I want that to be my ender because it felt the best and I think it looked really cool."

Albert Mercado has an innate ability to combine tricks that would never work together for most riders and make them look easy and fluid. Toboggans, turndowns, and of course, those signature Mercado inverts—the dude can literally squeeze ’em in anywhere—including out of hard 180s. Too sick!

Albert Mercado’s bike snapping ability is on whole other level—pegs hard 180 table. (Photo: Zielinski)

Have you ever done that trick before?
No, that was the first one.

Was it even something you thought about doing, was it on your radar? Or did the thought just hit you right there?
I believe Kyle Hart put the idea in my head a while ago. He’s real good at pointing out what I should try and I just never saw anything I wanted to try it on. That thing was kinda cool lookin' so, that worked out pretty easily. I mean, you were there, it took me a while to work out actually how to do it and then once that part of it made sense it was pretty quick.

Yeah, you pretty much learned the trick on the fly. Like literally while filming you just figured it out, how often does that happen for you?
Oh, way too many times. More than I’d like to admit. I always get in my head about filming. I know nobody wants to see someone doing anything twice so I always try to workshop tricks while I’m out. I think my tricks are very spot oriented so, if a spot is different my brain is gonna think of something different. I don't ever like to film the same thing over and over again. Like if I have a clip of a smith hard 180, I don't want to film a really similar smith hard 180. Even if I filmed it two years ago, I still feel weird about it.

What was it about that setup that lent itself to the trick… for you to like realize, ‘I can try this here’…
It had a little mellow landing. So I knew it was gonna be forgiving when I was landing backward. And uh, that day I actually had a cassette on because my freecoaster was busted. So it was nice to have the forgiving rollout. And I didn’t really have to bunnyhop high to get on the rail, but the roll out was a big thing for me.

The height of the rail at the end probably helped too, so you had time to pop the trick… some hang time?
Yeah, yeah. That’s exactly right, it was a little higher than like a normal rail so just more time to pop. I was really surprised that I popped that high [laughs] out of the rail. I think I could have did it on something smaller, but I think the spot really lent a hand in learning it because it was higher.

[laughs] Why is everyone in San Diego so good at folding their bikes over?
Uhh, watching Gary [Young] ride. That’s all I got for that one, is Gary.

I guess Gary would say Vic, so probably I should talk to Vic Murphy.
Yeah, its just trickling down from generation to generation [laughs].

You, Hoang, Gary, Kyle…
I don’t know… everyone that moves here, like Tom Perry got really good at tables, so…

Yeah, that’s pretty wild. Um, is there, I didn’t have a ton of questions for this one, is there anything else about it or anything else you can think of that would be worthwhile to mention that I haven’t…
I couldn’t have been more stoked on how it came out, I mean my glasses flew off—I don't know if you saw that. But right when I landed, my glasses flew off. Actually, that happened three times filming for this video and the last two times, it scratched my glasses really bad, kinda bummed. That’s probably not a common BMX problem, but like my glasses kept flying off because they’re just heavier than my last glasses so they fly everywhere now.

Um, that actually reminds me, I can’t recall, have you ever seen anyone do that trick before? Is it in NBD?
I couldn't tell you… I know I talked to a couple people who think it has been done and then I talked to a couple people who think it hasn't. People do hard 180 tables, but not hard 180 inverts. So, if you wanna add like a difference to the two, but I think that’s a pretty similar trick.

Of all the things you’ve filmed for Seriously Fun, where would you rate that clip as far as your hype level and satisfaction?
I think that was one of the first clips I filmed for this video. And when I talked to [Andrew] Brady [the Editor] about it, I was instantly like, I want that to be my ender because it felt the best it and I think it looked really cool. I was just super, super stoked on it. It’s probably not even the biggest or the scariest thing that I’ve done, but I still really like the way it looks.

Ty Callais

"Probably the highlight of that whole deal for me, was getting fist bump props from BK. That was the rider that I looked up to for years, so the fact that I impressed BK, was pretty surreal to me."

Ty Callais’ name my not be as familiar as some of the other names in Seriously Fun, but his handful of clips—and especially his last two—will definitely help burn his name into your memory. Ty’s literal drop down off a roof to feeble grind on a brick ledge—with a metal pegs—is the antithesis of the direction of street riding today and that is fucking awesome! 

GT Seriously Fun Bangers Ty Callais

When you’re at one of the most popular schools in South LA and the obvious spots aren’t your flavor… Ty Callais’ recipe for street is raw and gnarly. (Sequence: Zielinski)

Give us a little back story on how the roof drop to brick wall grind came to be…
It was a little weird… we went to a couple different spots that day and I didn’t really see anything that really stood out to me. Jason [Phelan] was killing that rail spot where he did a double peg-to-no-foot cancan and I think to a barspin and I was like, "I don’t really have those tricks off rails." So I was riding around looking for something that was kinda simple and riding off the roof onto that ledge seemed like a good spot to start. And I asked Calvin [Kosovich], if anybody had done anything off that and he said “nope, it was virgin” so I got to give it a go.

What were some things about it that made it weird, hard or scary for you?
It was kinda scary being blind until the edge. But that was probably about it and not really knowing what was gonna happen when I landed on the bricks with my peg.

What happened the first time you tried it?
Was that the time, that I the peg fell off or was it the time I landed a double tire? I think I landed double tire on that one.

Oh, I forgot about the peg falling off. Ok yeah, so the first time you landed tires, that was probably kind of scary.
That was. When you land a double tire on anything you’re trying to grind, you’re always just unprepared and you start going a lot faster than you would if you were grinding the ledge, so that caught me off guard. I shot out, hit the car—I remember that… but luckily I was good to go so I climbed back up there and was good to go for round two…

How did it feel when you pulled it?
At first I wasn’t sure if it was usable because everyone was kind of quiet, and then all of a sudden everyone broke into, you know, cheers—making a bunch of noise. I was like, alright, yes it was usable because my ankle was hurting on that one and I didn't really want to go up there and do it again. But one of the, probably the highlight of that whole deal for me, was getting fist bump props from BK. That was the rider that I looked up to for years, so the fact that I impressed BK, was pretty surreal to me.

Yeah, that was a really raw move, man. Have you ever even done something like that before?
I’d say as far as street riding goes, I think that’s kind of more my uh… I don't know if you want to say style or specialty, but that’s kinda like the way I look at things. For me, my style of street riding is finding scary stuff, but it's like simple, if that makes any sense. It’s just jumping off a roof and landing in a feeble grind. It’s a simple move, but on a scary obstacle with high consequences—if that makes any sense.

 

Rob Wise

"I was mostly worried about missing either the back peg or my front peg on the wire and just basically falling 6-7 feet to the sidewalk."

The famous Rob Wise quote, “I only do bangers.” is the absolute truth. After a taking a little hiatus from the limelight, Rob jumped back into things full steam to join the crew for the Taiwan trip and managed to film his section on that one trip—and of course, every clip is a banger. While Rob’s entire section deserves an honorable mention, the grind on the cable is just absolutely ridiculous and 100% a Rob Wise style banger.

GT Seriously Fun Bangers Rob Wise

Where most riders would see this spot as a wedge and simply ride it as such, in typical Rob Wise fashion, he saw the greater potential and actually had the skill to pull it off. Over grind and back on a fuckin’ cable! (Photo: Zielinski)

A few of us checked out that wedge after we checked into the hotel that night. But I think you went to asleep…
Oh yeah, the first time I saw it was that morning. I think that was the first thing I dove into that day.

Yeah. You went right at it, I think that was the first thing that anyone did that day. [laughs]

How long did you look at the spot before you realized that you could grind the cable?
I rode at it and was like, man there’s gotta be something that you can do on this thing. It was too perfect not to come up with something, and then it just came into my mind, like how Tate [Roskelley] comes up with every variation, trying to ride cables and grind cables and whatever. It was on my opposite side so I couldn't just go up and grind it, so I was like man that’d be really sick to over grind, so that was what I ended up trying.

What were some challenges or things you had to figure out to make it work?
Uhh, what was that cable for? Did it go up to like a bridge or something?

You know, I really don’t remember… [laughs]
It went up to this huge pillar thing out in the middle of the water, I think. And it had just these massive cables coming down into the ground, basically. There were two cables that came down into this huge cement wedge triangle thing and right where the cables went into the cement, there were these huge pipe connectors that cover up where they had to loop the wire around and then bolt it altogether and luckily, on the side that I was gonna use it had rusted out and the whole thing was broken so I was able to slide it way up the cable so it was out of the way so I can actually ride it. It was probably a 4 feet tall embankment that went up to these cables and I was just trying to basically power house up onto this bank and launch onto this cable and and grind it—getting it done was a little tricky. I think the hardest part for me was just that I haven’t even really done an over grind in I don’t even know how long… It’s been, years. And trying to figure out to get up the bank and then keep my weight going vertical,basically, so I could land right on the cable so I could actually grind instead of it being all leaned like a downside grind was probably the hardest part for me.

Were there any things about it that were messing with your head? Or were you just pretty confident about it the whole time?
I think I was mostly worried about popping up and then missing either the back peg or my front peg on the wire and just basically falling 6-7 feet to the sidewalk—probably onto my back. I think that’s definitely what I was most stressed-out about.

I feel like a lot of the things you do are so far from ordinary… Have you ever done anything like this before, like to compare it to?
[laughs] Nope, I’ve never done anything… I don’t think I’ve ever grinded a wire before. The way I kind of pictured it was doing like on a bank to rail, how you would do an over double peg and then hop back over, so that’s kind of my thought process of how I went about it.

Dan Conway

"I pretty much got the best ender I’ll probably ever get."

Dan Conway's motivation and awesome attitude is infectious. Whether he's standing at the top of the stairs staring down a rail or being that motivating voice when a homie is fighting a courage demon, Dan's positive attitude is ever present. The dude has a big heart and I think it really comes across in his riding. As soon as Dan showed the crew this setup, we all knew it was his for the taking—and we had to convince him to wait until the next day to do it.

GT Seriously Fun Bangers Dan Conway

A one-of-a-kind setup on a no-joke scale—this spot had ender written all over it. Dan Conway knocked it out first thing of the day on the last day of the trip. (Sequence: Zielinski)

You first showed us that setup at night and you were ready to do it right then—in total darkness—and we had to convince you to wait until the next day…
Yeah, I was definitely ready. I just feel that way on trips, I don’t want to mess things up—especially if you know you’re not coming back or if the other guys on the trip want to get things done and you want to go other places just to get things done. I don’t want to backtrack like that. In general, I never really want to say, ‘I’ll come back to it’. I’d rather just get it done and over with.

I understand what you're saying. But in this situation coming back made total sense. How was that for you mentally, to leave it, going to bed at night thinking about it and knowing first thing tomorrow we’re gonna go back for you to do that?
I was down. It was definitely like a team effort because Jeff was on board as well, he said the same thing, he was like, ‘I’m down to come back and get this move tomorrow’ so… and that works for me, too. Sometimes I stress things and I know it's a big move and I think of all possible scenarios—and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t, but at least I’m confident enough to go for it.

What about the setup freaked you the most?
Honestly, the only thing I was kinda nervous about it was just the bump jump to get on to it. And in reality, that’s what ended up being the hardest part about it. And that’s why I don’t think I got on [the first time] because I think I was concentrating too much on waiting to feel it in my back wheel. I don’t necessarily do a lot of bump jumps. The kind of bump jumps setups I usually do are just kinda fun chiller things with no threat—not like this one. So I don’t know if I overestimated it or underestimated it and that’s what made me mess up. But I think the second time, I watched it a couple times and I think my back wheel did get it. And what’s what got me up there, the extra inch or whatever.

Yeah so basically you just used it as a lip, like a little baby launch ramp.
Yeah.

The first go, when you crashed, that looked pretty gnarly, do you want to talk about that one a little bit?
I thought I was high enough on it, but I wasn’t so I fell into a feeble and then I guess I was just leaning kind of weird and when I went to take my foot off I never got my foot on the ledge. My toe got stuck on it so like where all my weight went to be—on my foot—there was nothing there so I just fell down and my chest landed on the ledge. Which, I’m glad my chest did and not my face so…that worked out [laughs].

From my perspective, it completely looked like you hit your face…
I know, that really fucked my shit up. It messed my hand up really bad. I was out for like another 4-5 weeks when I got back from that trip because of my hand.

Of all the things you filmed for the video, where would you rate this one? As far as how hyped you are on it…
Extremely hyped! I mean, it was perfect, honestly, I forget who I was just talking to because they were asking, ‘When’s the Taiwan GT video gonna come out?’ And I was like, ‘There is no Taiwan video, it’s just the footage from that trip is going into the video’, and I prefer it that way because like it's just cooler when you see a video section and you can tell footage that’s not in America. And I feel like when people see that setup they’re gonna know that’s not around here. Because I’ve never seen anything like that around, in the States, you know what I mean? It’s like a concrete down ledge with a granite ledge sticking out of it… those are like two things that you could barely find by them selves.

I feel that’s definitely ender material. Just the setup… the concept alone, I feel like that’s kind of like a Tom White type setup he would've found back in the day, you know? That made perfect sense for you do to it because I feel like you being from Philly and you ride the same way, like it’s kind of perfect.
You talk about a perfect storm, man. All those ingredients were right there—the bump jump, the ledge, the grind, the height… because it’s kind of big. So I mean… it’s all there, I pretty much got the best ender I’ll probably ever get [laughs].

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And DVD copies with extras including past GT edits and a big secret bonus menu will be available at GT dealers soon.