Passageways With Broc Raiford

By: Jeff Zielinski

Venturing out with no real destination or plan besides hitting the alleys is one of the best things about riding in Long Beach—ask any local and they’ll agree. The LBC is a densely populated multi-cultural melting pot boasting a population of nearly half a million people. The neighborhoods range from million dollar plus beach breeze dreams to areas infested with homeless zombies and the looming threat of gangbangers. You never who or what you might encounter while rolling through the concrete passageways between the buildings of Long Beach. As for the spots, well, they ain’t prefect, but they’re plentiful—and figuring out how to ride them is part of the experience. Broc Raiford is a Long Beach local who typically travels far and wide to find the right spots to unleash his ultra progressive trick arsenal on. However, for his latest project for Odyssey, he kept it simple and close to home exploring and destroying the alleys.

How did this idea come about?
The idea for Passageways came about when Nuno Oliveira and I got to talking about working on Odyssey video projects for the coming year. We threw some ideas back and forth and decided on a video made from only spots found in alleyways. We brought Mike Mastroni into the equation, started stacking spot ideas, and planed out the upcoming filming missions. Lucky enough for us, Mastroni and I live in Long Beach, CA where 99% of this video was filmed and most of the spots were only a few miles from our residences. 

No matter how many times you cruise the alleys, it’s not uncommon to spot a new setups you never noticed before. Did you discover any new gems while working on this project?
This video ended up thriving off of spots that we discovered going from one setup to the next. In the beginning I had lots of spots in mind from searching on my own. However, some ended up not working out how I’d liked and before long I started stressing if we’d even be able to finish the video due to my once healthy bag of spot ideas turning into a very small handful. Thankfully the helpful hearts of Long Beach locals (Nick Hagen, Forest Hawk, and Jeff Zielinski) were able to plug me with a few of their alley favorites to keep the wheels turning. With their help and some persistence to keep searching we ended up finishing off the video quite nicely! 

What do you think it is about the alleys in Long Beach that make them so appealing?
In my eyes alleyways are the rawest part of a city. They’re the shadows of the polished and populated streets you know and love. As street riders we’re attracted to spots found in these overlooked parts of a city because we can’t get enough of how raw, sketchy, crusty, crunchy, and grimy the spots are compared to the others out in the open. Long Beach has got all of the above and no telling what more you’ll find around the next corner [laughs]. 

With so many riders in Long Beach, how deep did you have to dig to find some fresh stuff?
I definitely did my homework digging for spots to make this video come to life. I watched quite a few web videos from team trips, vlogs, and even Instagram. Searching for clues like cross street signs or landmarks that would tip me off to their locations. I also rode and drove around from alley to alley scoping out potential setups and looking for anything along the way that caught my eye. Doing all this was a huge help, but I still struggled a fair bit because no matter how many alleys you cruise down, it seems like you’ll never hit them all. But as I mentioned before, I have to give a shout-out to the LB locals for helping me along the way. Without them, I’d still be anxiously pedaling around hoping the next alley has something more to offer than a smelly, stained couch[laughs]. 

Your video parts are always packed with next level trickery, but when it comes to alley spots, I think they tend to dictate the trick for you—usually creating something less about tricks and more about the setup. What do you think?
I totally agree with you! Usually I come up with ideas for combos and/or tricks I want to get and seek out the best setup that caters to it perfectly. However, filming for this video was a really fun change of pace and I loved rolling up to a spot with nothing in mind and having to figure out what could and couldn’t work for it. Although it took a bit more trial and error to nail down exactly what I wanted to do on each setup, in the end I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I had a blast letting the creative juices flow and brushing up on my spot usage! 

Did you have any memorable interactions with anyone?
I’m sitting here laughing because right away one interesting character comes to mind. This person was a not-so-well kept middle-aged woman walking four dogs in an alleyway in the Belmont Shore area. I was laying over a purple trash can to crank flip over and I see her walking in my direction. I didn’t think anything of it and continued what I was doing and as I grab my bike to give it a test hop she yells “STAY THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE” from about 50 feet away at max volume. I replied and assured her that I wasn’t going in whatever house she was talking about and she proceeded to yell the same thing again loud as hell. I wrote her off as a mentally disabled alley lurker with a sweet dog collection, but then she turned to go into the gate where I was standing. This time I asked what she was talking about and why she was so furious which apparently only added more fuel to the fire. Again she yelled the same thing only this time she didn’t stop. At the top of her lungs over and over again until it trailed off into an apartment followed by a slamming door. There was no follow up either. No cops were called and she never came back out. We got the clip and dipped, but I was left humorously puzzled at what in the hell was wrong with this woman [laughs].

What about anything sketchy? Do you have any interesting stories or experiences from your alley missions?
As far as sketchy experiences go, we got pretty lucky with little to no interactions at all—which I found very surprising. However, there was a situation that we all found a bit odd. We were at the white wallride spot where Jeff Z. and Mastroni has their angles setup to shoot the wall foot plant 180. There was a tow truck at the far end of the alley that we joked about incorporating into some sort of line while Mike and Z were setup at the opposite end slightly blocking the entrance. During one of my attempts a dude in a really nice BMW drives past, stops abruptly, and whips his car into reverse back passed where Z and Mike were setup. At this point we were all pondering what the hell was going on as the dude stopped a few feet back passed the alleyway. Mind you this all happened within seconds, the dude then floors it at the foot tall curb, plows through it detaching most of the front bumper, and gasses it towards the tow truck. The driver then gets out, pays no mind to the very evident damage to the car and starts chatting with the tow truck driver. At this point we’re all sketched that it could be a stolen car or something. But we got what we went for and left before anything more interesting happened, but I didn’t particularly want to hangout to find out much more. 

Captions (In Order Of Appearance)
•This was a warm up hop. Must be nice.

•It would be a stretch if I said this was how polejams were made.

•When the opportunity presents itself. Lay one over.

•Mastroni and Broc, post barspin across the alley.

•The grime ain’t hard to find in some parts.

•Never mind Ikea, you could furnish a full house courtesy of the LB alleys (and get some new roommates too).

•Off the roof, over the alley, and thread between the pole/building—Broc throws the bars on one hell of a setup.

•Broc learned this one on the spot—wallride-to-fastplant 180.

•Alley life.