Being a country and a few thousand miles away, Chris’ riding has always been somewhat of a mystery to me. From tooth hangin’ massive rails and doing backwards pegless rails in the seemingly the same section almost a decade ago and every pedal grind and footplant variation in between, Chris’ riding almost has this ageless feel in the sense that you can’t tell if it’s old or new—probably because he’s been so damn good for so long. Feeling a need to switch it up, Chris did what a lot of people are doing recently and threw on a freecoaster and decided to hook us up with this dope edit…and stay for the interview.
Yooo, Chris how’s the Toronto weather treating ya?
I’m frozen solid up here. The only thing keeping the blood circulating is random sessions at Joyride indoor park.
This time two years ago you were out in Long Beach at the MacNeil house…what was your opinion of California overall?
The second we rolled up to the beach I wanted to throw away my passport and never leave. I’ve only been there the one time and I’ve been dying to get back ever since.
How does the California scene compare to Toronto?
I’m from Toronto, been here my whole life and I only spent two weeks in Cali, but from that short experience there it seemed like we had to do a whole lot of driving to get from spot to spot. Toronto is amazing cause I just ride from my house to whatever spot I want and hit things along the way. Toronto is a bit more compact and a lot of great spots/schools are close together, I’m into driving to spots but hardly any riders in Toronto have cars so riding spot to spot is what I’m used to and seems more fun to me.
Anywhere else in the world that you could see yourself living?
I can see myself taking long vacations to a lot of places around the world but as for staying put in one city… I don’t think I can ever leave Toronto. I’ve put too much work into this city, haha. I could never imagine living somewhere new and starting the spot search from scratch.
So about a month ago I asked you a question about your setup and you didn't mention having about having freecoaster, yet every clip in this edit we're posting involves a free-coastin'…
Haha, yeah I think I barely mentioned my bike in that article, I rambled about the current state of BMX as I see it. I didn’t really mean to write all that but I hadn’t ridden my bike in over a month and I was going a bit crazy at the moment of answering that, hahaha. I got a prototype MacNeil freecoaster around November and threw it on to end the year with some fun open minded riding.
Ever see yourself going back to a cassette?
Yup, I just put the cassette back on a couple weeks ago. I had fun with the freecoaster but I’m pretty sure I’m meant to stick with the cassette.
Sorry to do this to ya, but in that same article you said that you "always stray away from what seems to be the norm or trend." And a freecoaster is arguably the most trendy thing in BMX right now. Does the fun of it outweigh any hype?
No worries on the questions, haha. The freecoaster was fun, I’ll admit that, I see why a lot of riders are on them now cause of the progression you can get into with them but there is so much more to progress at other than freecoaster riding. I don’t know why I stray away from what’s normal or the trends, I see a lot of people chasing the same tricks and I just see it as an open window to do something different and make my riding my own, ya know? Everyone is entitled to ride their own way, but what makes me happy is trying to be creative.
MacNeil has had some team changes lately, adding Brandon Webster and Chijoke Okafo and letting Kevin Kiraly go…Were all those moves a made as a group? How's the crew overall these days?
I keep in contact with everyone at MacNeil a few times a month but I had no clue about any of those changes until they happened or a couple days before hand. The crew has changed a bit over the past couple months and I embrace these changes, I think the crew is pretty sick right now. Having Chij and Webster on the team is a great addition and is awesome for the Toronto/southern Ontario scene.
And you guys have been somewhat quietly working on a DVD; how's it coming along?
I busted my hump all year filming for the DVD, I hope it’s coming out soon… I know all the riding and filming is done, it just needs to get edited and put to DVD.
Animal has been supporting you a long time; how'd you originally get hooked up with them? Anything new in the works?
I’m not really sure how it all came about to be honest, but from what I understand when I first got hooked up through TenPack Distro in early 2007, Jay Miron told me Ralph Sinisi wanted me to be the Canadian Animal Bikes rider. I dropped everything and agreed like any smart human would do. I know the year previous the Animal team came up to a contest north of Toronto and someone from our crew(Inner City Circle) gave Ralph and the dudes some of our ICC DVD’s, so I think thats how Ralph found out about me. The guys at Animal hit me up about a year ago and ask me if I wanted to do up a signature product; the jewel style axle nuts I ride for pegless grinding. Again, like any smart human I said of course. I’m really stoked on them and they should be out around summer.
You mentioned you've been riding for 17 years in the setup article; what keeps BMX fresh for you?
I just realized I’ve been riding as long as one of the team guys on MacNeil has been alive, that’s crazy and it doesn’t make me feel any younger, haha. BMX is always going to be fresh to me because I never let it get corrupt, I’ve always done things the way I feel is right for me. I don’t get paid nor do I ever want to, I’m really glad I have sponsors who understand me and what I believe in and because of all that I’ve made riding a BMX something I truly live to do, not make a living through. There’s no better feeling than being in total control of what you want to do and to not have others making choices for you. Everyday I roll out on my bike is the freshest day since the last.
What's your least favorite thing about the current state of BMX?
Uneducated youngsters. I don’t expect every 15 to 17 year old to know the complete history of BMX since it’s birth but I see and hear a lot of stuff about kids just not knowing much about BMX and where it all came from. I’ve always liked to watch and research old BMX stuff, if you’re into something so much why wouldn’t you want to know where it came from?
And your favorite?
Youngsters, new generation of BMX kids. I love seeing rad new faces around the streets of Toronto, it’s rare but every now and then a new killer pops up and I get really stoked on the scene again. It’s great rolling with younger riders, showing them around and teaching them history of the spots and BMX in general.
This could be long but I’ll get to the gist of it; Everyone at MacNeil & Animal for sticking with me all these years, I really need to thank everyone from my hood Harwood Park, the ICC crew, my family and friends; you know who you are, my girlfriend, everyone who shows me spots or holds a camera while I take forever to do the most simple trick, thanks to you Ryan and the guys at Ride for making this possible.