A Handrail ThingWith Jim Cielencki

One of the first things that comes to people’s minds when they think of Jim Cielencki’s riding is his innovative grind variations.(Of course, the rest of his riding is just as unique, but the focus here is on the grind stuff). Anyhow, back to matter at hand, Jim recently had a pretty good weekend on the rails, (what exactly happened won’t be mentioned here, we can’t let the cat out of the bag just yet). However, Jim did answer some rail questions for us.

This is just a mug, does it really need a caption?  credit: Jeff Zielinski

On a recent Kink roadtrip through the Northeast you pulled a few grind tricks that you’ve been wanting to do for a while; why do you think it came together on this particular trip?
Time was the reason it came together. I actually found semi-good spots and was sick of waiting to do the trick. I need to actually do them so I can move on; four years is a long time to wait for a trick, right?

Tire grab fakie at a secret ramp training facility in Rochester, New York.  credit: Jeff Zielinski

Do you think there are certain tricks for certain types of rails? How hard is it to come about the proper rails?
I am certain that tricks can be done down most rails; it is just a matter of having the skill level and understanding about a trick, but if you are doing something for the first time then you want a rail that makes it easier. You want to deal with the trick rather than the poor run-up or the super-steep square rail with a bend in it. It is definitely difficult to find the right rail. But I think instead of thinking there is going to be a better one out there you should just deal with what you have instead.

Jim double peg grinded the first half of this rail and then he jumped into a crank grind for the lest section. Oops... I just let one of the cats out of the bag!  credit: Jeff Zielinski

Rails are practically becoming a specialty nowadays, in fact, the last two comps you were at, the Metro Jam in Vancouver and the second FBM Ghetto Street comp, both had hardest trick rail contests. You rode in the Metro Jam, but not Ghetto Street. Why is that?
The Metro Jam rail contest was awesome, the rail was actual height, a decent length, and there was a really good runway. I was a bit nervous with what I could actually do on it, but once it started my nervousness was gone. As for the Ghetto Street, there where some misunderstandings about the rail and I didn’t really think it was right to ride in a contest with my name in the title anyway. With the contest, I just wanted to see new tricks get done and most of all have nobody get hurt while doing it. I wouldn’t feel good if someone was hurt really bad.

Do you think that with the types of grinds you’re known for, the rails at contests might not be the best suited?
Like I said earlier, sometimes you have to deal with what you have. The Metro Jam and Backyard rails were the closest to what I want, but the X-Games, Gravity Games, and Vans contests are the worst. The street spines are always perfect, but when it comes to rails and ledges they get stupid. At the X-Games, they had the one rail that was really long with no possibility of doing anything on it. It is too bad that the X-Games doesn’t represent BMX too well. At the Vans contests, they eithher don’t have rails or have a transition up to the rail so that you air on to it instead of getting on smooth. Everyone says you can’t do a real street contest, but at least add some more of the elements instead of the same street spine and wall ride crap. People will complain, but everyone seems to adapt just fine and if they don’t then they’re training instead of riding.

Jim’s got a thing for grabbing his front wheel; this time it’s in a fast plant at the Flow in Ohio.  credit: Jeff Zielinski

The new generation of street shredder kids are learning all the latest rail tricks pretty quickly, but their bags of tricks don’t go much deeper than the grinds. Your innovations don’t end with the grinds, how do you manage to still stay so well rounded?
I wouldn’t say I am that well-rounded because I went to the Erie trails and left quite dirty. I am lucky enough to have lots of different things to ride, which allows my interests to be really broad.