Chris Silva has been putting a hurtin’ on the streets of Toronto for years—perhaps most notably during his no pegs era, but he’s since put the trick sticks back on—and took his brakes. While Chris’ bike setup may change, his skills and eye for new spots remains unwavering. Here’s his latest video for Animal and some words with Chris about his jump from no pegs back to pegs, his wealth of spots, and more…
Obvious topic, you’re running pegs again. What made you decide to put them back on again? And do you think they’ll stick around for a while?
I’ve been pegless for the last few years. I’m now in my mid 30’s so I really needed a change and to also remind myself that I can still do peg stuff. It’s a different mindset going from pegless and a brake to brakeless and pegs, I needed the challenge and wanted to get some tricks done and hit some spots that I’ve been holding onto forever.
You were known for your pegless grind skills—even doing tooth hangers down rails on nothing more than a gloried axle bolt. That type of riding takes so much focus and precision. With that in mind, what's it like doing the same tricks with a few inches of leeway now?
It’s so much more chill with pegs. Pegless rails are stressful and you know you’re going to get hurt a few times before you get the trick done. I’m too old for that shit now, haha, I just want to hit stuff and keep rolling healthy. Riding less now that I’m older and working a real job means that my riding accuracy isn’t 100% on point so the pegs help as opposed to pegless grinding rails.
Speaking about inches, what size pegs are you running? And what made you go with metal as opposed to plastic?
I’ve never rode pegs longer than 4″. I don’t see the need for anything longer. I get crap from people online about my Animal NubNuts that it’s not real pegless because they are a millimeter bigger than a normal axle nut, so I find it so weird that pegs come in different lengths and everyone is cool with running almost 5″ pegs these days. To each their own, I just prefer 4″. I actually throw on plastics from time to time depending on what I’m grinding. The 40/60 rail ledge in this edit was done with plastics to make it slide easier.
You took your brakes off too. It's almost like you're riding someone else's bike at this point…
Haha yeah. It was a big change at first, but I grew up riding four pegs, front and rear brakes, flatland, ramp, dirt, street, so I can adapt to any change of bike or obstacle.
It seems like you’re always finding new spots in the Toronto area, how much time do put into exploring / looking for spots?
I’d say 90% exploring 10% doing tricks. It’s not even about the tricks anymore these days. It’s sometimes more gratifying finding an amazing untouched spot than riding it.
What drives you to keep searching?
I just can’t stop. Maybe it’s in my blood being Portuguese descent. We navigated the world first, and now I’m just navigating my way through every industrial area surrounding Toronto, haha.
Just going off your Instagram here, you seem to ride a lot of industrial spots and construction sites. Is that just a coincidence or do you seek them out?
Yeah, it’s almost all I ride. They are the best areas to search. I can’t even enjoy rolling near downtown Toronto because I know all the spots, streets, alleys and whatnot. I work downtown so I sometimes cruise the city, there are new little spots popping up, but it’s slim pickings.
Toronto is the biggest city in Canada, can you describe the scene there for us…
The Toronto scene has always been odd. There are millions of people here, but only a handful that actually ride BMX. The scene over the last decades has always been a tight crew and then scattered smaller crews around the city. The ICC crew and I used to be a main staple of the downtown scene, but we are all older and have jobs, families, etc… We can’t stand riding the same old stuff as well. So anytime the older guys ride it’s some random industrial in the outer reaches of the city. The newer generation sticks downtown and retraces our footsteps.
How bad do the winters get? And how do you cope?
Winters are not that bad if you’re brave enough to ride in -10. Only two months of the year (January & February) I seek the shelter of Joyride Bikepark.
Once the weather slow down passes, are you looking forward to any projects, videos, etc. for the New Year?
I’m not sure what this year holds for me. No projects in mind right now. I’m just looking forward to rolling around some new areas with the homies and hopefully find some more hidden gems to document and post on my Instagram @chrissilvabmx.
Thanks / shout outs?
Thanks to Aussie and Landon for following me around and helping me out with this edit. The homies who search every inch of the industrials with me and hold a phone up to film my stuff. All the ICC crew, Harwood Park, my sponsors Animal Bikes and MacNeil Bikes. And I’m very thankful to you guys at Ride BMX for doing up this interview & hosting the edit. Shout out to my lil cinnamon girl, and that’s it, peace!