Photos: Gremlin, Troy Merkle, Brendan Mulrooney, Noah Huntzinger, Devon Denham
The Daily Grind started in 2011 as a blog. I wanted to film with all the homies—not only the dudes I roll with daily, but all the dudes who are killing it just for the challenge of BMX. Just capture all the footage we saw on trips, from locals throwing down the tricks they've always wanted to get done, to the behind the scenes of what a trip was—the hardships of throwing a handful of dudes in a car and traveling around riding street. We made a few edits and I realized BMX was missing a few key products that would really help street riding along, like hub guards. I'm not saying we came up with the hub guard, brands and individuals have been making hub guards for a long time. But nobody offered a hub guard that would last, so I teamed up with some of the dudes I rode with and we designed and tested several different designs. Now we have the best guards on the market—they aren't light and they aren't plastic, but they are solid as fuck and you'll probably never have to buy another one. This turned DG into more of a brand than a blog spot. The only way to get into a lot of shops is to have not only a line of products, but a name in the industry. So we had to continue to make quality products and build a team to rep the DG.
After filming for quite a while, we released our first full-length video, the DG DVD, featuring myself (Gremlin), Tony Cherry, Ryan Howard, Alex Raban, Scott Steele, and an epic Troy Merkle section. This DVD put us on the map—at least with the core of BMX. After this DVD came out I knew I wanted the brand to grow and be something cool. We started working on our next DVD, Hard Times. After the first DVD I wanted to establish a solid team to represent the brand, and it consisted of dudes I was riding with a lot at the time. Ryan Howard offered to film and edit the DVD so we continued doing what we always did—ride, travel, and film, but we also had a rough game plan to make a better DVD then before. This DVD featured Greg Goldberg, Scott Steele, Troy Merkle, Tony Cherry, Dan Conway, Devon Denham, Eric Mesta, Jake Coulson, myself, and Zack Gerber. This DVD was for sure hard times… a few guys wanted to not only make an awesome DVD, but to also try to recreate the wild antics from videos like FBM's Albert Street or LSD Riders. We went on a ton of good trips and got some awesome riding, but when the Hard Times DVD came out, the focus of the DVD wasn't on the great riding, but on the antics that most of us didn't even care for. It was kind of a slap in the face to put out a DVD with all this hard work, just to be shamed for a few clips that weren't BMX riding. As a brand I was at an impasse, to continue being the dudes who fuck shit up or to go back to what I truly am, a rider. So, I decided I was done with the bullshit antics and I wanted to focus on riding. At this point half the team bailed, they didn't want to do straight BMX [laughs]. Apparently eating shit [literally] and breaking bottles is a big deal to them.
So, the core of the team continued riding, traveling, and filming. Now the DG team is fully revamped and this is the most solid crew a guy could dream up. I spent some time in Michigan and rode a lot with Grant Ueberroth, so I asked him to rep the team and he was pumped to be a part of it. Mike Vitatoe is a Cincy local that we had been meeting up with pretty regularly with and he also joined the ranks. After that we went on a few trips with the 989 crew which Grant is a part of and Trent was just killing it so hard, so it just made since to get him reppin' DG also. Jeff Purdy joined Conway on a few DG trips and he's a mad man, so when Dan asked me if DG could help Jeff out with some products and we added him to the team too. So now the team is solid and we all have stacked a bit of footage and we're working towards another DVD called Rerouting, which will be available in May. Until then, here are some photos we shot along the way and an introduction the Daily Grind team…
Mesta is kind of a Daily Grind OG. The team met Mesta for the first time at Interbike years ago. He's an awesome dude to have around and is one of those guys who can get the party started at any point in time. Due to Eric living out west in San Fran, he rarely graces us with his presence on a trip, but when the homie is there, you can be sure it's going to be a great time. The guy can ride any spot and throws bars or kick flips into or out of everything. For a bigger dude, he never really passes on throwing himself down a big setup either. Sometimes he pulls it, other times he gets roasted, but usually he gets right back up the stairs to try again. A true dedicated rider.
I recently met Grant while spending a summer in Michigan. Luckily, we were able to ride quite a bit together in the summer heat. By the end of the season, I was sold on him as a whole and I wanted him to ride for and with the team. He's one of the younger dudes on DG who is always chilling back until it's time to ride. When it’s game time, he is like the energizer bunny. The young buck goes crazy on every spot, big or small. The man will go hard all day and when the session is over, he will still push the older dudes to keep the riding going. Grant is a true talented rider with a bright future.
Dan resides in Philly and is always on a mission to find the next big banger. To me, it seems he never even rides the small stuff. Dan has always been a big motivation and mentor on the DG trips. The dude always has the music on point, cold beer for the boys, and a crazy story to tell. The whole team loves him. Filming with Dan is both amazing and stressful at the same time. It’s like watching an intense thriller movie that has you on the edge of your seat, strictly because all the moves are massive. It’s to the point where you better be ready in any situation, because the man is coming in fast, and is either going to pull it or slam hard. Conway has always stayed true to the sport of BMX. He's an honest legend in my eyes.
Jeff is the newest member of the team. Conway normally brings a homie or two when the DG team goes on a trips, just to keep his eight hour drive a little more entertaining and a little lighter on his wallet. Jeff has been on multiple Daily Grind trips and after a while it was a no brainer to add him. Jeff, by all means, is a well-rounded shredder. The dude kills everything and knows every trick. He's one of the few riders who is "looking up" for spots. Filming with Jeff is always interesting—he remains calm when sending some of the gnarliest things I’ve seen. Purdy will opens your eyes to what is really possible and pushes the boundaries every time he puts his feet on the pedals.
Mike V. is located in the heart of Cincinnati and was added to the team after meeting up with him on a couple DG trips to the "Nati." His skill level on a bike is simultaneously chill but crazy. He is able to adjust to anything and everything he rides. Mike not only has some of the most tech riding, but also a few of the biggest bangers in the up coming Daily Grind DVD. He's generally a pretty laid back, chill dude, but is always down to ride. He has recently claimed the title of DG’s videographer/editor, too, so the team is very excited to see what the man has been cooking up. Mike V. is a true savage with a huge heart and always brings a great vibe to the team.
Scott has been a part of Daily Grind for a long time now. He's not what you would call the most talented rider, but when he gets to “that spot” and has something in mind, nothing will stop him from sending it. Scotty’s dedication to himself and everyone around him is merely a God like act—even after the worst of crashes. The man has out-done himself for the up coming DVD, doing things that I have never seen him do! As one of the older riders on the team, he is still progressing at his own pace. On trips he's relaxed, casually waiting for that something to catch his eye, and when it’s time, he happily goes all in. By the end of the trip, Scotty will most likely be limping and cut up, but he will be the one victorious.
Tony has been one of my closest friends for as long as I can remember. He and I would skip class in high school just to go on trips. He is by far one of the most talented riders I've ever seen who can easily land the most tech of tricks just screwing around. Cherry can and will amaze you on any spot. However, on trips Tony is one of the more-pickier people to be around. Tony’s sight on BMX is very intriguing and can't be persuaded to change. Cellar doors, jib spots, and vegan friendly restaurants get slayed almost every day by the man himself. Tony is a dude that will surprise even the best of riders.
Trent is one of the newest young savvy riders of the DG team, being good friends with Grant, he was able to ride with the team a lot before we put him on. The dude has an extreme passionate love for BMX. He spends most his free time watching edits or on Google maps searching for spots in places he may or may not even go to. Trent is so savage with the map app that he searches for spots on the fly—especially when the trip has no destination. A true living spot guide, if you ask me. The homie can also produce and is always over-achieving and seeking out the most in his BMX career. He dropped four crazy Internet edits in 2017 and produced enough footy for the up and coming Rerouting DVD—all in just one year! The team is excited to see what this humble, yet crazy rider will do next.
Troy is by far a DG OG. I am just saying, if you haven't seen his part in the first DG DVD, you are missing out and should go watch it right now. On trips, Troy is usually the quite dude in the van, keeping to himself but also a huge piece to the DG family puzzle. Pass the AUX to Troy and he will get the entire van jumping and ready to send it. Lately, Troy has been getting pickier with spots as he rides into older age. Most of the time he's on a mission for a nice curvy piece of transition or a good wall he can carve around. That being said, the quiet man never disappoints. He is also a very talented, laid back legend in my eyes.