Text: Gremlin
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.

Dan Conway, on one of many trips to Pittsburg—the central meeting grounds for the crew. Photo: Brendan Mulrooney

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.

While cruising around Charleston, WV, Scott Steele saw this huge slant and just had to drop-in on it. It was for sure a team effort to get Scotty’s bike up the story in a half slant. Once he got up there the crew was on their toes, all while watching for traffic. As we gave him the thumbs up, he proceeded to drop in! Photo Gremlin

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…

This school in Charlotte, NC was a dream spot. As soon as we figured out the complicated way inside, everyone started calling out heavy moves. Looking at this perfect setup, I [Gremlin] mentioned to the boys that pegs gap oppo smith would be a sick move. With the whole crew hyped up, I fed off the energy. During the set up, I grinded one of the other rails a couple of times to keep the vibe. After many tries, I finally came off in a perfect position for the smith. Then everyone else proceeded to clip up at the school! Photo: Troy Merkle

Eric Mesta
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.

Nothing like lacing a hometown move. This spot is right down the street from Eric Mesta's house in San Francisco. After a long day of riding he was still able to get this incredible move—crankflip-to-pegs! Photo: Devon Denham

Grant Ueberroth
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.

On a trip to NC, Zack Rogers took us to this enclosed college. After jumping the fence, Zack had us pedaling to the center of the buildings, where he soon showed us this amazing spot. First thing Grant Ueberroth said was “I think I can hop over this hubba to wall ride.” The crew was stunned with what just came out of Grant’s mouth, but still strongly showed their support and encouragement. After a few solid run ups, Grant sent it and slammed. With his adrenaline gushing he jumped right back up and got it done second go! Photo: Gremlin

Dan Conway
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.

With half the DG crew calling it and heading back to the hotel, a couple of us continued the journey late into the night. Out of nowhere we rolled up on this spot in downtown Silver Springs, MD. With no lights or flashes, I was certain the vibe for the move was destroyed. I left the spot riding as fast as I could to our hotel to grab what we needed. When I got back, Dan rushed me to get everything set up. As soon as I gave him the thumbs up, he said, “This is it.” The madman charged full speed and pulled it first go. Photo: Gremlin

Jeff Purdy
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.

With the trip coming to an end after a long weekend, Jeff Purdy and Conway came across this spot right before we went our separate ways. Dan did a cool wallride and Jeff was nibbling away at the feeble to wall. With the crew hyped up and supporting, Jeff was able to get this move in a couple tries. Photo: Brendan Mulrooney

Mike Vitatoe
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.

Tucked away deep in the projects of Dayton lays this monster set up. For years we have taken different riders to this spot, hoping that one day someone would get it done. Mike Vitatoe knew about this spot and brought up that he wanted to do it almost a month before hand, and when the whole crew in Dayton he knew it was time. We went there first thing on a Friday morning hoping there were no cars at the bottom. Sure enough, there was a truck with a busted out window parked just sideways enough to block the setup. The crew wasn't going to let the truck ruin it for Mike, so everyone picked up the rear end of the truck and moved it out of the way. Seconds later, a crack head lady came out, got in the truck, and drove off—busted window and all. It was a sign that it was meant to be. Mike tamed the beast lying in the heart of Dayton! Photo: Troy Merkle

Scott Steele
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.

BK showed me this spot in Silver Springs, and it was a weird one—other than being tall with a huge bump at the top. A couple weeks later the DG crew went to the spot during a trip just to check it out. All the usual candidates refused to deal with the bump, and Scott Steele said “fuck it, I’ll give it a go.” Then calmly asked how to do the grind. So the experienced members of the team told him all the secrets to the 40/60 move. Scott then nutted up and went for it. Never doing this grind before the first time he got extremely close, the second try however, he got a flat tire. In a desperate panic to have Scotty try it again, the crew changed out his wheel with another wheel in a matter seconds. With someone else’s wheel on, Scott laced it third go! Photo: Gremlin

Tony Cherry
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.

Tony Cherry's tech style makes it kinda hard to take a good looking photo. Knowing we were getting together an article, Tony wanted to get a photo he would be proud of. We ended up taking a trip to the famous Cincinnati up rail, just so he could twist a turndown off the top! Photo: Gremlin

Trent Lutzke
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.

Trent Lutzke always has a list of spots he wants to hit when we go to cities and DC was no different. The whole day he wanted to check out this rail, and finally when the session was coming to an end, we made it to the spot. He didn’t realize in the photo of the spot, that there was fence at the top, and the giant tree at the bottom. Even with the obstacles at play, he still insisted a 180 crook was happening. After a few good run-ins with the massive Oak, Trent was able to claim the title and become victorious. Photo: Gremlin

Troy Merkle
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.

The crew has searched Cincinnati more than any other city in the world. One night we were doing our rounds in a different area of the city and somehow stumbled across this rad spot. Troy Merkle was convinced he could hop over the guardrail into the steep bank on the other side. The crew was a little skeptical at the time, but sure enough two tries later, perfect landing! Photo: Gremlin

 

We planned a little weekend trip to Blacksburg, VA, a couple weeks ahead of time. So, Trent being the Google Maps tour guide, he searched the city and campus for spots. He was happy to send over this curved hubba he had found. Thinking to myself, a short run up, concrete chunk at the end, no way. After we finally rode past the spot on this massive campus, he decided to try it. Trent hopped on it a few times and had to make some adjustments to come off the end. The last try he popped right over the concrete chunk with a celebratory smile. Photo: Noah Huntzinger

 

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