Ian Munro Interview

It’s unfortunate that the lack of a reliable car can prevent someone from riding anything out of pedaling distance from where they live.Ian Munro suffers from that very dilemma, but last weekend he took the risk and drove down from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles where I gave him a taste of the street spots the City of Angels has to offer. Although we hardly even scratched the surface, Ian still acted like a kid in a candy store. Once the tour concluded for the day, I asked him a few questions about his scene, what he thought of LA, and about street riding in general.

So after our day of exploring and seeing some of the spots, how do you think Los Angeles compares to Santa Barbara?
I definitely think it’s time to take over and start doing more trips down here. This place is great! It’s definitely better than the curb cut in front of my house.

Obviously you have spots in Santa Barbara because I’ve seen you ride in videos and I’ve been up there; what does Santa Barbara lack or why don’t you like riding up there anymore?
What ruined Santa Barbara was the lack of intelligence by the riders. I don’t want to point my finger, but the younger crowd--they’re really good at doing sprocket chunks and stationary icepicks on gorgeous Spanish tile, adobe, stucco, or anything else that will break in half the first time they ride it! I’m actually starting to ride with all of the younger kids because most of my big-kid friends have moved away, so I’ve been teaching them the do’s and don’ts of street riding.

I asked Ian for one serious-looking photo and this is what he gave me.  credit: Jeff Zielinski

Santa Barbara’s a nice town; it’s wealthy, decorative and clean, and people are real snooty. With that in mind, do you think it’s easier to get away with street riding in a city like LA because in general it’s pretty seedy and dirty?
I actually get away with the dirtbag look as you can see, but you’re right; the community is clean, rich, and materialistic. In general, it’s pretty hard to get away with anything; even dates...but I try my hardest. As for the spots, people definitely take notice a lot faster when you grind a rail or even ride on the sidewalk!

What’s harder to find in Santa Barbara, a date with a hot-ass chick or a kick-ass riding spot?
The riding spots used to be all over the place, but most things are capped or torn down now. As for getting chicks, you might have to be local, possibly even born in the town to pull that off. It’s taken me 23 years, but I have gone on a few dates lately. Getting a date in Santa Barbara is like icepicking a 30-stair rail; every inch of it is pretty tough, and you’re not going to pull it off every night. But like I said, we’ve got good curb cuts.

So does that mean you settle for the fat chicks usually?
There’s enough love to go around.

If you’ve seen the Kink video then I’m sure you remember Ian sessioning this ledge. Feeble grind-to-barspin on a burly ledge that has since been capped.  credit: Jeff Zielinski

Your riding style seems to lean towards the burly side and you session big obstacles; how has the sudden decline in rideable burly obstacles affected your riding?
The pegs aren’t getting used as much as they used to, that’s for sure. There aren’t too many things that are grindable anymore. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of bunnyhop stuff, hops over handicap rails and barspins off curb cuts over fire hydrant type stuff. I’ve also been doing a lot of the “street ballerina” type stuff too, like sessioning manual islands wiith fakie 360’s and manual 180 tricks.

Considering that there are so many great things to ride here in LA, you’d think that there would be more rippin’ street riders, but generally speaking, LA isn’t known for its street riders. Does this surprise you?
I know of a few people, like Ben Snowden, Rooftop, Mike Ardelean, and Brain Castillo who all live around there, so when I see stuff I wonder... where are the marks? I see a lot of incredible things that look like they’ve never been ridden. Maybe it’s just because I’ve had to train myself to look at things differently because of the lack of spots at home, but the possibilities of this place are amazing. I think it could definitely push street riding, it seems like there’s a whole new realm to be had just because of what the city offers.

At one time this school was a street rider’s dream, but now it’s a street rider’s nightmare if you get caught be security. Ian takes the risk and grinds a kinked rail backwards.  credit: Jeff Zielinski

Since you ride less-than-perfect spots normally, do you find that you have an easier time throwing down when you do come across a killer obstacle?
You’ve nailed it on the head there; I constantly have tricks in my head, and I know the objects I need for those tricks lie within a city like this. It drives me nuts when I know I could do something-- and I’m sure a million riders think like this--they have something new under their belt and they’re just waiting to find the right spot to do it. I’ve seen things here today that I’m literally jumping out of my skull and I know there’s a million more things out there that I could pull all the tricks in my head on. It’s sort of like; “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” I would give my left arm to have some of this stuff in my hometown.

Okay, last question: With all of the chicks you’ve seen here in LA, if you came down here on a regular basis, how much riding would you actually get done?
I think I’d have to move down here to really get anything done, especially hanging out with you. But Santa Barbara has State Street and Cindy Crawford, so I’m not sure if LA can even touch us! If we went street riding together, there would be some distractions, but we’d still get some riding done, I’m sure. It all depends on who I’m hanging out with. Unfortunately, you and I have really wandering eyes.