While doing a Lavar photo shoot with Juse and Mike Ardelean in downtown Los Angeles, we wandered into a construction site. I always like to check out construction sites, because if you catch them in the right stage, you have gaps and platforms and ledges with no railings or walls.
Why did you jump the gap six floors up?
During that original scouting session, we found that the third floor and up were at a level of completion that I could get enough speed and not have as many walls, fixtures, and other obstacles in my way so I could do the gap. I figured if I was going to do it, we should film and shoot it, so we waited until next weekend to do it. During that week, the construction had advanced to the point where the sixth floor was the lowest floor that was rideable. We had to move piles and plies of construction materials, but we got it cleared out enough for me to be able to do it.
Wasn’t there a security guard lurking around, too?
Yeah, we were there for a while, moving stuff, carrying a pallet dolly up scaffolding stairs, and cutting the railings out with a Sawzall. I’m surprised he didn’t come sooner. As soon as we (Aaron Bostrom, Dave Jacobs, and my friend Jim Nash) finished moving and cutting, I stashed my tools, and a security guard showed up. He continued right past our floor and said nothing, but he HAD to have seen us. We assumed he called the police, so we took off to let it cool down. We came back an hour or so later and got it done.
After seeing the photo, a lot of people say “What if Jim’s chain broke on the approach?” Did that ever cross your mind?
Yeah, that was the only thing that stood out as a major factor in it not working. I checked all the links pretty carefully and gate started it a bunch, but really, that’s all I could do. I was thinking of which would be a better bail out: home-run slide into a railing or flying squirrel to the other side.
What gear ratio were you using?
30/10. I put it on awhile back to go BMX racing, and I liked it. I’ve kept it since then; I always need to go a little faster.
What was the scariest thing about it?
Um… Jumping it?! Really, it was the chain and avoiding fixtures that stuck up from the floor. To tell the truth, the first time I did it, I my front end was too high and I was humping the bars, so I went back right away and tucked it on my second try. I don’t have a death wish or anything; it was pretty calculated and I was sure I could do it. Basically, if “Z says I got it, I got it.
When and where can people expect to see the footage?
In the new Metal Bikes video. It will probably be the tamest gap in there. I’m not sure when it will be out.