Well, another awesome year has passed, and another nine lucky riders have graced the cover of our magazine. Check out all of Ride’s 2011 covers right here along with the stories behind them as told by the photographers themselves. Enjoy, and don’t forget to subscribe for 2012!

While you’re at it, take a look back and check out all the 2010 Ride BMX covers and the stories behind them

Issue 170 – January/February 2011
Drew Bezanson, photo by Jeff Zielinski.

I really don't need to state the obvious and go into how crazy this truckdriver is. Dennis Enarson broke the cherry on this gap with a tailwhip in Nike's Writing On The Wall. And a few years later, when we started shooting Drew's interview, this spot was on Drew's radar, so he talked to Dennis about the gap, and besides some "you got that" reassurance, Dennis also told Drew to bring a broom because the runway was rocky. So after the 2010 Dew Tour finals in Las Vegas, Drew, Fat Tony, and I packed all our bikes, gear, and bodies into a small rental car and drove to Phoenix, Arizona. After driving all day and finally arriving at night, Drew didn't waste any time and still managed to fire out a banger gap-to-wallride that same night. And things weren't any different once we got to the ditch the next day. After sweeping away a small desert's worth of sand from the landing and runway, Drew walked up the hill, took a few run-ups, and then jumped down it, he then followed that up with a straight 360 (which everyone thought was more than good enough and we even questioned if he needed to bother with truck), but Drew was there for the truckdriver, so and he walked back up the bank and without much of a delay, he made sure everyone was ready and he did it. The overwhelming feeling of relief that Drew conquered it first go, and walked away totally unscathed, and of course the sheer shock of witnessing that insane move had everyone yelling and screaming hysterically. After our celebrating calmed down, Drew mentioned that although it was really scary, he had so much time in the air that he felt like he could've done even more than a truckdriver. And as crazy as that sounds, you have to remember that is Drew Bezanson we're talking about. —Jeff

Camera Info: Canon 1D Mark II, 70-200 lens, ambient light.

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Issue 171 – March/April 2011
Scotty Cranmer, photo by Jeff Zielinski.

As if the giant drop on both sides and the narrow landing weren't enough risky factors for Scotty to contend with, the lack of a runway left him no choice but to basically step onto the pedals, do a tiny stutter crank for speed, and then commit to the hop, making this barspin both really dangerous and technically challenging. Before climbing onto the ledge, Scotty measured the length of his runway and then went over to a nearby bank to do some practice barspins with the same amount of runway just to see if it was even possible. Even though I have total faith in Scotty's abilities, it was still one of the scariest and most stressful things I've ever shot because I was concerned for Scotty's safety and I was sweating how important it was for me to get the shot right. He ended up doing the barspin three times, both so I could get the bars timed perfectly backward and so he was happy with how he rode off the ledge at the end. This shot was the icing on the cake for Scotty's epic feature interview. Also, the original photo is horizontal and you can see the entire uncropped version of the shot below. —Jeff

Camera Info: Canon 1DS Mark III, 70-200 lens, three strobes.

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Issue 172 – May/June 2011
Tom Dillon, photo by Jeff Zielinski.

After a series of gnarly covers featuring giant truckdriver and barspin drops, this grainy black and white shot of Tom Dillon doing a timeless trick was a nice change and an interesting cover shot for the Kink House article in the same issue. This photo is unique because it works as a horizontal or vertical photo, but while rotating it, we decided to stop somewhere in the middle and go with the diagonal layout. I really wanted to get that "in your face" raw feeling for this shot, so I tried to get as close to Tom and the barbed wire as possible, and in doing so I found myself precariously perched on the ledge with my back against a railing, barbed wire in my arm pit, and Tom breezing past my face at full speed—the white tips of my shoes along the edge of the frame are evidence of the cramped space I was working in. Look below to see a long lens version of this same trick. —Jeff

Camera Info: Canon EOS 1N 35mm, 15mm lens, Kodak Tmax 400, ambient light.

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Issue 173 – July 2011
Tom White, photo by Jeff Zielinski.

Always one to take full advantage of a good setup, Tom White wanted to grind this San Jose ledge with his wheel in the crevice and not just simply on top of the ledge. However, with his tire that far over his back peg wouldn't stay on the ledge, so he just grinded on his forward pedal instead. The funny thing is that I don't recall ever seeing Tom do a pedal grind before, but that didn't stop him from getting it on his second try. This shot corresponds with the Story Of Skavenger article and I think the combination of the black and white film choice and the leaves scattered on the ground gives the photo a raw East Coast feel (even though it was shot in Northern California). —Jeff

Camera Info: Hasselblad 501CM, 80mm lens, Kodak Tmax 400, four strobes.

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Issue 174 – August 2011
Sean Burns, photo by Ryan Fudger.

This was shot on the Osiris road trip to Phoenix. At this point I had already been to Phoenix several times that year and actually just ended a trip in the Phoenix area the week before with the MacNeil team. Fresh-to-outsider spots were getting slim, so we spent a bit of time just pedaling around promising-looking areas of the greater Phoenix area. The crew stumbled upon a mellow bank-to-sub and were in the process of filming a couple things. It wasn't really much of a photo spot, so I pedaled around for a while looking for spots when I stumbled upon this beam ride. I knew it was pretty sketch—especially with the corrugated roof—but it was also something that Sean would be into. I shot a couple photos on my phone, went back and described/showed the spot to Burns, and watched his eyes light up as he told me he'd been looking for a spot like that forever. Went over, Sean lined it up, and ended up doing it about four times because he wanted to ride off the roof afterwards. I shot fisheye Tmax 400 black and white 35mm film from a different angle each time Sean went across the thin beam just because the setup really changed depending on the angle. I was actually glad Sean was forced to do it a couple times because I think this was actually third angle I shot. The others were good, too, though. We had just had two previous black and white covers, so our lovely art director Marc Hostetter suggested the idea to add a sepia-ish tone to the photo to break up the redundancy, and then I'm sure we all argued about menial details for an entire day before we shipped it off to get printed… —Ryan

This was my first Ride cover and the beginning of the new design campaign. This was shot in black and white film and I love the grainy quality with the sepia-style toning and cyan logo. Being new to BMX, I kept referring to Sean Burns as "Sean Combs." Fudger quickly put me in my place and the education began. —Mark Hostetter, Art Director

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Issue 175 – September 2011
Diogo Canina, photo by Keith Mulligan.

This cover photo of Diogo was shot in São Paulo, Brazil, at some dirt jumps in a poorer neighborhood just outside of the tall buildings and maddening traffic of the massive metropolis. We were passed the halfway point on the trip and I still hadn't really shot much of anything with Diogo, so I probably put a little pressure on him to try to shoot something at this spot, which we all knew he'd destroy. I think at first he wanted to do an opposite 360 variation, but after warming up he wasn't feeling it, so he decided to throw a regular 360 no-hander. I'm pretty sure this is the first and only one we shot. I was happy with everything about it—exposure, timing, composition, etcetera, and when Diogo took a look at it he was into it. I remember asking if he wanted to shoot anything else since I was set up and the photos looked great with the sunset, buildings in the background, and everything, but he was happy with the 360 no-hander. After I packed up all of my flashes and gear, of course Diogo continued to hit the set and busted out a bunch of other tricks worth shooting. Bastard! [Laughs] Oh well. This photo was actually shot horizontally with a lot more of the scene showing. I hated not running the entire photo, but cropped or not, this photo made for a great cover, and Diogo could not have been more excited about it. —Keith

What a treat it was to work with such an insane shot— Keith murdered it in Brazil. I love that we established the one-color Ride logo to allow for cleaner designs that let the action speak louder. It's all about celebrating the nuances of action for you to truly appreciate and I dig working with that formula. —Mark Hostetter, Art Director

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Issue 176 – October 2011
Eric Lichtenberger, photo by Jeff Zielinski.

Eric doesn't have a perfect vert ramp to air, so he'll have to settle for this giant crippled tree supported by a cane at a park down the street from his house. Eric has a knack for riding some of the most random obstacles—which quite often make for cool photos, too. On this particular occasion, there was a family playing Frisbee (if my memory serves me correct) and they were blocking the runway. So we went to look at some other spots and hoped they would be gone when we got back. Half an hour later and they were still there, so we went to lunch. On our third visit they were still there, but by now Eric's patience had worn thin and he couldn't wait any longer to ride the tree. He was prepared to pedal directly through the family's fun, but fortunately for us, they started to pack up just as we were getting our bikes out of the car and the potential feud with the family was avoided. Look below to get a different perspective of Eric airing the tree. —Jeff

Camera Info: Canon 1DS Mark III, 15mm lens, three strobes.

This was probably the most challenging to date. I really like the image and Eric Lichtenberger's creativity, but this image was really "noisy" and tricky to design with. I'm fairly happy with the end result, but wish Eric wore an orange shirt or something. —Mark Hostetter, Art Director

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Issue 177 – November 2011
Gary Young, photo by Jeff Zielinski.

You never know where you might discover the next amazing setup. In this case, we drove 900 miles (each way) to a small mountain town to find this unique roof gap to L-rail. We first saw the spot early in the morning, but there were too many people around for us to mess with it, and with time running out, our only option was to ride it at night. The spot was in a quiet neighborhood near houses and I was sure that the lights and noise from the generator would catch somebody's attention and if they saw Gary on the roof with a bike the cops would definitely be called. I guess our efforts to be as stealth as possible paid off, because we got in and out without any consequences and scored a cover shot in the process. —Jeff

Camera Info: Canon 1DS Mark III, 15mm lens, four strobes.

One of my favorites, this cover basically built itself. Sometimes we designers get the rare gift of an image with color-key (blue rail) opportunities and ample space for blurbs. I met Gary Young when he came in to the Ride offices for a photo shoot in our park and he was super cool, which made it all the better. —Mark Hostetter, Art Director

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Issue 178 – December 2011
Sergio Layos, photo by Jeff Zielinski.

This last minute cover shot was completely unexpected. Ryan Fudger had just spent a week or so driving the Fly team all over Southern California showing them spots and shooting photos. When his window of free time had come to a close I got tagged in for the final day to follow the crew around as they tried to get a few last minute things shot. We weren't having much luck anywhere we went and most of the day was getting wasted driving around. Eventually, the decision was made to go to the spot where the cover was shot because Kevin Porter had an idea there. We made it to the spot as the sun was setting, the wind was picking up, and the temperature was dropping. Kevin realized pretty quickly that his idea wasn't going to work, so then Sergio stated jumping the gap. He jumped it straight a few times and never mentioned doing a trick over it—probably because the runway wasn't the best and the landing was steep and full of loose rocks. Maybe it was in the back of his head the whole time and he just didn't want to call it out, but eventually he said he wanted to whip it. It ended up taking him a couple tries to stomp the whip without loosing a pedal because the landing was so bumpy. I felt bad every time he had to walk back up the hill and try it again because it really was one of those things that you just want to get over with first try. I also felt bad because Fudger had this spot on his radar for a long time and he shot with the Fly guys there earlier in the week, and on the one day I happen to substitute for him, we got a cover photo at his spot—sorry dude. —Jeff

Camera Info: Canon 1DS Mark III, 70-200mm lens, five strobes.

The "yard sale" of my Ride covers, this one wasn't as easy to work with. I love the shot, but I don't like designing with more than 2 groups of blurbs. It was necessary to create three so there was enough breathing room for the take-off, path-of-travel, and landing in the photo. The best cover isn't always the prettiest design. The merits of the photo always come first and I like that challenge. —Mark Hostetter, Art Director

While you’re at it, take a look back and check out all the 2010 Ride BMX covers and the stories behind them


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