The new Megatour 10 DVD is dropping any day now, and to the surprise of many, the Orlando crew known as Dude Bird was on the trip. Dude Bird isn’t even a real company, so we hit up their front man Brett Rohlfing (who happens to be a contributor here at Ride) for a little preview of what to expect from the video as well as a quick interview and a handful of photos from their time on the road.
Video by Brett Rohlfing.
Photos courtesy of Brett Rohlfing.
Interview With Dude Bird’s Brett Rohlfing
What exactly is Dude Bird?
It’s just a group of local guys that I ride and film with, along with a few out of state guys that I’ve formed friendships with along the way. It all started when some guys from Orlando came over to ride and film in my area of Florida. It was really weird, because all day we saw a lot of dead birds on the street. Later someone was talking about the Empire DVD "Chill Bro," but called it "Chill Dude" by accident. The dead birds and the misspoken "Chill Dude" title were a constantly being referenced throughout the day. At the end of the day it got colder, so one of the guys put on this green jacket that looked like it was from the Celtics basketball team. Someone said he looked like Larry Bird, then "Dude, Bird!" was yelled out. I think the mix of the dead birds, the misspoken Empire DVD title in addition to the Larry Bird jacket comment is why the guys latched onto it so hard, and started saying they were filming "for Dude Bird," and wouldn't let it go. At the time I thought it was just dumb and a little annoying. They kept asking me to make a Dude Bird edit, and I realized that I had a bunch of spare footage, so I figured I'd make one and shut them up. At the time, it was at the height of anonymous comments nit-picking everything online, so I wanted to make something that went against everything serious: Bad songs, sketchy tricks, Indian givers, etc. I did just that, and surprisingly I got a huge amount of positive response. I liked the idea of making videos more fun and less serious, so I kept with it. That's really all it's been for years...Megatour is the first thing since the silly edits that the "Dude Bird" name has ever been used for.
Who all was on the trip, and how did you guys decide who would go with you?
Some guys were no-brainers. Jordan Pope, Dave Mahoney, Spencer Foresman, and Zack Gerber have all been friends of mine for years. When a few people I invited couldn’t attend (mostly for financial reasons), I just thought of other people that had been nice to me over the years, or just always seemed like good people. Paul Radösevich got invited, because back in 2005 he drove a long way to come pick me up on his wedding anniversary so I wouldn’t have to sleep in the streets of Amherst, NY for a night. He then put me up for three weeks after that, and he barely knew me at all. I wanted to thank him for doing that. I had only really spoken with Cabe Crisler once before I invited him, but I’d been a fan of his riding for years, and he invited me up to his place anytime during our first conversation, so I thought he seemed like a solid dude, too.
Ok, so Dude Bird isn’t even a real company...how the hell did your crew end up on Megatour?
I recall sitting in a Taco Bell after a long day of street riding with some friends, and we were talking about the new teams being announced for Megatour 7 or 8. Someone jokingly said, "Dude Bird should be on Megatour!" I thought about it, and figured it was worth shooting Props an email to see if it was possible. It took two years and a bunch of emails, but we finally got it dialed in.
This was the first time you've had to step into the team manager role. How did that go?
The hardest work was before we ever hit the road. Since we aren't a real company, we couldn't fund the trip like the other teams. Each rider had to come up with enough money to cover their share of the van rental, gas, hotels, and food. Getting everyone's money issues sorted out was rough at times. I'd set deadlines, then people would have something come up that they needed the money for. It came down to the line for some of the guys, but it all came together by the time we stepped into the bus. Once we were on the road it was pretty easy. All those guys are my friends, so it wasn't a big deal. Only one time the crew was split on where to go, and I had to make the call, ultimately bumming a few guys out. They got over it pretty quick though.
I heard that a few of your guys got hurt along the way. Did everyone make it out in one piece?
Not quite. I didn't know it at the time, but I rode the entire trip with a broken L5 vertebrae and a bulging disc. I was in a lot of pain, and it took me about 30 minutes at times to get warmed up enough to bunnyhop. I still haven't been able to ride since the trip, but due to a new rehab program, I'm getting close. Jordan and Cabe caught some flu deal and were under the weather for the majority of the trip, though they didn't let it show much in their riding. Cabe also hurt either his wrist or ankle and was having problems, but he toughed through that as well. Zack broke his hand, but luckily it was at the end of the second to last day, so he only missed the 5 Hip ditch and 9th Street trails.
So after so much time, money and pain, would you do it all again?
No question. I actually hope to set up some weekend trips with the guys in the future, or maybe even hit up some event like Texas Toast next year if it's open entry. Traveling with all those guys was constant hilarity, and I hope that Megatour wasn't my only chance to do so.
If you could change one thing about the trip, what would it be?
Anyone you want to thank that helped you out on the trip?
Of course Chris and Marco at Props. Devon Hutchins for filming and handling our various personalities well. Tazz Hernandez for giving us a place to stay and showing us around his local spots. Spencer Bass for getting us in the Yums warehouse session. Jeremie Infelise for showing us around Oklahoma City. Bee Cam for hooking up the breakfast in Austin. Thanks to Ride for running this whole thing. Bye!