It’s been quite some time since Tom Haugen has been in the BMX spotlight so when we got a bangin’ new edit of him from contributor Brett Rohlfing we took the opportunity to catch up with him and see what he’s been up to. This week is a two-fer…you get a nice interview to go along with the Monday Edit. Enjoy!
Video and interview by Brett Rohlfing.
Song: Canadian Club
Name: Tom Haugen
Age: 12746 days (Almost 35 years.)
Sponsors: Free Agent, Osiris, EVS, Oxygen4Energy, Nowear Clothing, To Die For, Team Blowin’ It
It’s been a while since we have seen much from you…What are you doing these days?
Still riding every day, and staying busy doing a lot of shows. I’ve been up at the Cedar Point theme park in Ohio for the past two summers doing shows, and during the rest of the year I’m always criscrossing the country for other types of events as well.
Where do you usually ride, and who do you usually ride with?
When I’m in Orlando I generally ride the Vans Skatepark and Paradise Funplex in Merritt Island. Both are great parks that are bike friendly. I’ll usually meet up with Rob Nolli or Dave Brumlow to ride, though I’ll ride with anyone who happens to be at the park when I’m there. In Minnesota I ride the Mankato skatepark or pedal around Minneapolis with Jay Schlie.
Do you miss being a part of the contest circuit? Do you ever consider returning to contests?
Definitely…There are a lot of faces I rarely see anymore because I’m not at those contests. I spent a lot of time seeing the same group of guys several weekends a year in places all over the world and we had a lot of good times. Returning to the contest scene anytime soon doesn’t seem likely…The last year I was on Dew Tour the best I did was 13th. I personally don’t feel unless I have a legitimate chance of making finals I don’t need to be there, and the way the contests are scored now with rewarding box jump tricks so highly, I’m just not strong enough at jumping to compete.
Over the years you have done every discipline of freestyle BMX…Which one is your favorite to do, and which was your favorite to complete in?
I’d say park riding is my favorite because it allows me to combine my flatland and vert skills with jumping and lip tricks. The variety park riding offers has always made it the most enjoyable. It’s hard to say what was the most fun to compete in; though probably park for the same reasons it’s my favorite discipline to ride.
Once you can no longer ride BMX for a living, what employment might you seek?
Well, I went to college to be a teacher, so I’d probably pursue something along those lines.
Music seems to be very important to you and you have a lot of connections in the music world. How did that come about?
Jeff Z. asked me to do music reviews for Ride Magazine in 2003, and I did that ’till 2008. First I just reviewed records I bought, but it wasn’t long ’till labels were sending me CDs and asking if I’d review them. After Ride stopped doing the reviews I moved over to John Parker’s short lived Sophisticated Rider magazine with the music reviews. Now I put them up at the BMX community site thebykerack.com and Amp Magazine is running some for print. I’ve been dealing with a lot of the same record labels and PR firms for so many years that I’ve developed good working relationships with them. It’s fun to do, and I’ve never been short on opinions about music.
Is it becoming difficult to find parts for your bike that are of your liking? Your ride has a more classic setup to it, devoid of huge bars and light parts.
Definitely becoming harder to find forks with 990 mounts. Eastern Bikes gave me a couple a few years ago, which i’m incredibly thankful for, though I’m running the last one now and the mounts are starting to crack. I was out of GT Piston stems, but Eben Krackau sent me a couple he had…thanks Eben! I have no problem using the newer, lighter parts, I just kept breaking them when I was. I don’t think those parts are intended for riders who are pushing 200 lbs.
What do you think of the kids slamming seats, getting huge bars, removing brakes and pegs, and riding bikes that weigh less than your wheels?
I’ve been riding long enough to have seen handfuls of fads within BMX come and go. Some make sense, others are laughable. Ultimately I really don’t care what modifications anyone makes to their bike and I would expect that sentiment to be reciprocated towards me.
Any thanks or shout outs?
First of all much love and thanks to my family for all the support with living out my childhood dream. Also, thanks to my lifelong friends Jay Schlie, Chris Anders, and Jeremy Fanberg. A list of people I owe a thanks to would be far too long to put here, but to anyone who has ever helped me in any way or enriched my life in some manner I am forever grateful.