Scene and not Heard - Buga, Colombia

New 'crete, and new clay.

22 Feb 2016

Spinoza  Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl 1 Fttble  Rd

Joey Spinoza, letting loose on possibly the funnest right hip in the whole country.

Words and photos by Rob Dolecki

Early in 2015, after hosting a public trails spot in a rundown near-abandoned city park for a few years (with the infamous thorough-the-tree last set), the city of Buga, Colombia, located about 45 minutes from Cali, decided to renovate the entire park, which meant relocating the trails to a different area. The Colombian trails BMX ambassador turned coffee farmer, Alejandro Caro, who was responsible for getting the original trails established, took the opportunity to construct his first concrete park, and a trails line around the perimeter in the new location. In celebration of Skatepark Ciudad Paradiso’s completion, Alejandro worked with the city officials to throw a grand-opening jam last month, and cordially invited Ohio transition roaster Nick Bruce and me to spend a week at his new house overlooking the city and adjoining valley, chill and attend the jam.

This was my third time visiting Colombia, and hopefully not my last. Despite the drug-related crime and violence that has plagued the urban areas over the years, Colombia really is a beautiful place. And thanks in part to Alejandro’s incessant drive to create places like Skatepark Ciudad Paradiso for the riders, the riding scene in the Buga area is solid, and continues to grow, both in numbers and talent. The BMX spirit here is as pure as it gets.

Here’s a glimpse into the new park and trails section in Buga, and the current scene of park and trails shredders located throughout the country, via photos compiled during my week’s stay.

Ruiz  Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl  Whip  Rd

Stuard Ruiz doesn't really speak much English, and I don't speak much Spanish, but “Tú hacer style-whip like Chase Hawk de nuevo, por favor?” was enough Spanglish to get the point across.

Cardozo  Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl  Tble2  Rd

Jhoan Cardozo hit the Tom Dugan boost button repeatedly over this hip and quarter; his altitude was almost interfering with the flight patterns of the native birds.

Caro  Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl  Rd

Imagine waking up to this scenery every day. Back in the day, Pablo Escobar couldn't have found a better view. You could say Alejandro Caro picked a prime spot when he built his house.

Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl  Sprl  Rd

There’s some strange vegetation in the Colombian jungle, and it’s not coca plants.

Pardo  Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl 360  Rd

Everyone calls Andres Padro “Shapol”. I call him a badass. Arguably the smoothest, most stylish transition rider in Colombia at the moment. I also witnessed him do a hundred foot-long rail ride that had a forty-plus-foot death drop one side, two times. It didn’t even phase him.

Ruiz  Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl  Nhndr  Rd

Stuard Ruiz cuttin' up that rug. The influence of Florida and Brazil's carpet-covered landings has expanded to Buga, at least during the parched dry season.

Bruce  Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl  Flrnhndr  Rd

Before beginning construction on his new concrete baby, Alejandro hit up Joe Rich about tips on the proper transition radius. The result is a near perfect concrete quarter replica of the 7 ft mini-ramp section of the T-1 ramp. If you squint hard enough, you could almost make out Chicon Street behind Nick Bruce’s flair no-hander.

Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl  Handle  Rd

DIY part one: the average Colombian usually doesn't have funds to be blowing on the latest camera stabilization devices; sometimes you gotta make do.

Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl  Grip  Rd

DIY part two: apparently it's same with grips.

Canas  Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl  Fliptdwn  Rd

The bamboo trees growing in the Buga/ Cali region are humongous. And what better renewable source to use for lip and landing encasement construction material. This look Alejandro has created for the trails is one-of-a-kind. Builder and daily trails maintenance man Rafael Cañas enjoying the fruits of his labor.

Canas  Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl  Rd

Rafael contemplating how many landing case marks he's going to have to fix at the Buga trails. The way most locals ride, it was basically zero.

Villegasserna  Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl  Rd

Welcome to the future. Lizsurley and Kueensaray Villegas Serna are twins who live a few blocks from the new park in Buga, and picked up bikes for the first time about five months ago. These young females are now regulars, and their natural talent is already evident. In about three or four years, it’s going to be crazy to see how much they have progressed.

Ruiz  Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl 270 Tdown  Rd

No razor blade required. The lines are endless at the Buga concrete wonderland. Turndown 270 courtesy of Stuard Ruiz.

Mogollon  Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl 270 Can  Rd

Michael Mogollon is a prime example of one of many "unknown Colombian kids who rip". It seems like there's an army of them that grows almost daily.

Mosquera  Ruiz  Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl  Rd

The usual facial expressions of all the Colombian riders- huge smiles across the board. Ivan Mosquera and Stuard.

Giraldo  Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl  Stgrab  Rd

I met Daniel Giraldo in June of last year in Mexico City, where he happened to be staying indefinitely. Like many Colombians, he's an A.T.S. (all-terrain-shredder). Through my very primitive Spanish skills, I found out he has the nickname “Minus"- still not sure what that means in English, though.

Cardozo  Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl  Tble1  Rd

Did you know that Joey Spinoza had moved to Colombia since he came out of jail? Well you do now..

Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl  Tulua 1  Rd

On the final day of our stay, Alejandro was kind enough to drive Nick and I 45 minutes over to Tulúa to check out another set of public trails he was behind building a few years ago. The main section is no joke- a wild setp-down drop into head-height booters that take you to the moon...

Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl  Tulua 2  Rd

... unfortunately for us, a random storm came through the previous night and turned everything into a flooded pile of mud. Next time...

Porras  Bmx  Colombia  Phtojrnl 3 Tble  Rd

FIT made a smart decision when they decided to hook up Cristian Porras a few years back. This dude is the nicest, both on and off his bike. Stylin' as always, from the Colombian Dr. Smooth.