Photo Journal: FIT UK In Lisbon

Parting the water with FIT in Portugal...

8 Dec 2014

Bengo-nosemanual-bmx-lisbon-FM

Words and photos by Fred Murray

Sometimes it can be a nightmare trying to coordinate organising a trip while at the same time accounting for multiple people's schedules. This trip was one of those ones which seemed to be on the books for at least half a year but it was just impossible to make it happen during 2014's warmer months. Thankfully a small slot of free time appeared in everyone's calendar and it was on, with the capital of Portugal, Lisbon as the city of choice for the FIT UK squad. It wasn't just the Brits representing FIT on this one though, as Canadian power house Jordan Hango was also on hand to provide bike riding expertise, much to everyone's approval, especially after seeing his crazy section in 'Holy FIT' a few months before. 

A day before we set off to Lisbon, I received an email from Peter Adam regarding the weather that awaited our imminent arrival and despite the shockingly bad forecast, he was optimistic as ever. Upon arrival and things didn't look good... it was already pouring down when we took a taxi to the apartment and the sky looked like there would be no let up. The older i've got I realise more and more that 99% of the time things will work out one way or another, but I was still quietly pessimistic about the upcoming week's weather. Needless to say, we got stuff done in between the downpours and flash floods. Yup, flash floods... After waking up and getting ready to leave, the old girl decided to give us all she had and a group decision soon leant towards a tourist day. Before long we were in a bar to escape the rain and after Olly finished his weird looking steak the back of the building had turned into a paddling pool with water coming through the ceiling. We were about to leave the bar to continue our sight seeing when we saw the river outside where the street used to be. I've never seen so much water just taking over the place, and i've also never seen rats swimming down the street before. I kinda felt sorry for the little guys but they didn't seem to mind. 

Anyway, that's my lesson learnt - don't let a bit of rain, or a lot of rain, put you off. If you've got a good crew who can keep spirits high you'll always have fun. That and sessions in Bar Liverpool with an extremely excited Ben Lewis...

Bengo-bars-whip-to-fakie-bmx-lisbon-FM

This was the last photo I shot on the whole trip and I couldn't be happier that it was with Bengo doing a whip to fakie. I'm personally a huge fan of Bengo's precision riding style and humble personality and before this trip i'd only had a handful of opportunities to capture all that scouse steeze. I mean, you've seen his nose manuals, right?

Ben-Lewis-bridge-lisbon-FM

Ben was weighing up this flat ledge spot for a while, as the line he was wanting involved timing the incoming waves with his riding. Luckily though Ben managed to avoid the H2O and got his clip without a costume change. "It was such an unusual ledge spot, the curbs and danger factor of the water really spiced it up!"

Olly-Rendle-umbrella-FM

Olly Rendle was one of the smart guys who bought a five Euro umbrella early on. For the rest of us it was a battle to save face. "Nah, fuck the umbrellas, this thin hoody with do!"

Avoiding-flood

We hit a stroke of luck when we found ourselves in a restaurant and bar during the flash flood. Despite the roof leaking and the staff running around with towels and mops, they still kindly poured us some beers during mother nature's house arrest.

Ben-Lewis-ice-hard-180-bmx-lisbon-FM

This photo was shot on one of the few dry days we got in Lisbon and we definitely made the most of the lack of rainfall that day. We seriously couldn't of got any worse weather... Ben didn't mind though - when you have a back up plan for every scenario like this, you're going to get something done, even if it does end up in a bar with Hango ordering a $80 pitcher of Mojito. Ben avoided the tourists who became magnetically drawn to standing on this ledge long enough to get this ice hard 180.

"Weirdest thing I saw on the trip? Probably Benny L in Bar Liverpool!" - PETER ADAM

Phil-Martin-tuck-nohander-bmx-lisbon-FM

On the last day we decided to hit up the famous skatepark under the bridge and despite a funky smell and some puddles, we still had a fun time. There was even a photo shoot going on with a gazelle-like Portuguese model at the same time. The poor girl was made to hold what looked like a ten-buck skateboard from Toys R Us, while simultaneously trying to ignore the crazed assistant wafting wind onto her hair with a big reflector. Phil avoided the over-the-top fashionistas and took his hands off, old school.

Bengo-portrait-lisbon-FM

Ian 'Bengo' Bengochea and just one of thousands of examples of Portugal's love for a good tile.

Jordan-Hango-tranny-carve-FM

It's not often that you just cruise up on a spot like this one, and despite being really tight and awkward, Hango seemed to be having a blast. Even if he wasn't, all the people around seemed pretty enthused with the whole situation, especially the little girl whose mum tried to drag her away for about fifteen minutes, unsuccessfully.

"Best thing I saw was Olly chatting up a chick and only getting a hand shake!" - Phil Martin

Lisbon-roofs-FM

Lisbon is also known as the city of seven hills... we can vouch for that.

Lisbon-houses-FM
Addy-Snowden-bars-to-x-up-bmx-lisbon-FM

This was a pretty hectic situation, with cars flying by every twenty seconds and all of us wondering if the cops had connected us with the angry local and the flat ledge just along the sea front, but despite the difficulties it proved to be fruitful. Addy Snowden is as street as it comes and if you haven't seen the 'Flukelife' video he edited yet, make sure you get a look. This spot seemed to kick off his peg senses and he got out one of his x-up icepicks for the cameras.

Ben-Lewis-rollercoaster-ice-bmx-lisbon-FM

This area of Lisbon seemed to have so many spots in such a small area and it was super productive that day. Ben found these concrete benches and after a group effort to move one of the beasts, this rollercoaster icepick was on.

Farren-Downes-smith-whip-bmx-lisbon-FM

The calm before the storm? I hadn't seen Farren in person for about 5 years previous and nothing had changed with his personality, despite the big changes in his life, including being a dad. I don't personally know many dad's who can do smith to whip… Farren's sense of humour never changes either, wise-cracking constantly, probably mid-whip too. As ever, the whole trip was a battle with the weather, and mother nature didn't give Farren long for this one.

Lisbon-flood-1

Rain, rain, go away...

Lisbon-flood-2

Seriously though...

FIT-lisbon-tiny-woman-FM

There's some really tiny people in Lisbon, but they're all incredibly friendly and especially in this area. It seemed like we were staying in the old part of the city, with super narrow streets and bustling alleyways. Despite every tenth person asking if you want "marijuana, hashish, cocaine" it actually seemed pretty safe and Benny and I even got tattoo'd round the corner (Queen Of Hearts). One thing you'll notice after a week in Lisbon is how hilly it is - be prepared to get a workout.

"I had a good laugh riding the skatepark, although I know that's controversial!" - Olly Rendle

Olly-Rendle-whip-gap-bmx-lisbon-FM

I'd only ever met Olly Rendle once and due to the power of the local BMX bar, I didn't initially remember - sorry Olly! Once we were reacquainted it didn't matter and the young'n was whip gapping all over the place. If you ever need to make Olly psyched instantly, buy him a massive steak - dude has a serious appetite for dead shit.

Phil-Martin-wallride-to-street-bmx-lisbon-FM

Despite having his accent imitated on the daily by Peter Adam, Phil Martin managed to keep his sanity together long enough to do this wallride to pullout into the street on yet another gloomy day in Lisbon. Phil was kicking out so much he nearly 180'd the thing without trying...

Peter-Adam-boat-lisbon-FM

For one reason or another, we seemed to be surrounded by water everywhere we looked on this trip, but it's not every day you get to go paddling while shooting photos or filming. Peter Adam admiring the view, or more probably coming up with another awful joke to crack.

Farren-Downes-flair-bmx-lisbon-FM

Farren making the most of dry time with a 270 over ice on the spine to the left straight into this flair.

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