Setups: Andrew 'Inch' Thomson & his new FIT BIKE CO Hartbreaker
Welcome to the team!
2 Mar 2021
Photos by Fooman* | 4Down Distribution
Name - Andrew Thomson
Age - 27
Location - Melbourn, Cambridge UK
How’d you get the nickname 'Inch'?
Haha fuck this is such an underwhelming story, its honestly not why you’d think it is, well, I guess thats matter of opinion, fuck. Anyway, I’ll try to set the records straight, it all started when I was super young, 6 or 7 years old I reckon I was, I had just started playing football for the local team The almighty Eternit colts. In comparison to a lot of other players my age I was tiny (in height) so my football manager started calling me inch high (private eye.) The nickname stuck and to my demise the nickname grew shorter and shorter as time went past to Inchy and eventually just to inch, so my explanation within the name had disappeared and become abbreviated along with any sort of credibility that I’d built up over the years. Scoring goals and hitting top bins didn’t even matter anymore with a nickname like Inch and from then on I quit football years later got into riding and had to start building big jumps to prove that I wasn’t a victim of little man syndrome in the downstairs department. Eventually I had my growth spurt (height) at 16 that I felt that I rightfully deserved after eating my Weetabix for years, reputation already ruined but I now stand taller than most of my friends, so I got the last laugh, fuckers!
Our stars finally aligned and we got round to shooting some photos together. What with Covid and a pretty Solid winter… How’s it all been for you?
Yeah for sure, it was sick to finally get some bits! Shame we couldn’t get done what we’d set out to do due to the rain! Yeah winter is always a tricky time of the year to get and be productive with the weather against you and of course now all of the restrictions. I recently just moved into Cambridge with my friends so being in lockdown living with mates has been a life saver. I started the winter (around October time) with really bad sciatica in my back from skating, which really messed me up for a couple of months. So I tried to rest up where I could, although, my idea of a boozy recovery wasn’t proving to be very effective but eventually it’s got better again! I haven’t done a whole lot this winter riding wise, digging wise and skating wise but it gave me a bit of time to work on editing and learning how to become somewhat self sufficient.
How has Woodyard been for you during the lockdowns?
Yeah, so in all honestly we were super lucky with the whole situation, just before the first lockdown was announced we had been donated a whole bunch of trees from a very generous local business owner, which we had planted early spring. We approached the council and said hey, are we able to continue to head down to maintain the trails along with the trees we had just planted? they agreed, providing we stuck to very strict guidelines. So us locals kept our heads down kept very busy and prepared for a weird/quiet year. We had the year before held our 10th anniversary of Woodyard jam, many named Woodfest and it was insane! Completely blown away and overwhelmed by the turnout and the whole Situation. Crazy to think back to the insane gathering of people we had, considering the times we’re in! Quite frankly all things considered, we got away lightly with holding a pretty crazy event in a small remote village we were not quite prepared for! So all in all, lockdown we were blessed to continue doing what we do, somewhat a shame to not have lots of visitors but in a lot of ways really nice to keep it tight with the crew and just hang out and find the silver linings in enjoying our own company and also just trying to make the most of the weird year we’ll never forget! Admittedly I haven’t been down a whole lot lately, I’m a preferred get stuff built in the spring when its a little warmer kinda guy, haha! I guess we still don’t know what this year brings for us yet but hopefully more of the same. As we come into spring I believe we’ll come together a little more and crack on with getting stuff going. Theres some stuff we want to get going so hopefully We can get it.
How long have you been a part of Woodyard?
Yea, so since the beginning really, I mean we got given the spot in 09 I believe. I was 15 years old and the little shit. I was always inspired by my mates and I owe a lot to them for taking me under their wing and helping me really get into riding trails and just really learning visually how to ride them by watching them. We’ve always had a real solid crew and we all just do it for the complete fun of it, nobody really has any sort of ego, we all just love the natural progression of each others riding and just getting stoked and feeding off each others energy. No ones in it for competition and that’s what we believe trail riding is, building cool shit with your mates, questioning your judgements, getting scared, Sending it regardless and getting hyped for one another!
Do you have a favourite Favourite Woodyard Story?
Holy shit, thats a hard one, there’s been so many, so to narrow it down is really hard. The jams, obviously have been home to some great memories but I think riding wise it has got to be the local after work evening sessions that for some reason, just go off, someone feels it and immediately everyone gravitates towards wanting to go that little bit higher and push themselves. For me personally spinning gate jump in a train with Cam always sticks out in my mind as one of my favourite sessions. In terms of after hours stories, theres some pretty wild ones. Probably one of the personal funniest was when I blew my first car up to Kool & the Gang - Celebrations. So I had a Blue Ford Fiesta, she was a beast and went hard for what she was! Back then we never had a speaker so I’d constantly blast tunes from my car, in this case it was the infamous 70’s/80’s playlist on my shit little iPod nano (1st gen) Often when you blast tunes at 10,000 decibels for hours on end, your car battery will begin to die, which in this particular drunken evening, it did. I heard it starting to die on us and I thought, well I better turn her on and rev her up a bit. At that moment of entering The front seat of my car, on come Kool & the Gang - Celebrations and I proceeded to rev my car to the rhythm of the bitter soul sweet song until it eventually completely red lined and my engine blew up. As I emerged stumbling through the blue smoke bellowing out my car back towards the fire pit with everyone looking at me In utter disbelief I had just realised I had completely fucked it and had just performed probably The most expensive practical joke of my life, It was sick!
Whats the story behind Villa Road?
So, Villa Road has always been a thing really and it’s just our friendship group, we’ve all hung around, built jumps and rode together for a long long time. It all properly started really when Priesty came up with the idea of putting a name to our little crew and having something we could all play around with and just have fun with, take photos, create videos, make clothing. I remember
Being out in Cambridge one night and me and Priesty were at the bar in The Fountain (RIP) and I remember him saying that he’d come up with a name for the brand he and Johnny Elia were soon to create, Villa Road he said and I was like hmm yeah thats cool, but why Villa Road? So the first set of trails Priesty had dug with the likes of Bentley, Over Sam, Dave King and some others
(Before my time) were in Matts hometown Histon on the road “Villa Road.” Immediately we were like yeah thats cool, this whole time leading up to where trails are now, for us as a crew, started from that. It’s crazy to always think what if that stuff didn’t happen, you can go so many different ways and down so many different paths but it’s always cool to remember where you came from, where things started. None of us really take it that seriously, in fact I kinda purely make the videos just for us to have something to look back on and be stoked on years down the line, getting other people stoked and inspired is a complete bonus! I just like to try to show how I was introduced to BMX, which was videos that are worked on over a period of time and the environment we surround ourselves in. Instagrams cool and everything it has it’s perks but I believe it’s made our attention spans so much worse, with a world so fixated to phones and social media I enjoy trying to make a video which will hopefully make someone sit down and want to watch it on a TV.
You skate quite a bit too, was this a thing for you before BMX?
Yeah, so I started skating when I was real young, maybe like 8 or 9, bmx came a little later on. That all evolved just from there being an existing trails scene, I remember going to see it and just being blown away, the introduction was crazy to it because I would go down, see what these guys were building, watch them ride it then watch the videos back still in awe. It just seemed so cool to me what could be done with a bit of initiative and willpower to want to build a certain something and ride it a certain way! Something I just wanted to get involved In and thats why I started riding really. It’s crazy that my friends are still doing the same thing with the same passion into progressing it in a particular way, so lucky to have had such great people around to draw inspiration from! Skatings still a really big part of my life in fact I probably skate just as much, if not more than riding. I’m kinda weird in that way where I never stick to just one thing, I kinda bounce around fucking about with different things be it ride, skate, film, photography, surf, road bike, basketball, tennis. It drives some people mental, my attention span is pretty fucked but I think it’s just fun to try different things, keep things fresh and as they say variety is the spice of life.
Any Special mods? Whats the story with the Villa Road seat?
Yeah, so I’m stoked on the Brown Villa Road seat, My good mate from NZ Nathan, typically known as meanhorse came to visit us twice, once in 2017 and the next the year after in 2018 For 6 months or so, it was so sick that summer. Prior to his trip he had made a few of these seats! He had given me one of the ones he had done, it was a slightly fatter version than the one he had, secretly I had always been like damn, I want that one. On the last day of his trip he was like ah do you want this brown villa road seat and I was like fuck, how did you know! So yeah, he Kindly handed it over and I’m hyped on it! Mean horse is an absolute G too, when we first met in Queenstown back in 2017 we both knew we were on the same level of friedness!
Plans for 2021?
So hopefully everything eases up a bit and we can start to travel a little more, I played things pretty safe and decided not to go to any other spots last year, so hopefully get to some other places and hang out. I’d love to be able to get and do some surfing trips too. Obviously we’re gonna get Woodyard going and hopefully we can get all the boys shredding, I really enjoyed filming last year, so I’m going to aim to do more of that. Last year I collected up footage from the year and put together the video “Into The Decade” it wasn’t what I had planned going into the year as I wanted to film a full length video with all the bros, I really wanted to do a bunch of trips, see what we got and go from there. Obviously, that didn’t happen so it ended up being a full Woodyard video, so If we’re able to travel this year I’d love to
start working on that maybe! I’m gonna try and ride and skate as much as I possibly can and would love to work on a video including both, think that’d be pretty fun to work on! Other than that just make time For my friends and family and just try to enjoy and make the most of the present time.
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