BROTHERS - MIKI FLECK & JAUME SINTES
Miki & Jaume on the loose in America
Photos & words by: Wes McGrath
Leadership is a trait that some can learn through experience and others are fortunate enough to have this as an inborn attribute. So as I think about think about Miki Fleck, I am convinced that he is a combination of both... The first time I met Miki, I knew there was something special about him and it took myself a few separate trips to Spain to truly grasp his personality; throughout his community in Barcelona... His laid-back and calculated approach to life, on and off his bike, really shines through in his new light of leadership, which I believe has been growing simultaneously with his bike riding career these last few years.
It's an amazing thing to able to watch a friend evolve as a professional bike rider and reach the places they once only dreamed about... Now, Miki has been to America on 3 separate occasions and he has obtained the ability to share this experience and insight with his close friends. This time he brings his brother from another, Jaume Sintes to join this worldly excursion through Mexico and into California. During these new chapters of the Covid pandemic, these two navigated their way to the sanctuary of the '666' house in Long beach, to max out their Visa's and breathe that fresh ocean breeze, without a mask!
Most people who know you would say that you and Miki are close, almost like blood brothers… How and when did you first meet Miki and how did you two become such close friends?
"Every summer back in my hometown, there was a homie (Alex) visiting me from Sant Cugat, (Miki's OG hometown) he introduced me to Miki's style of riding and we started as facebook friends haha. We ended up meeting when I moved to Barcelona and between riding and partying we became the great friends we are now. He helped me a lot throughout life, in all my highs and lows he always knew what to say. I have to thank him a lot for giving me such a great friendship! I think we are at opposite poles and that’s why we get along so well, the people who know will know haha." - Jaume
Jaume Sola Sintes
Hometown: Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain.
Current City: Barcelona
Years riding: 8
Sponsors / crews: CultCrew, Primo, and the Pshomies
3 things you like about the states: The Cali sunshine, Modelos, and In-N-Out Burger!
3 things you don’t like about the states: Not being able to pedal spot to spot, getting into the van overheated and covered in sweat, and too many burgers hahah.
How come you decided to leave Spain... what did you have to do to get to America? How did you figure out how to get to California through Mexico and how did it all workout getting into LAX?
Spain went back into full lockdown for another 3 months... So since then, political repression had been too crazy and our freedoms seemed to always be in question, even after we left Spain, we felt it the entire trip! We were always joking with Miki “Let’s escape to Cali bro” but the joke got real when we realized it was possible to travel to Mexico with no restrictions and from there fly into California! Then when my work didn’t renew my employment contract I knew this was the last straw, so I hit up Robbie over at Cult and he made it happen real quick - so fucking thankful!
We finally made it to Mexico City after spending 24 hours in a freezing cold Frankfurt airport! We jumped right into a van with 10 random locals... But we realized right away they were true G’s before the drive ended at their place. Gotta thank all the homies, Boy, Mitz, Minus, Juan and all the people we met there... They made it all really easy. The city was crazy, the spots were unreal, and the food was incredible! We ended up filming a lil video with a 20 dollar handicam we bought in the street markets of Mexico City. After the official 16 days passed by we continued our trip onto LAX and Long Beach.
How did Covid affect your everyday life in Spain?
As I mentioned before, we were locked down for 3 full months without even touching our bikes, so you can get an idea of how much it affected me and my friends. This truly made me realize how much I love getting outside to pedal, especially when I'm living in a 70 square meter flat! At that moment, I was just going out to work and back home, I would only see my friends when I would walk to the grocery store. It was tough... I’m glad that I am ok and everyone around me has been safe too. But it’s a fact that the government in Spain is fucked and they've been trying to take advantage of this situation since day one!
At the start of the trip, did you think it would last for a full 3 months?
We were first talking about just going for like 4-6 weeks, but we quickly realized there was no real reason for us to go back to Spain anytime soon... So with a one way ticket to the States, we ended up enjoying ourselves so much that 3 months seemed nothing after the time zoomed by... we ended up getting our ticket back one week before our visa expired.
Can you explain any major differences you see between the BMX community in the United States and the BMX culture in Spain?
The main difference I noticed is that the BMX scene is not that close to each other like we are in Barcelona, but in part I understand their different approach to BMX - besides all the fun, everyone gotta make money and I think that’s why some people clash. In the end we are all doing the same thing; we have fun, ride little kids bikes and we are friends with people all around the globe. And I think that’s awesome.
"Since then, political repression has been too crazy and our freedoms seemed to always be in question, even after we left Spain!"
- Jaume Sintes
Tell us about some of your most memorable days you had in California?
The first day I was out with Veesh, Ed and the boys was one for the books! We rode a crazy abandoned waterpark and I got the first clip for my video. They were so cool to me, from the first minute we clicked and I felt like I was at home. For a few days, Miki and I worked construction for Trev Mags and the boys, we were stoked to have worked in a huge mansion in Calabasas! You can't make this shit up... on the same day Miki and I both fucked up our knees!
Most of the world's BMX community has to travel to Barcelona to ride such amazing spots… So how did it feel to ride new spots in California?
Spots in Barcelona are unbelievable, but it’s so easy to get stuck riding the same spots everyday, all day! *Paralel plaza* hahah. So it felt so nice to see different stuff and try to make something happen on different spots. I love when I go to a spot for the first time.
What does it mean to you to be able to travel the world because of BMX?
It feels so crazy. Especially being born on such a little island, detached from most of the world... I learned everything I knew back then riding with the same two homies and I didn’t see anything else for my first four years of riding. So now, getting to know all of my friends from all over the world and seeing those amazing places in person feels like a dream! This couldn’t be possible without the help of my sponsors and of course my parents being down with me since day one.
So it seems as though your mission to America was a success and I can say that you certainly made some new family over here. You always have a home here in Long Beach, ciao.
Just want to end by thanking everyone I had the pleasure to meet and the guys that helped me out. Robbie, Veesh, Ed, Begin and all the Cult Crew for being down with me. All the boys at the 666 and LBC locals. I’ve had a freakin' really good time and I’m pretty sure we’ll be back that way soon...
Michael Fleck Da Silva
HOMETOWN: Sao Paulo, Brasil.
CURRENT CITY: Barcelona
YEARS RIDING: 10
3 REASONS TO LEAVE SPAIN:
Covid curfew from 10pm- 6am. Everything closed. Need a break from it.
3 REASONS TO COME TO CALI:
See all my homies out there. Have fun riding. Work on a video.
How did you first come to the United States and how many times have you visited by now? How did you even make it here during the global pandemic?
Ever since I was a little kid, I've always wanted to visit the States but I never knew if I could do it?! When I knew it was a possibility for me, I just decided to do it for real. I finished out my current studies in school and worked for a couple of months non-stop to make the money I needed to spend proper time in the states. Plus, all the help from my brands really gave me the support I needed... Now, I've been to America 3 times in total and this time I decided to bring Jaume with me... I always land in California and spend all my time in SoCal. It started off when I met Wes McGrath (thankful for that dude!) in Spain, back in 2017, since then I've been able to come to Long Beach and feel at home with the homies there. So much has happened since I started visiting the states, for this I am super grateful.
Coming to America this time was much different then ever before... After a 100% lockdown for two months in Barcelona, I knew I had to travel somewhere and get my freedom again. I searched and searched for a loop hole somewhere in the system and I stumbled upon the fact that if we land in Mexico and spend 16 days there, we could legally pass over into the United States and into LAX! Jaume and I were at Paralel one day and we started talking about how I have always said we have to go to America. So again we made it real and within two weeks we did what we had to do and we had our flights booked to Mexico!
How did Covid affect your everyday life in Spain?
Honestly, it was way too much to deal with on a daily basis. I'm a youngster still and right now in Spain people aren't very kind and the restrictions are getting to the point of jail time and/or big fines for riding and breaking curfew.
How long did you decide to stay away from Spain?
We were trying to avoid as much of the Covid situation in Spain as possible, so we left for 3 months and a half!
What was the main motivation behind coming to America, this time with Jaume?
I've always wanted to bring one of my homies from back home to the states!
This was your third time in America and for Jaume, this was his first experience… How does it feel to be able to take one of your closest friends on a journey like this?
Best feeling and best times ever! I think you can see it all on our faces in the videos we dropped from our time in the states!
"Finally, we had the chance to enjoy ourselves a lot and relax... Getting away from Spain was a great disconnection of our restrictions back home!"
- Miki Fleck
In these times of Covid restrictions, can you describe the difference between riding street in Barcelona compared to riding street in California?
There so much difference I can't even describe it. In Barcelona everything is super close and it's tiny.
Do you feel as though you couldn’t ride enough in Spain and California gave you the chance to ride during Covid lockdown in Spain?
It gave me a break of all the pressure in BCN!
What are you going to do now that you are back in Spain, will you come back to the States soon?
You'll see me out there in July.
Any thanks or shout outs?
Shot out to everyone that believes in me and helps me do my day to day life and make it how it is! There is way too many people I would have to mention... To the whole crew... I JUST SAY BARRUIN!!!!
"Miki and Jaume have broken through so many barriers together since I have known them. From Spain to Mexico and then onto California, these boys are certainly focused on bike riding and it definitely shows in their everyday attitudes. To take advantage of what life has to offer you is something you must become accustomed to, because if not, life can hurry up and pass you by... At least for now, the world has some catching up to do so we can all travel freely again, to visit our friends around the globe. Yet, through the actions of these two, I am constantly reminded to always work hard for what you want, no matter the obstacles. Because if you want it bad enough and you're willing to do the work, then you'll get what you deserve in the end... Miki Fleck and Jaume Sintes are a perfect example of hard work paying off. Their reward is priceless!
Whether it is be by blood or by bike, these two have built a brotherly bond that can't be mistaken!" - Wes McGrath
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