Bsd X Dig Sf Dan Paley Crook Sju 16 Stairs Wm 1
16 Aug 2017

BSD In The Streets of NorCal - Photo Journal

Taking on the Bay area with BSD


Words and Photos by Wes McGrath

The mystery of where the team name 'BSD' is derived from and what it stands for is a legendary fact that only a select few are privileged enough to know and the team won't divulge the info even with the most enticing incentives!? That little unknown fact creates this type of illusion to BSD and their team, a tightly knit secrecy, if you will... It was an honor to be able to work with these guys and take a hefty 10 day long road trip in the van throughout spots in San Francisco and San Jose and anywhere in between! This trip didn't get me any closer to knowing what BSD means but it definitely gave me the ability to get closer to knowing some of the best riders out today.

Hitting the road with Alex Donnachie, Liam Zingbergs, David Grant, Nick Castillo and Dan Paley with Dave Sowerby behind the lens was nothing short of a great time. Riding bikes and seeing the city sights with an amazing crew is something that won't ever get old, check out the photos and video below to get a closer look at the whole story.

Bsd X Dig Crew 3Rd Mission Laughs 1

Even though Nick lost to this curve wall, it was only an example of how tough he is and later in the trip proving he is the curved wall master!

Bsd X Dig Sf Crew Sunset Loading Dock Portrait Wm 1

As the day winds down, we bask in the sunset as Leezy falls down acting a fool just out of frame.

Bsd X Dig Sf Dan Paley Crew Sitting Portrait Wm 1

Dan Paley doesn't give up easily, even though the wrist got a twist how can you deny that California golden hour!

It was a hot and sticky day without A/C in Southern California as I drove from my house in Long Beach to meet up with the van full of BSD's in Los Angeles before we began to make our ascent towards Northern California and the greater Bay Area. I was picked up by Dave Sowerby along with Dan, Alex and Leezy in tow, I hopped in the van now refreshed by that endless rental car A/C and after a couple pit stops we make our way to Santa Barbra to pick up David Grant and Nick Castillo. Bobbing and weaving through traffic we make it to Dave and Nick as they await our arrival over at Cody Bowers' house. As we walk up the long brick driveway surrounded by palms and tropical plants I couldn't help but notice the sweet aroma of California's finest cash crop burning somewhere near, I wondered where?!

Finally, we are all set and packed for the long 7 hour drive north to our first hotel in San Francisco... There is nothing quite like a sunset drive up the west coast on Highway 101 with a full trip ahead of you, as the Pacific Ocean sparkles and the sun sinks, we make our way into the bay!

We arrive late night in SF and check into a nice little hotel, yet it has a strange sense of the 'anything goes' type of mentality. Eastern Indians run the place and the front desk smelled like curry, with a courtyard type of hotel where all the rooms lead into open air instead of opening into the hotel building itself. This gave way to mischief and antics throughout the duration of our stay! We had two separate rooms, one smokers section and the other, well, a non-smokers section, I'll let you decipher who went where. As we break into our first day in San Francisco, we wake up to a busy and sunny day, the hotel is right in the heart of the city which makes it easy to want to pedal from the rooms and keep out of the van. So we take on the day by pedaling out from the hotel and of course, I make the mistake of bringing too much gear, (which either way is always a worth while decision) as well as being weighted down with a hoody that was just way too hot for all the miles we were about to cover. We find ourselves pedaling all over the place finding some great spots, yet we keep it moving to be able to cover as much ground as possible. After taking a slight detour to the waterfront to snag a view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the lovely sights of a yoga class happening on the grassy bluff, we end up stumbling upon the famous China Banks! This iconic and historic street spot has been shredded for decades by bikes and skateboards alike, to see this spot still standing and ridable was just too good to be true! Even though we were eventually asked to leave, it didn't take away from putting tires on this staple SF spot...

The Chinese Culture Foundation, home to the China Banks, which was founded in 1965 to promote, preserve, and influence the course of Chinese American culture is located in the heart of San Francisco, this site has been cherished and ridden since the 80's.

Bsd X Dig Sf Alex Leezy Chinatown Banks Riding Portrait 1

Alex, Leezy and a view of Chinatown...

This iconic and historic street spot has been shredded for decades by bikes and skateboards alike, to see this spot still standing and ridable was just too good to be true.

Bsd X Dig Sf Alex Bikes Chinatown Banks Portrait 1

We had so much time at this spot, we knew it would be over soon...

Bsd X Dig Sf Chinatown Banks Team City Overlook 1

Chinatown, San Fransisco California...

The remainder of the day we took our time with what light we had left to explore some more and enjoyed the city colors on the side... Chinatown was good to us, Alex found that crank arm-tooth-pop out 180, Dan went in on the nose bonk dubs around the curve tooth 180 over just after he was getting hit on by an Asian women who was with her child and Dad. As we make our way home after riding a couple night time spots, we're all super tired and we decide to take it easy after a good meal and some drinks for the chillz.

Bsd X Dig Sf Dan Paley Chinatown Playground Turn 1

No kids were in danger as Dan charged around the inside corner of the playground!

Bsd X Dig Sf Dan Paley Chinatown Playground Tooth180 Pop Over 1

Nose. Dubs. Curve. 180 over Tooth pop out.

Bsd X Dig Sf Dan Paley Sowerby Clip Check Chinatown 1

Dan Paley and Dave Sowerby with the confirmation.

Bsd X Dig Sf Alex Night Hoody Portrait 1


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Sunset session as Leezy tire rides to footplant 180!

The second day of riding begins a bit gloomier as the day before, no rain but no sun either, at least this time we we're shielded from the harsh sunshine and I had more of an excuse to wear my hoody. We decide to drive the van a bit farther than we'd like to pedal, to meet up with a couple locals Crazy Chris and his Son came out with us to show some support and some SF style like no one else could. We get out of the van and head on towards the first spot of the day, David Grant comes out swingin' with one of my personal favorites, a big ol' bottom bracket / derek duster / feeble thingy first go! We rolled up on this perfect 14 stair rail-ledge set up with a hefty kink and he didn't think twice, security came out and David took care of it straight off the end with all the juice. 

David definitely set the bar for the day right away, as well as getting everyone hyped for breakfast! Not too far of a pedal away from spot one, we end up sliding through some fences and on to the top of the Highway 101 tunnel! Quickly crossing over the tunnel without causing a stir we arrive at this hip spot stashed away in the bushes out of sight from the freeway. Nice little spot to session, chill and start to feel the urge for lunch. A couple hours later we are back in the van and headed over towards Jackson Ratima's shop, accurately named BAYGAME. Doesn't take long to really feel the city once we show up to the BAYGAME shop, the street personalities, police presence and authentic grit are all just a small dose of what BMX encounters on any given day in SF. The Don Jackson is on hand to open up his shop and some spots close by while he kicks back with a broken foot.

After some good time in and out of the shop and some hood antics, we made our way back to the hotel and this time we were quite ready to hit the local pub!

Bsd X Dig Sf Nick Castillo Curve Wall Portrait Wm 1
Bsd X Dig X Sf Nick Castillo Big Baddy Curve Wm 1

BSD's worldwide walla king, Nick Castillo.

Bsd X Dig Sf David Grant 14 Stair Duster 1

As security watches, David Grant doesn't even hesitate!

Bsd X Dig Sf Leezy Dave Filming Portrait 1

Leezy does not get tired! So much patience!

Bsd X Dig Sf Leezy Tired Portrait 1

Well... I guess eventually he gets tired!

Jackson Ratima Bay Game Shop Portrait 1

Jackson Ratima holds down the title of Rider owned and Operated!

Bsd X Dig Sf David Grant Bike Pile Portrait 1

Bikes pile up in front of Jackson's shop!

...the street personalities, police presence and authentic grit are all just a small dose of what BMX encounters on any given day in San Fransisco.

Day three was definitely a day to chill, awe woke up to the classic San Fransisco rain, it teased us all morning through our walks for breakfast. Yet, the trip must go on, right?.. We were definitely stoked to get over to the famous 3rd and Mission ledge spot to see what kind of originality we can cook up. The whole crew took advantage of the spot and didn't let the drizzling rain stop the motivation for quite awhile. Nick was trying the most precise curved wall I've ever tried to shoot, he didn't end up with this one, hitting the face pretty hard possibly due to the rain. So we decided to keep the cameras dry and call it a day... We hit the grocery store and took a good amount of down time, most of the dudes were coming fresh off of other trips so even day three break-time was well received! This was our last day in San Fransisco, so, just as all the other nights before, as I forgot to mention earlier, a handful of us, if not all of us, went out to the local watering hole. Had a few drinks, maybe sang some karaoke, may or may not have catch a bird or two and oh yea a few more drinks...

Bsd X Dig Sf Dan Paley Reflection 3Rd Mission Portrait Wm 1

Puddles gathered on the ledges and you couldn't see it very well...sketchy!

Bsd X Dig Sf Dan Paley Tires Line With Dave 3Rd Mission 1

Despite the rain and this wet and round rail Dan hammers this one right before we leave.

Bsd X Dig Sf David Grant Hotel Door Portrait 1

Rain or shine, SF's weather is always something to enjoy.

Bsd X Dig Sf Reflection Bmx  Wm 1

After the rain stopped the next morning, it was just about time to pack up the van again and hit the road south, towards San Jose. We left the hotel in route to UC Berkeley before fully leaving San Fransisco. This school has such an awesome layout of spots for some real unique and creative tech lines! Even though the campus was packed with students, we had the chance to ride a few spots but we just decided to keep it short and hit up some industrial parks in Oakland. As the sunset closes out our session near the docks, we finally split to San Jose to end the day and start our second half of the trip. Within the remaining days we had to ride, we had a new city to explore and we were lucky enough to have the best weather our entire time in San Jose.

Bsd Dig Sf Dan Paley Dubs Hard 180 San Jose Wm 1

Dan Paley. Dubs hard 180 in San Jose.

"This trip didn't get me any closer to knowing what BSD means but it definitely gave me the ability to get closer to knowing some of the best riders out today."

Digbmx X Bsd Dan Paley Americuh 2

Dan requests his photo to be taken as my back is turned and I turn around to see this!

Bsd X Dig Sf Van Crew Laughs 1

...and these guys.

The last four days of riding happening in San Jose, there was a fresh start and some more level streets to pedal. We didn't know how bountiful these new spots would be but we were in for a pleasant surprise, as SJ treated us nicely. Barely any need to pedal around town very much, it was quite swift in the way we would come across most of the things we rode but everyone delivered with some moves they really wanted! We had a chance to get a lot accomplished due to all the all the elements being on our side... We made it to the Reuben banks, celebrated 420, Dustin Dollin dropped in on a session, visited San Jose State University and rode downtown. Nick Castillo came in strong with some of the craziest curve wall destruction I've ever seen and have the honor of shooting and Alex battled a clip almost everyday we rode downtown. 

Alex took on this hubba in downtown each day as he really wanted to put an original ALVX move on the list! So between battling the watchful eye of security, foot traffic and just flat out getting tired, Alex kept going back until he got it. On the second to last day, we went back for a final time wether he nailed it or not and within a handful of tries he walks away with the clip clean and happy! It's a shame you won't see the image here, you'll see it soon enough I suppose but you can watch it over and over again in the video below.

Related Video

BSD - 'In the Streets of NorCal'

Alex Donnachie, Liam Zingbergs, Dan Paley, David Grant and Nick Castillo - More Info


11 Feb 2015

BSD Undercover

23 Mar 2015