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3 May 2016

IGNITION 03: Larry Edgar

“I don’t try to have style; I just pedal fast and try to go as high as I can.”

fly vans flying v clean

Words and photos by Jeremy Pavia

We live in a society today where having a cell phone in our pocket that’s ready to use at all times and making sure it isn’t further than arms reach first thing in the morning has become normal. A society where repeatedly looking at the same few apps on that very cell phone in an almost obsessive nature throughout the day has become normal. A society where we feel more comfortable texting words and tiny graphics of smiley faces that laugh, cry and happen to wear sunglasses as opposed to actually communicating verbally has become normal. A society where you know more about your friends, family and complete strangers than you ever have without even interacting with them but by just simply checking their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or whatever the hell else people are using out there has become normal. A society where everyone seems to have the attention span akin to goldfish and people mention they can’t sit through videos longer than a few minutes has become normal. How you take in and consume media is an individual choice these days. You have the complete freedom to choose what to watch, what to listen to and what to read on a regular basis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With that said, the people that choose to seek out and read this feature, are the ones it was written for. 

Next up is Larry Edgar. Larry has been flying under the radar for years and although he’s been incredibly talented on a bike since he was a teenager, he is finally getting the recognition he has deserved for quite some time now and it’s amazing to see. Larry is the type of rider that will leave you scratching your head after watching him go higher than everyone else during any given session. His style and flow come from his dedication to BMX over the years and the countless hours spent on his bike. He grew up in the thick of things in Southern California and had the opportunity to ride with pros from a young age, which helped shape him into the well-rounded rider he is today. Larry is the type of person that doesn’t need to say much and lets his riding do the talking. Besides having a positive outlook on life, he seems to have a tack sharp focus and mindset when it comes to being a professional BMX rider. We linked up and spent the late afternoon at his Uncles house in Lake Elsinore, California catching up while the two of them were putting in work on his project drift car. Sit back and get to know where Larry came from, what motivates him to push his limits on a daily basis and see exactly what being humble, dedicated and driven will get you in life. Welcome to Ignition #3. 

Once again, the idea of this interview is to not have it feel like a typical interview so let’s start with something different. Take a look at the list, and tell us the first thing that comes to mind.

Traveling - Interesting new spots, cool people to talk to, pretty landscapes and different architecture.

Food - Meat, Organic Produce, Coffee, cheat day.

Bike setup - Sturdy, all black.

Style - Sideways.

Music - Slayer!

Passion - Having fun with my friends on my little kids bike.

Zen moments - When you pop a lip just right on a twenty-five foot dirt jump.

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This is your chance to give everyone a bit of background on yourself as a rider. When and where did it all start for you on two wheels?

When I was 13 years old my Dad bought me an eighteen-inch Hoffman from Circle City Cyclery in Corona, California. I started mainly riding at The Compound in Perris, and I didn’t know anyone at all.

When you were younger and first starting out, did riding come easy to you?

Nothing felt overwhelmingly difficult because I was having so much fun on my bike. I was never worrying about getting better. 

It was clear you had talent from a young age, but what was it about BMX that kept you pursuing it?

It became an addiction to the adrenaline rush and feeling of being weightless in the air. It became all I did for a while.

Was there ever a moment when you felt like it all clicked and when you decided that riding was something you could see yourself doing for a long time to come?

I don’t think that there was a specific defining moment, but the last couple of years have really put me in a great position to keep accelerating my career.

Growing up in Southern California clearly has its advantages, what was it like having pro riders all around when you were younger?

I never really saw them differently than anyone else. I just respected their talent and rode with them when I saw them at the skate park.

Where did you ride the most in your early years? I know you have a lot of history with The Compound and even earlier when it was still known as Real Ride.

When it was Real Ride, I actually spent a lot of time just watching. My dad would be racing next door and I’d hop the fence to come see everyone shred. I also spent some time at local skate parks in the Corona and Riverside areas.

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Your style and flow is something that people take notice of when watching you ride even after a run or two. Who were some of your early influences when it comes to style?

My early and biggest influence was Thomas Hancock because he personally mentored me on and off my bike. I also really admired Mike Aitken because his style was my favorite.

Have you consciously focused on the style side of things or is it just the way you ride?

I don’t try to have style; I just pedal fast and try to go as high as I can.

Speaking of…the one thing that stands out to me over the years of watching you ride is the fact that you somehow keep being able to go higher and higher. What is it that allows you to air things ridiculously high the way you do?

Go past your comfort zone in speed and just go as fast as you can.

You mentioned that you are currently riding a frame that has a longer back end than you were used to before what frame is it exactly and does that actually help with the stability side of things?

I’m riding the Fly Geo frame and it feels like I never miss any transition. There’s a much larger balance point, so I feel more stable.

Speaking of Fly, how did all of that come about and how did you end up on the Pro team?

Phu from Epic BMX threw my name out to John Povah at Fly Bikes. John and I started talking. I’ve been a fan of Fly since I first saw etnies “Grounded” so needless to say I was ready to get things rolling.

How does it feel to be teammates with some seriously badass fellow riders?

It’s very humbling for me, and at the same time pushes me to keep working even harder.

To me, you being on Fly makes perfect sense. It is a team full of unique individuals that all ride in their own way. Did you ever imagine as a young rider that you would be on the same roster as Ruben Alcantara?

That’s probably one of the last things that I thought would happen. I’m more than excited, and can’t wait to see how I grow with Fly.

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Fly is one of those companies that just seems to do things right and always have. From their products to their team selection everything has a purpose, and everything they do is for the greater good of BMX. What makes you most stoked about the company as a whole?

Fly does so much for me as a rider. I’m mostly thrilled about how well they take care of me. If one thing breaks, I get 40 more of them. They really listen to my input and take into account how the products work for me.

When it comes to your bike how has the overall set up changed since you first started and current day do you do anything unique or is it basically build it and ride it?

I don’t run brakes anymore like I used to. My bike set up is taller, longer, and heavier. Usually I do something unique with the paint color, but now Fly came out with an awesome black frame and I wouldn’t change it.  

You have a set of signature bars from Stay Strong that have been out for a while now. When it comes to choosing the dimensions for those what route did you go?

I had turndowns and tabletops in mind when I designed my Stay Strong bars. They have more of a narrow box, so you can get twisted like a pretzel.

You also mentioned having some signature products potentially in the works with Fly as well. Can you give some insight on what’s to come?

Right now, I can’t say anything. But you guys are going to love what we are planning!

How would you describe your riding style and what do you prefer to ride on a regular basis?

I like to ride trails with some flow, but a good cement bowl is fun for me too. I like to switch it up depending on my mood.

You’ve been doing this BMX thing since you were just a young kid, what keeps it fresh for you and what keeps you motivated?

I’d say just trying new things keeps me going, whether it’s transfers, gaps, or tricks.

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"It became an addiction to the adrenaline rush and feeling of being weightless in the air. It became all I did for a while."

- Larry Edgar

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If anyone knows you personally, they would know that you are clearly into cars. So much so that it seems like you’re just as passionate about that as you are about your bike. When did you start getting into the car thing?

I have loved cars since I saw my Dad racing dirt oval track when I was a kid. I grew up working on cars, and basically spent my childhood in my Dad’s shop.

You are in the middle of working on your current car now, which hangs in the balance between track ready and street legal. What are some specs on the whip?

It’s a 1993 Nissan 240SX with an LS1 Corvette engine swap, pushing about 400 horsepower. It’s pure fun!

How long have you been working on this current car and what kind of process has it been to get it to this point?

It’s been a little over four years to get this drift missile going. The process has been long, but if it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth it right?

Does spending a day at the track or getting your car sideways in the streets feel the same as having a good session on your bike?

The adrenaline rush is similar, and that’s probably why I love it so much. But I still go ride my bike after a track day.

If BMX disappeared tomorrow, is it safe to say you would focus all of your energy into the car thing?

Drifting would probably become the focus, but I would maybe try riding some downhill too. I would need to keep the BMX roots alive somehow.

Over the years BMX has lost a lot of younger riders to cars, and the pursuit of girls in those same cars. What advice do you have to younger riders for being able to balance riding and wanting to just spend time either driving or working on cars?

Your bike is always there, so try to get an early BMX session before you go work on your car. Keep your priorities in order, and remember that it would be a dream to pay for your car by riding your bike!

Investment wise, it’s not cheap to customize a car like you have. How much have you spent over the years and how much time would you say you have put into this one specifically?

Endless hours have gone into the 240, and still counting. Financially, I’ve invested about $30k into it.  

Obviously you have a dream car, what is it?

My dream car would have to be a legendary 1999 Skyline, because they are stupid fast and the look is unique. 

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How do you spend a typical day at home? 

I usually try to wake up before 9AM, drink a bunch of coffee, play with my pup, and get my day going.

What is your dogs name and if he rode BMX, what kind of rider would he be? Do you think he would have good style?

His name is Sherman. He would definitely be a trail dog and he’d be the sketchiest S.O.B on two wheels!

Is there a “normal” when it comes to your regular schedule?

I never have a regular schedule because life can be pretty unpredictable with traveling and riding.

More and more pro riders are becoming aware of the benefits of being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle. Do you fall into that category?

I eat super healthy to make up for how much I put my body through when I ride bikes. The higher you go, the harder you fall. You have to take care of your facility.

What’s your take on social media these days? Is it just another requirement as a pro rider to keep the fans happy, or do you see it as a necessary evil?

It’s necessary for me because I think it’s important to share my life with the people who enjoy my riding. I also am able to show my gratitude for my supporters and sponsors in a more public way.

Instagram or Snapchat?

Instagram. I barely use Snapchat.  

When it comes time to choose what to ride, what are some of your regular spots these days?

It’s hard to narrow that down in Southern California with so many spots around but I’ve recently loved riding Chino, FOD trails, and the new Vans park in Huntington Beach.

It seems as though you would be perfectly happy with just doing turndowns and tables all day but you have a pretty deep bag of tricks. How has your style evolved over the years and when it comes to trick selection, what’s on your list currently?

I keep upping the anti as the years go on, as far as speed and height go. I’m also pretty excited about recently playing with 360 back flips. 

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You have gone back and forth with a freecoaster. What are your thoughts on the takeover and could you see yourself making the switch full-time?

It was fun changing it up for a while, but I like my driver too much. Turndowns and tabletops feel better without the freecoaster.

Since you have grown up in the thick of things in Southern California, what are some of the major changes you have seen over the years as far as BMX is concerned?

There are a lot less people riding dirt, and less opportunities to ride trails. Less people are willing to drive to go ride; they’re looking for convenience.

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What would you say the best thing about BMX is?

The freedom to be creative, do whatever you want, and be yourself.

What is it like riding for Stay Strong? Stephen Murray is a huge inspiration to this day for a ton of riders out there, including myself.

It’s taught me so much, even outside of riding. I’ve learned to be thankful for what I have, and how to be helpful when I’m needed.

Who are all of your current sponsors at the moment that are helping you pursue your dreams?

Fly Bikes, Vans Shoes, and Stay Strong BMX are my biggest supporters right now. I am super grateful for how much they invest in me to keep me on my bike. 

Trick wise, what feels best to you and if you were stuck doing only one trick for an entire session what would it be?

I would probably do tabletops, because I love testing myself to see how long I can hold them.

We actually shot photos together years ago around 2007 or 2008 at The Compound when we first met. Looking back on that, you were a young shredder with a ton of potential getting noticed so long ago. Why do you think it took the industry so long to realize that? What does it feel like to finally be in the spotlight after putting in so much work over the years as a rider?

I think people get caught up in the trendy aspects of BMX and that’s partially why it took some extra time for me. I feel pretty validated after all of my hard work now that I’m getting some recognition.

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"I think people get caught up in the trendy aspects of BMX and that’s partially why it took some extra time for me. I feel pretty validated after all of my hard work now that I’m getting some recognition."

- Larry Edgar

Speaking of The Compound, it’s hard to see it any differently now because at the time it just seemed normal, but some of those dirt sessions over the years were some of the best sessions in the history of BMX. What was it like being a young rider in the mix with guys like Corey Nastazio, TJ Ellis, Luke Parslow, Corey Bohan, Biz, Hucker, Thomas Hancock and Heath Pinter?

I definitely took it for granted and looking back, I miss it so much. Those sessions are what sparked my love for BMX.

We talked a bit about the influence that Thomas Hancock (RIP) had on you, your riding and your life in general. Care to explain?

He taught me how to have a good time on my bike, and to not take it too seriously. I learned from him that it’s more important to do tricks that I actually have fun doing, rather than tricks that people think are cool.

Questioning your dedication to BMX would be downright ignorant at this point. Did you always imagine yourself to be pro on one of the most respected companies in the industry eventually?

I never expected anything out of riding; I just wanted an exciting, enjoyable outlet. I am amazed at how it has snowballed into this, and I still look back some days and get really stoked for my 13-year-old self.

Seeing how Fly is based in Spain, I’m sure it will open some doors for you to see more of the globe in the coming years. Travel wise, what are a few places you haven’t been to that you’d like to see?

I’d love to have the chance to visit Fly in Barcelona, and also go to England, and see the beaches in Greece. I’m actually visiting France for the first time next week, and I can’t wait!

Knowing what you know now as a current day pro rider, what would you say to your younger self when you were just a kid with nothing more than BMX on the brain?

If I had a chance to talk to little me, I’d tell him to enjoy every minute of being a kid while he can.

Do you have any video projects in the works? What can we expect to see this summer and throughout the rest of 2016?

Always! There are two really crazy projects going on right now, but I’ll leave the guessing up to you. Keep an eye out. 

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When you are on your end of an interview you always are at the mercy of the person coming up with the questions to ask. If you were someone else interviewing yourself, what would you ask and what would your answer be?

Question: How can you lift an elephant with one hand?

Answer: It is not a problem, since you will never find an elephant with one hand.

Here is the spot to shout out anyone you’d like so go for it.

Thanks to Fly Bikes, Vans Shoes, Stay Strong, Ride 100%, and Epic BMX.

On behalf of DIG, thanks for being down to do this interview and thanks for showing the BMX world what it means to really get high. Always gotta’ end it with the chance for some last words; the space is yours if you want it.

Live fast, land flat, stay in school and love your mom.

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