Joris Coulomb - Heading East
Trading Palm Trees For Tumbleweeds
Words & Photos: Wes McGrath
There is a certain allure to the California Coast, those who seek adventure and the vastness of the western world tend to gravitate towards the shimmering handrails and freshly-waxed concrete creations the greater Southern California area has to offer. Joris Coulomb is no stranger to seeking adventure and the world that lays before him. Hailing from France, he has made the USA his local address for some years now and has found himself in quite a few different cities along the way... Seattle, Orlando, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Long Beach and now landing in Austin, Texas. Each time and place fueling the fire inside for what's new and what's next...
I have been fortunate enough to witness Joris through these many years of evolution and his commitment to BMX has never faltered, so I wanted to catch up with him and see how his move to Austin has been treating him so far? The city of Austin has always been a mecca for the BMX industry and its participants, despite the current heatwave and the impeding growth of the city, the appetite for new spots, tacos, friends and fun doesn't ever seem to slow down!
It's been awhile since your Stay OM video part dropped, which we filmed during the first half of 2020. What has changed for you since then?
Oh my.. a lot has changed, actually the whole world changed so much… but yeah the main thing is moving to the US permanently!
What was the initial reason or draw for you to come to the United States?
Well it was never really planned… it was more playing off circumstances! I was in Cali when covid started and got stuck here for months! Almost a year actually and then I realized I might be better off staying and work on a green card from here.
How long have you been in California and where have you spent most of your time?
I moved back to Cali after spending a year up in Seattle and stayed for about a year… I was living in Long Beach so mostly around LA pretty much.
When you first thought of coming to the states full-time, did you know you were going to end up in CA for such a long time?
Like I said I never intended to move for good or prepared for it.. it kinda just unfolded like that but yeah originally it was gonna be California but I’ve actually been moving around the country a bit, which is pretty amazing in the end.
What was your favorite aspect of living and biking in SoCal?
Everything about it really!! Just endless spots.. endless people to ride with and all the people visiting from around the world… I got to spend some time with a lot of Euro homies while I was out there! Also the weather is really perfect never too hot never too cold either! It was such a treat to be able to ride whenever…
What is the biggest difference between US BMX and EU BMX?
I think the main difference is the size of everything.. the euro countries are smaller so the local scenes are also smaller but there’s actually good and bad in both huge and smaller scenes… here you have to drive a lot more but there’s probably more spots when in Europe it’s a little smaller but you just really pedal around with the homies…
What was the catalyst for you to make the move to ATX?
So it was really just spontaneous sorta… but again so many things in the world happened lately that no one expected huh? I just followed my intuition and current partner to go back where she’s from. Life here in general is much less expensive than California… almost twice as cheap and I felt like I had to focus on my financials for a while… moving here permanently has been very expensive and I had to take things a little more seriously. I’ve actually been able to save up a little bit since we moved here and it’s been really nice not to have to worry about everything being overpriced lol
After being in TX for some months now, how are you adapting to a honky-tonk type of lifestyle?
Well honestly I kinda like the lifestyle here, somehow I kinda fit in pretty well haha But that’s because Austin is what it is.. I haven’t explored all of Texas but apparently it’s not all like Austin… but besides that the weather has been more of an issue! I wasn’t expecting such heat and I don’t do really well when it’s too hot.. it’s been hard to ride consistently actually, hopefully it cools off sooner than later!
"Like I said I never intended to move for good or prepared for it... all of it kind of just unfolded."
Growing up in France and riding BMX, did you know of Austin as a BMX "Candyland" before ever coming to the US and experiencing it for yourself?
Oh yah 100% ! Matter of fact I’m pretty sure the first or second year after I started riding two of my local inspirations were going to Austin and asked if I wanted to come with… I was way too young though, about 13/14 and that was even their first trip to the us themselves I believe… it was already known as the place to be if you rode BMX… 9th street trails were already there and well known from videos and magazines back then! I ended up going for the first time just a few years later… one of my firsts trip to the US actually!
How does ATX feel during the summer?
Honestly they say its 108 sometimes but it really just feels like 666 degrees haha all I know is that’s I’ve been having a hard time acclimating to it.. trying to keep up with huge amounts of water to drink but never really enough! Other than that if you’re floating down the river it’s really awesome!
Palm trees or tumbleweeds?
LA tacos or ATX tacos?
Very tough might be ATX?!
Ocean or spring?
Tiny dogs or big diesel trucks?
Probably big truck. haha
Surfer girls or Cowgirls?
I guess I already picked that one. ;)
Hip-hop or country?
Mmm I like to blend in and country has been a vibe lately.
Pacifico or Lone Star?
I always try to drink local you know.
Humidity or Beach breeze?
The beach for sure!
Cows or Seagulls?
Well if you know me then you know I love Cows!
Has the heat kept you from riding as much as you would've liked?
Yeah definitely… I’ve never really been a night sesh kinda guy I like it when the sun is up and bright or sunset but you can’t do that here during the summer:/ i also picked up a part time job which takes up most of my mornings which made it harder to find time to ride but still try to go out as much as possible!
How are the spots in comparison to LA?
It’s actually somewhat similar as far as downtown goes but as soon as you leave the city it very different… mostly landscape and just big open spaces here !
What are you looking forward to since moving to Austin?
Getting our own place for a while closer to downtown would be sick, also looking forward to fall season and decent weather again because the city as so much to offer!
Do you see yourself staying in ATX for a long time or are you ready to bail already?!
Yeah honestly I don’t know if I can do summer here again haha we’ll see but might have to relocate back to Cali at some point…
Are you currently working on any projects?
Not really but it’s about time, definitely trying to film and edit here over the winter and now I have my own camera so it’s gonna cool experimenting more with that.
With Wiz, T-Nez, Reed Stark, Johnny Monaco, Mark Burnett, Lahsaan Kobza & George Duran