Last Days Of The T-1 Ramp Pt2: Garrett Byrnes
Legendary dude, legendary ramp...
Words and photos by Rob Dolecki
Next up in the “Last Days Of The T-1 Ramp” line of interviews is the one and only Garrett Byrnes. If the resurgence of Garrett in the BMX media was sparked by the Pool’s Gold feature last year, then the week spent at T-1 further solidified the fact that Garrett is riding better than ever. Just look at the wall tap he did below for proof. We're working on something very special with Garrett here at DIG but meantime you can read on for some insight into his first time riding the T1 ramp, how despite living 1500 miles from this iconic structure had a profound influence Garrett’s riding, as well as what future visits to Austin will be like for him.
When was your first visit to the T-1 ramp?
I don’t remember, but everything was brand new. I came to T-1 and rode the best mini-ramp I had ever ridden, by far. It was based on the mini at the old Ramp Ranch Skatepark. It was more or less Joe and Taj building their dream.
How often did you come down?
I tried to make it down once every few months. At first it was the bowled corner, then it seemed like every time you’d come by, there would be a new add-on, just morphing into what it became. It was really cool, because it happened pretty slowly, so you can get used to each piece as it came to fruition.
What’s your favorite piece of it?
I liked every piece of it; every part has a unique feeling to it, and so smooth. In my opinion, there’s no one single part; it’s all parts equal a whole.
What’s your most memorable session?
That’s a tough one. The last few years that I’ve come back here, I would get up early and ride it by myself for an hour or two. Those are some of the most memorable sessions, because I would ride until I got tired then just lay in the middle of the ramp and take it all in. There were also sessions with full decks of everybody you would possibly want to ride with; childhood heroes and modern-day heroes.
"There is so much respect for this scene, because it was a progression of people’s hard-earned money that was put into this over fourteen years."
What was the craziest session?
I can’t pick one, but there has been a handful of sessions where there’s been a lot of guys who ride it often riding really well, and a few people who didn’t really ride often and doing things they were excited on, and it kept raising the energy bar. It wasn’t so much somebody doing the craziest trick; it was just people escalating their riding ability and something simple and having fun, and getting that feeling of pushing themselves.
After all the times you’ve ridden T-1, what’s the one thing you’re happy that you’ve taken away from here?
Just seeing everyone genuinely happy together, riding something. I would equate it to good trails sessions. Everyone having fun, pushing themselves. I generally think that a backyard ramp setup always has a better attitude than a public park. The people that show up at a backyard ramp usually are not going to show up there unless you are somewhat friendly with people that own the ramp. At a public park, people can act however, they can act like idiots if they want. When you show up at somebody’s house, you don’t act like that; there’s a level of respect. There is so much respect for this scene, because it was a progression of people’s hard-earned money that was put into this over fourteen years.
"It seemed like every time you’d come by, there would be a new add-on, just morphing into what it became."
What are your visits to Austin going to be like in the future now that the ramp is gone?
I was here in Austin for my first time around ’99. It was a BMX haven, with a public place like 9th Street- everything as here, and you needed to pedal everywhere so it got you in shape. You got to ride great things, and so many great people who pulled together for a common good. Over the years, everything within Austin, like the real estate, grew and changed. The scene grew, there’s a park now that everyone is psyched to ride; it’s a great thing. But it’s hard to swallow sometimes when you are used to something, and it changes. It’s part of getting old; I feel like an old man. So many times in the past I’ve had a serious change, and you get upset, angry. But in reality, we are so lucky to have experienced what it was for that period of time. What it is now is a completely different block of time for different kids. They get to experience something totally different. I try to embrace it. It’s going to be a change. I love it here; it’s a great city. You can ride to the skatepark, multiple sets of trails, ditches… there’s anything you could possibly want here. I’m definitely going to come back, but I won’t be here as much. With T-1, it was like a big clubhouse. It was an era, and now it is over. But with the death of one era, a new one is beginning. Somebody that created this thing (T-1 ramp) is going to create it again, put more passion into it and make it crazier than it was; it’s going to happen.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I just feel really fortunate to have been a part of it. It’s changed my riding for sure. There are so many variations of riding in one ramp. You really get to slow yourself down, and kind of pick out certain things in your riding and work on them. Time and time again you can see a people riding well, like Clint Reynolds, then come back two years later and they are blowing everyone’s mind around you, because they’ve raised the bar in riding as a whole.
"With T-1, it was like a big clubhouse. It was an era, and now it is over. But with the death of one era, a new one is beginning."
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