Nico Badet - Found in Translation
Hopping over much more than the language barrier...
Interview and photos by Wes McGrath
Earlier this year while I was in Barcelona, I had the chance to meet and get to know some amazing people. Some old familiar faces and some brand new personalities that I'd never planned on meeting. One person that stuck out to me in particular was the style master from France, Nico Badet. Naturally, Nico is friends with Joris Coloumb and Anthony Perrin (whom I was staying with while in BCN) so I was able to ride with Nico quite often. It didn't take long for me to notice his unique style and approach to not only bike riding but to life itself. We began sharing ideas of his first trip to America, over coffee and a spliff he told me that he would start his trip with the Vans BMX Street Invitational and then onto a month long journey in Southern California. I didn't hesitate to invite Nico to stay at my place down in Long Beach so he could catch some classic summertime in the LBC.
What's up Nico? You've been traveling a lot these past few months and now you're back in Europe. Can you let us know what you're up to right now?
Right now I’m on my way from the west part of south France for the wonderful yearly gathering called, TRIP APACHE. This is when 50 bike riders and skaters come together and are simply smiling all day long! No hotel just gipsy vibes around the Basque Country in Spain during one week. It’s simple. It’s life! I’m stoked for sure, it’s our pilgrimage.
Sounds cool - Ok, let's start with the basics..
Barcelona (Spain) / Lyon (France)
Who are your current sponsors and how long have you been riding for each of them?
VANS - 2010 / MArieJADE - since the beginning 2009 / Fit Bike Co - 2009 / The Shadow Conspiracy - 2014 / Bros Bike Store - since the beginning 2014/ The French Connexion - Fit Bike Co French distro - 2015 / Sparkys France - Shadow French distro - 2014
What have you been busy with lately, any new projects on the horizon?
Yeah I just spent an amazing month in SoCal, and I met so many great new friends. It was my first time visiting the USA so it's easy to say I had a BLAST. I have so many new projects going on, one with the French FIT distributor and THE FRENCH CONNEXION in Paris. I'm also working on my new part for the MArieJADE DVD called, Nofutur. Lastly I'll be working on a new Shadow part too.
Tell us a little about your life back in France.
My life back in France is about riding and visiting my friends, easy living... I’m about to buy a car so I can venture out a bit more. I’ll need to make some money to enjoy my summer like a prince! hehe.
Where and what do you usually ride? Who do you go riding with on a daily basis?
I love riding with everyone, everywhere so the good times never stop. I mean, I really enjoy street riding but a good bowl or a California pool is amazing! The list of my mates is too long and I’m glad about that. The BMX community is such a big family I can’t quote everyone and that’s what is so cool about this industry.
How many months out of the year are you traveling?
BMX is so large I am lucky enough to enjoy visiting my buddies all over the world, pretty much anytime... The freedom of travel within BMX is priceless and I won't ever stop enjoying that notion.
How long have you been riding peg-less?
"So evidently, one year later everybody was riding four pegs, so I took mine off... it’s important for me to do things differently."
- Nico Badet
What was the main influence behind you embracing a pegless style?
The fun! Because less is more, you know?
Did your peg-less riding come directly from street riding or did it evolve from skatepark riding?
Back in 2010 during the Vans, "Let it Ride" event, I was riding four pegs and at that time I was the only one riding all four pegs at the contest. One year later everybody was riding four pegs, so I took mine off because it’s important for me to do things differently.
How much time did you spend in California and did you feel like it was enough time?
I spent one month in California and it was enough to get the feeling of how damn cool Cali can be but not enough to ride everything I've seen in videos and out of the car window! I must come back.
Which cities in California did you get to visit?
Huntington Beach / LA / Long Beach / Santa Ana / Costa Mesa / Sunken City.
Landing in California, you started your trip with the Vans BMX Street Invitational in Huntington Beach, riding alongside some of SoCal's best. How was that for your first introduction to America?
Hell yeah that contest was easy to be a part of and all the dudes were so cool and chill about riding in a contest like that... I was able to catch the “DOOR STEP” premier in Long Beach, which was the best introduction to the core of BMX in SoCal.
What were you up to while you spent time in Long beach?
Visiting this perfect city with these incredible spots! The size of the city was perfect for me - just pedaling downtown was best. I hate to waste my time in the traffic.
Describe your typical day in the LBC?
I started the day with a delicious peanut butter Açai and then shared a coffee with all the locals.
I was stretching in front of the ocean during the free yoga lesson and then enjoying my favorite and massive burrito at Eddie’s. After that, I was going to ride and ended up drinking a well deserved fresh corona at the “good bar” close to the Six. Thanks again to my mates for showing me all these perfect spots.
Who did you get the chance to ride with while you explored Southern California?
I had the chance to stay at Wes' house and we hit the road to get some crazy pictures and I rode with my FITBIKE team mates and also some European VANS homies. I felt like a local boy showing them the city and the cherry on top was I got to know and become friends with the good guy in black and BMX, the legendary Rick Thorne.
Did you get the chance to ride anything unique, that you don't usually ride in France?
Fuck yes! Empty pooooools!
"Riding an empty pool made me feel like the Prince of Dogtown, even if I didn't visit Venice."
- Nico Badet
What did it feel like to ride your very first pool?
Like I said I love to ride everything and empty pools are the most iconic spots in Cali! That made me feel like the Prince of Dogtown, even if I didn’t check Venice. I can die happy, I rode an empty pool.
Can you explain how you've become friends with Rick Thorne? Has he been an inspiration for your love of pool searching and riding?!
I first met Rick when we were riding that Hollywood Hills pool, he's super funny and an awesome person to be around and ride with, such a real dude! You can feel his experience in our little community of BMX. I have so much respect for people who help drive BMX with a focus on fun and respect! So yes, he has been an inspiration to me, I am younger than him and looking up to older riders with respect is what it takes to have a solid new generation of riders... It's all about motivation and congratulations in between all the good times.
Is there anyone you'd like to thank?
Thanks to Andy Zeiss (Vans Europe) for sending me over the ocean! Jerry Badders for the perfect visit at the massive VANS HQ. Chris Moeller ( FITBIKE / S&M) and Dylan for welcoming me at the Building and for showing me what 'Made in USA' means! Ian Morris (Four Down Distribution / The French Connexion ) For driving me to the famous 605 ditch and for my first ever empty pool session. Tony Malouf for being a perfect TM (FITBIKE) Wes McGrath for your beautiful pictures and for the amazing hospitality.
THANKS BMX - THANKS EVERYBODY.
Don't know where we are going, but we know where we are sleeping.
"BMX is my escape from reality"