Up until I was invited on a trip in 1998 in Japan, the concept of a BMX flatland tour was just foreign to me. One might wonder about the actual point of such a tour is (when a flatland spot is just what it is… flat ground), well... first of all, this is an incomplete definition. Two flatland spots are never the same, just like two street spots never are either. It is about the material, the size, the quality and the people who ride there or the ones you will meet there. Secondly, it is also about the journey, the location — city or not — its environment and the weather. And if you want to film a video along the way... well even with flatland, the spots end up conditioning the filming. A spot may cater to one rider more than another.
Leave home with an open mind and make the best out of diversity. On tour, time is running and you better not expect a second chance, so do it now or never as it creates incredible moments. BMX brings us there, but it’s more than BMX, more than flatland, it’s a human adventure. It’s been said before but get in the fucking van and you will understand the value of such experience.
So, ever since HERESY started in 2010, I thought about touring. However, because of budget reasons, it was not an option. Instead we met a few times in a couple different cities and made videos over the course of 3 or 4 days usually, with whoever from the crew was available at the time. It always turned out to be fun and productive, regardless of the weather conditions we had to deal with. No wait, the conditions actually played a part in the process of making videos we would not forget. Would we ever cross the entire city by subway and pedal two miles under pouring rain to ride beneath that dirty highway bridge just to ride? Definitely yes! But filming clips there got extra value as the elements ruined all chances to film anywhere else within that time frame.
Weird one. We show up to our very first spot, the square in front of the new Arena hall in Bordeaux, recommended by Michaël. We are just getting ready to start riding. I hear Michaël next to me say "oh no" in a low voice. Now there’s guy who could be a security guard walking to us. But surprisingly, as I see his face, I notice that he is a long time friend of mine and one of the main guys running that new concert hall. He had no idea I was here and I had no idea he worked there either. He used to ride BMX he just came down from his office to say hi to the group and let us know we could film, if we're kind enough not to grind the fences. Well, it was no one’s intention to grind spectators chest high rails in front of the hall entrance anyway, not even mine haha. It was an unreal scene and a sign the trip would be special.
So finally, this year we could plan something and plan it in summer weather too - one week, in September, in the south of France. With only a few stops planned (Bordeaux, Toulouse and Montpellier/Baillargues - the scenes of the moment), we hoped to have luck on our side from the start. The idea was also to limit the distances and drive as little as possible everyday to have plenty of time at all stops (unfortunately we had to skip Lyon as it was not on our way). We had 3 jams scheduled with the locals and also planned to have days solely dedicated to riding together and filming a team edit. It included two full days between the Toulouse and Baillargues stops. In Onet-le-Château, Matthieu’s Bonnécuelle small hometown in the beautiful region of Aveyron, Matthieu could get the keys to the main public hall where we would be able to finally do some 'studio' style filming, something we had in mind for the two past winters but could never realise due to conflicting schedules. GROUP ASPHALTANIC RITES was filmed in four days in Bordeaux, Agen, Toulouse and Onet-le-Château.
Having jams along the way really added some extra taste to the trip. Meeting the locals was essential as we visited cities we usually never travel to. It’s just nice to see all generations of riders mixing up for some good times, all on the same spot. Some ride everyday, some once a month but it doesn’t matter one second when everyone decides to join the jam. In Toulouse we even had two french street legends, Daniel Mini and Nicolas Cambon! The tour ended at Alex Jumelin’s flat school in Baillargues. The place is unique. Kids everywhere, excited to ride — or play hide and seek as the night comes. George asked himself if it was even real. And sure it was. All year long, Alex passes on his love for riding to these amazing kids. There is hope in Baillargues. And there we came playing Black Sabbath and Entombed, riding pegless in the case of George, doing what we do… And we were greeted with smiles and excitement. Thanks kids.
Until next time…