Some days are undoubtably going to be better than others, but every once in a while, you’ll have a truly epic day. One of those days where shit just works out so well that you can’t truly comprehend or explain it. S&M brought the boys out to SoCal a few weeks back and they had a great trip overall—including one of those truly epic days. Mike Hoder set the pace for the day with a banger in the bag by 8AM on Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood. And from there the banger wagon kept rolling without even a slight bump in the road. Not only was it a new record for the earliest a clip has ever been filmed for an S&M video, but Kareem Williams broke his streak of bad crashes on S&M trips, and Hucker did the biggest rail of his life after not doing any rails in a few years—in only two tries. To say S&M won that day would be understatement.
Interviews/photos: Jeff Zielinski
“That whole day was just absolutely incredible, couldn’t believe how many things went down and it was just, they all worked out—and wow, no one got hurt.”
How long have you been looking at doing the car wash gap for?
Off and on for about ten years. It’s right in your face when you’re going down Sunset. Every time I’d see it driving by would think, “I know that’s possible.” I would just drive by it over and over, but I only ever got up close to it like twice—just to look at it from the bottom and I peeked up over the roof, too.
You ended up going there twice to try it—two Sundays in a row. Give us a little recap of the first time you went there and why it didn’t work out.
The first time I went there we showed up at 7:30 in the morning and the place is opening at 8:30, but the guy was there a little bit early and that was kind of sketching me out. He showed up at 7:45 getting the place ready to open and that was just a little nerve wracking because he kept walking under the roof where I’d jump over. And, I was pedaling full speed at it and I couldn’t even really do a bunny hop on the top of the bank. I didn’t have enough speed, so I needed to get towed in, but we didn’t have enough people with us for someone to drive the van. So, I figured I would wait until the next week when we had the whole team and I’d have a guy to drive and guys to spot traffic too.
So fast forward to the next weekend. How was it with having a whole crew there?
I just kind of blanked everything out. When we showed up, I just got straight to it. I didn’t really talk to anyone. I just had to start going up to it with some speed and then I was like, yeah there’s no way I can pedal at it. So I had Dan [Norvell] get behind the wheel and we started trying the tow-in.
On that committed go, once you left the bank and got up there, how did it feel?
It was crazy. The second I let go of the van, it’s almost like I blacked out. I was going 40 miles an hour when I let go of the car so the second I took off and went to bunny hop up the curb and right up the bank and then hopped to land on the roof, it felt like it happened in two seconds. I was on the roof faster than anything. I didn’t really know what had happened. I was kind of in awe that I was even up there.
And then from there, the day just took off…
The day was insane. By the time I got done with that clip, it was only eight in the morning. I think it was 8:05 in the morning when we got done with the clip so we had the whole day in LA to go pedal around. I took all the homies to this school that I saw a few months back when I was staying at my mom’s house out in Santa Monica. I wasn’t even able to get into the school before, but I was looking through the fences and I knew there had to be stuff in there. That day we went, the gates were open because there was some church thing going on. Right when we rolled in, there was the stair set to blue wall the Childs ended up doing. And I was like, “Childs, it’s either you or me, dude this thing is perfect.” So Chiles banged that out real quick after Dan did a gap pegs 180 on that big out rail. Then Hucker just showed up out of nowhere, he kind of just showed up on the scene, saw that big kinker and fired that out. I wasn’t actually there, we had to go do this weird-ass music video thing. But when we came back, everyone was like, “Yo! Hucker did this rail.”
Then after all that… So a few months back when I saw this school, I also saw this rail setup that someone [Stephan August] had fucked with back in the day, they did a grind to pop-over. But I was like, dude, this thing would be perfect. Perfect for a double tire. Kareem’s last two trips he’s been, he’s gotten real hurt and fucked up. He had to go to the hospital—twice, I think. Just, those things kind of fuck trips up. Then he came on this trip and I knew he wanted to get something and we were only a block away from the spot, so we took him there.
He said he wanted to do it. And I was like, “You got this, but you got to do it first try” because there ain’t no getting out of that one because it was a big drop. I was standing at the bottom guarding your [Jeff Z.] flash and I was like, “I hope to God he lands this because I’m the first one getting hit by this guy.” And yeah, we’d showed up, he just got straight to it and took a couple of runs at the rail. And he did it so good. I couldn’t be happier for Kareem after those last two trips getting hurt and then he really nailed it. I’m stoked for him. That whole day was just absolutely incredible, couldn’t believe how many things went down and it was just, they all worked out—and wow, no one got hurt.
And when you watch the S&M Wins video, that one day made that video…
Oh yeah. That day definitely made that video. We needed that. I don’t really watch too many videos to tell you the truth. I don’t even watch my own videos. I don’t watch S&M videos very often, but I shit you not, I’ve watched this video ten times now and every time it just makes me laugh and smile because it was nothing but good times. It was the best trip, one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. So much shit happened—every day was just incredible. We got a solid team. I’m loving S&M bikes right now. We’re actually killing it, like, straight up. I think that video so far is the best video that we put out
“It wasone of the wildest BMX days I’ve had in a really long time.”
That trip to California was your first trip on with S&M, right?
Yeah, it was. I can’t believe that happened. Chuck [Charlie Crumlish] asked me if I wanted to go on a trip. And I was like, man, I’m not even really on
the team yet officially or anything. I guess that going on a trip kind of helps embeds you into a company, being involved in everything and meeting everybody and go to the warehouse. I kind of was already in, if you’re there already, it’d kind of suck if it was like, you know that guy, never mind, we’re not really that into you. Sorry.
You guys got up at the crack of dawn and started the day with Hoder, which is already a pretty high note for a day at only 8:00 AM…
Yeah! It wasone of the wildest BMX days I’ve had in a really long time. Hoder had the carwash in his mind basically the whole trip. That was one of his things that he had in his trick list that he wanted to bang out. We rode that ditch over by Full Factory and we were just sessioning the step up and that kind of put in his head that it was like, all right, if I can get up this, I can definitely get up the Sunset carwash. Just some of the circumstances are a little different like speed and the angle of the bank and whatnot. But that kind of just put it in his head that it was going to happen.
We wake up at six in the morning, Hoder is knocking on the door. We all hopped in the van, we get there, scope it out and we were just getting all amped. Hoder takes a few run ups. Dan driving the van, ripping him up Sunset Boulevard in the middle of the road, seven in the morning and there was just that one that he knew it was go time. He just let it rip and popped right up that bad boy.
Then the school…that was very fruitful and everybody there wanted to get something. Just so happened that they were having some church gathering and whatnot so the gate was open and we strolled in there and everyone was friendly, no hassle or anything. Dan got a clip on that out rail with a pegs to 180—which was pretty savage. He bombed it down the stairs, cut the corner and somehow got the speed to mob off the end of that rail.
From there we went over to that walIride I was eyeing up. While Dan was getting his clip, I was trying to not think about the wallride too much. A setup like that, if it’s right there and you know you can do it, you can’t over think it because it changes the way you’re looking at it. So I got up to the top [of the steps], everyone was ready and I just ran it. It was pretty much just jumping into a bank at a skate park—a little different setup but that’s kinda how I treated it.
From there we just kind of kept moving from one side of the school and slowly gravitated toward the other side. Craig was trying to get clip for a while, he ended up not getting what he wanted, unfortunately, but he made it to the end of the rail, which was still sick because it was a really long grind. Then some of us left—me, Charlie, Kareem, Dan, I forget who else—we left for a little while go be in a music video shoot as background B-roll guys. In the middle of all that, while we were gone, Hucker bombed that massive double kinker. He didn’t even really bat an eye at it about how massive it was because the rail was low. So crazy.
I can’t remember exactly what you said, but after you did the wallride you said something about how it was good to get scared again…something alluding to how you hadn’t done something that gets your blood moving in a little…
Right, yeah. Especially during Northeast winters—granted this one has been fairly mild—but sometimes your mindset of what you’re riding—not going on trips frequently and whatnot. Your mindset kind of gets put into a low and slow, take it kind of casual, rather than just going out and sending it. When the circumstances are right, you know you can do it, but you kind of question it. But yeah, it’s nice to get back in the rhythm of putting yourself in that situation where you’re kind of scaring yourself, but you know damn well that you’re going to do it. Although, you still kind of weigh-out the factors of what could go wrong and that’s why I kind of like to take the approach—I feel it was [Sean] Burns who said some time in the past, if there’s something that he’s nervous about, while everyone was setting up or whatnot, he would ride away and go around the block and kind of not just sit there and stare at it. That’s kind of resonated with me in the past because I’m kind of pretty much that way—if there’s something scary that I want to do, I’m either ready to go right at that moment or once I dwell on it, I’m kind of like, the nerves get going, just get a little hesitant. I don’t want that feeling. I’d rather just be like, this is what I want and I want to do it. If you can’t get a camera out, that’s fine. I’ll take a one angle. Every circumstance is a little different when it comes down to doing gnarlier stuff and everybody goes about it a little differently. But that’s why it’s cool to be able to go on trips with Hoder, because when he wants to do something, he’s gonna do it. He doesn’t sit around and pussy foot it. That’s good motivation.
Yeah, you went up there and when everyone was ready, you just said, “all right…” Then you came around and you did it. There was no hesitation. It was pretty awesome. The vibe from that, I think S&M Wins sums it up pretty damn well…
It was a team win for sure. Everybody was going in on that trip. Despite sometimes having big groups—which makes it kind of tough to make moves and get from spot to spot, but everybody got solid shit and the motivation was there and everybody had each other’s backs and that’s what’s important. Everybody was feeling confident that what each person wanted to do was going to get done.
And Kareem’s come up, man…he had that one fall in Hot Dogs… on a pretty similar setup that didn’t pan out so well, and he went and laced that tires like it was nothing—like he was just riding across flat ground pretty much. That capped it off for the rest of the trip. You don’t really need much more than that. When you put the right riders in the right atmosphere, something’s going to happen no matter what. It can be anywhere, where there’s literally no spots and something will still happen. As long as the riders and everybody’s just vibing off each other and having a good time. Even if nothing happens, everybody’s still having a good time because we’re just out riding bikes and can’t really do any wrong just being out riding bikes with your buds.
“Probably the craziest day of street riding I’ve ever had.”
We were already at the school for a few hours when you showed up and I feel like almost immediately after you arrived you told me you wanted to grind that kinker…
When Trevor [Sigloch] and I pulled in, the very first thing I saw from the parking lot from the car was that rail. I was so fixated on it. My first thought was, that would be cool to do, but I didn’t really think I would. And then I just couldn’t get it out of my mind. Then we went to shoot that rap video and I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I actually left that early to come back and do it. Because it literally took over my thoughts. I couldn’t think of anything, but doing it.
The fact that the rail was so low made it kind of inviting, but it’s still a steep 40 stair with a really short kink. What about it made you want it so bad?
It was the lowest rail of that I’ve ever seen in my life. It was probably one foot below bars. And there were bushes on the left side so I was like, okay, worst case scenario, you’ve got a foam pit on one side and you barely have to hop onto it. I knew that if I didn’t try it, I’d go home and be bummed I didn’t at least try it.
And it ended up going really well for you…
It went way better than I could’ve imagined. I got down on the second try and I didn’t die! I knew from the get-go it was so low I needed to just go completely straight at it, that way I wouldn’t be getting onto it leaning either way. On my first try, as soon as I got on it, I knew I screwed up already and jumped off into the bushes. Second try I just saw myself go straight at it and it worked perfect.
And then shortly after that we rolled over to Kareem’s tire ride…
Oh my gosh, that was craziest ender. That was insane. Everybody was kind of like, you sure he got that man? Then again you don’t really question somebody when they want to do something that crazy, you kind of just have to trust them. I wish I was there for Hoder’s gap onto the roof, but Kareem’s tire ride was insane—probably the craziest day of street riding I’ve ever had.
“I just saw that and just knew in my brain and in my heart, I was like, ‘I got this.”
Sometimes when you first see a spot you just know, “I can do this.” What was your initial thought when you saw it?
I was just like damn, this thing is big as fuck, but the way the rail was, how it was perfectly just so dead straight on. You can’t really mess this up. And I fucking love that Subrosa flat rail. I love doing rail rides—going straight at rails. I just saw that and just knew in my brain and in my heart, I was like, “I got this.” You just go into the game confident, I got this bro. I’ve done this on a flat rail, this is basically a flat rail with a big ass drop—that’s all it is. And I just thought about it like that…flat rail, big drop, and then boom! I did it, baby.
Do you want to put Charlie on blast for him questioning you doing it?
Do I want to put Charlie on blast? You’re damn right I want to put Charlie on blast. Charlie, next time I tell you I want to do something, you better not be like, remember what happened last time? I don’t want to remember what happened last time. I got hurt last time. I don’t want to remember that. [Ed. Note: Charlie clarified, “Before the spot I definitely asked if he was sure, but once we were there and it was clear he wanted to do it all I did was offer pointers and guidance.”]
He’s talking about the tire ride in my S&M part [Hot Dogs Who Can’t Read] in Arizona. I tried the rail ride, boom, almost landed it. Get back up, try it again, then I flip over, land on my back, my bike hits me on my chest and like, Ooh, Ooh. I’m laying on the ground. I’m catching my air and Charlie’s making me laugh. I’m like, “Charlie, stop making me laugh. I can’t breathe.” He’s like, “you okay?” I’m like, “yeah, yeah, yeah.” He’s patting me on my chest and I’m like, “Charlie stop, I’m dying.” Charlie and Hoder walked me to the van. They kept riding. Dylan Ambrose and me go to this little fucking hospital just to get my back checked out just to make sure nothing’s wrong. We were going inside and I couldn’t walk. I fainted while Dylan’s holding me. He gives me a wheelchair and he wheels me in and he explained to the people, “We were riding bikes and he fell and landed on his back.”
You saw the rail first thing in the morning, then we went to that school just down the street and we were there for hours. Were you thinking about it all day, like, “I gotta go do this crazy rail ride later on today…”
I don’t ever sweat shit like that. Bruh, I’m talking to you right now and I bet ten minutes from now I’m going to forget I talked to you. I don’t ever be sweating shit. I’m not one of those kinds of riders who go up to the spot and take three hours to get one clip. Fuck that, first try or die bro. If I’m there, fuck talking about it—let’s just do it.
We started out the day on a high note with Hoder’s bang. And the day just kept going with the bangers leading up to you wrapping it up. Do you think that all that good energy helped you make it happen first try?
Oh, hell yeah. Everybody else is feeding off of each other. Just seeing all your homeboys land shit, you’re like, Aw damn, I got to get a clip now too. We’ve got some heavy hitters. Hoder set the tone for the whole rest of the day. After Hoder did that and I’m high on Hoder’s energy and I see that, I’m like, Oh shit. Okay, cool. Boom! It’s going down. Once I decided it was going down, it went down.
It did turn out to be a lot of people there. Was that kind of spooking you or motivating for you?
No, because…I mean I liked the attention. I love it. The more the merrier. Come on, come watch me, Kareem’s World… what’s up guys? Kareem here.
10 Reasons why S&M won, according to Charlie Crumlish.
Charlie edited, help film, and co-starred in S&M Wins. Oscar nomination coming soon…
1. Mike Hoder wins for jumping up onto the car wash. I don’t think there’s any way to film this trick that would do it justice, but to put it in perspective a little bit Dan Norvell hit 40mph in the van and that bank feels like a fucking wallride. The tow-in and the setup gave me flashbacks to the infamous bridge clip from Hot Dogs…, and this set a tone of redemption on the trip Kareem followed up later that day.
2. Kareem J. Williams wins for that tire ride. Again, the redemption thing and Hot Dog call backs kept popping into my head. The setup he got wrecked on at ASU trying a tire ride was pretty much the same idea, tires to drop off an L rail. Redemption. S&M wins, I guess against our former selves or whatever.
3. Hucker wins for his professional biking attitude. Huck was busy with family obligations for a good portion of the trip and we only got two days of filming with him, but he came off the bench on 100 laying down an X Games dirt run one day and a 40 stair kinked rail the other. P-R-O.
4. The BLVD Hotel in Costa Mesa wins for letting us hotbox the parking lot smoke area (even though it was outdoors) without giving us too much shit.
5. Dan Norvell wins for maintaining a high level of riding even though he doesn’t have anyone to ride with where he lives up north in California. He was on it this trip, street or gigantic dirt jumps, and it’s hard to go right to that level when you aren’t used to being out filming all the time.
6. Craig Passero wins for doing a switch cab manual switch 360 really casually one day. Craig is the king of learning tricks on camera quickly.
7. Austin Augie wins because he left his GH5 at that bunker spot in San Pedro and somehow it was still there when he went back the next morning.
8. S&M Wins for getting the Supreme collab. Say what you will, the bikes look pretty dope and if BMX is gonna be on a big stage like that, at least a company like S&M with some history in the sport and deep roots in the scene is making them.
9. S&M Wins because if we had taken this trip two weeks later than we planned it, it probably wouldn’t have happened. Hope everyone is staying safe at home.
10. S&M will continue to win in the future because of draft picks like Aryei Levenson. This kid is so cool, artistic, creative and completely insane on his bike. We saw him learn like 5-10 tricks every day. I’ve followed his riding for a few years myself so I kind of know his bag of tricks, and I would just call stuff out to him I know he hadn’t done yet, but that were combinations of tricks in his bag and he would get the clip within a few tries. Future is bright.
In case you missed it, or wanna get that rewatch, here’s S&M wins…