But, I am glad we made mistakes and we met wrong people for us to be smarter now!
You seem to come out with new products on a regular basis. What is the focus for every new product you design?
KGB: That would be a question for Viki, the chied of our product developement office in Madrid (hah). But, as I know him quite good I can answer for this one. We want to make products that make tricks easier to work with. I know that practice itself can be pain in the ass sometimes trying to learn this and that and trying to get it consistent so now we have a change to produce excactly kind of products that makes a difference in learning the methods of riding because we spend a lot of hours on just testing the products.
What is the distribution status at the moment? You went from direct sales back to distributors?
KGB: You know as the freestyle is the attitude because of riding sometimes we freestyle in business and unfortunately some people get pissed off about it sometimes but hey, rider owned rider runned and rider rides freestyle is the only way to go for us. We don't follow the rules of business but yeah, it is better having the distribution than selling direct. Hah, and don't take me too serious, I am also into improvising when I talk.
You have been working as a BMX coach in Asia, how was that experience?
KGB: That was great! One of the greatest experiences during my years in flatland. I reached the point that I have different values in my life than just learn new tricks. It was nice to see the progression in the younger guys from my teaching. 7 o'clock was my time to wake up as a coach, I was on that role then till 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Then started my free time which I used on my own riding and other things. So, I was a real sport coach, far away from hippie lifestyle little bit of training. I trained machines with pure passion for flatland. One of the guys was actually enjoying more hard time I gave him. My practice method was based a lot on distraction of their concentration. I tried to break their nerves by following them half meter behind clapping glass bottles together, throwing things at them while their contest run practice etc. Those were just little examples of my methods but it worked out really well. The latest news from my student is that he has followed our way and now he is able to ride 1 hour hard trick practice without any mistakes!! That was bit touchy for me and I hope he is able to come to a contest in near future to make some destruction.
Do the riders over there have the material they need to get better?
KGB: I made them practice with slippery tires, we added some extra weight on their bike and slippery pegs etc. Even we practiced on a slippery floor the whole time. As long as you have a proper bike which is rideable everything is ok. Then, couple weeks prior the event we adjusted their bikes perfect and we practiced on a perfect floor. Make it ruff make it smooth and when you learn´t the right timing in both of those things things are good. For example, since I didn´t practice too much during last 7 months because of some things, now I don´t feel like I deserve a perfect bike for myself. Everything is loose from spokes to bottom bracket not even the stem is in the correct line with the tire. But, I ride with it like that now to make myself feel like it´s not the bike, its all in the head to ride in certain level but once my body starts to work good in about 10 - 20 days I will adjust everything brand new and perfect for my bike. My twisted way of thinking..
Who is one of the talented riders that you met over there?
KGB: Toon. He is ready to battle anyone in flatland world currently. He will eat you all alive.
Are you working on a video at the moment?
KGB: Intrikat (Chad Johnston) is producing KGB dvd currently. It is almost done and that video part I have been working since 2005. So it took me lot of times and few headaches but I think it was worth it, at least I like the stuff I was doing there but what the hell I understand about the standards of new school flatland anymore. Heh. Anyway, there is about 20 - 25 minutes of raw riding from me and same amount or even more from Viki. Then a section of Pete Brandt.
You have also started a Bike 'n Mic project. How many shows have you done so far?
KGB: We just got back from Turkey tour couple weeks ago and there we did around 30 - 35 shows from street shows to universities shows and Formula 1 afterparty show. It is another project for us that is trick wise far awar from hardcore flatland so it is really something that makes me happy and in future we will be doing more of them. Next stop will be in balkan countries such as Ukraine, Croatia, Sarajevo etc.
You've been around for a long time and have been making a living riding a bike for quite some years now. How do you see the next couple of years for yourself?
KGB: 19 years went so damn fast. 10 years of them I´ve been full time pro rider. I went through a period of stress that I was actually worried what will happen to me when I am not able to ride in this level etc. etc. But now I have decided that I don't really care too much what I will be doing next couple of years, at least I will be on my bike and traveling around and doing some tricks. Besides that I am not too concern. I have went through love/hate relation ship in my chosen road but it is all history now. Soon another 19 years will be passed and I believe I will still make few backpackers and timemachines... Message to Alex Jumelin... Let's battle in Helsinki or in Paris 2028? Don't let me down on that one. Hah!
Thanks to: Viki, my sponsors, all the loyal people out there. All the good guys and bad girls out there. Don't smile for nothing!
Pics: Rutger Pauw-RedBull