When did you steer away from the BMX bike towards working on bikes in the garage?
Shea: I never really steered away from BMX. Most of my best friends in life, I met through riding bikes and I still love it to this day. My first moto was a '67 honda s90 that I bought when I was 16 (200$). My parents told me I wasn’t allowed to ride a motorcycle, so I kept it at my friends house while I did the repairs and ripped up and down the hills in my home town. That bike was later crashed into a fire hydrant in front of a policeman in Santa Cruz (not me, I swear). But I really got into motorcycles when I was living in Greenville NC. My good buddy Jon Gordan bought a '70’s kawi, 440 two-stroke street bike. I would go over there and help him fix his bike and eat cheese. I was pretty pumped on getting my own at that point, so I bought a lil junkyard special, '74 Honda SL200 for 50 bucks. I worked on it on the patio of my apartment till I finally got it to scream down the back streets.
Were you always the one fixing up Ryan's bike when he couldn't get something to work?
Shea: Ryan is a good wrench himself. Since he is older, he would always be showing me the proper way to do things and then I would jerry rig it.
Motorcycles have come into play, what kind of bike do you ride at the moment?
Shea: At the moment I’m riding my bros’ 07 Electra glide classic.
What modifications did you do to it?
Shea: It’s my daily driver so I haven’t done too much in the mod department. I do have a bike rack backpack I made for it. Gotta get the bike there some how. (just no lane splitting)
The leatherwork, is that your specialty?
Shea: I’m not quite sure if I have a specialty, but that seems to be prevailing as a common request. I make BMX and moto seats, belts, bracelets, holsters, and anything else that seems appropriate.
You're the inventor of the Six-pack attack, please explain the product.
Shea: The six-pack attack is that ultimate party belt. It holds six beers around your waste. Two of which are kept on deck in nifty gunslinger style holsters. The added shotgun spike allows for easy access to the delicious, foamy goodness through a small hole in the bottom of the can. There are a couple of instructional videos on my website.
Have you always fancied building something from nothing? or make something good from scrap material?
Shea: I have always had a drive to just make weird stuff. I used to make a lot of wood stuff, like mini totem poles, chessboards, and guitars. When I was in high school, I learned how to weld and then it was all over. My mind realized that I could now attach metal together! I looked at the world in a whole new way, old bikes weren’t trash anymore, they were materials!
What sort of workshop do you use?
Shea: I recently moved back to California and I haven’t found a good spot yet. I’m doing leatherwork in my bedroom. My room’s crowded and smells like a new car, but it gets the jobs done for now.
What tools do you have that you cannot miss?
Shea: Cut off wheel, welder, and hammer. That’s all you need most times.
Do you look up to some people in the industry or are you doing things just the way you want to?
Shea: I honestly don’t really follow BMX any more. I just ride because I love it. I’m totally content with riding a 26 lb bike.
Do you come across BMX riders from time to time as customers of your leather business or on bike trips?
Shea: Most of my favorite belts are for my BMX friends. I kinda fell into the leather thing, so when I get to make something really cool for someone I know will really appreciate it, that means the world to me.
Where can people find out more about what you do?
Shea: You can log on to my website were I have a ton of leather goodies and some really great photos of all my crazy stuff. www.BeltsByShea.com.
Last words: Thanks to my family and friends for putting up with me. Just do what you love and don’t let people convince you different. As long as you are productive and learning, Things just get better and better.
Pics by Shea Nyquist & friends
Previous issues of FATBMX's Workshop Wednesdays:
Episode 6: Steve Crandall
Episode 5: Eddie Cleveland
Episode 4: Dave Osato
Episode 3: Scott Towne
Episode 2: Mike Laird
Episode 1: Harold "McGoo" McGruther