Rick Thorne
Rick has helped to take the BMX world beyond the quarter pipe. Not only is he one of the top riders in the world, he has been seen in various video games, MTV’s Cribs, The Warped Tour, ESPN, and many other outlets. Rick comes through WHO?MAG to give us a little BMX 101.
Interview by Rob Schwartz

WHO?MAG: What made you get into bike riding as a career?
Rick Thorne: We started riding bikes back in 1982 when we used to ride on a quarterpike, but we didn’t look at it as a profession. It was kind of like when punk rock or hip-hop first came out. People weren’t looking at it as a profession. There was no structure to it. It was more just speratic. Then in the mid eighties there were a few contests. I won my first contest. I rode bikes for about 14 years before I ever made any money off it. I never looked at it as a way to make money or as a profession. I just loved to ride. It was the way I expressed myself, sort of like my tool to help me feel grounded. I never thought about all this happening like the X-Games, opportunities, money, sponsorship, and traveling. Back then a lot of us had some social problems at home and we used to ride together because we had problems at home or came from broken families, and that was just our way to express ourselves. It was the quickest way to get away from home also because we can just get on our bike and just go. That’s the reason why I take these opportunities, because when I was growing up, there wasn’t any opportunities.

WHO?MAG: After all of the falls and cuts, what keeps you motivated?
Rick Thorne: People get hurt a lot just riding, but there is nothing like pulling a trick off. Not just what you get out of it, but other people as well. Even though your bruises and cuts get you pissed off, it make you want to pull of your trick even more. You get all this adrenaline. Always setting goals and trying to do something new has kept me alive in the game. I always want to try something new or try to change the times and styles. I don’t particularly like the cuts and bruises, but it’s part of being a pro-BMXer. If your involved in any kind of professional job whether bikes, music, sports, acting, or whatever, you will encounter a certain amount of stress your going to feel. Mental pain can be a nightmare when physical pain can just piss you off. If you can play that mentally, then you are ahead of the game.

WHO?MAG: How has the bike industry changed over the past few years?
Rick Thorne: I think more people should expressing themselves off the bike. You think of skateboarding, motorcrossing, surfing, and biking, you think of a certain lifestyle to that. Biking needs to emulate the lifestyle of that. I think now it’s starting to change more because they are getting more publicity from interviews in magazines, but a lot of people do not want to deal with BMX. I think that’s because a lot of people are good bikers, but I think the industry is really scared and sheltered to express themselves. I just think that BMX doesn’t have it’s own image and lifestyle. It has changed because it’s more of a lifestyle. Everyday there is a new trick or a new combo and these kids are really stepping it up. But being in BMX, you need to be an individual and make it an adult sport on and off your bike. A lot of people who see the X-Games are like “Oh, I want to get into BMX. Oh wait, I have to do that to do it?” Being a follower gets you nowhere. I like skateboarding and I like BMX, but I think BMX is more of an individual lifestyle sport.

(full interview will be up 9/30)