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The Contagious Stoke of Ryan Nyquist

Breaking news: Ryan Nyquist is a household name in the bike world. That's actually the furthest thing from breaking news because he's been chucking his carcass on his BMX bike for decades with a unique, technical style. And we all secretly, if not publicly, love it. He's one of those guys who never tried to be cool or follow trends - insert high seatpost, front brake or huge-ass pads joke here - he just did his thing. That thing happens to include a ton of barspins (my favorite trick), and if you don't do a suicide no-hander as stretched as he does, you're not really doing a sui.

In videos or at contests I watched in the past, it's pretty easy to see that Nyquist (I say that as if we're BFF's or something), has always been extremely hyped and stoked to ride his bike. His stoke is contagious. He amps up fellow competitors and fans alike. The fact he doesn't take himself too seriously but is still competitive always makes me want to get out and practice cheater-wheelie-barspins (the only barspin I'll ever do).

Around Crankworx time, my good friend, Matt Thompson, told me to check out one of Ryan's videos that launched. The video (way down below) showcased Nyquist riding the Whistler Bike Park for the first time. Matt was fired up on how much fun Nyquist was having and how you can hear him giggling like a grom as he bounces down B-Line. Well, things got in the way and I didn't get around to watching the video until after Crankworx (and after Nyquist spun his way into 3rd place in the Joyride slopestyle contest).

I was at the latter half of Crankworx and made an effort to watch Joyride practice. Riders were getting warmed up for the big show. Some riders were in full focus mode, perfecting choreographed runs, others were screaming when practice runs didn't go right and Nyquist was, well, just being Nyquist. You could hear his sort-of-signature hoot whenever he got sketchy or did something he didn't think he could do. From the sidelines, the sounds of his excitement reflected the sounds of someone who just jumped their bike for the first time. It was pure entertainment.

During Joyride finals, I watched near the finish area. Joyride was rough. Riders kept crashing and a lot of competitors didn't even finish a run. Nyquist finished both of his. He 360'd the finish drop each time and upon landing, would speed away hopping and hollering - a combination of "holy crap, I didn't die" and "holy crap, riding bikes is the sickest thing ever!" His runs were big, technical and later I found out, somewhat improvised, but regardless of his performance, the stoke he had after his runs made me and lot of other people want to go get amped on our bike.

I mean, look at his caption...

On the way home from Crankworx, the day of the solar eclipse, Nyquist was in our gate area at the airport in Vancouver. I got all excited like a little grom and wanted to interview him. He was by himself, on his phone or sleeping. I knew how gnarly his day before had been because that was Joyride slopestyle day. I didn't want to bother him, I was a wuss basically, and just kept my eye on him from a few rows of chairs back. Technically, that's called stalking. Thankfully my bosses have known Ryan for a long, long time and started talking casually to him (after taking a photo of him sleeping during the eclipse LOL).

The eclipse is happening and @ryannyquist is sleeping in the airport. Should I wake him?

A post shared by Brad McDonald (@gbradmcdonald) on


This gave me an in to introduce myself (even though we'd briefly met a long time ago in Aptos) and I hassled him for a quick interview. He's as pro as they come and graciously obliged. The eclipse was happening and I'm interviewing freaking Ryan Nyquist. Count it.

Ryan Nyquist Interview

I finally got home and remembered I had to watch his video. There are three daily updates from his Crankworx journey, but update #2 is pure gold. You'd think if you have the legacy of Ryan Nyquist and are invited to Crankworx to compete in Joyride, that you'd have people waiting on you hand-and-foot with support. And if you didn't, you could easily ask for that support and find it in spades. Nyquist doesn't care, he just rolls with it. As he puts together his trail bike (which he's never ridden), he's a grom to the core. Excitedly working on his new bike on the hotel room floor, he screws up the brakes with the "brake handshake," fixes them, then gets help at a shop cutting down the seatpost. A rather comical-but-amped-and-innocent bike check later (knobbies FTW), he's off for his first run down the Whistler Bike Park!

Now I'm some average-skilled (ok, below-average on the Whistler scale) media dork and with a text, I could have any number of people show me the goods of Whistler. Nyquist is boys with all the best riders in the world, so he could have the grand tour with just a smile. It doesn't matter, he's being Nyquist and just wants to go ride without the fanfare. He hops on the gondola solo and heads up to shred, knowing nothing about the bike park. He gets lost and seemingly rides Easy Does It or a road down based on his comical reaction in the video. Big-time LOL right there. He doesn't care, he's stoked. He goes for it again, getting some on-lift trail advice. The legend finally makes it to upper B Line and lets 'er rip. The fear, the bewilderment, the flat landings, the excitement of that first time...Nyquist is getting some and all with that signature hoot. BUT...he gets lost again after upper B Line and ends up heading for Easy Does It again. Then, by the grace of our Maker, the total savage (to quote Aaron Chase) that is Stacy Kohut happens to roll by. "Follow me BMXer!" The rest is stoke-filled history. Watch the video, get stoked.


Ryan Nyquist, thank you for being the legend that you are, off and on the bike! (And I hope this didn't sound too much like a love letter.) -gordo

Timeless gold with the legend from early 2016


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