I was talking to Joel Alamo the other day and he linked me up with this sweet edit. The edit features Joel Alamo’s first ever 720 on Dirt (01.56)! I was seriously impressed with this clip – The dude just looks so loose as he spins his first double-spin on dirt! He’s riding better than a lot of other riders! Anyway, Joel is also helping to pick the final winner from the VP-USA contest! Not sure how he will do it yet, but you can guarantee it will be a very fair process. In case you didn’t know, Joel Alamo is a famous freestyle rider from the 80’s – Carry on reading to see his full interview!
The Mentor: Joel Alamo
Introduction: Mr. Miyagi Joel Alamo
Joel Alamo is a ledgendary American rider, who made a name for himself during the late 80’s/early 90’s as a serious contender in the world of bmx freestyle. His trick list included (and still does) Indian airs, barhops, no-handers, 720’s, and a number of variation’s… His peer’s included Matt Hoffman, Carlo Griggs, Rick Moliterno, Joe Johnson and Dennis Mccoy – ’Nuff said? Read on to learn more about Joel Alamo…
Q1) Who is “Joel Alamo”?
A1) Joel Alamo, 38, born in Texas, started riding motorcycles when I was 3, started bmx around 8 and haven’t looked back.
Q2) What was it like growing up in Texas?
A2 ) Hot. I mean, it was so hot in the summer that riding during the day was almost impossible. I’d ride either in the morning or at night. Back in the day my dad built a halfpipe for me to train on and he put lights on it so I could ride at night. Other than the heat, Texas is a pretty cool place. Great food for sure.
Q3) What year did you start riding? & What was it that prompted you?
A3) Funny story… I raced motorcycles when I was a kid, but in school I was a complete jackass. I got a bad grade in conduct when I was 10 or 11 (which means I couldn’t keep my mouth shut). I did a little “altering” of my report card and my parents found out. I got suspended from school for three days and my parents punished me by taking my motorcycle away and only letting me ride my bike. It was game on from there.
Q4) Would you say the relatively high-speeds of a motorcycle, acted as a primer for your BMX riding, and eventually you MTB riding? – And did your parents ever give your motorcyle back?
A4) Hahaha… yeah they gave me the motorcycle back, but I was hooked on bmx so I never really rode it much again. The speed thing is funny because I was more interested in tricking my dirt bike than being a serious racer. I remember at one race in practice they had a really good finish line jump and all I could think about was throwing no handers over it.
Q5) If you could choose one definitive moment, from your career as a pro BMXer, what would it be?
A5) I don’t know that I had a “moment” as a pro. My “moment” was at my backyard ramp when I was 13 or 14. I was really trying to turn expert and I’d been watching Mat Hoffman at all my local contests. I could only get maybe 4 or 5 feet out of a ramp. Then one day, I went from 4 feet to 8 feet, just because something clicked in my head. After that day, I never thought that I couldn’t be a top rider. But if I had to give you a definitive moment as a pro, it would either be when I saw Joe Johnson throw the first tailwhip, or when I took Dennis McCoy’s spot on a team with Joe Johnson. I felt like I was legit at that point.
Q6) In recent years your riding looks to have diversified (downhill mtb’s/slope style), how’s you BMX background helped you in these new disciplines?
A6) Oh yeah… the bmx background is a huge plus. For me it’s all about throwing tricks. I ride a big jump and I think of combo tricks from back in the day… you know, no hander to no footer, pendulums, nothing to no-can, x-up to no-can… a lot (not all) of these new school kids just concentrate on a simple set of tricks and forget to get creative. I straight up schooled my buddy the other day at a game of B.I.K.E. just because he couldn’t do combo tricks.
Q7) What other sports do you do? – Do you do these sports for the enjoyment, or as a method of cross-training?
A7) I do 3 sports. Dirt, park, dirt. No lie, I really only ride my bike.
Q8) If you had to go back in time, and you were forced to take a different sporting path (nothing to do with push-bikes), what do you think you would have opted for?
A8 – I dunno, maybe a male model… hahaha!
Q9) With respect, your one of the older riders on the scene (who’s still killing it!) – When’s the cut-off point? How many years before you drop back from the pro circuit?
A9) I’m no pro anymore. I ride events that have pro’s, but that’s about it. Have you ever seen Karate Kid? Mr. Miyagi is the old guy who can kick ass when he needs to, but he’d rather give advice… I guess that’s me. hahaha! I have buddies that want to be legit pros and I’m kinda the dude they come to for advice on sponsor stuff, tricks… that kind of thing. I just go to contest now and have fun.
Q10) Karate Kid – Of course! Since the topic of films has arisen, may I ask, what is you all-time, favourite film?
A10 – I love Dumb and Dumber. No kidding. I’ve seen it hundreds of times. My 3 year old daughter Parker loves it too. As a matter of fact I may watch it again today…
Q11) What about favourit bmx film?
A11) – Electronical is pretty high on the list. I’m also a big fan of web edits. There are some really sick edits popping up every day it seems. I’m a big fan of trails videos…
Q12) Who do you ride for nowadays?
A12) Faction Bikes (bmx), Spank Bikes (mtb), VP Components hooks up the pedals, and me.
Q13) How are you enjoying the 22″? – And what’s your current set-up?
A13) Man the 22 rocks… It’s a straight up trail slayer. I saw a 22 on Ridemonkey and really wanted to try one. I got in contact with Keith from Faction and got the ball rolling. When I got it, I took it to the trails and fell in love with the wheel size/stability. Plus it doesn’t look like a cruiser, so I put big bars on it, plastic pedals, slammed the seat. Looks like a bigger bmx, not a cruiser… awesome.
Frame and Fork – Faction Wheels and Tires – Faction Cranks – Faction Pedals – Colony PC Stem – Shadow Conspiracy Attack Bars – Proper TTL 8″ x 28″ Seat Post – Kink Pivotal Seat – Macneil Brake Cable – Kink Linear
Q14) If you had to choose one role model (bmx’er, musician, anyone!), who would it be and why?
A14) Mat Hoffman I guess… That’s tough for me to say because I spent so many years trying to beat the guy in a contest, but how can you not admire him for what he’s done for bmx?
Q15) Do you have any events/contests planned for this summer?
A15) I’ve been to 2 contests but just watched… I have a broken right ankle and a sprained left ankle. I rode a mtb slopestyle contest last weekend, and that’s how I got the sprained left ankle. First 720 attempt on a mtb… came close, but got worked.
Q16) Can you spin 720’s consistently on a BMX? – Did you ever go for the illusive 900?
A16) – 720’s have never been a consistent trick for me, more of a contest trick to just go for… My ankles are so bad now that it’s not something I’m probably going to try that much anymore unless it just feels right. As far as 900’s go, yeah I’ve tried my fair share on vert. The first one I ever tried was in a King of Vert contest in Colorado Springs. I landed 720 and crashed pretty hard. The next time I tried them was at Greg Guillotte’s house in Dallas. I tried
Q17) Dare I ask it, what’s your situation with injuries?
A17) Worst? Broken pelvis. I have terrible ankles. I roll my right one several times a year. Every time I eject from my bike I always think “there goes my ankle”.
Q18) What riders are on their way-up near you?
A18) Oh man… so many good riders here in Colorado. BMX I’d have to say AJ Anaya, Corey Jarman, Matt Cordova, Brian Banghart, Jon Chin… MTB would be Nick Simcik, Austin Chipman, Erik Obermeyer, D.J. Brandt.
Q19) What’s your take on the number of guys riding with no breaks nowadays? – Ever been tempted?
A19) I roll brakeless from time to time, but my skatepark gets really crowded on the weekends and there are lots of little kids there so I definitely run brakes. I think it’s a trend that’s gonna stick around. Brakeless bikes look really good, they’re easy to maintain, they’re lighter. I’m always amazed watching kids ride trails with no brakes. I wish I was a brakeless rider, but it’s just not for me… to each his own, though.
Q20) With reference to brakeless riders, would you say an issue stands with health and safety, etc?
A20) – Obviously, having brakes is safer for just riding down the street, but at a skatepark I don’t think it’s that big of an issue. Guys who have been riding brakeless for awhile know how to control their bikes and stop with their shoes. It’s these 8 and 9 year old kids who just do it to be cool who worry me. They can barely ride a bike and they’re rolling brakeless? C’mon, that’s just dumb. You should be able to rip on a bike before you take the brakes off.
Q21) Thanks for your time Joel – Before we wrap this up, do you have any shout-out’s/thankyou’s/etc?
A21) Yeah, big shout out to Keith from Faction, Lance from Spank and my wifey and kids Drew and Parker.
All questions prepared by Chris Smith. Photos supplied by Joel Alamo & Google Image Search.