Brian Kachinsky Interview

 

 

Brian Kachinsky is one of the nicest, most down-to-earth people you can meet. but the second he touches his bike he is an animal. We asked Brian about his street and ramp antics, and his love for the front brake. 

When you were coming up riding in the Midwest, who were the riders that inspired you and why?
When I was 12 or 13, I saw my first BMX video, which happened to be Baco 6. From that point on I was inspired. I can’t tell you now many times I watched that video. Friemuth, Degroot, Rye, Hilson, Fluette—the list goes on and on. I was just blown away by all the stuff they could do on a bike and how much fun it looked like they were having. It opened my eyes to not only bike riding but the culture surrounding it. I was instantly inspired.

With the harsh winters you've dealt with over the years, have you ever  been tempted to leave the Midwest behind?
I’ve been tempted many times but until recently it was never really an option. I grew up in Wisconsin and when it was time to go to college I got accepted to the University of Wisconsin. UW is a great school so it was hard to turn that down and go elsewhere. I’m not a cold weather person at all (hockey is the only good thing about winter) so when the temps start dropping chances are you’ll find me down south somewhere. The Midwest is home, I love my family and friends here, but it’s yet to be determined whether I’ll stay here permanently. I almost moved to Florida last winter, but thought it through and I think the summers would be far too hot for me to handle. My ideal situation is Midwest in the summer and south for the winter…sometimes easier said than done (laughs).

How did you get hooked up with the Baco crew in the first place?
The Baco guys built and rode my local park at the time, Area 51 in Appleton in 1998. I’d ride with them quite a bit at the park, and actually one night Chris Rye filmed me doing my first ever double-barspin and it ended up in Baco 8. Needless to say, I was honored—not only was it my first BMX video appearance but a Baco video on top of it all! Shortly after, we went on a few road trips, hung out more, and ended up filming a bunch of stuff for Baco 9. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of dudes to be around—so much fun.

Is it strange for you to ride with people you looked up to as a kid?
It’s surreal sometimes. I’ll be at a contest or big session and look around and not believe that I’m on the deck with some of these guys. Some of them have been pro for way longer than I’ve even been riding! I love it, though. Only in my wildest dreams back then would I have been riding with guys like Hoffman, Mirra, McCoy, Miron, Taj, etc. I think I’ve ridden with the majority of the people whose magazine pics were plastered on my wall as a kid. Even a bigger privilege is being able to call many of them my friends.

Are you finished with school yet? And what have you been going to school for anyway?
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s in Consumer Science (emphasis on Consumer Affairs, which prepares you for a career as an information specialist, consumer reporter, human resource manager, consumer promotion or marketing specialist, education/training director, community relations specialist, and any government position requiring a consumer perspective). In short, it’s a well-rounded business degree (laughs).

What do you plan to do with your degree?
Well, the diploma looks great on my wall (laughs). I joke about that a lot, but it has helped me in a lot of areas that I oftentimes don’t realize. Along with learning some business skills, my four-and-a-half years at UW taught me a new way of thinking and gave me a whole new outlook on how the world works. Although I don’t have a conventional “job” at this point in time, I still use my degree every day whether I’m reading the paper, buying groceries, driving past a billboard, or anything. It has changed the way I think and make decisions. There are many directions you can go with this degree. It’s not like an architecture degree where you are more than likely going to be an architect. It’s very open ended. I’m sure it will come in very handy with whatever I do throughout my life. I have some interests in business, marketing, and the US’ current healthcare crisis, so I may work in one of those fields.

A lot of people who grew up watching Friemuth and Moliterno wreck shop stuck with a front brake. Is that what got you hooked on it?
Yeah, for sure—have you ever seen what those guys do with them? I just always liked having front brakes. Whether I use them or not, it’s nice to have them in case you want to. I always liked front brake tricks and couldn’t imagine getting rid of them forever. I can do stuff with and without them, but it never hurts to have them if you are man enough to use them (laughs).

Brian Kachinsky Interview Have you ever taken the front brake off?
Actually at this very moment I don’t have them on. By the time you read this I may have put them back on. I like to switch it up and take them on and off. I like how my bike feels without them, but on the flipside, I love the feeling of the tricks that I do with them. Some tricks I’ve found I don’t really need brakes for and others just feel gross (or look gross) without brakes. I like the brakes but don’t like brake levers. I’m going to invent levers that disappear when you don’t need them and reappear when you do—how’s that for using the college degree? Maybe I should have studied engineering (laughs).

Over the past few years you've opened a lot of eyes with your balls-out street riding. How much of what you do is a huck and how much is calculated?
Calculated for sure. I don’t have a death wish by any means, but I like to challenge what I believe I’m capable of. If I decide to try something it’s because I have a legitimate chance of pulling it and have already pictured it being done in my head. I think with some of the stuff I do I can’t afford to not calculate it before I do it. The word “huck” usually implies “luck” and when you are flying nose-down over the top of a rail you can’t rely on luck (laughs). Of course, that not always goes as planned, but that’s how you learn and correct it—sometimes the hard way. This happens on street because nothing is exactly the same as the last thing you did. Every rail, ledge, sub, or bank is a bit different and there are rarely things that are “perfect,” so you have to compromise.  

You've gotten so much coverage on street lately that people forget about your park skills. Do you prefer to ride park or street more? What's the attraction of each?
I guess it depends on the mood I’m in. I love street because being outside is always great, and discovering new things is priceless. I think I like riding around searching for spots almost as much as I like riding them. I grew up riding skateparks a lot, though, so I think I will always like riding parks. It seems to be a bit less taxing on my body and bike than street. I try not to limit myself on what I ride, though. I think it’s awesome when someone can have a good time riding either one. On a perfect day I would ride both!

What matters most to you these days, getting video footage or doing well in contests?
I get more satisfaction from filming for sure. I feel like I’m more challenged when I’m filming, but I’m not against contests either. It’s fun for me to ride in a contest because it forces you to be dialed with your tricks. I usually don’t do the same tricks day in and day out, so it’s always a fun challenge to try to put together a good run. Some days it works and some days it doesn’t…oh well! I respect the consistent contest riders but it’s not always for me.

As a pro rider, what do you think your sponsors expect of you and what do you expect of yourself?
I am lucky to have sponsors that are completely supportive of me and my riding. My sponsors’ expectations were never spelled out for me but I always try to look at it through their eyes. If it were my company I would expect the rider to represent my company and product the best they could. I would also like honest input and feedback on products and the company in general. I think that one thing that is sometimes overlooked is just being out there in the BMX world. Going to skateparks and riding with kids who can see you and interact with you. I think kids don’t get enough of that. My sponsors know that I like to go to contests, shoot photos, film video, provide input/feedback and love to ride in general! I could never thank them enough for how much they’ve supported me, though. They rule! As far as expectations for myself goes, that list is endless.

What do you think of events like the Dew Tour and X Games?
I think events like this are good for those who do well at them. I won’t be a guy who rags on the big contests because I wouldn’t be against riding in them. I wouldn’t mind riding in the X Games but I think there are things they could change to make it more appealing to the public. I leave some contests like Metro Jam and Backyard Jams and just think to myself, “Man, that was nuts, and I think even if I didn’t ride a bike I would have loved watching that.” I don’t always get that same feeling when I watch some of those bigger contests. That is not at all the fault of the riders in them. Many of the riders in those bigger contests are without a doubt some of the best riders to touch a BMX bike. I think its great that it allows the riders to make a better living as well. I just hope that as BMX grows, there will be more opportunities to showcase our sport in different ways and different disciplines

Does your family understand and respect what you do on a bike?
Yes, my family is awesome. They don’t really know a fufanu or truckdriver and I don’t expect them to. They know that I love BMX. My family is not only supportive but they are passionate people. By having a passion for something, they understand what BMX means to me whether I’m in happiness or in pain.

If someone offered you a million dollars to either never ride your bike again or never play hockey again, what would your response be?
Would you rather be on the receiving end of my icepick grind or my slap shot?

There are a lot of amazing riders out there trying to get on sponsors’ and magazine's radars. What would your advice be to them?
Everyone’s road is different, but I think if you have modesty and perseverance you are on the right track. Originality can be key as well. It’s not bad to have influences; someone influenced us all but don’t be a carbon copy of someone else. Most importantly, don’t forget to smile once in a while!

Who would you like to thank?
My Parents; My Mom for being so supportive and my Dad for being inspirational.  Friemuth, Rye, Degroot, and Hilson—those guys have  helped me out in many ways over the years. DK, System Cycle, UGP, and Etnies have all helped me out a ton and are awesome friends as well! Buddendeck, JT, Rick Wagner (C4bmx), Dr. Kaplan and Dr. Hallett, Bucky Badger, Suzi, Milwaukee Mike, Andy Kent, Jessica Biel, Favre, Matt Coplon, Gretzky, Kournikova, Props and everyone I ride with, thanks for keeping me going. Most of all thanks to Vitalbmx.com for wanting to do this interview!

 

Sure he can ride a bike, but can Brian ride a bull? Click the photo below to see the results.

 

 

 

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