Corey Martinez: Life on the Road

At the beginning of November 2020, BMX legend Corey Martinez packed up his Toyota Tacoma - complete with a custom camper he made himself -  and hit the road. Four months later, he's finally heading back to Nashville. We caught up with Corey in Las Vegas for a session and to learn about his journey. Take a look into his mind...


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When is the last time you were home?

I left the first week of November. It’s actually been longer than I thought.


What exactly prompted you to go on this adventure?

I think just a series of things going on in my life pretty much sparked it, but it was ultimately just to get back on the bike. This was kind of my way to get back in the industry. I had been separated from it for a while just doing other things with construction and carpentry to make ends meet. Also, there were no events or team trips - nothing that I would usually be a part of was going on. 


Tell us about your vehicle…

I am driving a 2010 Toyota Tacoma with a slide-in camper that I made myself. I knew that I was going to be sleeping a lot in different places and I had always wanted to build something like this. 


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How does that thing do on gas?

I’d say I’m right around ten-to-twelve miles per gallon.


So are you sleeping in the camper pretty much every night?

Correct. I’ve actually only been in a real bed three times since I left. 

I went to Galveston, Texas with Scerbo and we had a hotel and the other time was with Christian Rigal in NorCal. He needed to charge some batteries and the power system in his rig wasn’t working properly, so we got a hotel for one night. Other than that, I’ve been in the camper. I usually post up in front of a homie’s house, or a truck stop, or a Wal-Mart, or a camp ground somewhere.


Where all have you been?

I started in Nashville and went east to North Carolina and did some riding with Seth Kimbrough. From there, I went to Memphis. From Memphis I went to Bentonville, Arkansas and went on a mountain bike trip for a week with a really cool organization called All Kids Bike. They’re a non-profit who focus on getting Stryder bikes in schools for physical education. We got to do a lot of cool stuff with different kids in schools - demos and stuff - and then I got to ride some epic mountain bike trails. From there, I went to Austin for two weeks and then to Roswell for a day just for the hell of it. From there I want to Telluride, Colorado to see a friend who lives there and get my snowboarding fix. From there, I went to San Diego for two weeks, then Christian Rigal and I went to NorCal and Oregon for a month. Then back in San Diego and I spent the last half of my trip there. Now I’m here in Vegas and making my way back home. In three months, I’ve done 10,000 miles. It’ll be close to 15,000 by the time I get home.


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What’s been your favorite part of the trip so far?

I think just the nomadic style of picking up and going whenever I want and staying wherever I want. That’s probably the best part. I also genuinely enjoy just driving - long trips, listening to music, clearing my head… that’s my favorite part.


What’s been your least favorite part of the trip so far?

No bad things have happened. No sketchy situations. I think my least favorite part has been setting up my Coleman grill every morning and every night. I initially left without all of my cookware built in. When I was in California, I was able to do a few upgrades inside to make the camper more of a livable space. But, getting the grill in and out - little things like that get kind of old.


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Tell us about your new-ish relationship with riding mountain bikes…

I’ve always had interest in it. I went once in NorCal three years ago and crashed pretty hard - I wasn’t experienced. Fast forward a few years, I was going through a relationship mess and my best lived in Knoxville - about two hours from me. He’s been into mountain bikes for two years and he pushed me to get into it. I’d borrow bikes and ride with him and grew to love it more and more. I eventually was fortunate enough to get hooked up by Specialized and got my own bike. 


Do you get anything out of riding the big bike that you don’t get out of BMX?

It’s a whole new experience. I get to learn the basics all over again - and you’re going mach ten. You’re going so fast. I feel like I almost die every time I ride a mountain bike. From riding BMX, I know how to get out of stuff and how to hang on for dear life. It’s a new thing and I really enjoy it.


Are you ready to be home?

I’m actually getting to the point where I’m looking forward to going home. I’ve been fortunate enough to skip all of the bad weather we had during the winter in Nashville. I’ve got some fun things in the works. I’m going to look into selling my truck and building out a van and a couple of other low key projects while I’m at my house, so I’m looking forward to getting back. I also miss my cat a little bit.


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What’s the next adventure?

I’m going to build up this van and make my way back out to California to finish filming for a video part and also to work on a Cinema video project. I really have no projects going on at home riding-wise or anyone to film with, so I need to get back out to the West Coast. 


What more can you tell us about these video projects?

The Cinema project is just mostly a fun picnic table project I’ve always wanted to do. I’m going to sort picnic tables in different forms and ways that I like to ride and then try to do something. I’ve been working on that for a bit. The other is the full-length section I’ve been working on with Christian Rigal for five years. 

I guess you could say it’s going to be my last hurrah of large video parts. I’m still going to be filming other projects, but I think the times have changed. This is going to be the last one that I put my heart and soul into. 


What advice would you give to anyone out there who wants to follow your lead and hit the road for a long period?

I’d say go for it. Get your ducks in a row and just do it. You never know until you try. If you can’t stop thinking about something - for me, anyway - it’s usually a good sign. Save some money, do some research, and get out there.


 

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