Higher Education with Justin Simpson


Anyone who has seen Justin Simpson ride will agree that he’s a badass, but not everyone knows that this shredder may be a future English teacher. Justin lives right off of the University of Akron campus in Ohio, but this is one rider who actually spends more time learning than riding on campus. If you’re one of those riders that thinks colleges are only good for riding may want to think again.

Where exactly are you in you college career?
I just finished up my second year and somehow made it on the dean's list, which I couldn’t even believe.

What's your major and why did you choose that?
It's English at the moment until I can get into the College of Education where I'll be going for English Education. I chose it because I think it would be fun to be the teacher instead of the student, and to actually teach kids in a way that they could better relate to. I don't think anyone wants to be a teacher because of the a**hole teachers they have had, but it’s the few good ones that can actually make learning something that you see as worthwhile and that’s what I want to do.  

Growing up as a Chenga local, did you ever think of going to college away from Ohio?
Not really. I like to get out of Ohio as much as I can, but I wasn't ready to get away from my friends and family yet.

Why did you choose Akron?
I applied to two colleges, Akron and Kent. I got accepted to both but Akron had better street, and more right around campus that I could ride. It was the right decision. 

 Justin bank whip


What do you spend more time doing, studying on campus or riding on campus?
I don’t really do all that much of either. I don't have that many people to ride with since most of my friends live 40 minutes away, so when I go ride I either go to the high school or I ride down the road a ways to the Goodyear plant where there’s a good ledge. I don't like to ride in front of a big group of people just because I feel awkward, so at those spots I can pretty much keep to myself. I really only ride campus when I have other people to ride with just so I don't get burnt out on riding the same stuff.

A lot of good riders never attend school after high school. What was your motivation?
It was a tough decision whether or not to go to college, but I just wanted to give it a try since I had an opportunity not everyone has.  My parents said, “Go and if you don't like it then whatever.” So now it’s been two years and I'm still there. I guess now I just want to prove to myself that I do it.   

Do you still get back to ride Chena 2 a lot?
When I’m in school during the winter I try and make it to either there or Ray’s MTB Park like twice a week. I've had a bunch of homework or papers to do before and I couldn’t take it, so I drove up there to ride—definitely a stress reliever.  

Justin Simpson icepick

What is the typical response when your classmates find out that you ride?
The other day I was sitting in class and this kid is just like, "Sorry to ask, but why do you have all those cuts and scars on your arm? It seems like every day you come to class you have a new one.” I was just like, “Ummm… I ride BMX bikes and I guess I fall sometimes.” I think he was a little scared that I had all of these scars from something I do for fun, but he seemed interested and then the  rest of the class started listening and asking questions. BMX isn't something people see every day so I think they're intrigued to find out about something new.

What’s a class you thought would suck but turned out to be interesting and why?
Everyone has to take Humanities and Western Traditions, and a bunch of people told me how terrible it was but it turned out to be really interesting. Learning about ancient Greece and Rome and all the different philosophers up until the Renaissance period was something I turned out liking. It really made me want to look further into the material and study some of the stuff that the course didn’t teach.

Of course we had to ask a couple of riding-related questions…

Growing up near Chenga, which did you prefer, Chenga 1 or Chenga 2, and why?
Chenga 1 for sure. It may have had much lower ceilings, but the setup was much more fun and for some reason it just seems like a better atmosphere. I’m so excited for Chenga 1 to rebuild and reopen since we just finished moving all the ramps to the new building.  

Which do you prefer, street or park?
Street for sure. It's always nice to be outside just cruising around.   Whether you ride a rail or a curb, just being out with your friends makes it a good time.


Best thing about going to school:

Worst thing about going to school:
Not being able to ride as much as I want to

Hardest class you've ever taken:
First semester I had chemistry and I failed it horribly

Easiest class you've ever taken:
Racquetball and Billiards—I had to take them to get my PE credit

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