BMX Legend James Rienstra is taking on a mammoth challenge in aid of charity. James has decided to cycle on his road bike from Minnesota to Alaska. This is no small challenge that is almost 2,400 miles. 

Justin Kosman sent over this interview and some information about the man behind the mission and how you can get involved.

Name: James Rienstra

Age: 35

Hometown: Zimmerman, Mn



Brief BMX history and sponsors/video parts:

I grew up in a small town of Zimmerman, Mn. Got really bored one summer and built a half pipe. Road everyday and started to travel which lead me to some great friends that lead me to sponsors. Past sponsors Standard, Ugp, Demolition, Volume. Video parts, Standard style cats, Standard Country, Baco, Ride Momentum


Who were your BMX influences growing up?

1.Mat Hoffman, hands down was my idol growing up. I will never forget the time me and my friend Travis got a chance to ride Mats indoor half pipe from the video Headfirst with Mat and Jay Miron. Unreal watching those two guys ride.


2.Tom Haugen, watching that man's dedication and determination is inspiring. I could sum up that guy in one word "100%"


3. Dave Freimuth, he gets the biggest shout out from me! Dave was like the big brother in BMX.  Right after graduating from high school I moved into the Baco house. So stoked to ride with Dave, he ended up braking his leg in a California contest. Dave couldn't ride so I think out of boredom he would come out to the skate park to sit on the deck and harass me.  Dave sat and pointed out my riding flaws, laughed and ridiculed my riding. He pushed me so hard and saw something in me I didn't see. When I moved to Wisc I could barley do a toothpick, when I left Wisc I was busting out Nosepicks - no-footed toothpick - full bar spin out.  That lead me to my first sponsorship.


At what point did your focus change from BMX?

Around the time my father past. I wanted to walk away from BMX before I had a permanent limp. I had Aspire going at the same time and I saw a side to BMX that I didn't like, the business side. Just got burnt out for awhile. Now when I get on my bike it's a different feeling.


How long have you been going to Alaska?

I've been going up there for about 12 years now. My favorite place in the world. My last trip to Alaska was my most memorable though. Hanging out with my father and his two good friends for two weeks in Alaska was a dream vacation. Best two weeks of my life. Perfect weather, Mount McKinley in the background , great friends, we fished till we had bruises on our chest from the running salmon.


How did you dad's battle with cancer affect your life? When was that? What changed?

My father passed away around 5 years ago to pancreatic cancer. His death effected me in a negative and positive way. The thing I remember most with his battle was that he never gave up or lost hope. He fought till his last breath. It saddens me to think that It took his death for me to realize what I want out of life. But over all it has made me a better and stronger person.



Why did you choose the Randy Shaver Cancer Foundation as the benefactor?

My biggest reason for choosing the Randy Shaver Foundation; Randy's been through it, being diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin’s Disease. His treatment and current remission prove that this community and its generosity have made an impact with Randy and others like him. Randy is a huge part of the Minnesota community. From a sport's broadcaster of Care 11, the 93x morning show, to the Randy Shaver cancer foundation, he has changed a lot of lives. I want to thank him and his wife Roseann for all the support.


Are you going to have to take off work for this trip?

Yes, Since I'm giving back 100% of all donations to the Randy Shaver foundation I will be funding this trip by myself with help from Miles Construction. For the next couple months I will be working to save money and pay my bills ahead. I'm going to be taking off around 3 months of work. Dave Miles the owner of Miles construction where I work is completely aboard, helping sponsor this event, taking time off, and keeping me busy at work.


Do you have any friends along the route?

I will have a couple of stops with friends and family. For the majority of the trip I will be camping and meeting new friends on the way



What is your bike set-up like for this trek?

Im looking into a Surly LHT. I will be carrying everything I need to live for 70 days on my bike, from camping gear, change of clothes, food, extra parts, and entertainment.


Is there a fishing pole in your pack?

The salmon will be running, for sure!


Are you flying back or riding back as well?

I have no set plans.  I will just see where the wind blows me


Standard Style Cats Video Part: 

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