While most of us tour the cities we live in at a casual pace, BMX athlete Nigel Sylvester takes in his hometown at 20 miles per hour, seeing every railing and stairway as an opportunity to shred. And now he’s taking you with him.
In his new video series, GO!, Sylvester films everything himself, entirely in POV—when he does shoot on traditional camera, he films himself being filmed—giving viewers an inside look into the life of an urban athlete who lives outside the mainstream realm.
“I’m always searching for new ways to progress mentally and physically,” says Sylvester, who learned to ride on his grandmother’s driveway in Jamaica, Queens. “And I want to create content that’s fun to watch, stuff that’s new and refreshing. I choose not to compete so I focus more on doing videos like this that naturally express who I am. I’m a New Yorker, born and bred, so to do a piece of content like this, it’s a great time for me.”
GO! moves frenetically through the city from the Brooklyn Bridge to Times Square to the storied NYC subways, giving the audience a sense of pace and what it’s like to be onboard with one of the sport’s best athletes. And the cameos are priceless: He plays catch with the New York Giants' Victor Cruz (“Dude is fast,” he says), watches as rapper A$AP Ferg rides a wheelie next to him, and let’s Jackie Cruz of Orange is the New Black fame borrow his ride.
"Hopefully [this video series] inspires kids to live their dreams—that’s what I’m doing.” –Nigel Sylvester
All of this is happening as Sylvester ollies patio tables, weaves through pedestrians and dodges taxicabs in the streets of New York. “The whole project was physically exhausting,” he says. “We did the majority of filming ourselves and rode our bikes around the city without using a car. We put so many miles in from Manhattan to Harlem. It was a lot of long days.”
Luckily, “no one was hurt during the filming of this project,” but the reactions from police and pedestrians is worth the four-minute runtime. And Sylvester says this is just the beginning. He’s soliciting comments on his YouTube page, asking fans what city he should tour next. Starting off the series well, the first episode racked up nearly 10,000 views in the first eight hours of its release.
“I’m hoping the series will evolve, people enjoy it and it turns into a global thing,” Sylvester says. “But one of my main goals for the video is to bring people into BMX that don’t know (the sport) and give them a perspective they didn’t have before. If that happens the [video] did its job. Hopefully it inspires kids to live their dreams—that’s what I’m doing.”