Q&A: Matt Wilhelm
Riding, riding, and more riding. I've been married to my cute wife for over five years, have two wonderful cats, and I'm trying not to stress like I always tend to do.
I usually do about a 40-minute one-person show with a few easy tricks like decades and hard tricks like some of the tricks in this web video. My show has a few character segments as well about perseverance, and how I didn't give up after getting last place during my first year in the X Games. I also talk about how important it was that I graduated with honors from college while attending on a music scholarship. I started doing them for a team a while back, and broke off on my own because I knew I could do a better job.
I performed almost 400 shows at 315 different schools, libraries, and community events in 2009. I already have 180 shows scheduled between now and June 5th, which is pretty crazy if you think about it. The most rewarding part is just the feedback I get from students, parents, and teachers. It really feels like I am making a difference and that's what keeps me from getting burnt out.
There is just always random funny stuff that happens. Here are some quick random things:
• Getting asked out by a teacher.
The timing just wasn't right for me. I'm in the process of learning new tricks and trying to get them consistent, so neither my new or old tricks are consistent at the moment. Plus, flights to Tokyo are expensive and I hate feeling the pressure to try and win my money back to pay for the ticket. I've been to Tokyo a few times already, and I'm sure I will go back again soon.
I plan to hit any big contest in the U.S. like Fight with Flight and JoMoPro. I will also probably hit up the comps on the World Circuit, the Worlds, and Masters too.
I had to change locations, and the new warehouse isn't as good as the old one. The floor is just a little too slick for me to ride at full speed. We put a lot of effort into getting the floor perfect like waxing the floor and trying different cleaning solutions. It looks like just mopping it with Coke is the best so far. It's kind of weird paying monthly rent to ride, but it's better than the alternative of not riding half the year.
Yes, that is a new trick for me. I have been working on it for over six months, and it still takes forever to pull. Believe me, I have plenty more crash footage on that trick that couldn't fit in the video.
I would love to make a second edition, but I just haven't had time to make it. With the on-screen drawing it takes a long time to edit, and I don't want to do a halfway version. It will be done as soon as I can find some time or a self-cloning machine.
My bike had 2 pegs and both of them were stripped out. It was definitely sick, but not in a good way.
Favorite: No-handed Time Machine
Hardest: 360 Body Varial Caboose
My first few years riding was the best because I got to ride with people nicknamed Farmdog and Phillbilly. If that doesn't sound like fun, I don't know what does. 2001-2003 was awesome because the Chicago scene was great and lots of awesome road trips too.
I have tricks that I still can't do consistently or at all. I am terrible at whiplashes, crossfooted hikers, and still can't do whoppers.
I always wanted to be sponsored, but never seriously pursued it. Dan's Comp sponsored me before I even turned pro, and then GT called me shortly after I turned pro. I've been pretty lucky in that department, but I wouldn't mind some big sponsors for my tours.
My favorite shirt was "For Men With 20 Inchers", but my mom threw it out when I wasn't looking. Now I like Hoffman and Dan's Comp shirts because they are free and if I rip them I can just get another.
That sounds like too much fiber and a long date with the crapper. I poop too much as it is.
No. I have something painful called plantar faciitis (inflamed foot tendons) from riding a lot, so I have to put these lame inserts into my shoes. I'm looking for some rad shoes or a shoe sponsor, so if you know one hook me up.
Apesadumbrado mi amigo, sino yo no habla español. Siga por favor asentado para el resto del vuelo.
It seems like new tricks are leveling off, so I think that more up and comers will be able to learn pro level tricks. Flat is definitely gaining some momentum, no pun intended.
The chicken. You never heard that joke about the chicken and egg laying in bed and the chicken lights up the cigarette first?
The tricks are harder, and the overall style is better. However, it seems like everyone is starting to do the same stuff. I would say that the overall difficulty has improved, but there are less people being original.
I'm not familiar with that terminology. Are you asking the last time I took matters into my own hands?
I started out riding street and flat, but my bike kept breaking from riding street. I would like to monkey around at the skatepark, but I'm too much of a wuss. I did learn flips into the Woodward foam pit though.
For me it's all about riding for fun, so why would I limit myself and not be able to do tricks that I enjoy. If you want to do a brakeless combo then don't hit the brakes. I always thought riding brakeless was more about getting attention or maybe just being too lazy to fix your bike. If you aren't learning basic tricks because you don't have brakes, then it isn't making you a better rider.
Art and Sport. Does that make it a Spart, or is a Spart something that comes out instead of a fart?
Picasso sculpture in Downtown Chicago, when there is no security.
Blender-Bikeflip. More crashes on that one than Ricky Bobby.
We took a road trip in 1998 to New York pretty much just to ride at the Brooklyn Banks. I could bust a wallride when needed.
I would change myself to look like Megan Fox and just look in the mirror all day. Either that or I could give myself a superpower like time traveling. That would be cool.
Thanks for saying that I don't suck. I was pretty bad my first year riding... Until I found out that I was trying all my tricks opposite. I stuck with it then, so I guess I probably would until it wasn't fun.
I looked up to Al Sprandel, Hiro Tsuchida, and Todd Gully. They are local Chicago riders who really helped me learn tricks. Thanks guys. BMX can make a lot of money, but if you break it down to all the hours of practice it's probably less than minimum wage. My first trick bike was a Hutch Excel.
Let's weigh the options.
Tiger: Well I love cats, so I wouldn't want to do any harm to a big cat.
Hulk Hogan: Grown men hugging each other in Speedos isn't really my scene.
Fudger: He wouldn't even be a challenge. Too easy.
Mulligan: By process of elimination, it's Mulligan.