[wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]The third part was already in my mind but it didn’t stop me from thinking of other places to go, the World is so huge but I had to remind myself we weren’t making a full length DVD here, we were making a series of short videos that would be part of an experience, an adventure and a way to ultimately ride together and travel together. Every rider on the Éclat team is already well travelled so these big destinations were just more places to tick off, possibly with the exception of IZ who joined every trip as some type of injury or bad luck struck us. Ironically IZ is now quite well travelled. The one place I knew would be a great ending to the series was Europe. I don’t know an American who doesn’t love travelling through Europe and getting ripped off with the horrible exchange rate. The good parts though are the culture, you just cant beat being able to grab a croissant in the morning in Paris then drive 4 hours and get a curry-wurst for lunch in Cologne.
From a team managers point of view, this last trip was going to be pretty hard on the driving, I actually made my life harder by driving most evenings and nights to allow more time to ride in the day, so when the first two days it rained in England I wasn’t exactly pleased. The way British people do things though is they hold their chin up and battle on, we rode what we could salvage and before we knew it we were sailing a ferry to France about to embark on its capital.
Paris was a little easier on the weather, bright skies and plenty of spots kept us full up for the weekend. [/wpcol_1half][wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]If you were to take away the incident with insects at 7am then it would have been the most perfect weekend.
Monday morning we awoke early, jumped in the van and drove through Belgium and into Germany. We arrived in Koln later that day and the sun was shining like it had been waiting for us since we departed Dover.
Cologne has a vibrant and earnest history in BMX, dating back to the 90’s it’s been the birthplace of so much creative endeavors. Not just brands like WETHEPEOPLE and éclat but also Freedom BMX magazine and whole BMX scene itself. You could sort of say we were home in a way.
On the last day everyone from the peoples store laid on the BBQ and the bossman bought a ‘German sized’ quantity of beer. Over the course of our stay in Cologne and Bonn we hung out, rode hard and took in the culture that had submerged us since we set off. We also agreed that this had been one of the best mixtures of trips together as a team we had all experienced. We felt we hit the right places that contrasted each other and the right places that stimulated our minds and our need to ride different things. We experienced beers on rooftops in Paris, unmatchable hospitality in the slums of Shanghai, perfect spots and computer game schools in California and the gritty grey skies of Northern England. We ended up in the building where the brand was first conceived and the team was put together, it was a perfect way to end a trip and a perfect time to reflect and envision on another.[/wpcol_1half]
[wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]Immediately after the first trip I sat down and looked at the atlas pinned to my wall. I tried to imagine a place that would juxtapose California, which would result in a completely different style visually when we looked back. Over the next few weeks we threw together some far eastern selections, what swayed us to pick Shanghai in China over places like Tokyo or Seoul was it had a perfect mix of spotless and dirty. To be honest, Shanghai is a melting pot of absurdity, the over population crisis is very obvious, and at times it feels like there is very few hiding places from the carnage of Chinese working life. The time we spent in Shanghai was certainly not enough, but then how can you even begin to cover a place as vast as this city in just two weeks, we gave it out best shot though.[/wpcol_1half]
[wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]As foreigners, getting food in China became one of the most amazing experiences. It felt amazing to exchange as little as 50 cents and get back a whole meal that was cooked in front of your eyes on the streets, in face for most of the 11 evenings we ate on the streets and life became our television screen.
Mid way through the Shanghai trip I began to visualize the free and sleazy series in it’s entirety, it started making sense to me and I was a little bit more at ease with how it would work out. I knew there was one other place to visit though and I knew then where it was already.[/wpcol_1half]
[wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]This year started off with an empty cloud in my brain that needed filling. I knew loosely that I wanted to push things further with the riders, I wanted to take them off together and put together a project we could all be proud of. I just wasn’t quite sure what we would do and how we would do it so without really thinking I booked everyone flights to Los Angeles and figured something pop into my brain.
So Cal was certainly the pilot episode that made me want to commission some kind of series, some way of connecting the videos or trips I felt would be a little more exciting and the result could be rewarding. We hung around the sunshine state for nearly two weeks, dodging cops and driving the van up and down the state. Cali did throw its fair share of problems into the mix, like the whole getting dark at 5pm thing, okay it was January and [/wpcol_1half][wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]we cant change the cycle of the world but give us a break. We found it frustrating, especially when it got to 4pm and everyone was just starting to really warm up. We also had bad luck with spots; bull dozed schools, non-existent pools and security guards kept putting us off getting what we really wanted. We carried on regardless and the pilot episode turned out to be a great debut for the free and sleazy series, it helped me to realize what we could do and how we could create an interesting three part series that had more content and substance to it than a bunch of haphazard trips.
Riding the streets of San Diego, L.A and Santa Barbara made me want to leap across the World and ride a place that was the complete opposite, I wanted the crew to have a culture shock and an experience they would be able to laugh and joke about for a long time to come. [/wpcol_1half]