ralph sinisi

Captured

There is a strange dichotomy of this photo to the modern viewer. First that is Ralph Sinisi, owner of Animal Bikes, which makes him more or less one of the forefront of all BMX street. He’s riding front brakes and a visibly and unfashionably kneepads. If it were to happen today, it would almost be a bad joke for anyone under 35, but once again this Ralph Sinisi and what I assume this is about a decade ago, times were different. Regardless there is an ageless quality to the picture which is the feeble grind on the car. 

In BMX, the general thought process is that spots and tricks exist to only be progressed upon, taken to the next level and pushed to the edge of what’s possible. What I’m assuming simple feeble is not a hard trick and this spot is not really the most unique thing, but still it pushes the limits of what’s street riding and what’s an act of vandalism. This is why this photo is so intriguing cause it’s not about the trick at it’s core, more the reality of the act of street riding. Your immediately pushed with the thoughts of a dilemma, making you think even for a second. It’s controversial, dare I say edgy but that’s what makes it so good. 

Ralph Sinisi 

Photo by Jared Sourney

“I Most Likely Ate Cereal” - An Interview with Bob Scerbo

What is an average day for Bob Scerbo?

I usually wake up around 11 or 12, walk the dog and get coffee and sit in my yard and mess around on the computer for a bit, listen to music and watch incredible displays of ignorance on the internet to entertain myself.

Eat some food, possibly go riding or creep around somewhere and shoot photos/explore.  Come home and chill with the dog, possibly meet up with Joe Rich or Stricker for lunch or coffee then pedal to work usually around 8.

Stand and check ID’s all night, eat a chicken sandwich because it’s free at work.  The bar I work at closes at 2am so I have to stay and clean for another hour and a half.  Pedal home around 3:30, walk the dog and go to bed.

If I don’t have work I’ll usually either stay home and read or work on Skapegoat stuff or go to the bar and hang out.

How has your life changed since you were a young and starry-eyed lad riding around New Jersey listening to emotional hardcore?

I would say I listen to indie rock, not emotional hardcore but either way my life hasn’t changed much other than I have gotten older and I can’t be out riding all the time because I need to work to pay my bills.  

Can you talk me through the day of the backwards icepick down the rail? What did you eat for breakfast? How many 40s had you drunk? Could you do it today?

I most likely ate cereal, I was sober, it was cold out and I didn’t feel like riding, and then I was watching Corey Martinez ride a ledge and for some weird reason I started thinking about that trick and got super motivated and suggested we go to that rail to look at something and it worked really easily — I pulled it twice in a row within a few tries.  

I had no plans of trying that that day and I have no idea why I decided to do it.  I would imagine I could still do it pretty easily but I don’t really have any desire to.

When me, Clarky and Gunn came to Philadelphia you scooped us up from our 10 hour flight and proceeded to drive us over two hours to a small skatepark on the outskirts of Atlantic City. Was this some sort of test?

HAHA — not a test at all — I just wanted to go ride the skatepark and chill by the beach for the day, I do that all the time when I feel like I need a break from being in the city.  When I lived in Jersey I would go to Coney Island, in Philly I go to Atlantic City and in Texas I go to Galveston.

What is Brigantine… and how does one kick it there?

Brigantine is a town with an old snake run that I ride, and one kicks it there by driving all the way there, taking a few runs then sitting on the beach drinking coffee. Not many people can handle the lack of action in my riding regiment so I usually end up doing it just me and the dog, and I am fine with that.

Why do you like driving so much?

I don’t know why I do but I really love driving around aimlessly checking out neighborhoods or new cities — it’s sort of an obsession.  It’s really relaxing for me and it also helps me think because my mind wanders like crazy.

Changing your surroundings often is a good way to use your brain differently.  If I could afford to I would live on the road, just camping and staying in Motels all the time.  I did that for a majority of the summer this year and it was great.

You now live in Austin. Do you ever find yourself listening to Mogwai?

The only time I have ever listened to Mogwai is when Joe plays it while I ride the T-1 ramp, so I guess I do pretty often but not by choice.  I do think they are a good band though.

How many more videos have you got left in you?

At this rate possibly one more just because I work so much and don’t have any money to put into doing anything at the moment,  I have been slowly working on something but it’s probably gonna take a while. I like not being involved in BMX anymore as my income but I would still like to be able to continue riding and working on fun projects.

Have you ever thought about branching out from riding videos into other cinematic genres?

I have thought about doing documentaries or hip hop videos but I really don’t know what will happen with that.  I could see myself working on a documentary at some point.

How do you feel about little dweebs like me pestering you for interviews?

I don’t mind it, I actually think it’s cool because I am sick of reading interviews on other sites where all people talk about is there filming process and how great their sponsors are.  I wish more independent media would pop up and shine a little more light on the less competitive side of riding and stop catering to advertisers and trying to turn street riding into a contest.  

Also I think you are funny English gentleman so I don’t mind doing an interview at all, I’m more confused why you would think anyone wants to read what I have to say at this point.

James Newrick would like to know about the navy blue hooded sweatshirt you often wore in videos. What are the origins of this garment? Why was the sleeve torn? Was there more than one blue hoody? Does the original still exist?

I did not own a sweatshirt at the time so I started wearing my girlfriend’s so it was technically hers. It was ripped because I wore it every day and it was really beat down.  It might still technically exist but it got stolen.

I had a backpack with all my clothes I owned in it and the bag got stolen from Steven Hamilton’s car in 2003. It was terrible. Road Fools left the next day and I had to load up at the thrift store on clothes and Kevin Porter gave me a Dead Memory shirt I wore most of the trip.

Have you ever had a lucid dream?

Yes, I have them constantly and I have gotten pretty good at controlling them and staying in them for a while.

What is your definition of a goon?

A Goon can come in many forms and shapes, there is no actual definition but you can always tell when you are in the presence of one.  Also someone can be a Goon but not always show it — it tends to come in waves and often shows up when alcohol or drugs a present.  I have met people who are a Goon 24/7 though and those are the ones you need to look out for.  Never believe a Goon if he or she claims to have changed either, it will come back and the relapse will raise it to higher levels of Goonery.

Favourite ramp?

All time it is Skater Island’s wooden snake run, Whiteboy’s Ramp and the Banana Farm.  They are all gone.  My current favorite is the T-1 ramp, 2 blocks from my house and built perfectly.  I love the bowl at Rampworks in Liverpool also but I only rode it once.

When was the last time you did a 720?

Probably in 2003 over the Hackettstown box jump.  I tried 3 over the spine and kept landing flat so I just let one rip over the box and it worked first try, I was hyped.

When was the last time you cooked a meal?

A few days ago. I cook pretty often these days since I moved to Austin, before that it had been a few years.

In what year could you bunnyhop the highest?

2005.

Is it true that trails riders wet the bed?

A lot of the ones I have known over the years had a tendency to. I think that era is over though… I hope so at least.

Have you got any life lessons you’d like to pass on?

Time is more valuable than money, make the most out of your time and don’t think money will solve your problems, it is usually what creates problems.  

I think that’s pretty much it. Anything else you’d like to add?

No.

BONUS QUESTIONS FROM CLARKY

Who is your favourite Ralph? Ralph Lauren or Ralph Sinisi?

Pink Bike Ralph from Philly, he did the Penn rail then quit riding on the spot, I respect that, makes some pretty decent clothes too.

Have you ever driven another zamboni since Road Fools 12? And has that day been bettered?

I have never had the luxury of driving one again, I have had a few better days since then but not many.

Sorry to bring it up but what was the name of your pet mouse that died while you were on Road Fools?

Hahaha, his name was Wally.  I went in the pet store to get something for my cat at the time and for some reason left with a mouse.  He was cool as shit although we did not have much time together technically… but time is relative so it was all good.

Colour photos courtesy of whoever took them

This informative article originally appeared in Urban Mist 6