Some shots from the event that went down in SF on the weekend. Tricksters and a short course – not sure how it worked for a race – but the art / obstacle shots look great. Is that Walton, Austin and Massan?
On a picture perfect Saturday afternoon, more than 5,000 people headed to San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza to watch Red Bull Ride + Style. The event was a collision of fixed gear biking and urban contemporary art, with the competition held on a course featuring artwork created by California artists. Red Bull Ride + Style brought together 60 riders from all over, including the Bay Area, Seattle, Portland, New York and even Japan.
Participating riders competed in one of two categories: track or freestyle. The track competition was along the lines of a traditional race, with two riders going head-to-head and the one with the best time advancing to the next round. The track included a custom art installation by Los Angeles-based artists Mark Grieve and Ilana Spector that served as the starting arch. The competition was fierce on the narrow track, with riders elbowing each other for position, and multiple riders crashing into the guard rails. In the end, there was a final showdown between two Bay Area riders that weren’t even supposed to compete. Jason Clary and Kell McKenzie were both alternates, who were only asked to fill in for dropouts the day before the event. The two friends, who ride together often, put friendship aside for the final race and Clary was able to edge out McKenzie for the win.
“I’ve been a bike messenger for years,” said Jason Clary. “And this was a super technical course that really catered to how we ride – weaving in and out of traffic, accelerating quickly, and getting very close to obstacles. I’m really excited that I even got to participate, and winning is amazing.”
The freestyle portion of the competition gave riders the chance to showcase their style and best tricks on several one-of-a-kind ramps built by Jeremy Witek. The custom features donned artwork by urban contemporary artists Aaron De La Cruz, Erik Otto, N8 Van Dyke and Arlo Eisenberg. The four artists worked as a collective, merging together their unique styles to create eye-catching rideable works of art. The freestyle competition grouped the participating riders into five different heats, six riders in each. The talent was impressive, and featured a groundbreaking backflip performed by rider Kohei “Kozo” Fuji from Osaka, Japan. The trick has never been landed in an international competition, and the ecstatic crowd stormed the course to congratulate Fuji on the amazing feat. But in the end, it was Matt Reyes from Gilroy, CA whose consistent and stylish riding ultimately earned him first place, followed by Josh Boothby from Castro Valley, CA in second and Tyler Johnson from Seattle in third.
“I don’t usually win these things, and I didn’t even realize I rode so well,” said Matt Reyes. “It’s just great to have an event that brings the best riders from all over the world together. If it weren’t for today, I’d never even get to meet these guys, let alone ride with them.”
As a surprise, event partner Oakley gave out a “Sick-o Award” for each discipline (track and freestyle), with the winner getting an Oakley Minute Machine wristwatch. Austin Horse, a New York bike messenger, took the award for clocking the fastest track time, and Fuji’s backflip earned him the award in the freestyle section.