In one fluid motion, he exited the elevator, knocked up his Air Jordan 1s and hop-skip on his descending all-black motorcycle, pedaling his road to the stage for his first interrogation of the day at AOL’s expansive part infinite. Whooshing past startled employees with his on-trend green hoodie voyaging off his back, BMX star Nigel Sylvester, 28, wasn’t flanked by a administrator, agent, publicist, or even an athlete’s customary posse of friends and hangers-on. He was just there, by himself.
Oh, and his bike.
“It’s usually always near me. No is important that, ” he told The Huffington Post. Sylvester had a series of interviews booked at AOL for the working day, but his main annoy was whether or not he could get his stealthy-looking Animal-brand bike into the agency, since some New York City constructs don’t permit them or have tiny elevators.
Sylvester requirement his bike, and in a perfect world, he’d travel it everywhere. He travelled it from his house in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, to Manhattan for the day’s events. He travelled it all over the role as we realise our course to different interview and photo-shoot points, envisaging potential stunts and joking about doing maneuvers off the furniture.( He declined my invitation to ride on the ping-pong counter, which was probably for the best .) When we’d sit, he’d sit on his bike seat, forearms folded across the handlebars. Exclusively when we’d stand would he carefully prop up his bike and politely stand among the group. As a BMXer who travels without brakes, his bicycle has become a required extension to his arms and legs for his own safety.
Riding a BMX bike around country offices like its a skatepark seen Sylvester stand out quite easily, but outside of its walls and in the streets, he receives just as numerous ogles: strangers gawk at his gimmicks and vigorous ride around the city. SoHo types kudos his stylish form. Designers want him to wear their invests. Hip-hop radio stations want to talk to him and rappers want to collaborate with him. He’s a living personification of convergence culture.
Sylvester’s one of passing contestants in professional BMX riding, and he’s rocketed to the top of the individual boast on his own accord. He says he has no handlers, administrators or publicists. As an independent professional player in a niche sport, he has no competitive medallions or world registers( he doesn’t do the X Games ), no league, team, or uniting behind him as a safety net, and no foreground packets on spin on SportsCenter.
And hitherto, he’s still become a hugely successful jock since cracking onto the BMX scene in 2006, accumulating sponsorships from Nike 6.0, Trounces By Dre, New Era, Animal Bikes and Casio Watches, and even starting a bike fellowship with Pharrell .
So how’d he cope it? By doing three concepts: Riding his bicycle obsessively, registering his maneuvers and trip-ups and leveraging the Internet’s increased interpersonal connectivity through social media stages to label himself as the coolest person razzing a bike.
His career come-up isn’t unlike some of today’s most popular rappers, entertainers and personalities: Sylvester’s buzz started on the Internet around the late ‘0 0s. After expending his teenage years riding around New York City and becoming a local mythology of sortings — people would tell him, “You’re crazy for doing this and it’s strange, but prevent riding” — Sylvester got his big break in 2006 when he was featured on “Flipside, ” a BMX DVD that paired amateur equestrians with pros to pull off tricks. He did the video with the late Dave Mirra, an X Games great who tragically took his own life in February, and Mirra instantly became his mentor. Sylvester tallied his first endorsement treat before hitting the video, and soon thereafter, he decided to become an 18 -year-old pro BMX rider.
But his next journey wasn’t for an vitality drink patronize at the X Games — it was for his own emergence as a rider and traveler. Now familiar to the prospering BMX scene in Los Angeles, where many of the production companies are lived, Sylvester could start going and hopping and gyrating and twisting and grinding and wringing his body-bike for a living. Sylvester inaugurated indicating his endowments through a series of BMX DVDs and a deep smorgasbord of clips on YouTube. His mainstream chart as a rider rose parallel to his video look counts, achieving virality in wall street and online .
In this appreciation, Sylvester’s is not simply an athlete, but for his films, he’s an master. It’s fitting, considering the fact that he’ll refer to his motorcycle as his paintbrush, his milieu as his canvas and his recorded ploys as his art.
“My bike is like my paintbrush in a sense, in that I’m able to draw particular visuals and express that to the world and share it with the person or persons, ” he told HuffPost.He then moved the conversation to explain how, as an master, he repurposes what’s in front of him.
“When the bicycle was firstly created, I’m sure it wasn’t meant to do what we’re doing now with it. Just like how when I ride a handrail, that handrail wasn’t necessitate for travelling, it was meant exactly to hold onto for security, ” he said.
Unlike his motorcycle, nonetheless, handrails aren’t his property, and Sylvester’s had to ride away from incoming police officer a number of times. He laughter when talking about his times escaping NYPD , noting that while they’re just doing their jobs, he feels like they misunderstand him.
Sylvester believes that if more parties understood his process — he’s not some dopey skater boy who aimlessly razzes around justification mischief for beings trying to use handrails — they’d recognize his line of work more. Behind his art, there are meticulous figurings, in-depth site scouts and strenuous rules. Like any athlete is fully prepared take the field, he contemplates his game plan before executing it. It’s simply that nobody’s reporting on him daily, tweeting hurt updates morning , noon and nighttime.( Well, unless they’re from his Twitter or Instagram .)
Sylvester gapped the platforms, but he couldn’t persist the ground at that accelerate. He moved into the next way and merely eat it.
But, in comparison to most pro jocks, Sylvester doesn’t have to wait until game time to show his skills. As verified above, Sylvester’s gapping of the 145 th Street subway platform was a spur-of-the-moment intuition. He says he only is considered to do it the working day, scheduled it out, and nervously did the terrifying stunt at 2 a.m. Soon after, he uploaded the above photo and received his pain, awe-inspiring stunt travel viral. It was another content home run — the exact circumstance sponsors and advertisers crave in today’s digital age — and all it took was a camera, his daring mode and a self-starter’s thirst to support his family.
“You don’t have to wait for someone to say you can do it. You can just go do it on your own, ” he remarked with an breeze of excite.
Analyzing achievement in athletics is largely a numbers game: How many points, wins, championships and preserves can one claim? In Sylvester’s boasting universe, these standard-bearing metrics don’t dwell. There’s no Lombardi Trophy to aspire for , no heroic buzzer-beater moment to dream about. His aim, nonetheless, after going his own hasten for 10 times, is pretty simple.
“It’s crystal clear at this level: I’m going to keep going this motorcycle creating amazing visuals and opportunities for myself and those around me.”
Sylvester’s not hard to spot around the city. He’s generally biking from Point A to Point B, purposefully passing his paintbrush across handrails and ballpark terraces, leaving his art up for judgement as he wipes himself along by. Later, he’ll upload his travel online and derive the honors of a monied Internet influencer performs a a pro athlete.
Respect the bike.
Watch Nigel Sylvester share the pivotal moment that erupted his rise in the world of BMX and the challenges he faced along the way in his new VICE Autobiographies part exclusively on go90 .