Some riders are just mystical in their abilites. I’m not talking tricks here, I’m talking about style, flow and simplicity, everything the aspiring mystic should crave. Chase DeHart is one such rider. A true master of the two wheeled Way, if ever there was one.
We should always learn from the masters, so get ready for some wisdom from this one. Enjoy…
1. Name, age and years riding?
Chase DeHart, I’m 33 years old and I’ve been riding for about 17 years.
2. Why do you ride and how does riding make you feel? i.e. What motivates you to keep getting up after all the times we fall on the harsh concrete.
I genuinely just love to ride. After all these years I might even love to ride my bike now more than ever, as the older I get the more I appreciate it. Bike riding to me feels fluid, I just get on and go, there’s nothing more to it really, I don’t even really think about it.
3. The martial art of Iaido is considered a Way for enhancing the body, mind and spirit. Using a simple sword they repeat many techniques and forms. This is akin to ‘tricks’ and lines with a simple bike. Do you think riding, as a Way, could enhance and strengthen our minds and spirits if viewed from this standpoint?
Yea I’m sure, any form of exercise will strengthen your mind body and spirit when used correctly I’m sure, I can tell I feel better mentally after riding all day.
4. How often do you push yourself past your mental barriers? Do you think that this is an important aspect of riding?
I think I’m always pushed past my mental barrier, because if I sat down to analyse what I do on my bike or what I want to do, I could easily talk myself out of it or think how do I even do it. So I’d say anytime I’m riding I’m more than likely ignoring any doubt and pushing myself mentally. I ride the same at all times, if I’m riding I usually am riding at my fullest, it just comes out.
5. What matters to you, trick progression or how things feel? Is progression of technique important to you? i.e. getting a move down every time so it feels natural.
How things feel, I can care less about trick progression or care to watch it, I want to see what someone has, not what they can do. Trick Progression is irrelevant to my idea of bike riding, I feel like anyone can spend hours to land a trick. The way it’s done is important to me, I’m a perfectionist, if I do something, I need to fully understand it and be able do it my best at any given time. If you see me do something, I can do that at any moment, I only strive to have it, not just to do it. But that’s just me, I don’t mean for that to come off the wrong way, that’s just my personal opinion and goal.
6. If you’re filming a clip would you use the clip that felt good in the moment or the one that looked best when you look at the footage even if it felt awkward?
Whatever feels good, I feel like if it feels good it looks good, no matter if it was done bigger or better or whatever, I think when something feels good it shows.
7. Is the history of street riding and it’s forefathers important to you? If yes, why?
Yea of course, I think it’s important to acknowledge and respect who paved the way, throughout the generations and changes. Especially at this point because a lot of stuff is coming full circle, and people think they’re inventing old tricks, so that’s kind of a shame for the guys who originally brought it to the table. But at the same time it’s about having fun, so if you’re just riding and doing you, then there’s nothing I can really say negative about that, but it’d be nice if people realized there’s history to what they’re doing. I think the history is a big part of the fun in it, but that’s just me.
8. What/who, if any, are your influences?
Skateboarding is my first and biggest influence, I started skateboarding literally as young as I can possibly remember, I’d say 7 or 8 years old. My brother is 5 years older than me and he was a huge influence on me and skated and took me everywhere. I didn’t stop skating until I was 15/16. I’ve always known about BMX and had friends who did it and had bikes growing up, but I truly skated every day for those years, we filmed, went to Philly every weekend, it was a big deal to me and still is one of my main influences. I like riding my bike more than skateboarding, but the culture of skateboarding had the biggest impact on me and I think I self consciously put those years, into my life and BMX to this day.
9. What are the differences that you can feel between riding in the day and night apart from the obvious?
I honestly have the most energy at night, I’m not sure why but around 5 o’clock until 2 in the morning I have the most energy, the only thing is I don’t really get to ride too much at night. The main difference would just be the feeling of having the city to yourself. It definitely brings out an energy and excitement, but not being able to see what you’re riding that good is a big downfall.
10. How are you aware of your surroundings when out riding? i.e. Architecture, vibes of different areas, people etc.
I think I’m pretty sensitive to the universe, I can feel whatever I’m around, That’s why I like riding in down town cities so much, you can feel everyone’s energy, people doing shit, walking around hanging out whatever it is, I like being around that the most, I think it just wakes me up and makes me want to do something. I never sit still in the city. As for when it’s just you and a few guys at some random spot in the middle of nowhere, you can feel each others energy too much. Unless it’s a good crew, then I love it, but when a crew is tired and over it, it’s too hard to go anywhere with that. It’s not what you’re doing it’s who you’re with for me.
11. What is your favourite city/town to ride? And why?
Philly and Camden, Camden has a few go to spots that I like hitting, but it’s not really the safest place to venture around, so Philly is my favourite place to pedal around, it’s never ending. I think Philly might be one of the best cities, I take it for granted a lot, but every time I’m there I remember how much I love it. The east coast in general has the best cities, the way it looks and feels, there’s nothing like it, and you’re constantly surrounded by chaos, it makes what you’re doing the last thing anyone is worried about, cops just ask you what you’re thinking, “what the fuck you doing out here? You know where you are?” Then they just drive off. I love it.
12. What kind of spots do you look for or do you just ride what you come across, adapting to your surroundings? What are your views on Ura spots?
I mostly just ride what I come across, that’s how I always rather ride at least, there’s obviously times where I know what I’m going to and what to expect, and that’s cool sometimes, but usually expectations ruin everything, even if I know where I’m at, I like to roam around aimlessly and see what happens. You explained Ura spots to me, I feel like everyone looks at things different, and that’s why I’d rather no one show me around a city or assume they know what I’d like to ride, I’d rather just follow my intuition and roam around, you never know what you’re going to make yourself see, even spots I’ve been to a hundred times, some days I go to them and see something different. It’s just about taking on the day and going with what you feel, every day is different, no spot is the same.
13. How/Why do you choose the products that your bike consists of?
Do you mean the brands? Or the type of products? my bike is mostly all Cult products, with a few Primo products, for the Cult products, I’ve worked with and known Robbie and Neal for so long, that they know what we like and what we would ride or won’t ride, we’ve had a lot of input over the years, Especially obviously helping design our signature products, so that’s easy for me. With Primo I ride their wheels, they make solid wheels I’m sure no one would argue that, and I ride a few other parts like cranks. I also just believe in what these brands are doing/contributing, I have history with both brands and BMX has history with both brands, so that’s all important to me too, I have no desire to ride for just anyone, it needs to make sense, I’ve turned down offers over the years or quit sponsors that just didn’t make sense to me other than collecting a check, I don’t need that in my life it’s a waste of time.
14. How do you feel at the end of a ride?
Good for the most part haha, usually no matter what it feels good, even if you get mad or start to pick things apart during the day and seem over it, sometimes I think I hate riding, then usually at the end of the day I just feel good, I definitely feel better after the days I ride than the days I don’t ride haha.
15. Anything else you’d like to add?
Nah, not that I can think of. Just want to say thank you Dan for asking me some questions to have me on your website and for your contribution to BMX, I’ve always been a fan of your riding and more recently getting to learn about you it’s nice to see someone who’s in it for the love of it and has some like minded views, and best luck to you and your ventures with Street Mystics. And also for anyone reading my answers to know that I know I’m an opinionated person, and I don’t mean to push my views on anyone or think I look down on anyone for what they’re doing. Just want to clear that up in case they’re taken the wrong way. Thanks.