To say Ryan Nyquist’s exquisite riding on the FMB World Tour in the last few months has been surprising, may seem somewhat unfair. However the fact that the American BMX-Legend has been able to make the transition to slopestyle so quickly and so smoothly within a very short period of time, is just so impressive, that it appears as a surprise, that this is even possible. Short after landing his best result on the FMB World Tour at FISE Montpellier we caught up with the legend on two wheels, who will be heading to Les Gets next month to battle the best FMB athletes in the world.
Ryan, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. A while back you said, you are “fueling your love for two wheels” by riding MTB as well as BMX. Where does your love for two wheels come from?
Ryan Nyquist: I honestly think it's just a part of me. I learned how to ride a bike when I was three-years-old, and never looked back. Up until a year ago it was primarily a love for BMX bikes, but the local MTB guys in Santa Cruz and Aptos got me on a hardtail MTB and riding some trails. I could feel my love for two wheels expanding. After riding BMX for 34 years, trying MTB was very exciting and still is!
Who inspired you to start riding? Did you have idols as a kid?
Nyquist: In BMX it was Dave Mirra, Dennis McCoy, Jay Miron, Chad Harrington, and the local riders at our jumps, and those were my heroes growing up. In MTB it was guys like Greg Watts, Tyler and Cam McCaul, Owen Marks, Ryan Howard. Once I got a bit more knowledgeable, I really admired the skill-sets of Brandon Semenuk and Brett Rheeder.
What was most difficult in the transition to MTB?
Nyquist: „Transitioning from riding BMX bikes to MTB bikes has been very difficult. It's been an entirely new learning experience. Everything is different, including the bike, a lot of the obstacles on the slopestyle courses, and the tricks need so much more effort in order to make them work. Plus when hopping off my MTB and riding BMX again, it makes the bike feel so small and twitchy compared to my Haro Steel Reserve 1.3. It takes a few hours to really get comfortable on it again and compete in BMX.
At the age of 37 you are at the beginning of another successful career after an enormously successful BMX career. What is your secret to keeping passionate and being so successful yet again?
Nyquist: Hahaha! I'm a 37 year old rookie! That cracks me up every time I think of it. I think just having a passion and goals keeps me in the game and pushing hard. Without goals I'd have no direction and drive would be tough to find. I also love having fun. I'm fortunate to do be something I love for a living. So, I come home from "working", and I feel full of life and recharged.
You will be travelling to France now on the FMB World Tour. Your skills have taken you all over the world. Is there any country, region or park that stands out to you, which you especially like to ride in?
Nyquist: I've always loved Australia and New Zealand; beautiful countries with wonderful people. It takes a while to get over there, but it's completely worth it. MTB has taken me to some new places after all these years of traveling. I had never been to Switzerland prior to Swatch Rocket Air, and I really enjoyed it there. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the world as well!
What does it mean to you, to be competing at such a high level already and getting the FMB wildcard for Crankworx Les Gets?
Nyquist: Getting the Wildcard for Les Gets is huge for me. It shows me and everyone else that all the hard work and practice I've put into riding MTB is working. It was a massive goal of mine to try to qualify for a FMB Diamond Event through my riding alone. I've achieved that now and it feels amazing! I'm excited to ride against the best in the world, and I'm sure I’ll learn, what more I can do on my MTB bike.
Where do you think your MTB journey to take you? What is your goal for the FMB World Tour? Or is having fun essential?
Nyquist: Well my main goal this year was to try to qualify for Joyride. With the Wildcard for Les Gets, I think I'm on the right path. I know that everything and everyone steps up for the FMB Diamond Events though. The riders, the tricks, the courses; it seems like everything is bigger and better. So I have a lot of work to do. I'm going to keep working hard to achieve those goals. As far as fun, I always like to enjoy myself and have had so much fun so far. When I'm at an event though, I get focused. I'm there for a reason and it's not always just to have fun.
What's it like to be competing on the tour as a BMX athlete? Do you feel comfortable with all the other MTB athletes?
Nyquist: At first it was a bit weird. I felt like an outsider, mainly because I didn't know too many people. Everyone was super nice though, which made it a great experience. But right now, I don't consider myself to be any different than anyone else out there. I love riding bikes. I'm chasing goals and making new friends along the way. I really enjoy everyone on the deck, and as more events happen, I feel like the MTB athletes are getting more comfortable with me as well. I don't think I come off as threatening at all, and I truly enjoy watching everyone and their different styles. I've come to appreciate it when I see passion in any way, shape, or form, and in MTB there is plenty of passion. I like that.
Do you have close friends on the tour and have they helped you out to accustom to these new surroundings in any way?
Nyquist: I owe a lot to Greg Watts. He showed me the way for many things. Lets me bounce wild ideas off him, ask him ridiculous questions. Hahaha! He's been a good sport and a great mentor. Owen Marks, Kyle Jameson, and Tyler McCaul all have been really great about my move into MTB. Recently I got to spend some time with Yannick Granieri, and I really enjoyed hanging out and riding with him. We pushed each other to learn and try different things and I like that a lot. Good times for sure.
Ryan, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us and we wish you all the best for the rest of the season.