Mishanya Ogorodnik from Ukraine | Rider Interview
As the mountain bike world is following and re-tweeting all the pro freeriders and racers who get paid to do what they do, there are riders who have no fancy gear, no bike or even a dig crew, who push their riding to new levels, all in the name of FREE Ride glory and chilled beer! Meet Ukrainian freerider Mishanya Ogorodnik, one bad ass mothaf#%ka who knows no limits and has no plans of self preservation. Joined by his equally ill friends, Mishanya made his new video “TIN PLATE 3” recently. Freeridermag caught up with him to get an insight on what’s going on in his world.
Hometown: Rovno, Ukraine
Years riding: 10
Current bike: NS MAJESTY PARK 11
FRMTB: How strong is the freeride scene in Ukraine?
Mishanya: Everybody in Ukraine was excited about freeriding in the past, we had a lot of riders. But nobody has been doing any freeride stuff for the last 6 years here. There are only a few beginners, besides me (I’m buildings spots on my own, and filming everything by myself too) So that’s the reason why i started dirt jumping, cause it’s very boring to ride in the quarry when you’re alone. Ukrainian freeride scene is dead. It died when I broke my back – just a coincidence. Dirt jumping became more popular then.
FRMTB: We’ve seen your crazy friends in “Tin Plate 2” 6 years ago, tell us more about them. Any one who stands out as the wildest in the pack?
Mishanya: Most of my friends from “Tin Plate 2” don’t ride anymore. Only one of them is riding from time to time, but he can’t find motivation for riding, he doesn’t belive that he can get any support in our country (I mean free bike parts and clothes for riding), and everyone should make thier living. We have only 2 ways to choose: you’re riding and starving (spending all your money on bike parts), or you don’t ride and then you can afford some food and maybe a vacation once a year. Rich families are an exception, but it’s definitely not about us. Meloy is still riding on his days out, he tried pretty damn hard for his part in the new film. Filming his part took us a few days, he jumped a seven-meter drop on his BMX (he actually wanted to go for 14m, but he didn’t get enough speed for that.) Haha, he also did a few 5m drops in the quarry – all on his ‘freeride’ BMX for 100 bucks. That was the only bike he could afford. There was also a guy in Tin Plate 1 – Alex Chaika, he used to be my schoolmate. He rode for only a year, but in that year he learned inverts in just 3 tries, then he tried to learn tabletops off a 5-meter drop without trying them on jumps. He also attempted a 12-meter drop on his Leaderfox Dragstar hardtail that was completely fucked up (the rear wheel was falling out while trying 360 on flat, the cranks indicated quarter to 6, and his Suntour XC fork was just destroyed, you could put a finger between its stanchions and lowers. He quit riding in a year, in spite of his great potential. We have a lot of people like him, but they can’t see any future in riding bikes, so they just give it up. So I am the last one, who’s still riding.
FRMTB: Your newest video “Tin Plate 3” has exploded on the internet last week, how was the filming experience?
Mishanya: It was very hard to film, because I did everything by myself. When we were filming my profile, there was a new cameraman everyday. They were kids and got tired to film very quickly, and I had to teach new cameraman every day from the beginning : how to film, how to hold the camera and keep it steady, also I taught them to stop recording at the right time, not earlier than I needed.
Talking about other riders profiles, it was a pleasure to film them, because I am good at this and I was really enjoying the process, I wanted to ride myself at those moments though.
I started to film my profile after my back injury, since 2014. I couldn’t find anyone to film, I had no money for a professional cameraman, that’s why I asked my girlfriend to film, she used to leave her studies earlier to do it for me. I also had no friends anymore, I used to have a lot, but after my 3 years break from riding because of injury, they all disappeared from my life. At that time I realized that I never had real friends, nobody needs me except myself.
In 2015-2016 when I already had enough footage, I started to make videos of other riders to make something really cool. I decided to make a real Ukrainian movie. I tried to pull the best out of Gopro and a camera for 200 bucks.
We have no soft skate parks and all the guys were very excited about the idea of the movie and pushed the limits for some good footage.
We went to Banderoni in Moscow. This is very funny story, it’s funny now, but back then it was a real challenge for us, we managed to survive for cents.
It wasn’t that easy to go abroad to Russia, because of a difficult political situation between Ukraine and Russia. It was a big problem with accommodation and transportation, as we had no car and slept in tents, but despite this, we brought 25 % of footage from there, because there are no such good free riding spots as in Ukraine.
Speaking about the movie footage, I can talk about this for ages, no pages will be enough for this. I killed my sight while I was editing the movie, I spent from 2 up to 12-14 hours every day during the whole year. My computer worked very slow and sometimes It was freezing for 5 or 10 minutes in some moments and I had to wait till it started to work again and that happened all the time. Editing the movie was a real nightmare for me, but I am proud and happy that I did it all by myself. This experience showed me that in the future I don’t want to do this without any financial support anymore.
FRMTB: What do you have to say to brands and people who aren’t looking into the developing freeride community of Ukraine?
Mishanya: I’d like to see some support, and I wanna see this sport progressing here in Ukraine. We don’t have neither skateparks, nor bikeparks and foam pits – nothing! People start riding, and they give it up in a year. Actually this is what our community looks like. I ride in the quarry once in 1 or 2 months because I don’t want to ride alone too often. And I don’t really have money for travelling and riding with foreign guys. Last year I came to Russia to visit Benderoni, and it took me two months to save money for that trip. Riding once a year is not cool, so I’m selling my fully to give back the money I used to borrow. Looks like there will be no freeride scene at all, because I’m the last one who loved freeriding. But riding alone for 3 years was really hard. I’d better go to our skatepark (with no decent quarters or something), I’d ride street, but at least with some friends. No one knows how to use a shovel now, and no one wants to do it. So, riding alone is not what I want to do. What I’d like to say to brands and people behind them is that Ukrainian riders are worth looking up to. These guys are literally ready to die for some T-shirts and bike parts.
FRMTB: In the teaser we saw a monstrous drop on a BMX, what’s going on with that?
Mishanya: My friend Pasha doesn’t have enough money for a freeride bike, so he tries riding on a BMX bike. You can see the result in the full movie, a huge crash from the biggest BMX drop EVER! He’s doing fine now, and he wants to jump again. Unfortunately, we need plywood to put on the ramp, but we have neither the car for transporting the plywood or the money in order to buy the plywood – Ha ha ! If we have a 5% chance to land big tricks, we try ! It’s Ukraine baby, it’s Ukraine.
FRMTB: What keeps you motivated to push the limits?
Mishanya: I love riding and that’s all! It gives me joy. My other friends who don’t ride are alcoholic or drug addicts. It’s a good motivation for riding and it does not make you feel bored. Do not want to be similar to them!
FRMTB: How do you approach a new big air feature?
Mishanya: I’m riding almost alone, and digging/building depends on me too, for 10 years of digging I was very tired, and I want go to trip and see other country or build a local skate park. Cause all what I build from the ground in Ukraine, people has destroyed. We do not have legal park or something like that. For example the nearest freeride spot is in Moscow ( 1300km).
FRMTB: Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
Mishanya: Competing, teaching other riders, filming bike videos.
FRMTB: Any shout outs?
Mishanya: I was making whole movie by myself (Tin plate 3 – I made in 1 year) 3 years I filmed alone and 1 year editing alone!