Photography: Vineet Sharma
Also featured in ISSUE 7 – Jan 2012
Full Name: Navinder Singh Deol
Hometown: Chandigarh, India
Favorite Drinks: Pepsi, Red Bull
FR MTB MAG: When did you start riding BMX?
NAVI: I started doing bike tricks when I was 15 years old. Now I’m 17.
FR MTB MAG: Who influenced you and how?
NAVI:I got inspired by Matthias Dandois, who is a French rider. Since the day I did see him on my computer’s screen I always wanted to be a Pro BMX Flatland Rider and ride like he does. I saw his video of the contest named ‘Rivera Ninja Spin’ of 2009, and got crazy for his skills. At that time, I didn’t even know that this type of BMX riding is called Flatland. I saw all his videos and read all his interviews, and came to know more about him, and of course, I came to know more about BMX.
FR MTB MAG: What do you do for living?
NAVI: I’ve not started earning yet. I’m in high school.
FR MTB MAG: What bike do you ride?
NAVI: I ride a Mirraco 5 star.
FR MTB MAG: We know BMX is your thing, but do you ride mountain bikes?
NAVI: I used to ride a mountain bike before I started Flatland riding. In 2008, I had a deadly crash, which almost did put me on a wheelchair. I didn’t want to leave, but I was forced to. Later I started riding again, but this time it was not a mountain bike.
FR MTB MAG: Which BMX comp do you dream to compete at?
NAVI: Well, I can’t name one, there is a huge list. But most important contests for me are ‘Red-Bull Fight with Flight’ and ‘Ninja Spin’. I know I’ll go there one day.
FR MTB MAG: What is your favorite trick and what new moves are you working on?
NAVI: Right now, my favorite tricks are Cross Foot Turbines (rear wheel), Hang-5 and Hitch-hiker. I’m also working on a ton of other tricks, like the Wheel-Chair, Rocket-Whip/ Bunny hop Tail whip, Double-foot Turbines and Upside Down Mega spin. After I complete all of these, I’ll be working on every other trick that my mind can think of.
FR MTB MAG: Your greatest achievement till date?
NAVI: The Hitch-hiker. After working on it for 5 months, I finally learnt the switch and rolled that trick. That day was the happiest day of my life.
FR MTB MAG: Your worst cycling experience?
NAVI: In 2008 (before I started Bmx riding) I used to ride my mountain bike around the city. I tried a drop, which was as high as 7 feet. Not so sure of my safe landing, I still went forward. Finally, as expected, I ended up flipping forward with a face landing (without a helmet). For a minute I was not even sure about me being alive. I stayed there for an hour, and later, I went to the doctor by myself. All this ended up with a fractured arm, and a LOT of other internal injuries. Even the frame of my bike did break into two. I cannot forget that day; you can still see the scar on my face.
FR MTB MAG: Broken bones and parts?
NAVI: I broke my right arm (twice). You will always find my legs wounded anyway.
Parts- Rear wheel (thrice, while learning the bunnyhop tailwhip); Handlebars (6 times);Stem (thrice); frame (once); Axles and Spokes (I don’t remember how many times did I break them).
FR MTB MAG: What are your current and future goals in life and what are you doing to achieve these goals?
NAVI: Currently, I aim at completing my high school; have a driving license; and learn as many tricks as possible. In future I aim at going abroad- England; becoming a pro Bmx Flatland rider; getting married (lol); and obviously, getting admission in a college. Studies and Bmx go together. Many riders leave studying when they become a pro rider, I also thought so, but a few words of my friend changed my mind. He said, “You can ride Bmx till you’re young. But when you’ll cover the age of 45, you cannot ride a Bmx and put the food on the table at the same time.”
FR MTB MAG: What would you have been doing if you were not into BMX riding?
NAVI: If Bmx was not there in my life, I would have been in my school’s football team. I used to play football with my friends, all day long. I must say, me and my friend (Vikas Teji) grew up together, playing football.
FR MTB MAG: Before we wrap it up, do you want to give any shout-outs or Words of advice?
NAVI: Well, I must say, Flatland is not an easy thing. It involves a huge amount of concentration, patience and stamina. Many people, who come into flatland riding, leave after a short period of time. Maybe because they’re not patient enough. There’s a weird point of time in every rider’s life. This point forces us to quit. But, a true rider never does. I’ve been through the same time, and I’m still riding. Bmx is always developing. One or the other guy does a trick which the whole world can’t even think of. Take an example- Adam Kun, a Flatland rider from Hungary, invented the Monster Whip recently. It’s not that we cannot do it. There are always the possibilities of success, it’s just that we have to identify the beast within ourselves. I did, and I know you’ll do that too. Just don’t quit, never give up, never back down! Keep riding, keep practicing, and you’ll be a pro rider in no time.