There’s a rise in the count of quality mountain bikers in India now. All this thanks to availability of good equipment and the supportive mountain biking community of the country. With XC and DH racers gaining speed points and racing continental championships, there’s a small number of riders who still prefer to be out of all the race tape fuss. Meet 21 year old freeride prodigy from Pune City, India – Rohan Gawade.
Nick name: RoGa, Thandi Hawaa (Cool Breeze!)
Current Bike: Specialized Demo 8
Years Riding: BMX Street – 8, Cross Country – 5, Downhill/FR – 1
FRMTB: Rohan, how did you get into mountain biking?
Rohan: My brother had bought a new hard tail bike while he was working at a local bike store. Whenever he was not at home, I used to grab the opportunity and take the bike to my backyard off-road trails to ride. So that was my first stint with trail riding.
FRMTB: What style of riding do you follow more?
Rohan: In sequence Freeride – Downhill – Dirt Jumping – BMX.
FRMTB: Who inspired you to take up the sport?
Rohan: My brother. He was always fascinated by the tricks I performed with the bike and the way I was progressing.
FRMTB: What do you do for a living?
Rohan: I work at Rolling Academy, which is a Bikepark in my city. I train people in mountain biking and spread the culture of extreme sports through my bike riding and skateboarding.
FRMTB: How often do you ride in a week?
Rohan: I ride every day. My ride to the Bikepark is a road ride of 20km. I practice downhill upon reaching there. Some days, I just resort to cross country riding and dirt jumping. Our Yoga coach conducts my fitness sessions and helps me in performance enhancement.
FRMTB: Tell us more about your new jump setup in Pune.
Rohan: When I was young, I used to watch freeride videos which inspired me to build and attempt big features. Starting with small jumps and drops. This particular jump is the first big sized one that I have attempted. The ramp size is approx 5ft in height, which throws you a good 12ft high in the air and around 30ft long. I was planning for the jump since a long time, practicing on smaller ones first.
FRMTB: What’s on the card next?
Rohan: I want to reshape the jump so that I get more air time, which will allow me to do tricks. I am also starting to make a dirt jump arena soon on which I can practice for different tricks. This will help me prepare for my dream to represent India in competitions like Rampage and Joyride.
FRMTB: Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Rohan: On podiums, proudly waving the Indian flag and also getting more people into this sport. I will also be building awesome trails/features at Rolling Academy and putting more people on bikes.
FRMTB: Any shout outs?
Rohan: Rolling Academy – The Bikepark, The Rolling Factory (production crew).