My goal is always to stay as long as possible when I travel abroad for BMX adventures and this first international trip of 2016 was no different. Traditionally my European trip consists of the Bike Days contest in Solothurn Switzerland and the ginormous FISE in Montpellier France with some fun BMX riding/pastries eating days in Paris sandwiched in between. However this year I was ambitious and pushed my trip to include my good friend Adam Kun’s wedding making it a five week lose yourself in Europe forget what home feels like kind of adventure. This also provided new territory as Id never been to Hungary and Budapest is nothing short of legendary. After piling up on art world commercial workdays a month prior I packed my shit and headed to Europe.
Arriving in Paris suburb and rendezvous with the Jumelin family is the only way I want to start a trip like this not to mention meeting their new puppy Lola. While I instantly fell in love with this gorgeous female staffordshire I was also reminded that puppy like isn’t easy haha. After a few days of practise and éclair au chocolats I headed to Montpellier with Alexis Desolneux a day early to perform BMX flat demos for French and Chinese politicians associated with the FISE. This contest is the most famous in France and probably all of Europe with people flooding the city thirsty for action sports. The weather was great until the final day and as usual the parties and fans exceeded anyone’s expectations. I love the city of Montpellier and look forward to this event every year. After a rained out final on Sunday we all loaded up in cars and made the seven hour drive back to Paris. Matthias Alex and I went straight to work filming a how-to for youtube without any sleep and I will embed that below. After a few days of riding and dealing with the rain Italy would be the next move.
Alex and I joined Raphael Chiquet aboard a local European airline at the Paris airport and headed to Venice Italy for a weekend of BMX demos at the famous Imola racetrack. Upon arrival in Venice my bike bag that I checked in Paris was lost. This is every BMX riders fear and rarely have I had to deal with this. We boarded an hour train after smashing a slice of welcome to Italy pizza and settled into our cozy hotel near the racetrack as I constantly tried to check on my lost bike. Our hosts for this event were outstanding as I was given access to walk the grid for qualifying and race day, visiting the garages inspecting the finely tuned race machines and seeing the Aryton Senna memorial celebrating one of the greatest ever just a few metres from the corner that took his life. We were fed well and looked after like royalty but at the end of the weekend I still was without my bike. Despite numerous attempts to gain information I didn’t even know where it was. Once we started to make our way back I did locate it at the Venice Airport just in time to recheck it and fly back to Paris. This was easily the worse airline experience of my life. Nevertheless back to Paris for a few days before making the drive to Switzerland for the Bike Days contest.
This was my fourth time to Solothurn Switzerland for Bike Days and every year I’m amazed at how clean this place is. Bike Days brought almost 40 riders being the first round of the world circuit and for me was so good to be reunited with my Japanese cousins. As usual they were the source of many laughs as well as a high level of riding. Alex and Matthias both rode very well but being without my bike for four days the past weekend didn’t help as I missed out on the final. I loaded my stuff with another French friend Jermey Brossett and at the conclusion of this weekend we blasted off to the French Alps. I spent 3 days with Jermey, his wife Caroline and beautiful daughter Alice in the French peaceful countryside before boarding a plane in Geneva and heading to Budapest for Adams wedding.
I was welcomed in Budapest by Adam and Sevisual as they scooped me from the airport and my Hungarian adventures began. Apparently I had some bad food in Geneva as the first morning in Budapest found me sick with food poisoning. After two days of not being able to move or eat we made the one hour drive to Szeged on the southern boarder where the wedding would be held. The day of the wedding I started to feel better despite Sevisual power walking me around Hungary haha. The wedding was beautiful and the after party was full power. I dipped out around 11 as the party went until 6am the next day as European people take partying very serious. We drove back to Budapest and spent the next day cruzin the city and filming for a small video. I cannot thank Adam, Anna, and Sevisual enough for the hospitality as well as the extremely good care when I was sick. I climbed back on board my last domestic flight and jetted back to Paris to spend one last night with my favourite family.
After arriving and making my way via trains to the Jumelin home we walked to a nearby sushi restaurant and filled up on fish and rice. I was very sad to leave as I do feel very much at home in France now and enjoy so much my friends there. However as I finish this with a carne asada burrito in front of me in Redondo Beach it does feel good to be home.