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Chad Degroot talks getting stuff done…

The name “Chad Degroot” may not be one which you’re familiar with, but in BMX circles it’s a name that’s been synonymous with progression and determination to get cool things done for over twenty years. Known by many as one of the most unique technical BMX riders around (as well as one of the most versatile), Chad doesn’t – and never has – limited himself to just progressing on a BMX bike. And although Chad might cringe at what I’m about to say next, it’s the truth, ask anyone: without him and the tight group he rode with during the 1990s — when BMX went through probably its biggest technical-tricks revolution — BMX would never have evolved to become what it is today. Back then, I was just starting out myself, and Chad’s flatland skills alone blew my mind. After that he went on to ride ramps as well as anyone, and use his numerous tech-skills to full advantage on street, ramps and in even more videos.


For these reasons, and because the man knows a thing or two about accomplishing huge goals which would trounce most people — ranging from repeatedly getting the crap beaten out of him by his BMX, to starting his own businesses from the ground-up — I thought it’d be worthwhile to contact him and ask if he’d be interested in doing an interview on how BMX has shaped and influenced his outlook on life, and what factors have played a pivotal role in him actually achieving the goals he has set.

Being the good man that he is, Chad was kind enough to oblige, and what transpired was, I think, an interesting read and insight into how lessons learned from one passion can be applied to the way we all see and affect our lives using our own actions.

Chad D: BMX rider, Deco company owner, party-goer partly responsible for the infamous “Baco” videos.

ONE: For people who have no idea what the BMX rider’s mind-set is like, can you explain how you apply what you’ve learned from BMX to things in life which seem completely impossible but you are certain can be made to happen?

Good question, it really does apply to real life situations. My bike can knock me down real hard, not some dude or a fight. Those do hurt, but in the end your bike can be your best friend yet still put you in the hospital. Learning how to ride gave me courage and use of different muscles that make a lot of other situations way easier. Confidence is not a bad thing to, it has come in handy in a lot of situations. Most of all not to give up. I have been stubborn as hell and won’t quit.

Slick-looking Deco frames available now. Like what you see? Head on over to the Deco store if you know what’s good for you!

TWO: I’ve heard it said a few times that there’s no point trying because it’s all down to luck and who you know. In your opinion, how much of making something challenging happen — a skatepark project, or whatever it may be — is down to luck and how much is more to do with hard work?

Hard work helps, but my situation with both skateparks was mostly luck and a lot of calling people out on their word which leads into honesty. Since I started riding people have said luck is on my side. Guess that is why some excel faster than others and I truly believe luck is still on my side…I can’t owe it all to luck though, there is a ton of hard work, yes I do and did work at what I did from day one.

Chad being his usual pioneering self, this time by creating a mesmerizing illusion where his front brake trickery is so rad that he actually opens up a fourth dimension for another one of his selves to step through. Good work!

THREE: You’re known universally as one of the most consistently technical BMX riders out there and have been for decades. Is the patience required to learn those technical tricks something which comes in useful in other parts of your life?

I guess it does. I mean there is real close attention to detail when I do a lot of things even around my house. It will open your eyes if you look at project a little different. Thanks for the compliment on the tech side. I really enjoy pushing my limits and the accomplishment of making up tricks or going in my own direction. That does reflect in my regular life as well.

This can go two ways. Either Chad’s gonna say “yeah, that’s great Chris, I haven’t seen that photo for ages!” or he’s going to book himself a plane ticket to the UK and club me to death with some Deco fork’s. Let’s hope it’s the first one (although if I have to get clubbed to death then I guess this would be one of the best ways it could happen, right?).

FOUR: Who’s the most dedicated person you know, and how has what they’ve achieved affected you and how you deal with things?

My wife is truely dedicated and puts the hammer down. She can see way off in to the future and has a great understanding of direction and goals. She kinda puts me at ground level which I need at times. Crucial times.

FIVE: Have you ever been through a period in your life when you thought there was so much against you that there was no point even trying? How did you get over this and get your signature energy / lust for life back?

This just happened. Actually in March. I don’t want to spoil all the drama or the highlights, it will be in my book that I am working on. Its a shocker for sure. Taking it day to day and staring at my kids in the face and wanting to make a better life for them keeps me going. Both their faces are enough to try even when I am getting knocked down. There was a few chain of events leading up to the low point, but now after a few months we are rolling down the right path. Sorry not more details. Its a wild one.

Nothing’s fun like a Deco “empty pool party!”

SIX: What’s your earliest memory of being really proud of something, and has that feeling ever come close to being matched since?

I truely liked doing pole vault in high school but couldn’t stand my coach or the mentality around it. It taught me that I can do it and there was no team involved. My brother and me played soccer for a lot of years and kicked ass, so that team was sweet, but I didn’t see the real picture till that pole planted in the ground flying so high and over a bar. Other than that would be getting my first sponsor. To have a company trust me to promote their goods was insane. That day I got the sponsorship I hung up all other sports. I truely was proud to tell my dad and he understood. My dad just saw smiles on me when I rode my bike, so he agreed to not disagree with anything I did on or around my bike.

Deco make both BMX stuff and nice apparel. It’s all up there over at their online store

SEVEN: While BMX riders know the value of a skatepark like the one you created, it obviously doesn’t bring in as much revenue as other types of business might. What would you say to people who think that earning loads of money is more important than personal fulfilment?

Money is the worst and best thing you can encounter. Our skatepark made a lot of money, but in the end it was who was behind the money and their pasts. My partners had pasts that could only be understood in a whole novel. They made moves that were insane and yet it was no problems to them to screw others. I learned a lot about the industry and how it works. I know not to do business with a few companies who are putting skateparks and shops out of business. It was the most l have ever learned and I hope to apply what not to and what to do in business. End result you need money to operate. So if someone tells you its not about the money, they are lying. There are a ton of other satifying goals, but paying your bills and staying in business should be the main goal. Money will lead you down a path that will show you who your real friends are. Personally I try to be the best person I can in the situation of money and the problems it brings.

Goat-feeding, BMX, hanging out and good times! Click here to see Chad’s 411 “Day in the life” video.

EIGHT: When you do something on your own you only have to rely on yourself and you know the job will get done exactly how you planned it. What would you say are the advantages of dedicating solely yourself to getting something done, and are there times when you wish you had more people who could climb inside your head and help?

As far as a business goes you need help, no way around that. I have a ton of help, sometimes I wish I had more. Yes I wish someone could climb in my head and understand some situations, but the easiest way is to ask people for help or just talk it out. Once problems are set in motion they circle around your head and will get worse until you can discuss it with an outside party. Dave Chappelle said it best “Black people can’t afford therapy like white people can, that is why we smoke so much weed”. You have to make sure and clear your mind every now and again. Feel me?


3 comments on “Hit random

  1. […] Whoa. A Chad Degroot autobiography would be a wild read. Read the interview for yourself here. […]


  2. Jeff Stewart says:

    Great interview here. Thanks for posting this!


    • chrispink says:

      Hey Jeff, thanks for dropping by and leaving the comment! I just checked out your site: nice work, and great covers too — that’s alwasy good to see. I remember reading some of your stuff in RIDE a long time ago and liking the fast anything-goes style of it. I was going to drop you an email directly but couldn’t find your address on your site.
      Hope all’s good with you, thanks again — Chris


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