No Gears Bristol

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This article was written on 15 Jun 2011, and is filled under Interviews.

No Gears Bristol talks with Juliet Elliot

Redg Weeks from No Gears/Invada Records talks with London’s Juliet Elliot about Bikes, Tattoos, Music, the Olympics & Grub.

R: So hi Juliet, thanks for taking time out of your mental schedule to talk . I know you are constantly on the go , can you just let us know what you are currently working on?

J: Well today I’m working as a bike messenger and I do that as a part time job,  whenever I have a second I’m checkin my emails and working on my other projects. At the moment these include my PR and events company ‘Final Agency’ , working with bike related brands. I’m also working on a bike show for ‘Vice TV’ and writing for several magazines.

R: Ive known you for a while now and whether its bike riding, tattoos’s , music, travelling etc – you’re always busy and never sit still – you seem to have a never ending supply of youth-like energy,  is this something thats always been within you ?  is it hard for you to stop and take time out ?

J: I definitely dont have a never ending supply of energy, I really exhaust myself quite often. But I hate wasting the opportunity to ride or work and feel guilty if I sit around for too long. As I am so busy – if I miss and opportunity to do something I might not have another chance to do it for another week.

I’m also find it difficult to focus on one thing at time, somehow finding it easier to do a lot of things all at the same time

R: I know your flat is full of bikes and components –  you like to mix up different styles of riding.  at this moment what riding style are you most enthusiastic about?

J: Hmm well i love riding my fixed gear at work and going fast plus I do like doing tricks on my Charge Scissor. But I have been getting more and more into riding my BMX.

R: In the Bristol FG community there seems to be quite divide in the amount of people who ride more classic ‘racer & track’ looking bikes with drops, beautiful paint jobs & skinny tyres – compared to the more recent trend of more robust trick & freestyle bikes with fat tyres, BMX  & MTB parts. Would you say this is the case in London as well..?

R: It’s definitely the case. People do seem to have specialised. What you have to remember though is that FGFS (fixed gear freestyle) is still pretty small, it’s just it gets more coverage than other kinds of fixed gear as it can be easier to take a more interesting photo – it’s easier to take a more unique photo as the rider is usually doing something other than ride along or a skid. Photos of classic riding or bombing around need to bring more or be more beautiful otherwise it’s jut a photo of someone on a bike.

So it’s easy to over estimate the importance of FGFS in the grand scheme of things. There are definitely more people riding classic bikes rather than trick bikes

R: How do you see FG riding evolving within the next couple of years.. ?    The change in the last 2 years in my opinion has been very noticeable.

J: I think people will continue to specialise. The lucky ones will have more than one kind of bike for different kinds of riding. In my opinion trick bikes are sometimes less fun for riding fast about town- you’ve got your seat low, a more uncomfortable saddle (a pivotal) often pointing up, fat heavy tyres with less psi and obviously you don’t have track geometry. Trick bikes are getting better for tricks and tricks alone.

R: I know you through the music industry and i know music plays a big part in your life.. what are you listening to at the moment and who would you say are your all time favourite bands.

J: Eyehategod have been one of my favourites for a long time, as have Kylesa. At the moment I’ve been listening to Buried Inside and Ringworm

R: In the mid 80′s- i was watching skate videos and discovered bands like Black Flag, Sonic youth etc just from watching films like ‘Streets on Fire’.  A lot of skaters (me included) back then wore Misfits & D.R.I shirts and there seemed to be a unity between Hardcore and Skating. music played a MASSIVE part.     With FG riding im not really noticing any particular alliance or affinity with any musical form or culture movement – It seems to be out there on its own. As someone thats inspired by music yourself have you noticed this.. ?

J: Yeah I did notice that actually. Its kind of a shame that it’s not the same as it would create a really tight scene with so much unity, everyone totally into the same thing. But on the other hand it’s kinda nice that if you are into riding, that’s all you need to be into to get involved. It doesn’t matter if you are into different music, it’s the bikes that count

R: I’ve seen constant articles on you in the media & press as a FG rider (both mainstream and fanzine level) and like it or not you are a predominant spokesperson for the FG genre in this country – how do you feel about this…?

J: Haha well more like one of the spokespeople rather than ‘The’

Hmm well I dunno what I think about it. It’s fine.

R: As someone known in the FG community are you constantly supplied with bike parts & clothing ? – whats the most exciting items youve been sent ..?

J: I am very fortunate indeed and I do get sent a fair bit of stuff. The novelty never wears off and I’m always stoked! I get sent big boxes of clothes by Carharrt, shoes from Vans and of course bike stuff from Charge. It’s awesome as I’m not into shoppin’ anyway. I have enough band t shirts and vests to wear with my jeans, hoodies and trainers so I never really buy clothing. I buy the odd bike part, bits and pieces of Lycra for messengering and stuff.

R: You have been Tattoo’d by some of the best artists  in the world – Can you tell us about some of your ink and future plans for more body abuse…

J: I’ve been pretty lucky in that having known Thomas Hooper for years so he did my sleeve, my feet and I have a piece on progress on my torso. Simon Earl and Liam Sparked have also tattooed me plus Sandy Jones tattooed me a couple of times in Portland.

At the moment I have no plans for anymore. I’d like thomas to finish the one he started but it’s difficult as HR is based in NYC now

R: About 2 years ago i met you outside ‘Family Business Tattoo Shop’ in Islington and you had just been discharged from Hospital with what can only be described as hole in your jaw.. it was the gnarliest injury i think ive ever seen… You are often pictured on your blogs with blood & brusies – whats been your worst injury ? and how do you get ‘back on the horse’ – you seem to have no fear to do it all over again..

J: Haha yeah I am always falling off but if you try stuff, you are going to. You just have to try not to think about it which can be hard but is definitely possible!

I split my chin again and cracked a tooth recently riding a bowl and it did take me a few sessions to get my confidence up again. But it does come back. Ive recently started wearing knee and shin pads on my BMX which is awesome. I love it.

In terms of gnarly injuries, well it’s not that gnarly, but more annoying- I broke my wrist mountain biking, had to have surgery and was out for the whole summer.

R: A lot of riders i know fall into two camps of food consumption..  a) eating enough protein ,carbs ,healthy food to perform at maximum strength and are very disciplined to face the road  b) eat when they have time and grab whatever’s nearest or taste good…  Unfortunately i fall into the latter living off a diet of monster munch / polos / jelly beans / quorn slices and diet pepsi. Where do you stand with grub and do you pay much attention to how certain foods will affect your riding ?

J: I eat absolute bollox. It’s something that I’d like to change but it’s very difficult when you are short on time and don’t want to spend a lot of money.

I am always eating and always hungry. Some of my girlfriends think I’m lucky but I find it a bit annoying sometimes. Not all the time though,being able to eat a lot of cake is nice

R: Your sponsored by Charge Bikes – how much input do you have with them?   – do you have to offer ‘constructive criticism’ about their products ?  or is it a case of ‘heres some stuff –  use it if you like’ ?

J: I do offer up suggestions but at the end of the day, the guys at charge decide ‘what’s what’.

R: Whats your thoughts on the Olympics next year.. i know its right on your doorstep. is it a hinderance for you or are you looking forward to it ?

J: I think it’s really annoying! The tickets are prohibitively expensive so I can’t even go despite the fact it’s on my doorstep and my taxes are paying for it!

R: Whos influential to you in the world of bikes at the moment ? do you go our riding with others or do you prefer to do your own thing..?

J: I love checkin out what the other female riders do-I find that the most inspiring. Other than that I rate tom Lamarche and wonka.

I love riding with as many people as possible, it’s always a good vibe when there are a lot of you.

R: A touchy subject and i’m sure we all have stories to tell – but whats your thoughts on safety when riding.. ?  For example I’ve read a lot of articles on the pros and cons of wearing a helmet – one debate was where someone point black refused to where a helmet no matter what – but when asked whether he would put his ‘mac book pro’ in his ruck sac without a case or protection he said ‘NO WAY that cost me a grand’…  its an interesting debate and im not sure myself where I stand.. I bought a helmet from Tokyo Fixed Gear a few months back and am trying to wear it whenever I remember nowadays – but its taken me 3 years of riding fixed to do that…  where do you stand ?

J: I feel it should be something you decide for yourself. I’m definitely against helmets being mandatory. One problem is that wearing a helmet doesn’t make you a better rider. Road awareness skills should be a priority rather than just pushing helmets.

One the whole though, I think helmets are a good idea. I don’t actually wear one all the time but I still thinking protecting your head is a good thing.

R: Finally what are you plans for the next 6 months..?

J: I want to have a best time ever! I want to ride shit loads, get more clients for Final Agency, get the bike show up and running, improve my photography, do more writing, run, jump, have fun!!!!! I’m going to the Wcmc in Warsaw in July and I’m going surfing in September too. Can’t wait!

R: Thanks for taking time Jules

J: No probs

Be sure to check out the following links:

Juliet’s Facebook page

I like to ride my bicycle blog

Juliet’s profile on the Charge website

Hell yeah projects

Final Agency

Big thanks to fiveseventhreenine for the photographs.

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