I think the best way to start this intro is to come right out and say that Chase Dehart has one of the most appealing styles in BMX, no one can deny it. He never looks like he’s forcing anything, him and his bike are such a natural combination. I didn’t even think it was possible, but he continues to get more and more crispy as time goes on too. He’s always on his grind, doesn’t matter if it’s a filming trip or a random freezing day in Jersey, he’ll be out in the streets all day. The respect he gets from the BMX community is something he has earned and he deserves every bit of it, plus he shows the same respect back so it’s a mutual thing. He’s got nothing but time for the kids, goes out of his way to let his fans know how much he appreciates them. So refreshing to see… I love chilling and riding with the dude, so entertaining on and off the bike. I can go on and on about how rad this dude is but I’m gonna wrap it up with one last fact; he’s got the best hop whip in the game.
What’s up Chase! How’s things?
Yeaaah what’s up Defgrip! Things are great.
How stoked are you to be coming out of a gnarly East Coast winter?
Seriously man, I could not be happier. I mean, I get to travel during most of it usually to get away from it, but I hurt my back a little bit after a trip to Cali I took after new years, so I got stuck here a little more than usual. It was rough and it’s still cold, but I mean it’s really not bad. When it starts to hit like 45 and sunny it feels like summer, and your eagerness to ride is there more than ever, so I’m pretty thankful for the bad weather because it keeps me eager to ride. It makes all my spots feel brand new every year.
You’re born and raised in the Jersey/Philly area, tell us a little about where you’re from.
Yup! I was born in Philadelphia and grew up just a few minutes over the bridge in South Jersey to this day. My area is pretty crazy man and only getting crazier. There really isn’t shit to do here, it’s fast food and small business. Everyone who lives here came over from Philly pretty much, so it has that same vibe. Any small city here has pretty much gone to shit from kids bringing what they know from Camden and Philly over to here. They wanna sell drugs, they wanna walk around with guns and rob houses or people, so it’s kind of wild for being so small. However, it’s been like that forever, we’re so close to Camden that it’s really all this area knows. I’m real thankful I have riding and a small group of friends who are still down to ride and keep away from it, because a lot of my friends took a wrong path. I don’t really have any friends who I grew up with anymore, they’re in and out of jail and doing drugs, or just not with us anymore. It sucks man, I think about that shit every day, like what the hell happened to my friends man? I’ve lost them all to these bullshit surroundings.
Do you think your riding style is dictated by your surroundings? It seems like you have a knack for unique lines and making something out of very little.
Oh yeah, 100%. What you’re saying is exactly what I have to do every day, make something out of nothing. I have a few legit spots close by that I’m real thankful for, and I have Philly close by when I have a ride or felt like taking the bus, because you’re not allowed to pedal over the Walt Whitman. For the most part, I have to pedal far just to ride something so dumb. I have to ride behind flat strip malls and industrial areas, because that’s all that is here. It’s made me look at everything so different, it makes me hungry to make up anything I possibly can. I will take the longest bike rides… I live off of exit 19, I have literally taken backroads to find stuff to ride that has led me all the way up to exit 32 – 34. If you’re from my area, you know how far that is. On days like that, I’m just gone. My buddy Victor and Drew are the only ones down for that mission, and we will just ride, no camera no nothing, and hit literally every single thing we see. It could be some shitty rail hop out of and into rocks, and we will hit that and move to the next thing we see, just to be riding something. But like I said, it’s good, because in the car, these are always things you just pass by, but when you have ridden for 15 minutes and haven’t even seen a manual pad, you’re going to hit what you see no matter what. You’re not going to make up one single excuse why not to hit it.
So, I’m almost addicted to that type of riding, a camera and car brings out the baby in you it seems haha. I appreciate every spot I have. They make me just as happy, if not happier as when I get out to Cali or some place like that.
When you’re out and about, what kind of set ups are you looking for? What’s your favorite kind of stuff to ride?
Like I said man, I’m lucky to find anything. I am the least picky rider you will ever ride with. I will pedal 30 minutes just to ride a manual pad that has a second one after it, I really don’t care. I have no business caring, if I care about what I ride, I’m not going to be riding shit. There is spots by me, but they are work to ride no matter what. Some days I’ll be like, yo Drew, we’re going to pedal to such and such today because we know it’s out there, but for the most part we just pedal and try to get everything waxed up and become spots that we have lines for and can keep up with the tricks we like to do.
I guess that’s all I really look for, is a spot where we won’t be bothered. We’re literally kicked out of our small city of Woodbury, I can’t even show my face there. Woodbury was the closest thing to real spots we had, but we got it poppin and we had kids coming all over just to ride there cause they seen it in videos, and then once the city understood what was going on, they made sure it was impossible for us to be there. The town is so small, they know if I’m there the second I am, so all the spots we ride are in the cut, just behind a strip mall or in industrial parks. Whatever is back there, is what I’m looking for I guess.
Who are some riders you looked up to coming up, and who keeps you psyched today?
So many riders. It’s definitely gone up and down, with the change in bike riding and just the change in myself. I grew up loving dudes like Garrett Byrnes and Mike Aitken, and I still do. I respect what they do so much, and I just love how they ride their bike and mastered what they do and made it look so good. But then at the same time, I couldn’t ride what they ride. I have a park about a half hour away, but it’s really skate oriented. The biggest quarter besides the half pipe is 6ft tall and there is only one of them, the rest is all jibs and banks and ledges. So looking up to those dudes, I couldn’t relate to what they ride, I could only relate to how they ride.
So then I really started looking up to dudes like Bob Scerbo, Edwin De La Rosa, Vinnie Sammon, Steven Hamilton, all the Animal dudes basically. That whole Animal and Can I Eat era, that was when I was still young and trying to find myself. I could relate to those guys so much, and they were making riding look so good and fun. They were riding exactly what I had around me, nothing haha. They were making something of nothing, and roaming the streets and hitting everything they can. Their appreciation for spots is just like mine, so those guys really influenced me. I’ve always ridden street and ridden my local area, but they really opened my eyes and made me realize my area wasn’t so shitty, and that anything can be fun and feel good. Riding a manual pad feels like a quarter pipe to me man, it’s fucking endless to me, not many people can feel that way.
You grew up riding on the East Coast and you’ve spent time in Cali (among other places), what differences have you noticed between the two riding wise?
Kind of exactly everything I’m saying. It’s really hard to ride out here. You don’t think it is from videos, but when you come out here, you really understand the struggle everyone goes for just to hit the spots you see. Not many people have licenses or cars.
In Cali, you drive EVERYWHERE. It’s crazy how much time I realize I’m spending in a car when I’m in Cali and I hate that man, it takes away all my energy. But the spot you get to, it’s like out of a video game. The ledge you would usually have to spend all day waxing is already waxed, the cracks are filled in with bondo or the kink is cut off the rail etc… There are so many people doing the same thing out there, that nothing feels like yours, like everything just works out there. Every spot actually is a spot, your mind never fools you, but out here, your mind is constantly fooling you. You think you have something so perfect, you feel like you found the spot you have been looking for for years, and turns out it’s something you can’t even get a feeble out of without struggling. I’ll pass by spots in Cali that I would KILL to have down the street from my house, but it’s just Cali, there is something ahead that is much more worthy to ride, and you can get that trick you have been thinking of on. That’s definitely cool, but it’s nothing like out here, it’s nothing I can get used to. In Cali, I will still hit the bullshit spot, the perfect spot doesn’t even make sense to me, I can’t even get my mind to make it work haha. I like the weird shit we have out here, I like the quick hops and tight corners shit. That’s what I got used to working for.