Interview: Chad DeGroot

In 1993 you pretty much singlehandedly made very large purple shorts cool and acceptable for all BMXers, and shortly after that it was the rainbow flag… at 39 years old what’s the next trend you’re bringing to BMX?
I’m 38 fucker, don’t add years! I’m looking over 40 with my gray hair. Baggy shorts were easy and comfortable. I really didn’t know what they looked like ‘cause no one told me they were too big or shitty looking. Everyone just accepted them. They were purple ‘cause I discovered dye. I dyed all my clothes and was so infatuated by it, so I dyed everything in one load.

As for the rainbow flag, that was genius. We knew what gay pride was but everyone else didn’t. So we named BACO 7 “Pride” and included a sticker with the VHS video. At one point we had 13 pages in BMX Plus and 7 pages in Ride BMX with rainbow flag stickers showing on riders’ bikes including myself, Freimuth, and Ryan Nyquist. We sold copies everywhere we went and if you didn’t want to pay, like Ryan, we gave you one as long as you rocked the sticker. It was nuts, everyone was rocking gay pride stickers. So good. Then one day we talked to our duplicators and she said “your video is doing really well–I’m seeing your stickers on cars!” We told her it meant “gay pride” and she flipped. It was the start of gay pride movement and we used it to get the colors out and fuck with everyone.

As for the next trend, Deco just made a Brander to make a hot mess of anything it touches. I even have two dudes who are going to take the brander to their bodies. Fuck tattoos, were going fucked up and branding dudes who pass out. Top that shit. All trees, leather, skin, tires, everything in the brander’s way will get dealt with for life. That is the trend we’re going to make stick in BMX. See you in Vegas; I will give out free brands in my hotel room. Look me up, hit my Twitter son, hit my Facebook, email me. Let’s make it a date and I’ll make it happen.

Did you start riding flatland and then get into other stuff? Or have you always ridden everything?
I’ve always ridden a bike. Got more known for flatland and invited more places and sponsors from flatland, but always ridden what was in front of me. Day to day I really focused on flatland ‘cause then it was fresh and inventing moves could come daily which became addictive. Once you get that feeling it’s hard to not focus on that rush. Don’t get me wrong, I have sent some flairs, flips, aired vert, drove that truck, pulled 720s, went on rail missions, got tech on some coping, sessioned foam and resi, and have tried to bring flatland to the streets. I’ve been around and made up shit, and tried other peoples’ shit to see if I can do it. Some days it feels like flatland, but most days it really feels like just riding a bike.

Tell us the story about you wrecking your VW Squareback back in the day.
You had to bring that up huh? Drove that fucker from Arizona to Wisconsin then down to Florida. Not sure how a 66 VW Squareback made it so far. That thing was pissed I owned it. I didn’t know shit about cars except how to lower them. So Freimuth and I are on our way to Disney to do characters and ride in the daily parade and this black chick who was really hot is outside in a mini skirt and it’s windy. As we drove by I thought we were going to get a show and BAM, T-boned a car backing out. Totaled my car ‘cause the frame was bent. Good thing was that the other driver got the ticket for improper backing and I got a big check from my insurance ‘cause it was a classic car.

I have another story that is pretty sweet. Same car breaks down and I don’t know what to do. So I figure out that my accelerator cable snapped so I am stuck. I thought that if I took my brake off my bike and clamp it to the broken cable and put it over the bolt, it will work and get me home. It did and I ran it like that for a while with a 990 clamped to my engine for the accelerator cable. I was so excited I fixed my classic car with a bike part.

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  • Julz

    Awesome dude and even more awesome attitude. When I first started I really looked up to Chad and his innovative out look on BMX, we need more people with Chads attitude in BMX m/

  • Degroot is a legend and icon of midwest bmx at its best! One of a kind!

  • Povah

    Take it for Baco

  • jon r

    So good!

  • Clint Millar

    Loved that VW Squareback back in the day, it’s what got me into those cars then & now. Thanks Chad !!

  • Anwarasibahmed

    awsm, u cn do nythng with ur stuff


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