Q&A: Shad Johnson

nick vergillo photo

nick vergillo photo

Shad Johnson is a fan of all things BMX. From Mid/Old School history, collecting, modern day shredders and running GOODS BMX in Portland, Shad loves it all.

Below, Shad answers a handful of questions about all this in addition to his new site, Snakebite BMX.

Anyone who is familiar with Shad Johnson is well aware of your love for all things old school/vintage BMX. When did this fascination begin?

I don’t really think it’s a fascination with Old School BMX exactly. I just really love BMX. I love the history of what we have going on and like anyone who has been into any type of lifestyle, it’s fun and interesting to look back on things and try and understand what brought us here. The accomplishments, the failures, all of it. It makes for a good story.

Would you consider yourself a hardcore or a casual enthusiast?

Well I’m sure if you’re looking from the outside in on what I do it would seem hardcore. I guess you could say what I have going on is. I think I’m just one of those people who likes to surround himself with things that have motivated my life. BMX is one of those things. I just enjoy having something around that has brought me so many positive things in my life.

To what lengths have you gone to acquire something you’ve wanted?

I honestly don’t get too crazy about ‘Picking’ bikes. The craziest thing I have done I guess is get a NOS Wilkerson Airlines F&F shipped over from Japan. I’m in the process now of trying to get a Homeless Soul Bro frame from Japan too.

Is there a “holy grail” that you keep searching for?

Well mine is pretty simple. An 89′ GT Agressor or a 90 Mongoose Hooligan! I did just acquire Vic Murphy’s Dirt Bros frame from the famous one foot table photo.

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one item from your collection, what would it be and why?

My bike right now because I know it wont break! lol!

Ok, you’re back on land now and you’ve started Snakebitebmx.com. What prompted you to dive in and have a full blown website?

To just have the freedom to show BMX in the way that I perceive it. I know there are plenty of people that look at BMX the same way I do. I want to have the freedom to work on stories and projects of things I want to know about or feel like should be brought into a public eye. This could be showing an old bike or video to doing an interview with a rider. To be honest a lot of my focus will be on what you would call mid to old school.

BMX has plenty of riders who ride at a high level who are well over 35 but somehow the industry or I dont know what just stops showing the public this. It’s a bummer.

I’d love for the site to be the start of something that motivates older riders, especially past pros or legends to have a place where they can feel involved in BMX still. I mean I’d love to see a new Brian Blyther edit! It would probably make mine and may other riders year!

What can people expect from the site?

Well I feel like there are plenty of sites out there that do a great job covering BMX. I’m just hoping to bring something a little different to the table that people can enjoy.

I know the site is leaning towards an older rider but I’m hoping everyone can enjoy it. I know it will take me a while to find my voice. I’m hoping it can be a site that older riders can look at to find inspiration or just something they can maybe relate to in riding. The older demographic in BMX is growing larger and I would like to use this as a voice to keep people riding longer.

How did you settle on “Snakebite” as the name? Is there any meaning behind it?

Honestly, I was just thinking of it from a snakebite when you get a flat. There wasn’t much more to it than that. A few people asked me if maybe there was a connection to the Dogbite articles that Moeller used to do but there isn’t.

Who designed the logo?

Nick Sawyers! I think he did a great job and I’m really happy with it!

Will you be the primary contributor?

I will be but I already had a lot of help from Allan Parker who built the site. Eben Krakau, Keith Treanor and Paul Covey have helped me out a lot so far and I’m hoping to work more with them in the future!

Are there any other similar sites you check regularly?

Well I love looking at BMX Museum and BMX society.

Is there anything you are particularly drawn to in terms of collectables?

The era I love is about 89 to 92. BMX was changing so fast then. Bikes and riders seemed like they were always ready for a fight. So much attitude and change in a short amount of time.

Are there any “modern classics” that you see being sought after for OS/Vintage dudes in the future?

Anything you can connect to rider that people connect to. A good example would maybe be Eddie Cleveland. Eddie came out of nowhere and changed the way people rode and the way they set up their bikes. He made his mark and then moved on but he left a lasting impression on BMX and I feel as time moves on people will love to have an Eddie C kit 10 years from now.

I know you stay on top of modern day BMX as well, so what is your take on the scene these days?

I love it. It’s awesome that there is so much out there to ride. So many new awesome riders. Chad Osburn has definitely been a fav lately.

Thanks Shad! Anything you would like to add before we wrap this up?

I just want people to keep finding the fun BMX no matter what age you are. Bmx can be having a hard day riding with your friends or just smashing to the store on your bike with a friend or even your kids now and just jump off some curbs. I get bummed out when I hear people say that they hate BMX now or that it was cooler when they were young. BMX is always what you make of it. When you give up on BMX and having fun on a bike you may try and convince yourself that it’s BMX that has changed, but all of us still having fun know its you who has changed.

  • Stewart Johnson

    Yeah Shad!

  • smoovebert

    shad is the best.

  • Chris Pollack

    Yeah Shad.

  • The Onion Hut

    Such a good read! Yeah Shad!

  • Robert Jensen

    Get that burger, shad!