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Interview With Bobby Carter

Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Bobby Carter is the unofficial mayor of flatland in Los Angeles. From Zuma Beach to Riverside, whenever there's a session going down, chances are Bobby will be there.

In addition to his own riding, Bobby broadcasts the performances of BMX riders and other alternative athletes as the founder of the action sports video website DiversionTV.com. We caught up with him between all his endeavors to pick his brain about his latest projects, the character traits it takes to ride flatland, what kind of people would never be able to ride flat, and more. 

BMXFLATLAND.NET: What's new with you, first of all?

BOBBY: I’ve just been working on Diversion TV and riding everyday. I’m trying to ride everyday from Oct.10 – Nov. 10 (2011). I haven’t missed one day of riding yet.

Good to hear that the website isn't making you too busy to ride. What's the one new characteristic or feature of Diversion TV that you're most proud of, ever since its re-launch?

Now the site is advertising-supported, so that allows fans to access and share the films in a manner that they need, while also allowing the film makers to monetize their internet distribution.

Free vids for the users? Pay for the filmmakers? Sounds good to me. Let's say I visited the Diversion TV website a few weeks ago but haven't been back since then. What's new that I've been missing?

The site is updated throughout the day with clips from around the net. Also, we have special features on our blog Monday thru Friday; so be sure to tune in every day or you may miss a sweet video or cool interview. The blog is on the home page, so just go to DiversionTV.Com for updates!

Okay, imagine that you're riding at your spot and some kid rolls up to you on his BMX bike. "Damn," he says, "Someday I wanna get down like you get down. How do I begin?"

What would you say to that kid, assuming you're in a mood to help point him in the right direction?

If you wanna get down, you gotta spin around and feel the sound from the crown all the way to the groun’! Know what I’m sayin’! LOL! I just say start out with some basic tricks and ride as much as you can. That’s the real secret to learning flatland. You gotta just go out there and ride as much as possible.

I know you're old enough that there was no internet when you started riding. How do you think it would have affected your motivation or ability to start riding, had the web been around back then?

There would have been a sea of flatland information; maybe I would have learned a lot of tricks faster from seeing videos of my peers all over.

About our peers: what do you think it is in a person that attracts them to do tricks on the ground with a little kid's bike? Flatlanders come from all countries, all personality types, and all socioeconomic backgrounds. What is it we have in common that draws us to this, when most of our peers have probably seen some flat somewhere before, but didn't have the interest in it?

It takes a certain personality to like flatland. For one, flatland is for people who want to do something special, have high achievement aspirations, and like to challenge themselves. Not just any geek off the street can hang in the flat game. Also, you can’t be worried about being super social and fitting in with the mainstream; most riders can think for themselves and can come up with their own paths in life and with riding. (Although lately, it seems otherwise within the community...)

Do you think there is some untapped base somewhere of potential flat riders who would like to try it, but lack some kind of resources or information that they need in order to start? Or is it just a matter of people not having the interest, only because they have never been exposed to it? Or, do you think at this stage that everyone's seen it in some form somewhere, but most people just don't care for it?

It’s really all of that. Most of the world’s population doesn’t know what flatland is all about, so more exposure will definitely get more people into it. However, there is a big segment of people who don't want to work hard and practice with slow progression and delayed gratification. Some people also don’t want to be seen on a bicycle that seems to be made for 9-12 year olds and is not efficient for long distance travel. Those that will want to participate can see that the bikes are really high performance machines, and that flatland is a high level art form that will take your mind and body to dimensions most people will never experience. We just gotta connect with more of those people.

On the flip side of that, do you think there is any subset of people that just would never be able to ride flat, even if they wanted to?

If you don’t ride a bike, you can’t ride flat.

There you have it. Thanks for the insights! Any shout-outs?

Shout out to all the riders and homies and people taking charge of their lives around the world!

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