It's early in the afternoon in Corona, California, but Ryan 'Biz' Jordan is already exhausted because of an early morning stunt man audition at Fox Studios for the Fox TV show "Bones." Biz (a nickname he's had from a young age) didn't get the part. At age 29, he was informed by the show that he was "too old" and that they were looking for someone younger. Because the show's producers additionally asked fellow pro Alistair Whitton if he could do a no-handed 900, Jordan laughed off his random bout with Hollywood and returned to Corona, his adopted hometown for the past several years. "I'm not that old yet," he says.
Ryan 'Biz' Jordan grew up in Lynn, Mass., and got into BMX racing at an early age, but quit after falling too much. Having been influenced by dirt videos such as "1201", the Push series and early issues of Props Video Magazine (Jordan claims he memorized early issues), Jordan turned to riding parks and trails, and entered his first dirt contest in 1997. He placed 23rd, and unknowingly "turned" himself pro by entering the pro class. Soon after, he was picked up by Huffy, then moved quickly from Volume to Schwinn to Fly Bikes, shuttling back and forth between Massachusetts and Southern California, a place he once thought he could never live in because of his distaste for Mexican food.
During the late '90s and early '00s, Biz was part of the second wave of professional dirt jumpers, competing in contests such as the X Games, Gravity Games, DK Dirt Circuits, placing well and earning decent money during the annual contest season. His abilities to ride anything in his path with consistency and a deep bag of difficult but stylish tricks earned him top spots at big money contests. But then the bubble burst. The Dirt Circuits dried up in 2001, the Gravity Games were canceled after 2003, and X Games dropped dirt in 2007. Many professional dirt jumpers from the era lost sponsors and faded into obscurity.
But not Ryan Jordan. Because of his abilities to ride park and street, Biz simply adapted to the changing climate, easing back from the contest scene and focusing more on magazine coverage, videos and team trips. In 2005, Jordan returned to ride for Volume Bikes, a team slot he's occupied for the past five years. He also had moved permanently to Corona, California for reasons pertaining to BMX, including an easier winter season and the proximity to his sponsors, which now includes Volume Bikes, Demolition Parts, DC Shoes and Square One Apparel. He still doesn't like Mexican food, preferring "Thanksgiving-type" meals and Boston Market. (Biz is notorious throughout the BMX scene because of his strict dietary requirements.)
Currently, Biz is a seasoned vet on the Volume Bikes and Demolition Parts pro teams. And he continues to progress as both a pro and a unique character in the BMX community. Earlier this year, Volume Bikes presented Biz with the opportunity to update his signature frame, and Biz returned to his roots as a BMX racer for inspiration.
Aurburn was a small offshoot of GT Bicycle in the late '80s and early '90s, manufacturing two-piece frames aimed at racing but prized throughout other disciplines for their strength and graphics. "When I was younger, I always wanted an Auburn. And I was looking at pictures of them recently, then I thought to change the name around to mimic an Auburn theme for my signature frame. I was psyched on that idea," says Jordan.
Jordan's signature frame became the Volume Bikes RJ-20R, taking it's name and graphic inspiration from the Auburn CR-20R. "Basically, it's the same as my older frame, but cleaned up a bit. Every year, our frames get better, both lighter and stronger, so it's good to update the frame," adds Jordan.
But he's not only working on frame designs and themes. For the past year and a half, Jordan has been hard at work on a part in the upcoming Demolition video, "Last Chance." "I've been filming for that non-stop. We've had a few delays, but tentative date for that now is March or so. It got pushed back a few months because people needed to get caught up," says Jordan.
Originally scheduled for a November 2010 release, the video was pushed back to accommodate other team riders. "I was ready to go when they were ready to release it in November, but now this gives me more time to get some newer clips that I want to do. I've tried my hardest on this section, and I'm pretty psyched on it so far," says Jordan.
Although Biz hasn't revealed too much about his section, his recent Web offerings from Volume and Demolition demonstrate his creative approach to street riding, augmented by a freecoaster, nice California weather and frequent filming trips alongside Jason Enns and the Demolition team. "Since Enns lives here now, we ride more street-oriented stuff now," says Jordan, who adds that he doesn't ride dirt as much as he had in the past.
"Over the past three years, I just rode the trails here -- I never tried to learn stunts or anything," says Jordan, adding that the current crop of dirt contests doesn't appeal to him competitively. "They're definitely fun to watch. But it doesn't look fun to keep up with those tricks though. It looks like actual work," he says.
Fortunately, Ryan "Biz" Jordan is trying to find other forms of actual work, including stunt jobs in Hollywood. Let's just hope his next audition goes a little better.