Over the winter, DK/etnies pro Brian Kachinsky called me and relayed plans he had for a new indoor project he was working on in his adopted hometown of Chicago, Ill. The plan, to rent out a former bread baking factory and transform it into a purpose-built street style park, sounded good for a number of reasons.
One was that Chicago is cold for a good part of the year. Brian was creating his own park to ride for the winter months, rainy days or anytime he just didn't feel like dealing with the many trials of street riding. (And Brian has gone to jail for riding street in the past.)
Two was that he intended to invite various pros to ride the park, dubbed The Bakery, and transform a simple idea for a park into a media platform that would generate coverage for Brian, his sponsors, and any pro visitors and their sponsors. Brian wasn't just going to invite fellow team riders. The Bakery was reaching outside the realm of common teams and sponsors for the progression of riding.
Three was that Brian wasn't sitting around and complaining about weather. He was motivated to institute a change in his scene, and he was taking the time to do that.
Eventually, Brian brought in a crew, built the park from scratch, and started inviting various pros, including Aaron Ross, Van Homan, Corey Martinez, Brad Simms and most recently, the UK's Ben Lewis. Sessions went down, videos were released, and in a few short weeks, everyone in BMX knew what The Bakery was.
To date, Corey Martinez's Inside The Bakery video has been viewed over 33,000 times.Van Homan's Inside The Bakery video has been viewed over 21,000 times. And once word spreads about the new Brad Simms' video, I'm sure it will reach similar numbers within a few days.
So what is so special about The Bakery, the videos being released and the idea of a private park created for riding? It's not exactly a new idea. I mean, Mat Hoffman basically did the same thing with his 'Secret Ninja Warehouse' and accompanying Eddie Roman's video series, including "Aggroman," "Head First" and "Ride On" back in the late '80s and early '90s. The videos documented Mat's riding and progression inside of a warehouse in Edmond, Okla., and the resulting videos pushed BMX ahead into the future.Mat Hoffman's 'Secret Ninja Warehouse,' depicted in the above video.
But Brian's not riding a vert ramp, and VHS tapes are no longer the norm.
Instead, Brian Kachinsky is taking his ideas about riding in a new direction, and presenting them to BMX via online videos.
And instead of asking his sponsors to fly him all over the world for the sake of filming new handrails, Brian gets to stay at home in Chicago, experiment with new techniques and new setups, and progress his riding.
And instead of being selfish about who gets to ride The Bakery, Brian is inviting his friends from all over the world, regardless of differences in sponsors, to ride with him, film and progress their riding.
The past few days, I've heard whispers, observed a few deleted Tweets and noticed some inferences about The Bakery taking its influence from skate site The Berrics, and the notion that "real street" isn't learned in a training facility.
And while there might be some similarities between The Bakery and The Berrics, there are also a lot of similarities to Mat's warehouse mentioned above. Personally, I think Brian's Bakery is more closely related to Mat's warehouse, and I don't mean that simply in terms of the bad jokes that both Brian and Mat prefer. The Berrics cost thousands and thousands of dollars to build, employs a small group of people daily to operate, and advertises Kobe Bryant colorway Nike SB shoes on their front page. The Bakery's rent is a few hundred bucks a month, there is no heat in the building, and about the only marketing you see on the Bakery site is directed at custom made cupcakes in the Chicago, Ill. area.
But beyond all that, much like Hoffman's Secret Ninja Warehouse, The Bakery is about riding with friends, and the progressive riding as a result of that, is helping to push BMX in the right direction.
That's something every one of us can get behind and appreciate. And besides, who doesn't like cupcakes.