Mike Ardelean -- Eastside and proud

Courtesy of Mike Ardelean

Classic Mike Ardelean barspin style in a Culver City ditch formerly guarded by Adam Banton.

ESPN.com: Mike, what's up? How is everything going with QUINTIN?
Ardelean: I'm good. Quintin is moving fast, a lot of new things happening. It's fun to be a part of.

What's your role there?
BMX team manager. I help with product from time to time, Mike Tag hat for example, and do some other general stuff, and blog on quintinco.com.

There doesn't seem to be a team page up on the site but it seems very California centric, which makes sense seeing everything is made there. Who's officially on the team?
Jim Bauer, Gabe Brooks, Jesse Whaley, Aaron Ross, Pat Wang, Chase DeHart, Jackson Ratima, Tim "WolfMan" Harvey. And the Canadian team is Dillon Lloyd, Jeff Evans, Jaumell Campbell and Lee Dennis. So of those twelve, half of them are in California, but yeah the Quintin presence is very California because we also have a lot of flow riders from around here.

Hats, never mind hats made in the USA, seem like a niche item. Can you elaborate on what QUINTIN's goal is?
Lifestyle-wise, the whole Quintin crew is waayyy varied, so the common interest is really the product and the values. To me this is unique because a lot of brands start with a "lifestyle" and then make a product around that. Quintin is about quality product made in the US with care and attention to detail. That appeals to a wide range of people who, a decade ago when markets were so segregated, may not have had much in common with each other. Instead of contriving a "style", I think our values bring all of these weird kooks together and then style just happens. And almost everyone wears hats.

I really like the collaborations you guys are doing. How do you guys pick who you work with?
We pick people that create good stuff and stay close to the product. By that I just mean hands-on people who are really excited and particular about the things they make. That applies to Ludwig, Intelligentsia, Ronnie Feig, Pendleton, and in 2012 we'll keep going.

Courtesy of Mike Ardelean

Mike Ardelean the seaweed monster (left) and an Ardelean cancan (right).

What can we expect from QUINTIN in 2012?
First up for 2012 is the "Scout" series collaboration with Ludwig Van, which is in stores now. Then the Mike Tag hat, which is simple and utilitarian and is a token of our support for Mike Tag's battle with cancer, and our appreciation for his style of BMX riding over the years. All the proceeds go to the Mike Tag Fund. After that is a new website with all new team content.

You were also doing team stuff for IPath. Is that still going on?
Nope, that ended about a month ago. They had to cut some costs on both the skate and BMX sides. Brian Osborne, formerly of Beloe and Duffs, is working for IPath sales and will also take over the BMX team. I wish Brian and IPath the best.

Last time we spoke, you mentioned you were in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. From years of remembering useless BMX knowledge, I know you used to stay in Venice/Westside of L.A. What are some of the differences between the eastside and westside of L.A.? BMX or not...
The east and west sides are so different they may as well all be different states. The west side is more polished and the east side is a bit rougher. Even the really expensive neighborhoods on the east side are upscale in a bohemian way, not a Sunset strip way. Westsiders front with financed Benzes and eastsiders front with beards. Venice is its own thing because it's polished and ghetto and expensive and dangerous all at once. Obviously it's all more nuanced than that, but that's a quick summary. I got married to my dream girl and moved a few blocks down from Echo Park, to Silverlake. We're all set here.

Stepping aside from QUINTIN for a minute, I just noticed you put together some new tees for LAVAR. What's up with that project?
We had a French artist named Florian Chevillard (BuroLoco) to design two tees. They're a bit offbeat and I like them. There are still a few left at Lavarbrand.com.

What about BMX, have you been riding? Can we expect any video parts in the future?
Well I just skipped a few weeks of riding due to my bike being stuck in the trunk of my car after an elderly man rear-ended us on the freeway and totaled it. Jim Bauer came over and cut the bike out of the trunk the other day. So I'm ready to go jump some curbs. No video parts though, not yet anyway.

You seem to always have something going on, anything I forgot or didn't mention?
For now, that about covers it!

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