28-year-old Brad Simms spent the holidays in Indonesia, riding BMX, exploring new spots and paying off security guards to ride transitioned street spots. He was working on a new web video, Earlier this week, via Facebook, Simms announced that he was continuing on with his world travels to the Philippines.
He never made it there. After checking in, the airline would not let him fly because he had not booked an exit flight. Things only got worse for Simms. After not being paid from his bike sponsor The Set for the past several months, Brad decided to part ways with the Australian-based brand. The same week, he was dropped by his shoe sponsor, DC Shoes.
By all accounts, Simms had a pretty good year in 2012. On top of his worldwide travels, a pursuit he's engaged in since making the jump to the pro ranks, Brad appeared in at least five quality web videos, most recently his Welcome to Merritt feature from Poland. He was featured in a full-length interview in issue eight of The Albion. He also continued to progress his riding to a level that few will ever attain. (I don't see anyone else out there able to session five-foot uprails with ease.)
From my perspective, it seems as though the responsibilities of pro rider are increasing while the amount of pay is decreasing. Could Brad have fared better if he remained in the U.S. and filmed more videos? It's hard to say. Was Brad doing a good enough job as a pro BMX rider? I think yes. Additionally, I think that Brad's approach is unique in the realm of BMX pro. Through his travels, he's been able to meet new riders that have never witnessed pro level BMX riding in person, and I feel as though that value is very under appreciated.
To his credit, Simms is ready to move on and continue what he's been doing. "I ain't gonna dwell on this," he said. "It is what it is." Brad remains sponsored by new component brand Merritt BMX, and continues to shoot photos of monkeys on mini motorbikes.