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A community blooms around fixed-gear freestyle riding

Posted by on March 21st, 2018 at 1:34 pm

Ramon Antonio found a nice jump line amidst the cherry blossoms in Waterfront Park yesterday.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Ramon Antonio (left), Matt Reyes, and Devin Tolman.

A reunion of old friends has sparked a resurgence in Portland’s fixed-gear freestyle scene.

Matt Reyes, Ramon Antonio, and Devin Tolman first met through the San Francisco Bay Area cycling scene. Lovers of fixed-gear freestyle, a discipline that combines flatland BMX tricks with the speed and grace of fixed-gear road bikes, the trio is happily established in Portland. Now they want to connect with other riders and create a community around fixed-gear riding similar to the vibrant scene they left behind in their previous home.

I caught up with them under sunny blue skies and cherry blossoms in Waterfront Park yesterday.

Matt Reyes.

I knew Matt before he rolled up because I’ve watched a few of his jaw-dropping videos online. I’ve also become quite attached to his little white Maltipoo named Ernie who rides in Matt’s backpack, and who I’m not ashamed to admit I know follow on Instagram. Known to his thousands of fans on social media as Slumworm, Matt’s style on two wheels is a fluid, powerful, and exciting mix of derring-do and creativity. Reyes moved to Portland about eight months ago to follow his job as content creator and graphic designer at Chrome (the bag and apparel company that moved their headquarters from SF to Portland in January 2017).

Like many people who love bicycles and come to Portland, it’s riding with friends that helps them land on their feet.

“Moving up here,” Matt said, pointing to Devin and Ramon, “These were my friends who lived in Portland.” “I figured, at least I know I have Devin and I have Ramon — two guys who both ride fixed-gear freestyle who I know will want to go out and ride and do things, and be on filming missions and go exploring and getting kicked out and yelled at all the time.”

Ramon Antonio.

I met Ramon for the first time eight years ago when I happened upon him and some friends doing tricks under the Burnside Bridge (one of their regular spots). That was right about the time he started Still Pour, a loosely organized, “non-profit community of shred” that organizes meet-ups and sells a bit of merchandise to earn pizza and beer money.

The name Still Pour was inspired by, you guessed it, Portland’s seemingly incessant rainfall. “We started under the Steel Bridge,” Devin recalled. “We were hiding from the rain. It was still pouring, always pouring!”

Devin Tolman.

Energized by having his old friend back in town, Ramon now uses the Still Pour Instagram account to announce rides in hopes growing the scene. “In the last couple of months we’ve been posting group rides and getting people under the bridge to hang out. That network of two [Devin and Matt] has grown to like 30 or 40 people all in just a month or two.”

Matt is trying to build a community like the one he had in SF. “If you’re a new kid that comes to town, speaking for myself, where’s the point of entry? Where the outlet? Where’s the place you can meet up and find like-minded people who are doing this thing? There wasn’t anything, so we’re giving people that entry point.” Matt says the idea is to be pick out a well-known location, hang out, have fun, and do tricks. “It’s been awesome to see kids who just started becoming really close friends with guys who’ve been doing this a really long time.”

Group shot from a video premiere party and ride back last month.
(Photo: Matt Reyes/>a href=”http://www.wheeltalkfixed.com”>WheelTalk Fixed)

“We want to meet more people, grow the community,” Devin added. “Everyone feels like they’re riding by themselves, then all of the sudden we come together and it’s like, ‘Oh my god!’ now the network is huge. Everyone’s so stoked to realize it’s as big as it is.”

Ramon, Matt and Devin are planning a big fixed gear freestyle jam this summer and I have a feeling we’ll see them a lot during Pedalpalooza.

If you want to get into this type of riding, or find more people to ride with, follow Still Pour on Instagram. To see Matt Reyes’ content from the streets of Portland, check out WheelTalkFixed.com

UPDATE: The location where these images were taken is the Japanese American Historical Plaza, which was created to, “raise greater public awareness about the diversity of cultural experiences in America.” Some readers have expressed that jumping bicycles and doing tricks in this plaza is disrespectful. I appreciate that criticism and will no longer publish stories that encourage this type of riding in this plaza.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

19 Comments
  • Hordes of Cali March 21, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    Such a sick Cali reunion and scene that’s coming together in Portland. Stoked these bros made it up north. California forever!

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    • Matt Reyes March 22, 2018 at 11:19 pm

      Thank you. We’re here not just in Portland, but on this earth to promote positivity and build community. There’s a brighter side to life that we’d love to show others and we’re here to do exactly that. Strength in numbers, power through positivity.

      Can’t please them all. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
      Don’t read the comments.

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  • Rebecca Hamilton March 21, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    +10 points to Ramon for coordinating bike hue with cherry blossoms.

    (“On Wednesdays, we shred pink”).

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  • Buzz March 21, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Bike Snob NYC will have a field day with this story!

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  • Granpa March 21, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Nice way to respect the memorial of the victims of the interment of Japanese Americans – Not

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 22, 2018 at 10:09 am

      Hi Granpa,

      I’m well aware that this story takes place at the Japanese American Historical Plaza. The plaza was full of people doing all sorts of things: riding bikes, having picnics, playing with dogs and frisbees, taking photos, climbing on the memorial, and so on.

      At the time, I didn’t think what these guys were doing was disrespectful in any way. However, I have received one other email from a reader with similar concerns as yours… so I’m thinking about what to do.

      I appreciate you pointing this out and I will certainly remember your feedback for future stories that take place in that plaza. Thanks.

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      • Matti March 22, 2018 at 12:22 pm

        I agree with Granpa. Jonathan, while you and the riders may not have felt it was disrespectful, consider the people and that the memorial honors. Would riding on a cemetery memorial be respectful? It is a matter of ignorance, but that does not excuse the behavior. Just because we have technology that allows riding on almost any object, doesn’t mean everything is fair game.

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        • Toby Keith March 22, 2018 at 9:18 pm

          Thanks Matti. My wife is half Japanese. Her grandparents were victims of interment and monuments like these area very important to them. Maybe it could be moved to place where it would be more valued and respected? Where that is I don’t know, but it does not appear to be on the waterfront of downtown Portland.

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          • Matt Reyes March 22, 2018 at 11:55 pm

            Hello Toby, Matti & my personal favorite, Granpa. It’s deeply unfortunate and troublesome to see the picture you’ve painted of us degregading this park. We host many of our rides from here and spent the beginning of our last one picking up used needles from the grass. We hear your voice and appreciate your agenda, but fear you’ve missed the point of what was supposed to be a positive message.

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          • Granpa March 23, 2018 at 6:09 am

            The river front, with the rows of flowering cherries, bold rock work and memorial sculpture was designed to be a contemplative space. Such the pity that ignorant and culturally oblivious thrill riders have deemed it their place to practice adrenaline sports. BP has a habit of placing the entitlement of cyclists as higher priority than the place of cyclists in our multi-cultural / multi-functional society

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            • Matt Reyes March 23, 2018 at 9:40 am

              Life’s too short to be so cynical. The world is your oyster and in the name of Charles Barkley “I am not a cyclist” – https://youtu.be/nMzdAZ3TjCA . We hope you regain some sense of humor, and find fulfilment everywhere you go, until then we’ll see you trolls underneath the bridge.

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              • Granpa March 23, 2018 at 7:44 pm

                So people who don’t agree with you are trolls. Matt you claim I have portrayed you in an unfavorable light and that I have an agenda. I am a cyclist who rode to work today in hard winter rain. I ride for fun, to commute and to tour. I am not an anti-everything zealot with a buzz-killing agenda. Your inference misrepresents me (as you feel I misrepresent you and your Cali-Bros). My blog post is a response to how you act, using the memorial of an American tragedy as a skills park. I simply called you out for your behavior. Own up.

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              • Toby Keith March 24, 2018 at 4:40 pm

                The name calling is unnecessary. Granpa already said it best. In the end, go ride and have fun with your bros. And maybe in time, maturity will help shed a little light on the kind of reverence monuments like these should be shown.

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  • Mike Quigley March 22, 2018 at 5:56 am

    Hyping stuff like this probably doesn’t do much to promote bicycle riding over cars. Leave it in the skateboard parks.

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  • Carston Kenilworth March 22, 2018 at 10:54 am

    I saw Mr. Reyes riding in the pearl last Thursday. He didn’t want to stop at a stop sign that a slower cyclist in front of him was slowing down for, so he passed the other cyclist on the left and then cut them off and almost right hooked them turning right. This type of riding might make good Mash SF videos, but it shouldn’t be how experienced cyclists should ride in the city.

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  • Joe Fortino March 22, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    great bike family and super happy to be able to ride with them all.

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  • Eric Ivy March 23, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    RIDE BIKES! Honor by shredding!

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  • MC June 4, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    I ride fixed, also from the bay area, live in PDX and looking for people to ride with.

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