A community blooms around fixed-gear freestyle riding

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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Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Hordes of Cali
Hordes of Cali
6 years ago

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

Matt Reyes
6 years ago
Reply to  Hordes of Cali

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.

Rebecca Hamilton
Rebecca Hamilton
6 years ago

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

(“On Wednesdays, we shred pink”).

Buzz
Buzz
6 years ago

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

Granpa
Granpa
6 years ago

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

Matti
Matti
6 years ago

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.

Toby Keith
Toby Keith
6 years ago
Reply to  Matti

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.

Matt Reyes
6 years ago
Reply to  Toby Keith

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.

Granpa
Granpa
6 years ago
Reply to  Toby Keith

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

Matt Reyes
6 years ago
Reply to  Granpa

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.

Granpa
Granpa
6 years ago
Reply to  Matt Reyes

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.

Toby Keith
Toby Keith
6 years ago
Reply to  Matt Reyes

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.

Mike Quigley
Mike Quigley
6 years ago

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

Carston Kenilworth
Carston Kenilworth
6 years ago

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.

Joe Fortino
Joe Fortino
6 years ago

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

Eric Ivy
Eric Ivy
6 years ago

RIDE BIKES! Honor by shredding!

MC
MC
6 years ago

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

Mike
Mike
5 years ago

I’m sorry, but these guys are reckless jerks who put pedestrians in danger for their cheap thrills.

Derek Swanson
3 years ago

Just came across this article, as I got my fixed gear out of the cobwebs, and have dialed it in to ride, again. People need to chill the eff out, especially when Mr. Reyes acknowledged their concerns, took responsibility for, and APOLOGIZED for him and his friends’ behavior. Bored and unhappy people love to blow things out of proportion. Go ride a bike.