../people/Bart DeJong

Sources: www.fatbmx.com, Ride BMX UK, www.navada-it.com/univofbmx (university of bmx), www.europeanbmxconnection.com, Bart (september 2003), Cream, BMX Plus, ...
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1969 DOB: march 30, 1969.
Bart de Jong was born in Aarle-Rixtel.
early years First BMX memories
Bart: Paul and I always wanted to ride motocross but could not afford it. We rode motocross on regular bicycles and made tracks. We painted bikes green (Kawasaki), red (Honda) or yellow (Suzuki) and pretended we had motocross bikes. There was no BMX at the time in Europe. I started riding when I was 4 (1973). When the first BMX bikes made it to Europe it was clear that it was the sport for me. I rode my first BMX race on a regular bike and won that one (1979). Later on that year Santa Claus brought me my first BMX bike.

Early BMX racing champion days.
Bart: My first official licensed BMX race was a race in Schijndel, Holland in March of 1980. Most memorable BMX races entered were the Open European Championships in Beek en Donk ('82 finished 5th in expert class), the 1983 IBMXF World's in Slagharen (Finished 6th in 11-13 open class) and the Dutch GP in Waalre that I won in 1982.
bart and paul
Bart (3) and Paul (5). Photo: Dad.

Bart. Photo: Dad.

1982 Skyway team
Bart: With our dad heavily involved in the organisation of the 1982 European Championships in Beek en Donk, Paul and I got in touch with the SKYWAY team. The Vice President, Andy Patterson and Mike Salido were staying at our house for the race. From the few BMX Plus! issues that we had, we had learned a couple of words of English and used that to talk to the stars. I remember Andy doing wheelies on my mother's 'Holland-rad' when we rode home together. This guy was my hero, he won the race and gave me his padset. Yes!
1983 BMX Action Trick team
Bart: Paul started experimenting with freestyle. The BMX ACTION trick team had come to Europe and inspired him to learn the rock-walk, see saw, front and backwheel hops and the no-footed curb endo. No pegs to be seen on the trick bikes! I was still concentrating on racing and got a 6th place at the World Championships in Slagharen in 1983, beating Steve Veltman.
1985 Wedge ramp and axle pegs
Bart: As soon as the BMX racing scene got too serious and doing 'kick-out' jumps were not allowed on the track anymore, Paul and I got purely into BMX trick riding. We had the wedge ramp tricks going with the coasterbrake. Doing kickturns like Rich Sigur was our goal. The first axle pegs started coming in around this time (1985) which made doing tricks unfair because it was too easy (e.g. hopping tricks). Soon enough new tricks were developed that were only possible with the help of pegs and gave them a place to stay. With the Skyway connection in the pocket getting our hands on the latest freestyle equipment was a piece of cake. 5 cm. wide axle pegs and the Skyway Spinmaster were sent our way directly from Redding California. They never sent the removeable platform though.

Freestyle Force
Bart: The quest for freestyle shows was there and we started the 'Freestyle Force'. We made hundreds of FF stickers by hand and put them on people's bikes, numberplates etc. Our shows usually consisted of flatland and kickturns since the 'quarterpipe' didn't fit on dad's trailer.
1986 Videos
Bart, Ride BMX UK january 2005: It's hard to understand how we had to progress in the mid-80s. It was either making up tricks yourself (the best way actually) or look at the magazines that were available. That made for some interesting situations as me tried to balance in the elbow glide position not knowing that the rider in the picture was actually rolling. The lack of English knowledge didn't help either. Video made things a lot clearer as you could see the moves but it was not common that everyone had a VCR at home. We didn't have one for awhile and were stuck with the magazines or watch them at friend's houses. There was another problem: NTSC to PAL. The American videos didn't play too well on the PAL VCRs that were around. If you were lucky and had a TV that played both systems, you got the black and white version with no sound. Hey, at least you could see the riding! Solutions to this were to find a BMXer on an American military base. They somehow could use their 110-volt NTSC equipment and watch every VHS tape that came from the USA. My new friend Jim lived in Volkel where his dad was based. He had the RAD video, RAD TV, Thrashin' and the GT video. Right when the Oorkin' videos were coming out Jim's dad was transferred to another base and my BMX video friend was gone. With the Dorkin' videos not available in PAL, a solution was found in Germany. Find someone with an NTSC set-up and then film the actual TV with a VHS-PAL camera on a tripod. Then borrow someone's VCR, plug it in, and make a copy. Needless to say, the quality was rubbish but that didn't matter much. The Dorkin' videos showed a lot of progression in BMX freestyle, way more than the magazines could ever bring us. We would still be balancing that elbow glide right now...
1987 The first issue of FAT zine is out.
Bart, Ride BMX UK june 1993: FAT Mag is something that my brother and I started against another Dutch mag called 'BMX Tricks', and FAT means Freestylers Against Tricks, the other mag. We did that because Tricks wasn't good anymore, they didn't give freestylers coverage, it was all about racing, and we started to make a 'zine of our own, us freestylers, we wrote a lot of crap about Tricks, it was pretty silly. After we did the first, people started asking about a second, we didn't really want to do a second issue, but, it was just for a joke, but people liked it so much we had to do another issue.

Tizer worlds.
Bart: The first BIG freestyle contest I entered was the Tizer World's in England in 1987. It was the first time I stepped in a plane and "team Holland" was representing well on and off the ramps. These World's were unique, they lasted a week and there were different locations. We traveled in busses to different venues every day. A real experience to see the hardcore English riders in action. Good time and a real eye opener for me.

Dutch Freestyle champion.
1988 Bart is somewhere on the cover of the second issue of FAT. (on the scooter ?)

Bart: We started this years ago. I think it was around 1988 that we did the first one. We started with a street session with ramps, pallets, cars, washing machines, rails etc. and later it turned out to be a dirt session at our local trails. It's usually dirt jumping during Saturday and something else on Sunday. We've done lake jumping on Sundays, motocross and this year it was a miniramp contest on Sunday. Saturday night it's party time at OJA.
Over the years the following people visited the FAT-JAM: Mat Hoffman, Todd Lyons, Jay Miron, Props, Leigh Ramsdell, UGP-crew, Chase Gouin, Day Smith, Paul osicka, James Sheppard and many more. 1994 was my personal favorite.
We now (2003) do two events per year. The "Mini-FAT-JAM" to kick off the season (March/April) and the actual FAT-JAM in the summer. It keeps the scene alive and motivates the locals to keep digging at the trails.

Bart: In 1988, Paul and I were invited to be part of a Coca Cola commercial shooting together with our friend Menno Fennema. We had to do tricks on our bikes, drink lots of Coca Cola and sat in a side-hack motorcycle. It was a good experience and really fun. I also once flew to the Canary Islands to do a Pro Specs shoe commercial (1991). I was chilling in the sun for a few days, rode for 20 minutes and relaxed some more. All expenses paid.
fat 02
1989 Bart is wallriding in Amsterdam on the cover of ninth issue of FAT. fat 09
1990 9th place flat 19 and more @ 1990 worlds in Trier.
Bart: When I started riding freestyle you simply rode everything: flatland, quarterpipe and trick ramp (kickturn wedge ramp). With limited ramps available where I lived it was always possible to ride flat. Even in the winter it was possible to find a dry spot. I've always liked flatland and think the flat riders of today deserve a lot of respect for what they do. I entered flatland at the 1987 world's, the Tizer World Cup in 1988, the 1989 World's in Paris, 1990 in Trier and maybe even at the 1991 World's in Denmark where I also entered street.

Bart: As a BMX-er you want to see the American action. For me the first time was in 1990 after I finished school and before I had to join the army in January of 1991. I saved up enough money to stay for three months. I had been exchanging letters with the DirtBros and some other American friends and couldn't wait to go. It was a really good time and basically what I expected. Riding in the sunshine during the day and partying every night. I made sure I spent the next 4 winters in So-Cal after that.
1991 1991 Vice-World Champion street @ 1991 worlds in Aalborg, Denmark.
1992 1992 World Champion street @ 1992 worlds in Budapest, Hungary.
Bart: At the time there were different classes. I believe A, B and C. I entered B-class and got second in 1991 and won the class in 1992 in Budapest. I felt stupid being world champ in street and never put a lot of value to it.
1993 7th place stuntboys mini @ 1993 BS round 1, "Death in the Desert 2", Thrasherland Skatepark, Glendale, Arizona, january 1993.

Bart de Jong on the cover of Freestyle BMX magazine april 1993.

Interview in Ride BMX UK #5 june july 1993.

Freestyle shows in China.
Bart de Jong: It was an experience. We spent 3 weeks in China doing shows in stadiums. The Chinese people had never seen anything like it. It was a skateboard/BMX promotion tour that went from Shenzhen to Nanking to Shanghai. We either traveled by bus, train or plain, all of them were pretty sketchy. We were welcomed at hotels as the Olympic ski and cycling team. They had no clue. I'm sure in 10 years lots has changed in China.
BMX-ers on the trip were Chris Young, Rob Nolli, Stephan Prantl, Todd Seligman, Pat Miller, John Parker and Day Smith. We had to ride a synchronized show on sketchy ramps that were nailed together and were out of scale. Anything we did was new to them so we made it work to get a 45 minute show together.
bart de jong freestyle bmx 04 1993
1994 1994 worlds in Koln.
8th place pro street for Bart and a free FAT zine for me. Thanks.
1995 3rd place @. K.O.D. Slagharen, Holland
1996 GT
Bart: Started working for GT in May of 1996. During my USA visits I got to work at GT's factory for a couple of weeks for three years in a row. That way I got to know the American GT people. GT had opened up a European office in Belgium in 1992. I started working there in 1996 which was basically my first real job. I had been doing temporary jobs since I left school so I could quit and travel to the contests in Europe in the summer, work for three months, and then go to California for the winter. This came to an end when the GT job came along. In the beginning I was an assistant to the marketing director. This job turned into a BMX position running the European BMX race team, the European Freestyle program and I also had to work with the European magazines and distributors. It was a BMX job and I loved it. Very lucky indeed.

9th place dirt @ Worlds, Cologne, Germany.
1997 FISE 1997 Palavas, France.
Show du team GT Europe avec les anglais Zak "back flip 360" Shaw, John Taylor et notre Lionel Cardoso national, fraîchement recruté par Bart de Jong. John Taylor et Zak Shaw sur une aire trop petite avec un quarter et une funbox.
Lionel Cardoso au sol. Bart DeJong au micro.

IFN (International Freestyle Network), Paul de Jong (Paul's Boutique), Bart de Jong (team manager GT Europe), and Fat Jam fame are organising the 1997 worlds in Eindhoven.
1999 Last printed zine and first issue online of fatbmx.
Bart de Jong: I wanted to do this last issue of FAT 'zine to wrap everything up. It never happened because I was too busy at work (GT). Every now and then I did write a story and was hoping it would happen in the end but it didn't. The internet was quite new at that time, especially to me. Jos Wissink, a Dutch BMX freestyle friend was more familiar with it and asked why we did not make a FAT website. I told him I did not know how that worked. He offered to help and soon enough I had my text and pictures on the web. That was pretty cool. Jos is still the webmaster of FATBMX and he rules. We now (2003) have 4000 unique visitors per day and 4 million hits per month. Quite amazing.
2000 Bart is judging the X-Games.
2001 After spending 5 years at GT Europe's marketing and promotions office in Belgium taking care of their BMX program, I was left with no job when the office closed its doors at the end of May 2001.

EUROPEAN BMX CONNECTION was founded on 22 October 2001.
Consulting, market research, contest and show organising, announcing of freestyle events, judging of freestyle events, manual translating, running/setting up BMX race/freestyle teams, freelance journalism (articles and photo's), ...
2003 Haro UK Tour.

Isn't it hard working for Haro and judging events in the same time ?
Bart: No, it is not hard for me to do that. When I'm in the judging table I switch the button and give points according to how the rider performs, not to what kind of T-shirt he wears. I have lots of friends riding in the contests, this would make 25 winners if I wanted to help out my friend with a better score. I have never favored a rider because he was in my team.

Interview: Cream BMX lifestyle #3 november 2003.
Bart at Sugar Hills. Photo by Paul de Jong.

Photo by Paul de Jong.
2005 Bart raced the Supercross Crossover Challenge, a supercross race for athletes and celebrities, but a second-turn crash left him with a dislocated shoulder.
2006 Bart de Jong, www.mirracobikes.com, september 2006: My job is pretty much 24/7 BMX, and that’s not 24 hours per week. I do BMX related jobs left and right to make ends meet. Being a one-man show entails everything form picking up the phone to making sure the tax man is happy. I worked for HARO Bikes for almost 5 years but switched to Mirraco in May 2006. For them I work with the distributors, maintain their website, work with the media, give feedback, take care of the riders when they’re here and there is a plan to hook up some European riders as well that will go through me. Next to that I do international sales for Universal Motocross engineering, a motorcycle parts company from California and set up the distribution network for them. When McGoo asked me for this job I couldn’t refuse. He’s one of my best friends and I wanted to help him out. It’s been going for over three years now. Through EBC I also do BMX consulting which may sound weird but I have a lot of valuable information for a company that wants to start a business in Europe or needs contacts in general. People might have seen me at several events taking care of some judging duties which are in fact cool but hard jobs. I also write stories and take pictures. Most of them end up on www.fatbmx.com but if anyone needs something (story or photos), EBC can take care of that too.
2011 Bart de Jong, www.fatbmx.com, february 2011: I often get asked what I do all day and I answer that it differs from day to day but most likely I'm stuck behind the computer, either the desktop, the laptop or the mobile phone which basically is a computer too. You see, I've got some sites to manage on a daily basis. Next to bringing the news on the www.fatbmx.com website, I also make sure check in with the FATBMX Twitter page, the FATBMX myspace site and the FATBMX Facebook profile. Next to that there's a FATBMX fanpage on Facebook too. We recently expanded the social media with a Hyves page and it's my daily task to make sure that doesn't get stale either. The media partners need the FATBMX advertisements on time so I throw that in there usually on deadline day. Phew, that's a whole bunch of (social) media to keep up with, but there's more. We're nearing 3000 friends on the Helm Trails Facebook site. That means I've almost received 3000 friend confirmations in the inbox. I try to upload a dirt video to this profile on a daily basis. We're having the Open Dutch Championships at the Helm Trails on 1 May 2011 so any promotion we can do for that will help. At least I think it will help. Then there's a personal profile on Facebook where people leave messages as well so I need to login to that a couple of times a day as well. This is what I do every day, and that includes Saturday and Sunday. When 10.000 people visit the FATBMX site on a daily basis, I feel they want to see something new, so I want to give it to them. Sometimes it goes (too) fast, but at least you can count on something to view or read when you stop by. And then there are the regular e-mails that come in on the EBC, FATBMX and Mirrabikeco addresses, between 70-100 a day that need answering. Talking about Mirra Bike Co, I've got my hands full working for them as well by answering their mail, making updates to the www.mirrabikeco.com site, posting those on the Mirraco Myspace, the Mirraco Vital profile plus there's a Mirraco Twitter too in case it's needed. Believe me when I say that the day is never stale, and never the same. Lately I've been spending time on putting together a Dirt Series in The Netherlands. We've got 6 on the calendar with more to follow. Dates needed to be picked, flyers needed to be made, sponsors are contacted, and info needs to be spread. The social media helps in that field so you'll be hearing about these events in the near future. But it all adds to the daily workload and I've got to fit it in somehow. The 2011 BMX event schedule is starting to look full. I'm sure I'll be on the road for 25-30 weekends out of the year once again. To bring you the reports, to get in touch with the riders, the event organizers, talk to sponsors, or judge an event. And if there's time for a party, I'll be there too. Do you still ride? is another one of those questions. Yes, when I can find the time. I'm stoked on the weekly private sessions we've been having and the weather is slowly getting better so we can hit up the dirt again. It's the best feeling to be on the bike even if there's no need to learn the latest tricks. Not that you asked for it, but this shows a bit what goes on over here. I'm in my 10th year of being self employed trying to make a living off of BMX. It's worked so far and I wouldn't mind adding another ten years to it even if it means 10-12 hour "work days". Pling! some mails came in, gonna check what's up.