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Freshness Feature – MASH SF Rider: Jonathan Burkett

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Interviewed by Tom Bradley

Photos by MASH SF

Produced by retrogurl

The name “MASH SF” denotes a hardscrabble aggressiveness not normally associated with San Francisco by the general misinformed public. Describe how te name is a container for what goes on in the MASH Fixed gear culture and why it could be nothing other than MASH SF.

Mash is just mash.

At what point did the unity, the absolute clan-mentality, begin to take root among the riders?

I don’t think there is much of an absolute clan-mentality with the MASH crew. We are a diverse group that all respects one another, but knows that we all come from different places and backgrounds, which makes it all the more interesting.

It is described as an aesthetic choice to ride without brake-lines but there’s more there, there has to be a deeper logic to the insanity of voracious pedaling without even the concept of stopping short should something get in the way. Describe it, what its like and why it has to be that way.

There shouldn’t be any aesthetic choice about riding a track bike. Flat out the bikes are dangerous, and it takes some skill to ride them. That skill though is what makes track bikes fun to ride. The interactivity with the bike and flow of traffic (and sheer stupidity at times) is what makes these bikes fun to ride. It’s how you ride the bike, not what bike you ride.

With the recent spike in interest regarding your passionate pastime and the tools of the trade have there been any ill-feelings toward newcomers and is the original magic being diffused at all by the new wave of riders/enthusiasts?

The growth of the track bike scene is great. Newcomers are completely welcome, unless they come in with the know-it-all attitude. There is quite a bit of showmanship with track bikes where it would be more pleasant if everyone could just ride together without having to prove anything. But, hopefully with more people getting involved, the level of riding will increase and new trick innovated.

How does the international group of riders compare and contrast with the Americans?

We all ride bikes. We are all international. We all love each other. No need to compare and contrast.

There is an intense athleticism to urban fixed-gear riding that cannot be denied yet it maintains the look, and danger, of an outsider’s activity. Why is this seen in the same light as skateboarding was in the 1970’s?

There is no way track bikes are in the same category as skateboarding, then or now. It just takes some recklessness to put yourself out there, so a small portion of it has this aspect of a dangerous outsider activity. Real track riding is the true outsider activity and been around for a lot longer than skateboarding.

Describe the riders as best you can considering the eclectic nature of the bunch? (What is shared among them beyond the track bike?)

We are all different and ride for different goals and reasons. I don’t think you can lump the whole group of mash together.

What would you like to see happen in the coming months/year with MASH SF?

Soul-riding. Less camera, more love!

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Interview with MASH SF Rider: Jonathan Burkett

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