Türkiye'de BMX'in Sesi! | Voice of BMX in Turkey!

MARCH 2016

Bmx TR is proud to have made their March 2016 interview with an iconic French flatland rider BMX maga/web-zine publisher-and a father, Alain MASSABOVA. The BMX World knows him with his stunning skills as a flatlander as well as his editorial magic he has shown in Cream and A.R.T. magazines. Alain is a rider coming from the past linking the new generation to the future. When you watch him riding, you feel like watching a dance choreography of flatland tricks. His editorial works are also very inspiring. BMX TR Editor Akman Atılgan contacted Alain based on their friendship started in BMX Worlds 2013 and Alain was very kind to accept to make this interview.




BMX TR: Hi Alain. BMX TR is delighted to interview with you. BMX TR’s goal is to inspire Turkish riders by introducing them world wide known riders and we are certain you will be a big inspiration for Turkish BMX World-especially the Turkish flatland enthusiasts.

A.M.: Hello Turkish BMX riders ! I come from Paris, France. It’s a big story between the BMX and me. It’s started in 1985, I lived in the streets of the north of Paris (no go zone) and the BMX came towards me like a love at first sight. This bike saved me so I decided it will be my life. 30 years later, I still on this bike, I organized the main events in France, I manage a shop in Paris (Nomashop) and a magazine since 1996 and now I’m behind St Martin BMX brand. Lot of work and experience but it’s like riding, as real passion

BMX TR:  We know that you are 43 years old and you live in Paris. For how long have you been riding and can you remember the first time you encountered with a BMX? Is there a story about how you started riding BMX?

A.M. : Yes, a big story like Hollywood movie. I was a bad guy, fighting every day, crazy family in a poor quarter of Paris. I learned how to pedal with a stolen BMX in 1985 just to prove myself I’m capable. It was a challenge but after, it was my form of expression and my way to be free. For real the BMX made me free.


BMX TR:  What was the brand of the first BMX that you owned?

A.M.: My first BMX was a heavy bike with suspension like copy a Motobecane (MBK) MX25 but my real first BMX was a Kawahara Magician pro pink. My favorite bike was the Haro Master 1987, I learned all tricks and won the French championship on this bike



BMX TR: Now you are 43 years old and you witnessed a long period of BMX in history. 30 years ago Turkish BMX enthusiasts had hard times finding parts, bikes, magazines and other stuff because there was no internet,  social media and we were following the BMX world from years ago behind. How was the situation in France back in the day? Did you have such struggles? 

A.M.: When I started the bmx, I had no phone, the mobile was not invented yet. And when I started the magazine, there was no internet and digital camera. We worked by fax, it was very hard. I remember a letter from the one Martti Kuoppa who explain his last trick, cross footed time machine in 1997 ! Now everything is possible, too easy, too fast, it’s much better for sure.

In France, in the 90ies, we waited 6 months to see a video (VHS) in horrible quality (filmed on the TV). But Thanks to Armen Djerrahian, we could see the US riders only 3 months after. This guy change the French BMX, he did everything (media, distribution, riding…) to keep the bmx alive in France. I just continued his work.

1994 Show Venice Beach-With Phil Dolan Day Smith Sean McKinney

BMX TR: Your brother Manu is also a flatland rider. Did you have a big competition between you and him back in the day? Any interesting memories with you and him with BMX?

A.M.: My brother start the BMX one year after me and he always be close to me even we are no friend. My ex team/family (Mexicos) didn’t accept him so we have 2 different ways. My real brother in arm is Lotfi Hammadi, we shared the best parts of our life. Everybody think Lotfi is my twin. He is more like this for me.

My brother Manu, work hard to stay in the BMX game with a website (TheRiderPost) and St Martin. We have not the same story and experience but he is a real rider since 30 years too.

Alain and Manu

BMX TR: How do you find the BMX scene in France? Do you think it is in the level of popularity that it should be? Or does it need more support and promotion?

A.M.: The French BMX sucks. We are always in war. No passion, no fun, everything is about sponsor and money. The French bmx died because we are not united. Dandois take all the sponsors and the media covering, the others eat the crumbs. The level is ok but they do only a bunny hop tricks. I stop riding in Paris because the mood is so bad. Nobody talk in the spot, no fun, no joke. I hate this attitude. I ride to share a good moment so I prefer to ride with Jesse Puente or in Costa Rica with real bmx riders. The oldschool guys are very cool too, if you want to rider for fun in France, it’s better to contact the old guys.


How does age relate with flatland riding? Today we see riders like you still in excellent performance. Do you think there is an age limit for flatland riding?

A.M.: Yeh, it’s hard to be old. I was supposed stop riding at 30 but I’m still on the bike. I do some shows, photos and video but very smooth. When you are older than 35, your style change, more slow, more smooth, more stiff.


There is no age limit to ride. The real riders can ride to the dead but I think we are less powerful after 35 for the contests. The contests are for the new generation to prove something and have a name in the game. The old guys have nothing to prove. When you get old, the body stops you. You don’t ride in a same way when you have kids and a job, you can’t fall, you can’t take risk. The game is different. I’m in other side now, I can’t do my tricks from 10 years ago.

Contest - 1992

Enough questions for your rider side. I am also curious about your editor side. What pushed you into magazine producing and editing about BMX?

A.M.: In 1996, I was at my top of riding but the BMX was dead in France. Only 10 riders in Paris riding in the dark. This period was very interesting for the BMX. Like Mat Hoffman, I decide to save the bmx in France in organizing the contest, create a club and then a magazine. There was no media in France (no internet) and I grow up with Bicross magazine, the french bible for the BMX riders. I came a day to see my crew (Mexicos) and I said “We will do a magazine now ! It will be BMXicos mag !“ We started with a fanzine (black & white photocopies) and thanks to Reebok (Boks shoes), we change it into a real magazine. We had to express ourselves. So much things to show, to tell… In 1999, I found a publisher, we became professional, the magazine change to CREAM. I became independent publisher in 2003 with my own company.


BMX TR: CREAM was a hard copy magazine in flesh and blood. However A.R.T. is a webzine which is digital. Is that because of the technological advances or followers’ preferences? 

A.M.: I’m from the oldschool, the paper magazine was the media, the source. I like books and beautiful magazines. I always tried to do a quality magazine. We know internet is supposed to kill the paper magazine. I held for a long time but in 2010, we change into a web magazine, reading online like a real magazine. Check the last : https://issuu.com/artbmx/docs/art_bmx_special_photo. We proposed a free magazine, downloadable in HD. We had more of 100K views by webzine and no print to pay, it was a success for us but it was no more interesting for me. Nothing in my hands, I don’t like a virtual magazine, it’s not my job. I didn’t want to do a website. We have a lot of good websites (Fat, The Union, Thecomeup…), so I preferred to stop. The last magazine (print and web) was the Special Photo in 2014. The magazine was about travel and photo, so my last project was my best. I can’t do better. All print magazines in the world stopped last year, internet killed us, it was written…


BMX TR: As far as we know A.R.T. photos are also published in hardcopy but in certain intervals. Would you give us an update on the final situation of A.R.T for both webzine side and the hardcopy publishings? We don’t see much on the blog since March 2015 but Facebook seems to be quite active.

A.M.: Cream and ART BMX is now from the past. I keep the blog just to link to webzine but the media is stopped. With my friend Luis Elias, we continue to post on Facebook a important information about events and riders, we have followers so we don’t stopped. Maybe a day, Cream or A.R.T will be reborn like a phoenix…

And today, the BMX is directed by Redbull, they have riders, events and medias, so they can do what they want with the BMX. They directed the medias to produce a very good content with the best riders and best photographers. We can do nothing without Redbull. Then I don’t need to do a magazine anymore, Redbull rules. It’s good to have a big brand to support us, we need it but sometime, it could be too much.

BMX TR: Quite recently you took over the brand St Martin. You are running the company with your twin brother Manu. How does it feel to own BMX a brand? Would you give some details about this take over?

A.M.: I know St Martin since the beginning (2002), I followed them but I was not very fan of the design and the team. I worked with French brands (Sunn, Homecore, Twenty, Koxx/AbadThing) to develop a frame and parts. And since 1996, I manage a BMX shop in Paris. I know this work. So when my brother asked me to buy St Martin, I accepted it naturally. It’s a good end for a old rider to have his own brand. So since end 2015, I’m the new CEO of St Martin, it’s a big work, more that I imagined finally. I changed the communication and the team but not the parts and distributors. I have many ideas for the future of this brand. I’m proud of the “Legend” team with Jesse Puente and Chase Gouin. The pro team will be complete end of year, with big changes. I will support every events, medias and flow team too, this brand is by riders for riders, most important for me. I will be in California to produce the first video next week by JC Pieri with the team, it will be great !

BMX TR: What are your plans about St Martin, are you directly involved with the design of the frames?

A.M.: For the first production made in Taiwan, we have a line “Metro” designed by the old CEO, my brother and me, no signature parts. The Chase Gouin line “Awethentrick” made in USA will be out for this summer. For next production, every parts will be signed by a pro rider. I don’t have my own frame but I give my touch on every design. Lot of things will coming for St Martin, stay tuned…

BMX TR: How does BMX effect your family life?

A.M.: I ride since 30 years, it’s a part of me, my family knows that. My wife and my son don’t care about bmx, they see my bike in the home but it’s like a decoration for them. They know I’m not like normal people, I don’t wear suit, I live like a rider, forever young and crazy, without rules. I learned everything in the street on my bike so my way of life is not from a book, it’s from my experience. I failed a lot but I always stand.

BMX TR: Apart from BMX, would you like to talk more about yourself, about your attitude toward life?

A.M.: If you want to know more about me, I have my own rules, no god, no master. I’m open, I listen but I don’t obey. I’m very sensible about big causes in the world, I support the NGO like Amnesty International, Secours Populaire, Action contre la faim, Peta, Sea Shepherd. BMX is my life but theses causes are more important. I’m vegetarian, I respect all humanity and the animals. I’m not very French, I’m from many different countries so I’m not nationalist, I hate flags. This is my way of thinking. 

Thank so much to let me express myself on your website and thanks to all those that I once met in my life.

My BMX company : www.stmartinbmx.com

My shop : www.nomadeshop.com/bmx

My magazine (in rest) : www.artbmxmag.com

My agency : www.massabova.com

BMX TR: Thank you for this interesting and wonderful interview. BMX TR wishes you success for the rest of your life. As Turkish BMX enthusiasts, we would also like to send our sincere respect and love to your wife and son.