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

Akman Atılgan 25.11.2017

BMXTR's this interview was made with one of the very few riders of İznik. We know Gökhan Yıldız by his beautiful riding style as well as his photography skills and the Vlog he has been keeping. As when I look at his pictures he always reminds me either Ansel Elgort of the Baby Driver of the youth of Johnny Depp, I decided to call this interview The Baby Face-Gökhan Yıldız. When I asked his permission to do so, he didn't hesitate because it turns out that he is known as "baby face" among his friends. Yes Gökhan is our this month's interview guest. Welcome Gökhan.

G.Y.       : Thank you. 

BMXTR  : We made an small introduction of you above but would you tell us about yourself?

G.Y.      : I am 21, I live in İznik with my family. I have 2 sisters . I graduated from high school and gave a break to my educational life. Now I am preparing for the university .

BMXTR : Which branch in university are you willing to enroll?

G.Y.       : I don't want to be away from sports therefore I want to study physical education. 

BMXTR: Ok speaking of the sports why BMX? Did you ever think about this? Why are you riding? How did you start riding? 

G.Y.     : I am riding because I am in love with sports. Since my childhood I did many sports but never quit BMX. It is like an breathing to me, a very essential part of my life. If I don't ride even for a day then I feel like I have cheated on my bike. Oh by the way my mother calls my bike "my daughter in law"!

BMXTR : That's a good one!

G.Y.     : When it comes to how I started riding, it wasn't from the American mpvies. One of my friend's family bought him a BMX and  I really envied him. So I decided to ride as well. 

BMXTR: When you say it wasn't the American movies it makes me feel as if you are referring to the movie RAD. In my opinion your generation doesn't have the chance of being insipired by a BMX movie because since RAD there isn't a better movie made about BMX. So how did you buy your first BMX?

G.Y.       : It was 2012. I didn't ask for money from my parents. I saved all my petty cash. then my father realized I was saving money for a bike so he paid for the BMX and I spent all the money I saved!  

BMXTR: Which means your family is quite supportive. Was the bike something you wanted?

G.Y.       : At the time there wasn't much choice about BMX  but of course he bought something I wanted.  

BMXTR : PHow did you progress in a place like İznik where there aren't many riders?

G.Y.    : We were watching videos together with my friend. Due to some reasons I had started riding BMX 3 years later than my friend. He was ahead of me so he helped me a lot in my progression.

BMXTR: Do you think you influenced others in İznik? Did new riders occur after you started riding?

G.Y.     : Actually we weren't very much in communication with people because they were laughing at us when we fell trying to do tricks. But there were some guys who were amazed however not many of them started riding because of the BMX prices. Only one guy joined us so were 3 riders in total in whole İznik.

BMXTR: Have you got many spots to ride in İznik?

G.Y.      : Not really. Only school yards.

How is the attitude of İznik people towards BMX?

G.Y.      : 3-4 years ago they were making fun of us because we were riding "kids'" bikes. Now the same people are telling us that they are watching our videos and finding us successful. Somethings really changed around here.

BMX TR: This is interesting to hear. In general riders complain about people's attitude and the difficulties of their environment. I think social media and the videos you are taking are helping the recognition of BMX. We also like your videos. Have you invested on the equipment like GoPro or stuff like that?

G.Y.    : Not big investments yet but I have targets. I believe I will make better works. I have a video camera cheaper than a GoPro and a camera which are enough for me at the moment. When the shows start on April I will make bigger investments on equipment. 

BMXTR: What is you ultimaate goal about videos?

G.Y.       : My goal will be to be the most watched BMX channel of Turkey.


BMXTR:  Are you riding outside of İznik? 

G.Y.       : So far I have gone to several cities to ride such as Istanbul, Sakarya, Kayseri, Adana, İzmit and others.

BMXTR: When you mention Kayseri Ahmet Samet Erdem comes to mind. Are you close friends?

G.Y.       : Yes we are. When we visit each other's cities we stay in each other's homes.

Samet has a photo in sunset of İznik pulling a tailwhip. The photo got Red Bull's best photo award. 

G.Y.       : Yeah I had taken that photo. Actually the contest's best 4 photos were my shots!

BMXTR: You have a talent in photography and in my opinion you should be pushing it. With whom are you riding in Istanbul?

G.Y.       : Talha, Tunç, Taner, Batuhan, Muhammet, in fact except a few people I am riding almost with everyone.

Do you feel like you are breathing out of İznik?

G.Y.       : I certainly do. I feel a deep satisfaction of spots. 

BMXTR: I didn't know you were going to shows until you mentioned it. I think you are not sharing it in social media. I am a bit surprised that I didn't know it. 

G.Y.       : I got a text message asking me if I wanted to work with them in shows so that's how it all started. Thinking  of the huge skatepark in Antalya I immediately accepted it. I had always dreamed of riding there. Last summer was my first season and hopefully I will go for the second one. I was a bit away from social media at that time but hopefully I will share more next year. 

How did they find you?

G.Y.       : They saw my videos on internet and they contacted me. 

BMXTR: We talked about the show business with Emre Kesin in his interview. There are a few riders going to shows to make money like Haktan Oral, İsmail Emre Dalgıç. Did you ride with any of them in Antalya?

G.Y.       : I met with Emre and İsmail but since Haktan as Alanya it wasn't possible to meet with him.

BMX TR: How do you get along with Emre?

G.Y.       : I like him like my real brother.

BMX TR: Tell me a bit about the shows. Any interesting moments?

G.Y.       : People's reactions are very nice. Some of them want to have a photo taken with me. This makes me really happy.

BMX TR: As a Turkish BMX'er how do you evaluate the BMX scene in Turkey?

G.Y.       : There is a constant progress in Turkey and BMX is going better and better. When I started riding in 2012 there were only a few places to go and certain brands. There were no sponsorships. Number of skateparks were very few. Now I think things are much better. 

BMX TR: Hopefully it will even be better. Do you have any hopes to have a skatepark in İznik?

G.Y.       : I really worked hard to create awareness for a skatepark. I wrote many letters, made applications. Finally the municipality invited me to talk. They told me that they had lined this up in their investments and it was going to start in a month's time. Now it is more than one year and nothing has happened so far. I thought I may have rattled the cage but it doesn't seem to have worked. 

BMX TR: Well, keep trying. But anyway you are not planning to live in İznik forever are you?

G.Y.       : I am planning to move to Antalya with a friend of mine. He is my best friend and a skater. 

I met with all the riders that we interviewed with but we didn't meet in person with you before. I don't think you came to our Turkish BMX day event before did you??

G.Y.       : I couldn't make it this year because of the shows. I really wanted but I was the only BMX rider in the show group. Next year I will be riding in the event for sure!

BMX TR: Who are your favourite global riders?

G.Y.       : Nathan Williams is my favourite rider. Some others are Simone Barraco and Garret Reynolds.

BMX TR: I understand that you define yourself as a street rider. If the circumstances were dfferent-I mean if you had access to a skatepark for park riding would things be different for you?

G.Y.       : That's the only reason why I want to relocate to Antalya. There are beautiful ramps over there.  

Ok, have shows contributed to the progression to the level of your riding? Shows generally take place on ramps. Did you struggle at the beginning?

G.Y.    : In the beginning I had zero ramp experience. I watched “how to” videos on internet and I went to Antalya skatepark to train. I can say I kind of learned quickly. Of course I can't still claim that I am a great ramp rider.

BMX TR: How did you manage with no experience at first?

GY          : My colleagues trusted me and they didn't mind me riding street at first. Later on I thanked them by improving my ramp riding.

BMX TR: Nice. What tricks have you achieved on ramp so far?

G.Y.       : Several tricks like Tailwhip, 360 barspin, no hand and t-bog. I want to try backflip if I come across a sponge pool.

BMX TR: You have a video on your youtube channel where you are riding downhill brakeless. You know we are a little old school, so isn't it scary to do that?

G.Y.    : Since I always ride brakeless I got used to stop myself somehow. It is not scry for me at all but of course I recommend new young riders to use brakes.

BMX TR: Can you ride a bike with brakes?

G.Y.       : When I was a kid my dad had bought me a 21 gear bicycle. First thing I did to pull the front brake and trip over the bike. Since then I never use brakes.

BMX TR: What about the Turkish riders? Who do you like?

G.Y.       : I will give you only one name: Bora Altıntaş. He is number one for me both character wise and riding style wise.

BMX TR: Yes Bora is one of our favourites too. You know we are sponsoring him. He has great support from his family. This is important. I think your family is supporting you too. What do you like to say about your family?

G.Y.    : My family supported me in everything by all means. If I fall and get injured they are worried but still they respect what I am doing. My family is the most important thing in my life.

BMX TR: A supporting family is very important for an athlete in his/her success. Taking the chance we would like to thank your family and all families who support their kids to do sports.

G.Y.       : And I would like to thank BMXTR for the support to the BMX community in Turkey and the efforts to raise the BMX scene. It is really precious for all of us. Thank you also for considering me to make an interview!