by: Bryant “B-Boy” Worthing @bboyworthing | Athelete: Mike Hoder @MikeHoder1 | photo: Henry Wei henry@theflvr.com
At seven years old, Mike Hoder discovered his love for riding BMX on total accident. Ever since, he’s been trying to avoid accidents, while being known as a ridiculous stunt rider.

“My dad found an old-school Mongoose lying in a ditch and brought it home. I was hooked- I rode that bike for some years,” Hoder explained. “Then I realized how much more it costs to ride a bike than it does to skateboard, so I really got into skateboarding for maybe 3-4 years.”

In middle school, his parents moved from Seattle to California out of the blue, which got him back into BMX, as all his friends at his new school rode bikes, rather than skateboards. He saved up some money by mowing lawns and doing extra chores to get a bike and the rest is history. He became hooked, and today is signed to S & M bikes, where he’s been for nearly five years. Hoder explained how difficult it is to get a paid gig as a freestyle rider; he attributes putting in hard work to practice his ridiculous stunts as the reason that he has been noticed and compensated by big name companies.

“The best advice I can give to a young, up-and-coming kid who wants to ride professionally is to just do you and have fun at all times- good things will your come your way,” Hoder said. “My biggest goal is to just ride for as long as I can, and have enough money to get by, while I am still riding. And I want to be a role model to people out there who want to do the same things I am doing. I want to be happy ’til the end of my riding career and have no regrets about it.”

Mike Hoder stands at 6-foot-4, not the usual size of a dude who rides BMX, so when an accident happens, getting banged up can be even less fun. Nonetheless, flipping out 360s and riding rails with no pegs are not a problem for him, and on the streets he is known as a beast. You can find Mike on Instagram (@MikeHoder1) all across the country, doing events from New York to Los Angeles, both competitive and freestyle, although he admits that he does it more for the love versus the money or notoriety. Even though he is well respected within the industry, his passion remains number one. Here is what he had to say about being an independent BMX rider:

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Q) When did you first get into riding BMX’s?

A) When I got to Cali, the middle school I went to had tons of kids that rode BMX bikes to school everyday. So I started kickin’ it with them and ended up buying a bike for $50 bucks. From then on, I never wanted my bike to be out of sight.

Q) What is the worst injury you have gotten?

A) I have had tons of injuries learning to ride over the years- a broken wrist, I’ve broken both feet, and plenty of other things, but I never really cared and got them checked out by a doctor. I would just wait a couple weeks until I felt I could ride and muscle through, even if it did hurt. And then about seven years ago, I dislocated my knee a few times, so I went to a doctor and got the MRI and the doc told me a year or more. So I said fuck it and once again just waited as long as it took until I felt that I was capable of riding. Then November of last year, I felt some crazy shit happen in my knee while doing some bullshit so I went to get seen by a doctor again. This time it was fucked from that incident years ago, so I had to get knee surgery and do all the therapy until it was strong again.

Q) What are some of the biggest challenges of being an independent rider?

A) There are plenty of big challenges in my life of riding, but one that really stands out is when I rode for a company from 2005-2008 that did me wrong. When I first got on everyone got paid on the team except for me, even though I was doing plenty for the company, if not doing the most out of the rest of the team. I just went with it for another year or more, then the company started sending me a new bike every month, which who really needs a new one that often? So I said fuck ’em and I started selling all the bikes I got and kept the same piece of shit I had from the beginning. The company wasn’t paying me, so I would get it hustling those bikes. Then, at the end of the year in 2008, I got a call from the owner who found out I was selling everything and let me go. So I said to myself this must be it. I didn’t ride for almost a year until I started working at a local bike shop, and being around it got me back into riding more. Then, the company I
ride for now, S&M bikes, started talking to me and I have been riding for them since 2009.

Q) What is your trademark trick?

A) My trademark trick I would have to say is a big ass 360° down and over pretty much anything I want. But, I do some other things that stand out for me, including grinding rails without any pegs.

Q) What is the biggest goal you want to accomplish in your young career?

A) My biggest goal is to just ride for as long as I can and to have enough money to get by while I am still riding. And I want to be a role model to people out there who want to do the same things that I am doing. I want to be happy ’til the end of my riding career and have no regrets about it.

Q) What is the best advice you can give a young, up-and-coming rider?

A) You don’t have to know how to do all the craziest most insane trick combos, but if you can be an all around good rider and be able to ride any terrain and kill it while having fun, then you should be good. And don’t worry about being sponsored. It will come eventually and you don’t want to be known as the kid that is just way to hungry for a sponsor. Not a good look. At the end of the day, if it doesn’t put a smile on your face than it is not for you.