BMX Battles: Sit the fuck down — the Sean Parker story

Pub date June 5, 2008
WriterMarke B.
SectionSF Blog

By Duncan Scott Davidson. Read Duncan’s article “Rise Above: The BMX Battles” here. Read his interview with Lotek’s Ian Schwartz here. Read his interview with’s Chris McMahon here.

Sean Parker is a fixture in the SF scene. He’s usually riding flat at the Clock Tower, but I give the guy props for riding everything, and doing it all well–street, flatland, dirt, skateparks, whathaveyou. Not many people can grind a handrail, ride dirt jumps, air a bowl, and roll a hitchhiker all the way down the street all on the same bike. There’s nothing he won’t hit, and he’s famous for building spots–hidden jumps, concreted Jersey barriers, the list goes on. Skaters might hate, but the fact is you’ve probably skated something Sean built. He’s a relaxed, chill guy, but he’s not going to take any shit off of anyone.

Mr. Sean Parker

SFBG: Let me just start with the basic questions. How old are you, first of all?

SEAN: I’m gonna be 33 next week.

SFBG: How long have you been in the city? Where’d you grow up?

SEAN: A little over 10 years here. I grew up in the Washington, DC area.

SFBG: Why did you get into BMX?

SEAN: I don’t know. Something about the magazines always intrigued me. And then I eventually saw Matt Hoffman do a demo in, that was in West Virgina or something. Yeah, he actually gave me my first set of handlebars. I just kind of built a bike and quit skateboarding immediately.

SFBG: Oh, so you used to skate?

SEAN: Yeah.

SFBG: How old were you at the time?

SEAN: That was from like 9 to 12, I guess, 9 to 13.

SFBG: What was it about seeing the Hoffman demo that made you think “this was so much radder than skating”?

SEAN: There was just so much more you could do, it seemed like. You could go bigger, faster. It didn’t look as frustrating.

SFBG: Did you start with flatland?

SEAN: Mostly street riding. That’s all there was where I lived at the time. They didn’t have parks or anything, so I just rode around and did wallrides and handrails and stuff.

SFBG: How’d you get into flat?

SEAN: I eventually moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was just riding around, looking for people, if there was a scene or anything, and bumped into a group of flatlanders who were really good. I was like, “Damn, I guess I’m riding flatland now.” They taught me a bunch of stuff. I learned pretty quick. I kind of just tried to do everything at once from that point.

SFBG: You pretty much ride everything, huh?

SEAN: Yeah. Anything in front of me. Behind me. I don’t know which way I’m going.

SFBG: Do you ride parks as well?

SEAN: Yeah. I just rode Alameda yesterday. I love that place. I kind of just got there by default, like I do with the Embarcadero to ride flatland. I always want to check out the parks around San Jose or Benicia or something, I hear there’s some good ones. It’s funny, I just talked to the guy from, and he’s at Benicia right now.

SFBG: I should call you up, man. I’ve been wanting to hit that park for like, weeks.

SEAN: Yeah, it’s pretty hot, I guess. I mean, a lot of people are talking about it like us.

SFBG: It’s bike legal, too.

SEAN: Oh, nice.

SFBG: What do you think about the new Potrero park opening up and not allowing bikes?