The meet-and-greet was held at Brentwood Bike Co. over the weekend. Saturday’s cold and weather did little to dampen the enthusiasm of those in attendance. In addition to meeting the pro riders, local riders got a chance to ride, as well as see their favorite riders show off their skills.
“I like meeting the team,” said Nick Garcia, 14. “They’re really cool guys, they’re really good at biking, and I like biking. I just thought it would be a fun event.”
The event was organized by Nick Benson, West Coast Sales representative for Animal Bikes, based in New Jersey. Benson said the purpose of these events is to give his company a chance to personally meet the merchants and give kids a chance to see professional riders. Animal Bikes had already completed a Southern California tour. The Brentwood stop was the third of four stops on its Northern California tour.
“They get to hang out with them, they get to ride with them, they get to sign some autographs, get some memorabilia, create some memories,” said Benson. “We were talking earlier about how we still remember things like this from when we were younger.”
Meeting the pro riders wasn’t the main draw for every biking enthusiast in attendance. “I’m probably not going to meet them, but I’ll definitely watch them and see what they got,” said Brad Matias, 16, one of several members of the Brentwood Bike Team at the event.
The kids in attendance weren’t the only ones happy to be there. The pros were eager to expand their largely East Coast base and help the kids in attendance with their own skill sets. “We want to promote the lifestyle instead of having everyone going out there and trying to kill themselves on a bike – just have fun riding,” said Gille. “I was in that position once when I was a kid, and who wouldn’t want to be in a position to help kids now? That’s how I am. If the kids are happy, I’m happy.”
Shop owners Chris and Bobbi Michalski were more than happy to use their shop to host the event. Bobbi was thrilled that Brentwood Bike Co. not only gave kids the chance to meet their heroes, but a legal venue to ride and hone their skills.
“These are some of the biggest pro BMX-style riders in the country, and Brentwood never sees anything like this,” said Chris. “We’re proud and happy to bring it to them.”