Easy Rider
NYLON|June/July 2017 - The Music Issue

How nigel sylvester took the road less traveled to become the most exciting figure in bmx biking.

Cory Townes
The pathway to success is replete with hills, winding roads, and sharp turns. For most, these obstacles can seem insurmountable, but for Nigel Sylvester, learning to navigate them has been the key to his accomplishments—literally. He’s one of the most innovative figures in the BMX world, and as such, he’s shaken hands with cultural icons, been admired by fashion designers and style curators, and been the face of campaigns for multimillion-dollar brands.

“I was always into bicycles as a kid because it was the easiest way for us to get around in the hood,” the 29-year-old says. We’re sitting on the top floor of the Ludlow House in New York’s Lower East Side as Sylvester recalls his formative years in Jamaica, Queens. “My friends and I would battle to see who could pop wheelies down the street, so the natural progression from having a bike and doing tricks to getting acceptance from the OGs in my neighborhood—dude, that was such an addictive feeling.” He soon earned that same acceptance from the greats of his sport: The late Dave Mirra appeared alongside the young biker in the Flipside BMX DVD in 2006, and offered him his first professional deal soon after. “He gave me my first shot at riding on a professional level, and wanted me to ride in my own way,” says Sylvester. “He was a hero of mine, so to have someone of his caliber giving me that co-sign, that’s something you only see in a storybook.”

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