JOHN BUULTJENS: RIDE - An amazing story in print and on screen

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JOHN BUULTJENS: RIDE – An amazing story in print and on screen

John Buultjens, the brand manager for Haro Bikes, has led a rather interesting life to say the least.

The older guys reading this will no doubt be pretty well versed in some parts of John Buultjens’ career in BMX, but it’s his tumultuous upbringing and the associated challenges of turning his life around that form the basis of his new book, RIDE. The subtitle says it all really, ‘BMX Glory Against All the Odds.’

John was born into a very abusive family in Glasgow, which he still has the scars from. From being thrown into a fire to confronting his father with a kitchen knife, John certainly didn’t have an easy start in life. Then, after being adopted from a children’s home and being taken to see E.T. at the cinema, John became obsessed with BMX and, quite simply, used the power of BMX to turn his life around.

Now living in San Diego, he’s the happiest he’s ever been. The book deals with some big issues such as suicide attempts, drug abuse, injuries, why extreme athletes do what they do… It’s a big read. AND it’s also a film, starring Sasha Alexander and Ludacris.

You can see the film trailer below… Keep an eye out for some big BMX names, too.

We caught up with John to talk about what it took to tell his story in print and on screen, scroll down for the interview.


John Buultjens still ripping last year.
John Buultjens at age 12 with his adoptive father in Edinburgh.

Q&A with John Buultjens

– Writing a book is no mean feat. Can you tell us how you put it all together? Had you been keeping a diary?

“I had always known I would write a book, but my English is shite! So, lucky for me, I was interviewed by Chris Sweeney whilst filming RIDE and he became my ghost writer.”

– There hasn’t been a huge number of BMX riders published. Do you think that, as BMX matures and its most influential riders reflect more, we’ll be seeing more biographies written?

“I would love to see that. Stephen Murray, Mat Hoffman and Dave Mirra (RIP) are/were great friends of mine and all three put out their biographies. There are so many more that need to documented, every rider I know has an amazing story. Most would benefit by having a ghost writer like Chris.”

“You’re not your past, you can’t change it, so why live in it?”

– Although BMX is a fairly niche lifestyle, there are obviously other themes in your book that are much more general and about life battles that people outside riding can appreciate. How has the response been so far?

“I do consider BMX in my book as secondary to the life lessons I have learned. When telling your story it all comes down to being relatable. Not many people can relate to BMX, but so many can relate to Racism, Domestic Violence, Love, Passion, Determination and living in the present moment. I believe that’s the deeper meaning for sure!”



John Buultjens on set with Chris Bridges aka Ludacris while filming RIDE the movie.
John at 22, putting in work!

– If there’s one message to be taken from your book… What would it be?

“You’re not your past, you can’t change it, so why live in it? Once you leave the past in the past, amazing things start to happen when you live in the present. Try it for yourself.”

– Not only is there a book, there’s also a film! How has that project been going, and how excited are you for it to be released?

“Yea, its very surreal for sure, I still pinch myself every day. I do love the book as it’s 100% everything that happened the way it did in my life. The movie is a third of the book and is set in America, not Scotland.

“I am very humbled and honoured to have my life story in print and on the big screen.”

The movie is amazing though, we have kept the integrity of my story and the message is clear. I am very humbled and honoured to have my life story in print and on the big screen.”

– What’s coming up next for you?

“This year Adoption UK appointed me as their new Ambassador – this position means so much to me as I know I can inspire other kids that have come from similar backgrounds. I will continue this work and inspire others in their possibilities.

Life is amazing and so worth living, get out of your own way, you are the only one stopping you… Believe and Achieve.”

RIDE is available on Amazon here

John Buultjens, backrail abubaca.
John Buultjens overseeing the production of the Haro reissue bikes in memory of his late friend, Dave Mirra.


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