Words and photos by Robin Pearson
I wonder how many intros I've written about Joe Embrey... I reckon it's in the double figures by now. I don't mind though, Joe is a sick guy and the reason I've worked with him so much is because he's an awesome, positive human. Plus he's rad on two wheels.
If you've ever met Joe, you'll understand why he's done so well with sponsors, coverage and public opinion. He's always up for putting time into a project and making the most of each situation. This is a desirable quality for a BMX rider!
Joe and I have been working on his FBM welcome edit since the autumn. Now that it's nearly done, we thought it would be a good time to share some of the photos we've shot in the process and reflect on life since he last spoke to Ride UK.
What's been going on?
Last year was a crazy one! Getting to work on a Ride UK interview and edit was something I never thought I'd get the chance to do, and thanks to Robin and Seb it became a reality. Going on missions (and sampling the quality ales along the way) was awesome!
In late summer I bumped into Ian Morris in Hastings town centre. Honestly, as cheesy as it sounds, the moment he asked me if I'd like to ride for FBM is among the best of my life! I couldn't believe it, I went and sat in a pub nearby and kept zoning out trying to process what had happened. I hit Boardmasters festival shortly after and it was so hard keeping it to myself, I kept thinking it might not happen, haha! I still don't think it had sunk in when I spoke with Steve Crandall via email – totally surreal but absolutely amazing!
"These brands are hands down what I consider the best in BMX and I have looked up to them since I started riding. To even be loosely associated with them is a dream come true..."
I was hooked up with the FBM Hard Way frame shortly after and it is honestly the best bike I've ever ridden! Ian has helped me out with Etnies stuff for a while so that's been awesome too, and John Dye has continued to support me so much with the Union gear. These brands are hands down what I consider the best in BMX and I have looked up to them since I started riding. To even be loosely associated with them is a dream come true, I feel totally humbled. It's made me more motivated than ever to ride as much as I can, travel around, have fun, film and shoot photos just to try and give something back!
What's happening now?
This year I've been grabbing every chance I can to get out and ride. I'm currently studying for a masters in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for anxiety and depression, so I've been making the most of the early sessions in between that. If all goes well I'll qualify this summer, and although I love my job, my plan is to focus more on riding once my course is done and make the most of the opportunities I've been given. BMX has always been what I do and what I want to do, so I'm going to make the most of it and enjoy it!
We're lucky enough to have a great scene here in Suffolk and my friends are always up for a session! Shout out to all the A14 scene guys! It's also been sick riding at Area 25 over the winter, I'm really grateful to have such a cool skatepark on my doorstep and the guys there have become like a family. I put on the annual jam there recently which was really fun, we plan to do another this year. I'd encourage anyone to stop by if you're in this part of the country! Also I've been helping my friends out with a new trails spot which should be up and running soon.
Aside from that I've been working on an FBM edit, which I can't wait to get out there! It's been hard with the weather, work and wanting it to be right, but fingers crossed we will have a good result. My band – Tryal of Witches – also recently finished up a self-titled EP and have been playing some local shows too, which has been a cool focus outside BMX.
The rest of the year is shaping up well already! The FBM edit will be out very soon, I'm heading to Hastings next week to spend some time at the new Source park, then out to Malaga, with the plan of working on a new Bicycle Union edit. I have a trip to Belgium planned for May, Denmark in June, NASS, Boardmasters and a trip to the US shortly after that. Tryal of Witches somehow have some shows sprinkled in amongst all that! It's going to be an awesome year. I've always tried to stay busy and wouldn't have it any other way! I'm just really grateful to be able to ride, play music and have fun so want to do it as much as I can and make the most of it! Thanks so much to Ian and all at 4Down, John Dye, Steve Crandall, Jay & Shozo at HH, everyone at Ride UK, Marco & Sal at Area 25, my girlfriend Kerryann and all my friends, for making life awesome!
"I'm just really grateful to be able to ride, play music and have fun so want to do it as much as I can and make the most of it!"