Q&A with Keelan Phillips
– Hey Keelan. For those who don’t know you, who are you, where you from, what do you do?
My name’s Keelan Phillips , I’m from Leicester and I ride flatland.
I ride comps as well as doing shows for various things like events or media. I’m proud to say I’ve won a few pro comps around the world (and at the same time rode really bad at comps when the nerves get the better of me 👀) I ride brakeless and mainly do front wheel tricks / nose manual based stuff . I’ve got a little staffy called Holly, I like old Chinese martial art films and in my spare time you can find me hanging out with my cousin building and driving old Hondas.
– How long have you been riding? Have you always ridden flat or did you / do you ride ramps etc as well?
I’ve been riding for years and years now, I did actually first start out racing when I was a kid, but didn’t like it then just rode street like I think everyone does. When I rode street I wanted to be different from everyone else and ended up trying flat tricks and I was hooked. I remember saying to myself if I could only learn to do a hang 5 and a decade I’ll be happy.
“When I rode street I wanted to be different from everyone else and ended up trying flat tricks”
– Tell us about your new home spot! (Video below)
I was fortunate to have an indoor hall to ride in, and then when lockdown kicked in I wasn’t allowed in, the frustration built up and I thought about making a home spot to ride. So I started digging, had some concrete laid and now I have a riding spot a couple of meters from my front door! (Although that sounds quite simple it was actually a long process and stressful getting it perfectly flat, but well worth it!)
– Who are your biggest inspirations / influences?
When I first got into riding my biggest inspiration was a guy called Day Smith, the videos then had all types of BMX and he made flatland stand out and look so sick. Then when I started competing, there was a UK rider Phil Dolan and he was the first doing brakeless nose manuals and I couldn’t believe seeing it in person, I was like, ‘How is he doing it?’ It was like seeing magic for the first time, that led to my obsession with nose manuals! Then new school styles of inspiration came from Jeff Desroche and Seiji Sakata.
“A lot of ideas and progression come from mistakes while you’re trying something else”
– What’s the UK flatland scene like?
The UK flat scene, if I’m honest, has both good and bad points, there’s not that many riders and there’s a lot of negativity, which I won’t go into, but I would say London has the most riders / regular meet ups at a place called TGM. There are some sick riders and good genuine people here and I would say I’ve got some lifelong friends in the UK scene. If it could improve in any way it would be nice to see some good jams or comps here, more bike related companies helping riders or helping with jams / comps and more flatland on bike related social media.
– What would you say to people who are interested in getting into flatland?
Well, people always say about flatland, ‘Oh you must have a lot of patience…’ No, I’m extremely impatient, if I can’t do a trick I’ll try over and over quickly until I get it or at least get very close. But I’d say you should learn a lot of the basics, then think about what tricks are fun to you and develop those! A lot of ideas and progression come from mistakes while you’re trying something else.
Recently there’s been a rise of street riders doing more flat based tricks like nose manuals or stuff on the pegs and it’s good to see that crossover, it’s bringing more eyes to it and hopefully some will make that move to flat.
– What does the future hold?
I’m not too sure.. I’m going to keep riding, keep pushing my own style. It would be nice to see a street and flat jam together, I think they would fit nicely. And literally anyone is welcome at my home spot for a flat session!