STORY: GABRIEL CHARLES TYLER
PHOTOGRAPHED EXCLUSIVELY FOR CY BY LYNNETTE ASTAIRE IN CHICAGO, IL
For the past 11 years, Brian Kachinsky has dedicated his life to Bicycle Motocross (BMX), the sport that consists of extreme racing on bicycles in motocross style on tracks with inline start and expressive obstacles. The Chicago, Ill. BMX pro has ridden his bike across the globe, making history, friends and priceless moments along the way. With a filled passport, a few signature products from DK and etnies, a X Games 16 Bronze Medal in BMX street and his own indoor riding facility, Brian has made quite a name for himself. He may be receiving a lot of attention and accolades as an established pro rider, but there is a lot more to him than meets the eye.
When asked what he would name a biopic about his life, Kachinsky said, “I would name it ‘Work Hard, Play Hard.’ It’s fitting because I love what I do. My work is my play and my play is my work.”
Kachinsky, 29, said any movie covering his life would follow the conceptual design behind “Forrest Gump,” a film that he’s watched dozens of times.
“Although it may seem corny, the concept is me. The way he casually goes through life, but does so much crazy shit amazes me. At the end of the film, Forrest is mowing the lawn with a smile. He’s satisfied with the simple things and that’s something I’ve tried to live,” he said.
Brian, who hails from Appleton, Wis., has made a home for himself in the Ukranian Village area of Chicago. Adjusting to city life has not been the easiest thing for him, and after several years of residing in the city, Kachinsky is still working on becoming a true Chicagoan.
“I traveled so much doing my first few years as a pro. I constantly found myself in Chicago and decided that I should set up my home here. It wasn’t an easy transition, but I appreciate the experience,” he said.
The BMX pro comes from a small town and family, and although he no longer lives in the same city as them, he remains close to his parents and older sister. Brian is the only member of his immediate family to pursue an untraditional career. His father is a retired Army Lt. Colonel, his mother is a lab technician and his sister, who currently resides in South Carolina, is a news station editor. At first, his parents were not so understanding and supportive of his decision to go pro.
“Both of my parents were college educated. They believed in education. I think they saw me getting hurt and they didn’t like it, but now BMX is a bigger sport than when I first started. The tables have turned,” Kachinsky said.
Brian’s motivation to live up to his parent’s expectations pushed him to attend the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he graduated with honors and received a Bachelor’s degree in Consumer Science with an emphasis in Consumer Affairs and Marketing. His formal education gave him the tools he needed to manage the business side of his own career, making him one of the few BMX pro riders to manage their own career and obtain a college degree.
There have been a few times where it was not easy for Kachinsky. He has sacrificed a lot to continue pursuing his love of BMX, but he would not have it any other way. Brian has had multiple injuries since he has gone pro. Of those injuries, he has had a lot of trouble with his knees, resulting in three knee reconstructions. However, he has not let those injuries and troubles crush his spirit or stop him from riding.
“I get hurt just like every other athlete, but nothing can ever replace the things I’ve seen and the people I’ve met,” he said.
Brian said that he truly loves his job because it has given him the opportunity to travel, which has always been one of his goals. He has been riding free ever since he got his training wheels removed. He keeps going and does not stop.
“Riding a bicycle was my first taste of freedom. I remember thinking ‘now I can go wherever I can pedal.’ I just knew where I wanted to go and I went,” Brain said. “I used training wheels as a child. I can’t remember what I felt when I got them taken off, but sometimes I feel like I need them now.”
He said he loves doing tricks because they force him to push himself to new limits. However, he was not always so skilled at executing the tricks that have made him famous.
“At of all of my friends growing up, I was probably the most horrible one who tried to do tricks. Playing sports came natural to me, but I had to work at mastering my skills on the bike,” he said.
Brian continues to ride, finding news challenges and adventures along the way. He recently opened The Bakery, an indoor riding facility, in a former bread shop on the Southside of Chicago. The long, horrible winters inspired him to create the facility as a safe haven for riders during periods where riding outside is nearly impossible and dangerous.
“It sort of snowballed into a big thing. I just wanted a practice space. We thought of calling it ‘The Warehouse’ or ‘The Spot,’ but we chose ‘The Bakery’ in the end. I thought it was something cool. Now we have a worldwide following,” Brian said.
In addition to the Bakery, Brian, a longstanding member of the etnies BMX team, recently released his own signature colorway shoe with the brand. The etnies Jameson 2 Mid is a mid-top etnies shoe, featuring a leather upper, cupsole construction, a thin padded tongue and high collar for ankle support, STI Lite Level 1 footbed and 400 NBS rubber outsole with internal EVA midsole. Kachinsky said he chose the black and red colorway because it represented the signature colors of many Chicago sport teams.
Things have been getting better and better for Kachinsky. The pro BMX rider just won a Silver medal in BMX Street at the KIA X Games Asia 2011 in Shanghai, China this past May. With things rolling in this fast, it seems that he has not even gotten a chance to take a break.
“It’s cool getting recognized around the world for something you love to do. BMX is my passion. I’d do this forever,” Brian said.
Kachinsky is no novice to global recognition and world traveling. In the last year alone, Brian has traveled more than 100,000 miles. He has been to in the Middle East three times, riding through Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar with Bikes over Baghdad. He said it has all been an eye-opening experience for him.
“I rode through Saddam’s Palace and did tricks. It was one of those moments when you feel like you’re in a movie. It’s not like this is ancient history. It’s recent history — the dust is still settling,” he said. “It was special for me because during my father’s military career, he never got a chance to go to the Middle East, but through me and my travels, he’s lived that moment.”
Brian Kachinsky is very much like Forrest Gump. He has been in places and seen things that other people can only dream of being and seeing. However, he has not let his success and opportunities go to his head. Kachinsky is taking the moment to enjoy the small things, following in his father’s footsteps in his own unique way and riding his bike wherever his pedals will take him. Maybe we will see him at the end of his biopic, mowing the lawn with a smile.
What’s in your wallet?
My Wisconsin Driver’s License, credit cards, loads of cash and my United Mileage Plus Premier Executive Gold Card. When you get that card, airlines actually treat you like a human being.
What’s the most amazing place you’ve ever been?
In terms of beauty, it’d be New Zealand. The country offers post card scenery and natural beauty. I’ve been to over 20 countries since visiting New Zealand and none of them compare.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I’d go to the Trans-Siberian Railway, making stops every place I could along the way. Imagine how much unexposed history and culture dwells in some of those places.
Who are the top 5 artists in your iTunes right now?
Band of Horses, Slim Thug, Lil Wayne, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Rick Ross.
Where do you love to eat in Chicago?
For brunch, I like Milk & Honey on Division Street. I usually get the fruit yogurt with their house-made granola.
What ‘s the clothing item you can’t live without?
My hats. I love wearing hats.
What part of your bike do you love?
The pegs. Those 4 in. pieces of steel have taken me a long way. I do a lot of the tricks that I’m known for with them all the time.
A Few of His Favorites
MUSIC My taste in music changes all the time. It’s like ice cream — all the flavors are good. I’ll listen to anything.
COLOR I like gray, although I’d never use it to describe me. I’ve been a fan of blue as well.
FOOD I’ll eat anything spicy.
PASTTIMES Traveling and learning have always been passions of mine; those two go hand in hand.