Joe Rich Interview: Visionary rider & entrepreneur

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It is a super honor to have Joe Rich's interivew.
For people who don't know about Joe. I'd like to write a introduction.

Joe Rich Introduction

Joe has been a super hero among BMX riders.
If you devide pro riders into 2 group. 1 can be mainstream and the other would be underground.
Mainstream: Riders like Mat Hoffman, Jay Miron kicks ass at the contest.
and walk the mainstream.
Underground: Riders who can be seen through videos and magazines.
And the riders are very popular and very good at riding.
Joe Rich might categorized to the underground side.
He draws a lot of attention on every tricks he does.
Joe made a bike company with another super rider Taj Mihelich called Terrible One(T-1).
And in this interview Joe also talks about T-1

-Joe Rich video from Etnies ”Grounded”

Joe Rich and I

I first met Joe at the Summer of 1995 at Oklahoma Hoffman bike park.
I was very happy to meet him. As my friend told me Joe is a very friendly guy
I get to talk to him soon.
I felt very lucky.
Later that I kept in touch via e-mail, and met sometimes at contents, events, etc.
Joe's 360 invert over a spane and a air will blow your mind.
But the other Joe's wonderful point is his deep thoughts.
In this interview below you can read and feel his deep thoughts.
Please read and enjoy his interview not once but more than 3times.
And I hope you enjoy everytime you read his interview.
photo by: Jessica Hildreth

Joe Rich Interview

Please introduce yourself and tell us what you have accoumplished with BMX.

My name is Joseph North Rich. I've been riding a bike for 21 years now.
I think my biggest accomplishment in BMX is to have been riding for as long as I have, being able to enjoy every step of the way.
All of the amazing times along with the injuries too. It all has taught me one thing or another.
Even at this point that I am at now, I still want to do more. Its exciting to me.
photo by: Sandy Carson

What did you do before you start your own business?

I actually just moved to Austin when we started T1.
I had been just traveling and riding the 2 years prior to that.
But before that even, i was working in a bike shop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
photo by: Chris Hallman

What made you start your business besides riding BMX as a professional rider?

Kids yelling at me and Taj to start a company when we were at Woodward in the summer of 97 !
ha ha, no really, both Taj and I had coincidently quit our separate sponsors in May of 97 with no plans on doing a company at all.
We both had differences with the companies we each were riding for, and it came to a head for both of us at the same time.
We went to Woodward to work that summer together and the idea came when we were up there.
As time went on, a few more things fell into place. So we went with it !
photo by: John Povah

What's the good point doing your business? Point out 3 please.

Good points . . . lets see. #1, getting an idea and taking the steps towards making it a reality.
That's really exciting for me.
Once you have an idea, it can take a lot of work to make it happen.
Whether it be a t shirt design, or a frame, or a zine, or a video.
The process in route to the end result is the best. I love it.
Also, all of the amazing people I've gotten to meet and talk to just because they could relate to what we were doing with T1.
Sometimes its a random email, other times its someone coming up me in person That feels amazing.
And also, seeing people you don't know riding a frame, or wearing a tshirt, or having a sticker on their car.
It always takes me by surprise a bit.
I always think to myself, " Damn, its pretty cool that we decided to do this "
photo by: Keith Mulligan

Please tell me about some hard times during running your business.

Well, I would have to say that the hardest thing for me has always been balancing out the parts that, do in fact ,make Terrible One a business.
There certainly are times when I deal with it better than others.
And that could be one of my biggest problems too.
That fact that I'm inconsistent with how I run the business.
I hit spurts of inspiration and I feel that I am on top of everything I need to be.
Then something will disrupt that period, and I lose that spark.
For me, having T1 in my life, means that there are parts of it that are always on my mind.
And that can be draining without even realizing it.
I feel like the disruptions that I talk about, are things that take me away from thinking about it.
Even if only for a short period of time.
But even being out of it for a short period, can make it hard to figure out how to get back in that productive mode.
Because its a break from that constant way of always thinking about this , it feels nice.
I don't feel like I am a business man at all. Its not something that's in me.
I'm quite shit at being one. And for the past 3 or so years, I've been on my own when it comes to running it day to day.
Not to mention that I was also still making my living from sponsors I have for riding. So that inner struggle hurts as well.
I would think that I couldn't give 100% to either side because of the other side that existed.
When I would work a lot on T1, I'd feel that I was not meeting my obligations for being sponsored.
And when I'd be out riding all the time, I'd feel like I was neglecting T1.
I know it may not sound bad, but that would tear at me every day.
I can never quite figure out what the solution is.
photo by: Sandy Carson

photo by: John Povah

What motivates you to keep running your business even going through hard times?

My motivation comes from all that is around me. Life.
I can draw inspiration from any number of things on any given day.
I mean, why do we do anything?
Its because there is something that feels like its worth putting the effort in. Something that feels good within.
Sometimes it can be as simple as an email I get.
Or I can be sitting at the coffee shop listening to someone else talk about their life and that in turn makes me reflect on mine and all that I have to be grateful for.
And other times, I think about how I can really do anything i want to with T1.
So if I'm not doing what I want, or I'm not happy. Its my own fault.
Being a part of T1 has always made me self reflect on a regular basis.
I feel like it keeps me in check as long as I'm being honest with myself.
photo by: Jeremy Infelise

What is your vision after 5 years in your business side and bike rider side?

Hmmm, 5 years from now is a long time away.
But if it were up to me, this is what I'd like to imagine it would be like.
I'd like to think that I'd still rather ride my bike across town than drive my car.
I'd like to think that carving a bowl corner will always feel as good as it does to me today.
Progression for me now a days is about going higher and landing smoother.
If I'm still on that track of thinking 5 years from now, then I'll be doing ok.
Business wise .. . . ha ha. I got a lot of ideas for that.
I'd like T1 to still have that good feeling.
I'd like for us to be doing things that we are happy about.
Making stuff that we feel is a nice addition to everything else that's out there.
Also, I'd like to progress to being more than just a BMX company.
I'd like for it to be more of a mainstay with where I live in Austin.
It would be fun if T1 was even more like a clubhouse than it is now.
I would love to have the means to employ friends that are good people and have good ideas.
And T1 would be the highway of making those ideas realities.
Maybe there would be different diviisions of T1.
Making different kinds of bikes, doing fun events in Austin,
I have this dream of closing off a small part of the office and having a walk up smoothie/juice window.
I like thinking that whatever we would be doing, it would be improving someones life even if by a tiny tiny bit. ha ha.
photo by: Keith Mulligan

Do you have any expanding plan in your business?

I guess expansion can come at any time.
Its as simple as doing a new product, or adding to your website, or thinking a new thought you never have before.
Its all relavent in a way. I guess for me, expansion is always happening with each day that passes.
I have new products I want to do with T1, I have a new video I'd like to make, I want to do another zine, add some more fun times on the T1 ramp.
There's a lot really. And then there is stufff that I talked about in the answer above. So much is possible.
photo by: Tyrone Bradley

Any messages to the readers who ride BMX and dreaming to be a pro?

Hmmm, I guess this is a question I have a hard time giving advice about.
Mainly because its not something that I ever even considered myself when I grew up riding.
I feel like all that good that happened for me, just kind of happened. When I first started out, many of the big bike companies had summer tours that they put on.
GT, Haro, Skyway . . . . That meant that a few team riders would pile into a vehicle, haul a trailer around, that was also a fold out 1/4 pipe, and come various towns to do a show.
Usually there was flatland too.
I can remember back to the first one I ever went to.
I didn't ride BMX bikes at the time although I had built and jumped a few dirt bumps before.
By this I mean that we'd dig a hole and get the dirt to build a lip.
The purpose of the lip would be so that we jump the hole we just dug!
It was 1987 and I actually went to the show with my skateboard in hand.
It was a Kuwahara show. And there was this guy named Gabriel Maroquin that was just blasting the quarter pipe.
Everything changed for me that day.
I thought to myself, " that guy must feel the coolest things way up there ".
And that's what made me want to ride. Each year a different tour would come to town, it just got me more and more stoked to go do what I did on my bike.
I never EVER thought that reaching their level was even a possibility for me. I thought of those guys as if they were superheroes.
Time went on and I kept on doing what I was doing. I rode more and more.
I learned more, had more fun, and made more friends.
And those things just kept escalating. Its almost like I got to a certain level with riding before I even knew it.
And one day I got offered money so that I could ride all the time.
Riding was small back then, and there was no real hopes of ever making a living off of it.
I was just having so much fun.
Working a job was just a given, and I'd go ride when i was done.
Usually other people would ask when i was going to grow up.
But they always made me laugh to myself.
Because if growing up meant that I had to stop doing this thing I loved so much, then why would anyone want to give that up. . .
But today, that's not the case.
People can make a legit lifestyle/living off of riding their bikes.
There are outside sponsors that can literally change your life over night.
So that brings an element to riding that I never really grew up with.
All I know how to tell someone, is to enjoy what you do as much as you can.

photo by: John Povah

My impression

First I deeply appreciate Joe answered this interview.
From his interview I felt that Joe always sees the essence of the facts, not the surface.
I believe that is the key point to every skills( ex. solving, learning, thinking)
Also I got an impression that Joe is not greedy. His mindset is positive , eager to grow & learn.
I surmise it comes from his bike riding attitude that he've been riding for 22years.
Joe is a very positive man that you can feel the shining ray from his ora when you meet him.
That positive effect might come from his mindset that he cultivated through BMX and everything from his life by trying to progress & see from the essence of every facts.

I felt Joe really speaks from his heart for this interview.
I really felt it. and I believe that makes his answers are touching.
I guess the confidence in himself enables him to speak from his heart even for my interview.

I've felt so lucky and happy by reading his interview and I hope you felt the same.

Joe Rich Related Website

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