30 Years of Van Homan: Part 2

Continued from 30 Years of Van Homan: Part 1.

Here’s a question from Leigh Ramsdell, “Exactly how good are you at camping?”

Haha, that’s like an inside joke but I’m pretty much amazing at camping. We went camping on this island in N.C. and I just dragged my roller bag and beer cooler right across the beach. Everyone else had these dialed hiking bags and mini stoves. I knew what to ask for come Christmas time.

Since part 1 was mostly old photos, I thought I’d start out part 2 with the most recent riding shot I have of Van. FDR morning chill session, October 2009.

Here’s another inside joke, Randy wanted to know why Darryl Tocco insists on wearing a chastity belt when he goes on road trips with you now.

I definitely have a bit of a sleep disorder. I definitely just get crazy in my sleep and sleepwalk and it’s an issue, a situation. Not “The Situation” but a situation. (laughs)

That’s awesome. So you’ve been known to cuddle on some random dudes in your sleep or anything?

Haha yeah it’s happened. One night Wiz and I were at a contest, we were sleeping in the same bed and I just started scratching his back in my sleep and he was just like ‘Homan what are you doing?’ He woke me up and I obviously stopped. I do crazy stuff in my sleep. Not just like Hotel groping as John Paul calls it. I walk around, I talk, I have problems. My wife has tons of stories. I’ve heard John Paul give safety tips in case you’re on a road trip with me, “Wrap yourself up really tight in your sleeping bag like a burrito and you should be safe.” (laughs)

Good to know. Speaking of Wiz here’s a question that he sent over, kind of another joke, but he wanted to know why you changed your name to V Ho.

(laughs) V Ho is actually a nick name that Wiz gave me. We were riding for Airwalk at the time and we did some demo/autograph signing. There were just a lot of kids so my name just kind of went from Van Homan to V– Ho— pretty quick and Brian Wizmerski went to Wiz.

This sprocket grind in Paris is obviously insane, but my favorite part about this photo is that it just stopped raining and everything is soaking wet. If you look close at the bottom steps you can tell. Photo by Garrett Byrnes.

I don’t know if you covered this in another interview or anything but did you ever mention the time where you got chased out of that pool and ditched the bike and ran?

I don’t think I’ve ever talked about that. Not that I can remember.

Okay well let me pose that question to you then. Have you ever been chased out of a pool?

Well I’ve been chased out of a lot of pools but this particular story that you’re referring to… We were riding a pool and the cops rolled up, or actually this guy rolled up and he started chasing us. Rob Dolecki was with me and we leaped over the barb wire fence really quick. Once we got over we took off in different directions. I don’t even know what direction I ran I just took off. I didn’t really know where I was. Dolecki ran back up to the car, threw his bike in the back and put a blanket over it. He started doing stretches and pretending he was a jogger. The guy was like, ‘Did you see a guy on a bike?’ He just said no and totally got away with it. I wasn’t as smooth haha. I got totally lost. I couldn’t find my way back to the car. I got super paranoid and kept thinking the cops were looking for a kid on a bike so I ditched my bike in the woods and just started walking on foot. Hours later I ended up like thirty miles away [Note: it was actually around 6 miles haha]. I finally found a phone and called you guys to come get me. This is when only really cool people had cell phones. I was in like Conshohocken, way far away from the pool or our house. I was just lost for the whole day. I hid my bike in some random cross section I had to go back and find it, I think it took us like an hour to find my bike again.

Not to mention my video camera, stashed in the woods.

(laughs) Everything panned out.

Another old photo, practicing for a show at Vet Stadium (rip) in Philadelphia. This may be the first appearance of Van’s famous red helmet that made the cover of Dig.

Speaking of losing video cameras, did you ever tell the story about the time you got robbed at gunpoint for the camera?

I’ve probably talked about it years ago.

Yeah you did probably mention that, it doesn’t even seem that exciting anymore.

Yeah it kind of is what it is, guy took out a gun said give me your camera and I did.

No wait, there’s a good story to that actually…

Is it Navaz’s fault? Haha he gets really pissed when I blame him. It might not have been him actually but I can’t remember. Somebody got a flat so his bike was being carried on someone’s bars. I just remember that they were being a baby about it. I ended up carrying the bike. I had to stop to adjust the bike and that’s when the guy rolled up on me. If I wouldn’t have had the bike in my hands he never would have been able to stop me to get the camera. We were like flying down a hill so it kind of sucked the way it happened. Man that was a long time ago haha. My story is a little foggy.

Tailwhip in Salt Lake City. Photo by Vincent Guedes.

My favorite part is that you asked him for the tape.

Yeah I tried to because there was good footage on that tape. I said “let me just get that tape” and the guy was just bugging out. He probably thought I was up to something but I really just wanted the tape because it had good footage on it. (laughs) I had to go and redo some stuff because of that which was kind of a bummer. There were some really good Pat Juliff and Wiz clips on that tape I think too.

You had to go do the rail to rail again because of that.

Yeah the rail to rail that’s in Criminal Mischief. I’d already done once and it worked first try. I remember going back and like the first two or three times I slammed super hard. I was just laying at the bottom of the rail like, “Man I shouldn’t even have to be doing this again!” I was being a baby about it, like so mad that I was getting wrecked after I already did it.

Here’s the only photographic evidence left from Van’s first rail to rail, pulled clean first try.

Here’s a Steve Crandall question, “What’s your favorite part of having a good time?”

(laughs) I guess the best part of having a good time is like… (pauses) I don’t want to say anything dumb.

You can think about that for a second. I’ll give you some time.

Everything I wanted to say wasn’t really appropriate. (laughs)

Well I guess that’s your answer right there.

I guess that is a pretty good answer right there.

Van won some MTV “Rider of the Year” award a few years ago. The trophy was a guitar and it was presented to him by Lil Kim.

How psyched are you that the Little Devil bowl is coming back?

Definitely really excited that the Little Devil bowl is coming back. It’s actually funny because I’ve been really spoiled for the past however many years that Little Devil and Orchid have had a private warehouse. I’ve had private keys to session a private amazing setup for years.This Saturday I was at the skatepark and it was just mayhem, kids everywhere, I’m like battling, bumping kids out of the way to get to the box jump. I was like back in the trenches, back to the roots, you know? So I’m definitely excited that bowl’s coming back. I’m a little nervous about those beams, I don’t know, might hold me back a little bit. The bowl coming back makes me feel like I have a time machine haha.

I think you’ll be okay.

We’ll see.

Tell everyone about the time you got us kicked out of Woodward, banned for life.

Derek Adams definitely got me banned for life from Woodward when I was 17 years old. Basically I went as a camper that same year. Derek was going up to Woodward for the night and I was like “aw man I want to go”. We were supposed to talk to Wessel or something about going up but he was away and it got really shady how we were supposed to get in. We just kind of went up anyway. So we were riding the dirt jumps and this guy just came up to me and he was like, ‘Weren’t you a camper here this year?’ I just got tongue tied and started telling him weird lies like “No I wasn’t a camper” but he knew I was and it just got really awkward. Then he took us to the office. He was actually really cool to us and he said, “You guys really aren’t supposed to be here, but I’m going to let you guys ride til the end of the day but you can’t stay the night. You have got to go home tonight after it gets dark.” So we were kind of bumming but at least he was kind of cool about it. Then after that Derek decided to go into the cabins and start selling t-shirts. I guess that’s a big no no and since we were already on thin ice the guy freaked out. We got escorted off the grounds and we got banned for life. About two or three years after that I got a letter inviting me to come ride Woodward whenever I want as a visiting pro. I was actually pretty excited. I wasn’t banned all that long, and luckily the ban didn’t stick.

Some old dirt photos from the days of baggy shorts and chain wallets.

Mine stuck for a while haha. I guess this interview is getting pretty long. Do you want to wrap this thing up, or thank anyone?

Okay, I’d like to thank my amazing wife Samantha for always being there for me, my parents, Chris Moeller and everyone over at Fit, Derek and Mike at Orchid, Steve and Corey at Duo. Big thanks to the Two by Four team and all the employees. Thanks to all the Two by Four customers for their loyal support. Thanks to the hundreds of people who have been willing to work with me and involve me in different projects over the years. I’m lucky to have meet so many great friends through BMX. Thanks!

Coming soon, 30 Years of Van Homan: Part 3 – The Photo Extravaganza. Until then enjoy Van’s classic video parts from Criminal Mischief (2001) and the 2×4 video (2007).

Continue to Part 3

Derek Adams

Orchid Footwear head hancho. Lover of beer, iphones and backflips.