For Dakota Roche, BMXing isn’t just an obsession: It’s a lifestyle.
Raised in Orange County, Calif., Roche was exposed to a culture of biking, surfing, and skateboarding from a young age. For those around him, the question was not if Roche would gravitate toward one of the sports, but when and to which one? In this episode of Urban Playground, presented by Toyota Tacoma, Roche explains how BMXing caught him early, and it hasn’t let go.
“I’ve been riding for 19 years now,” Roche says. “I wouldn’t know life any other way than this.”
Roche spends all day on his bike, looking to refine his craft and searching for new riding locations that are ideal for performing stunts. He scours the Southern California area for eight or nine hours a day to find ditches, pipelines, and abandoned lots where his creativity on the bike can run wild.
“There’s session spots, and then there’s one trick wonder spots where it’s like, ‘This is the spot for this trick, so I’m gonna do it here.’”
Roche is a master of manipulating his surroundings. He’s able to take one look at a new place, envision what he can do there, and plan his stunts accordingly. The “one trick wonder” spots are particularly exciting for the BMXer because they frequently appear unexpectedly and force Roche to push himself on the bike.
But if you ask Roche where his favorite spots to ride are, he’ll tell you something interesting: They’re the spots he discovered on his own. It’s rewarding for Roche to sweep dirt and garbage out from underneath a bridge and turn the forsaken area into his personal backyard where he can shred for hours on end.
Whether it’s scaling 10-foot walls, doing 360 jumps off a rail, or jumping a dirt hill, Roche loves clearing obstacles in his path. The satisfaction of accomplishing his goals on the bike is second to none, and he’s up for trying something he’s never done before—even if it takes some practice.
“Rolling on the ground all the time, my body pays for it daily,” says Roche. “But I wouldn’t have it any other way.” It’s his drive to get back up and try it again, as well as his conquer-this-stunt mentality that makes Roche one of the most talented and determined dudes to ride a BMX bike.
We all have goals in life, and in order to achieve those goals, we need things that keep us motivated. For Dakota Roche, riding is that motivator. “[Riding] keeps me sane, to be honest. It’s something to focus on,” says Roche. “There’s not a whole lot of things in life that are like that. I’m more motivated now than I ever have been, and it just keeps building up as time goes on.”
You can call Dakota Roche a BMX superstar, aficionado, fiend, or junkie. Take it from him: “I don’t see an end in sight.” Regardless of labels, one thing is absolutely clear: The guy’s got an enduring passion for biking.