Yohei Uchino: Soaring on Flatland

He hops. He skips. Then he jumps. The next moment, he’s doing a flip. No, the man wearing the Red Bull cap in these pictures isn’t a gymnast going about his daily chores. His name is Yohei Uchino, he’s Japanese, and he’s performing a few stunts on his compact bicycle. And he’s the reigning BMX Flatland champion.

If you’re not very well-versed with BMX, let me explain. BMX, which denotes Bicycle Motocross, is a form of extreme sports in which you use your bicycle to pull off some cool tricks. BMX riders practise and perform their stunts at different places – some prefer the streets, some take their bikes to a park or a dirt trail. And then you have those who ride on the flat surface of say, a basketball court or a parking lot. These are BMX Flatlanders.

Spend a minute or two observing 31-year-old “Ucchie” – as he’s more commonly known –ply his trade and you instantly sense a character who is one with his bike completely. BMX Flatlanding is not something he does out of lack of choice, or only for the money. This is mostly about the passion.