Yohei Uchino: Soaring on Flatland

Look at him spin the bike around, contorting and wrapping himself around the frame, hopping from one set of foot pegs to the other. Spend some more time watching him go about his business, and you’ll begin to believe Flatlanding is not sport, it is art. And the funny thing is, though his preference for athletics manifested itself early on (he could swim at age two, ski at five and he played baseball in school) Yohei wasn’t supposed to be a Flatlander. Neither was he clued into the BMX scene. Heck, at one point in time, he didn’t even ride a bicycle.

“I was 17 and an avid skateboarder. I had decided I would make a living out of an extreme sport, and one day, I was headed to a skateboarding competition. When I arrived at the venue, I was shocked to learn I’d been misinformed – this wasn’t skateboarding, it was a BMX Flatland event. I had to give it a shot, so I swapped my skateboard for a bike, and that’s how I became a Flatlander,” he says about his journey from being a skateboard-toting teenager to the free-wheeling BMX Flatland World Champion that he is today.