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PATRICK SCHOOLEN INTERVIEW

Patrick Schoolen has been around freestyle his whole life, everything revolves around his world of freestyle and flatland products. I mean what can I say, only that he knows everything there is to know of pros, products, contest and ect. He has done something good of the flatland society of the past and present. He has done a great deal of appreciation to some and now he has started his very own flatland parts only website www.flatlandfuel.com


Intro by: Chris Lilly
Interview by: Scott O'Brien



Patrick Schoolen, cross-footed front yard.Scott O'Brien: How many years have you been into the sport of freestyle?
My whole life really. I am a proud owner of the very first issue of Freestylin' Magazine-Summer 1984. I have been into it ever since then. I had several down years from about 90-95 when I was busy with school and women and really lost my direction but riding is my life now and always will be.

Scott O'Brien: Lately you have become kind of a guru for helping people out, do you enjoy helping out people with flatland specific products and questions?
I don't think guru is a good description but I do like helping others. When I got into bmx, there was no internet and no videos. All we had were sketchy how to's in magazines and shady bike shop owners telling us what to buy. Now with videos and the web, new riders have access to a lot more information. If I can be online and help someone with a question they have, maybe they will get fully into riding and reap the pleasure I get from it. That is my satisfaction. I help out at theflatlander.com as co-editor writing products reviews and doing the flat doc question column. Besides that I moderate on bmxboard.com I spend a LOT of time online so I hope somebody is getting some useful info out of me :)

Scott O'Brien: How do you feel about the progression of products in flatland? It has been a long time coming but we are finally seeing some better products coming out. Manufacturers are finally figuring out how to do aluminum frames so there are some aluminum frames out there that are really light. Besides aluminum, companies like London and Infinity are pushing 4130 to its limits and making super strong frames that don't weigh much more than aluminum. I am a die hard chromoly fan so you will always see me riding steel. Other than frames, a big frustration is the freecoaster hub. The Suntour is the standard by which all others are judged and no hub has yet been made that can stand toe to toe with the 20 year old Suntour design. Haro's new Turbine freecoaster hub and the Nankai Techo Lite are the only hubs that have showed some promise.

Scott O'Brien: What type of products do you think the future will bring us?

Flatlanders will always be waiting for the holy grail of freecoaster hubs: light, strong axle, sealed bearing, minimal slack and incredibly durable and reliable. With people like Mike Varley at Haro and G-Sport in the UK, I think we will see such a hub within the next couple of years.

Scott O'Brien: What are some of your favorite flatland products?
Lots of them :) As for frames, I don't think anything can compare to Infinity and London frames. The Quamen frame is also very high quality but its geometry is very quick and not very suited to a beginning rider. My Suntour hub is my baby. These things work perfectly and never let you down. If you can find one, buy it. I am riding a Haro freecoaster hub right now and it is working very well also. Odyssey products are also very high on my list . The Modulevers, 99er seat, Black Widow 165mm cranks, Brakeline cables and their tires all work great. Odyssey has really stepped it up the last couple of years and deserve some props.Lastly, I have to mention OG Griptapegs. These pegs are as light at anything else made but since they have stainless steel ends pressed into them, they will outlive any other flatland peg tenfold. No more crushed aluminum on the end of your pegs. Simple but genius.


Pat, the guy who knows everything in the flat-product world. Scott O'brien: What part on your bike has been there the longest? Until last year, I was riding the same Suntour coaster hub that my parent bought for my birthday in 1988. So 12 years on the same hub is not too bad. I replaced a few internal parts occasionally and the bearings many times but the shell of the hub held true until its flanges finally blew off :)

Scott O'Brien:
So tell us a little bit about Flatland Fuel and your motivation behind it? For years now, I have been selling new and used parts to my friends locally and on the web. I decided now I needed to step it up a bit and make it a professional operation and hopefully make a small living from it. I looked at the market and decided that a full blown mail order was out of the question. Stores like Dans, Trend and Albes are serving that market well already. The thing is though that while all of them sell flatland products, none of them sell everything and none of them really know much about flatland. I decided that although the flatland market is small, it was the market I wanted to sell to. There may not be much financial gain there but it's worth a try. So, www.flatlandfuel.com was born. The plan is to be a flatland only mail order shop that not only will sell the best flatland parts and accessories but also be a source of any advice you want. Flatlandfuel is part of theflatlander.com family and the store will be hosted on theflatlander's site. Soon, the www.flatlandfuel.com address will direct you to the store and theflatlander's site as well. The online store will start out slow with a great but small selection of goods. As we grow, the selection will inevitably get better. I am spending all my savings and maxing out credit cards to get this thing off the ground but even then, the money goes fast. I intend for the store to be very close to our customers. I expect every rider that buys something from me to become a friend of mine. I want to know about them, their riding and what they want from me. I have a lot of great friendships with fellow riders on the web and hopefully this will continue with flatlandfuel. <>

Scott O'Brien: Thanks.-----------------------------







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