Nigel Sylvester is a force within the BMX community. The New York native developed a penchant for riding at a young age, and has used those skills and more to carve his own path within the world of professional BMX riding. Sylvester doesn't compete in BMX competitions, but you'll likely find him cruising through various New York boroughs, evading cabs and quickly identifying the best spots to perfect a new trick.
Luckily, the 33-year-old found time in between launching his new foundation, signing on as a Hyperice ambassador and organizing his massive sneaker haul to speak with Yahoo Sports about the aforementioned topics and more.
Yahoo Sports: Let's start with the basics. How did you get into BMX riding?
Nigel Sylvester: Growing up in Jamaica, Queens, BMX bicycling was always a part of my life. Almost like a right of passage. I grew up watching my older cousins and older brothers have cool bikes and I always found cycling as a place where I can truly express myself. You know, what was happening in my imagination and what I was thinking. I was able to translate those things through BMX riding. At the age of 12, I discovered there were professional BMX riders doing this for a living. I was hooked and decided that's what I wanted to do. I dedicated every moment I had to running tricks, working on my style and overall perfecting my craft.
YS: What led you to decide not to compete?
NS: My style of BMX is called street riding. So, I use the natural elements around me to do tricks. For example, where someone would use a handrail on staircases to get from the ground level to the second floor of a building, I use that handrail to grind on and attempt tricks. As I was coming up in the world of BMX, there weren't many contests catered to that style of riding. So the main focus was creating content. I didn't want to be defined by competitions I wasn’t passionate about. So, I decided to instead stay in this lane and use the internet to share my story and control my narrative. I'm happy I made that decision.
YS: Since you don't compete, what does your training look like and how does Hyperice play a significant role in helping maintain your form? What are some of your favorite Hyperice products?
NS: I've been riding at the professional level for over a decade now. What I put into my body and how I take care of it is so important because that contributes to my longevity. Partnering with the global leader in the recovery and technology space and a company that cares about athletes and works with some of the most elite athletes was something that really intrigued me. A big part of the longevity of my career is recovery.
After I stretch and get loose for a ride, I reach for my Hypervolt. I use it on my thighs, forearms and various muscles I use the most. On any given day we'll go out for a ride and cover 10-20 miles. Bicycle riding is a full body workout first and foremost. When you add the element of doing tricks, it increases the intensity. Post-ride I get into my Normatec to calm down and cool out.
YS: Let's talk about your foundation. Describe the feeling you had while making the announcement you were starting a non-profit on Good Morning America Thursday?
NS: To be able to launch the Nigel Sylvester Foundation was a dream come true. There were two motivating forces that inspired me to start this foundation. My mother, who was very instrumental in teaching me the importance of giving back and the power of a bicycle's ability to bring communities together. I wanted to tap into that deeper and promote a safe space for people to learn and get into cycling. We have some fun things planned in the future like fundraisers, bike drives and community bike rides throughout the city.
Actually, one thing I'm doing with Hyperice that's really cool is creating a recovery room at my high school, which will be the first one at the high school level. It's going to be packed with state-of-the-art Hyperice products and we'll be sharing the importance of recovery with students. I hope it will extend the athletic careers of the kids we're working with.
YS: You have a massive sneaker collection. Besides the pair you created with Nike, what are some of your go-to sneakers?
NS: That's a really good question. The shoes in my current rotation are Jordan 1 High and Low, the Charles Barkley Air Max 94, the classic all-white Air Force 1 and the Jordan 3.
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