RETURN TO THE 36TH CHAMBER

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An Interview with Cookie:

Food was a little difficult on this trip. What did you make of it?

If it wasn’t for the discovery of ‘Vegetarian Lifestyle’ complete with English picture menu, our daily nutritional intake would’ve remained at an all time low. It began with much promise as the few days Kane was in tow he showed me the way to non-spicy breakfasts and noodley treats complete with beans, eggs and greens. The rest of the time it was a translation lost affair, resulting in daily 45 minute sit offs on the bog, gipping as a cold tofu dish that resembled separated milk slithered down the gullet and the overuse of chillies, salt and msg that was most definitely hazardous to your health. The fact I never checked in to see Ronald once in the 3 months I spent in India prior to this trip, yet saw the golden arches on numerous occasions in Chengdu shows you the state of culinary depression I found myself in. Having said that it was great sitting off at self-serving BBQ Bitch on an evening for a greasy hit and Hot-Pot night was a peak despite it being more like ingesting a hallucinogenic drug than going out for a meal.

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What did you make of the Chinese BMX scene?

It was a rather eclectic mix of Nu school tricksters that seemed to have all the up to date manoeuvres but chose to ride the flat ground (middle of the road) outside the hostel till 5am every night. It was as if they were unaware of all the spots around them or unsure of how to take it to a setup. I’m certainly an advocate of learning to do a feeble grind before you get the hop truck on flat down. Wen was definitely on another level when it came to street nous and spot knowledge, top bloke.

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How did it feel to be followed around by 30 kids on riding sessions?

For me it was incredibly odd considering I regularly ride with only one other person due to people being on different agendas with work/commitments at home. It was made all the more weird upon hearing that the majority had made long journeys to be in Chengdu for our arrival. I am not and have never considered myself to be a BMX pro or even well known for being a rider it’s just what I do, so having the go pro on a stick out pretty much 24/7 from leaving the airport was an experience I’d rather not have to repeat so soon and more importantly large groups are pretty much the pits for incognito street riding.

Who made you laugh the most on the trip?

Probably Big Andy Clarky, always well equipped with accented anecdotes whilst mopping his brow with his daily shop bought hand-towel. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him verge ever closer to losing the plot thanks to some of the insanity Chengdu had to offer and also his blossoming bromance with Sandy and their boyish enthusiasm for anything that moved quickly. Mischievous.

What was the craziest moment of the trip for you?

Riding 11 days in a row before we took a day off (it rained and 2 members of our crew had been hospitalized). Riding 10km plus in the peak heat of day up a mountain to ride a skatepark. Regularly riding over 7 hours in dense humidity fueled only by infrequent stops at shops that sold only water and dried crispy product. Finally succumbing to exhaustion and trying to find somewhere to ‘do lunch’ at 9 o’ clock in the evening. All of these qualify in my mind as way more insane than being held at knife point by a triad with a missing hello kitty plush.

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Would you go to China again or is enough enough?

I would never return to Chengdu without my bike. The spots were plentiful and seemingly endless as the city continued to sprawl but it had very little else to offer me in terms of happiness. I would never turn down a return to China though as I believe it has so much more to offer culturally than what I saw in Chengdu and I know that other Chinese cities will be just as brimming with setups.

What do you think of China as a place in general?

Chengdu was a city of stark contrast. Much like the food, I sampled exquisite cuisine and also consumed the most disgusting of dishes. I found it a very cold-hearted place where the pursuit of greed and capitalist ‘progress’ through the building of endless high rises to house global businesses in a communist country full of forgotten poor people rather strange. There seemed to be no love for the fellow man and especially animal as highlighted by the sight of an endangered Sea Turtle illegally for sale in the horrendously kept fish market or the old man who thought nothing of kicking his little dog about the street. On the other hand I found many of the people to be humble and mild-mannered none more so than Big Mr. P who ran our hostel, although I still can’t comprehend their fondness for crunching on chicken feet as an appetizer.

You instantly re-took up smoking when you saw the price of cigs, did you kick the habit when you got back to the UK?

Pretty much. I may slip up for the odd few bines if I’m having a bevvy on the weekend.

Whats the most you paid for a pack of fags?

Ahem. Thanks to a combination of language barrier, hunger, profuse sweating and downright confusion I managed to purchase a fancy pack of imported shanghai bad lads for somewhere around the £7 – £8 region. Having left the shop and opened the packet before realizing I should be exchanging around 7 yuan not 70, the penny literally dropped. I’d paid ten times over the odds for pack of tabs when I was only buying them because they where dirt cheap. Getting laughed at by the locals and called ‘rich man’ when in fact I was the only one out of our crew unemployed at the time and with the lowest daily budget ensured this haunted me for the rest of the trip.

Being a professional in the pub industry for many years, what did you make of China’s drinking culture?

Pretty stinky. The only actual bar I entered was an ‘Irish pub’ (ultimate faux pas) full of dicks and playing awful music. That Jellyfish place looked equally as stinking so I choose to remain outside and just got cans from the street mans. We pretty much just stooped it up on the street for beers in the evening and considering the majority of the beverages barely got over the 3% mark and the locals would always share a bottle between them it’s no wonder they didn’t know how to sort out a proper boozer.

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An interview with Clarky:

Food was a little difficult on this trip. What did you make of it?

It was the combination of the mind and arse melting MSG spice and the lack of food stops while we were out riding plus skipping key meals that turned me into a stroppy little prick! I’m not a fussy eater but I couldn’t survive on paprika crisps and ice lollies all day. I ‘lacked the minerals and vitamins, irons and niacin’. I wish I’d taken over some cup- a- soups or something similar to keep my stomach settled.

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What did you make of the Chinese BMX scene?

I was well more into the electric moped scene, they were everywhere. If I lived there I’d be chipping about on one of them like everyone else.

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How did it feel to be followed round by 30 kids on riding sessions?

Bit mental, I didn’t really know what was going on when that happened. Cameras whizzing around everywhere, go pros on sticks, in your face, down your shorts, every angle covered. People soon got bored of following us around when they realized we all ride rubbish stuff and couldn’t stop sweating.

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Who made you laugh the most on the trip?

Stand out comedians were Wozzy, Sandy and Tommy C. We tried getting as many photos with locals as possible, proper English dickheads. Cookie made me laugh, everyone had their moments and Orlando’s sleep chatter kept me and Wozzy entertained for days. I had the same feeling as being on a naughty boys trip with school, endless pissing around and the odd telling off.

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How do you balance riding and filming?

It was pretty much the same as at home but with more people and heat. I just tried to keep my eye out for what people were doing so they didn’t have to ask to film something and if I saw something I fancied doing Id just give the camera to Landi, Marv or Sandy. Helped having two cameras so If I just wanted to ride or couldn’t be arsed filming, someone else would do it.

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What was the craziest moment of the trip for you?

There were a few, knife man shit me up! He was kicking off with us because we messed around in his crumby nightclub and ended up pulling a blade out on us swinging it around, I ended up slipping on my arse but we all escaped unscathed. The stand out moment was where I wigged out near that murky river from the lack of non spicy food, it was too hot and id only eaten a miserable croissant and I  felt weird from all the chilies curdling in my bland English stomach. I wandered off to get a drink while Chicken was doing that wall ride barspin on the video. I ended up in some peasant market that was full of dead chickens, ducks and eels on tables having the flies occasionally swatted off them by the shopkeeper. The smell fucked me up, I aint used to that shit and not one for flaky backpack dreadlock holiday hippy experiences where everything is beautiful. It was a greasy shithole that street, I had to have a sit down after going down there.

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Would you go to China again or is enough enough?

Enough’s enough.

You did a great job on the video, are you happy with the way it turned out?

Yeah, first time I’ve done this shit for a ‘company’ and the only time I’ve had a set amount of footage to make something with. It was mint because I’ve known and rode with most of the crew before so it was easy. Orlando doesn’t give a fuck and left me to my own devices. I wouldn’t have done it otherwise or if it was for some lame ride to glory video, I aint in this to be a filmer or to daisychain riders or any corn ball shit like that.

The Chinese medical services leaves a lot to be desired, maybe you could explain your experience getting the ambulance to Chicken?

Chicken had his wing clipped and broke his collar bone pretty bad near the end of the trip. Its a pretty long story so I’ll keep it short. I basically ended up on the back of an old mans moped speeding off to a hospital miles away .The old guy was ace though, he just bounced into this hospital that looked like something from World War 1 and shouted at people to get an ambulance. I was the tallest one in the place, it was fucked inside. People running about everywhere. Everything was cash, you had to pay for an ambulance like a taxi. I ended up being gestured into the front seat of it and an ambulance driver came out with three nurses and shot off down the street. The old guy appeared on his moped and led the convoy, sirens blaring, I’m sat there like a knob eating a packet of crisps I’d brought with me before I got on the ped. It was a bit of a hectic blur to be honest. Map mind Cookie had made his way back to the hostel to get Chickens passport and insurance. Do people who don’t ride or skate have to deal with this sort of shit?

What do you think of China as a place in general?

It was a mad place, not as weird as I thought it would be but it was mental. They eat anything man, I thought it was a myth but nothing that breathes is safe over there.

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Wozzy’s guide to the Women of Chengdu:

How do you like Chinese Woman?

Most are good, all the females have stream line bodies in the far east, not much fat. I’m guessing from all the hard graft 21 hours a day at work. Some can be deceiving, you can be perving at a nice body from behind then the woman turns around and is about 50.

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You have visited to 2 cities now i China how do you rate the woman in Chengdu compared to Shanghai?

Chengdu women have better faces, are prettier and dress quite wel. Pint size pin up bods with an Asian lick of Szechuan spice. Shanghai girls were more plain Jane and the Tibetan women you see round just look a bit sketch Gypo style.

Chengdu is supposed to have the most beautiful women in China, does this bode well for the rest of the country?

What I saw was top shelf quality. I took more notice in Chengdu, I lost my sex drive in shanghai, a lots happening around you to think about and the smog pollution wrecked my head.

When you were in Japan some of the women were very interested in the size of your penis, have you ever encountered that kind of thing in China?

The girls seem more approachable and interested in westerners in Japan, or just curious about the westerners penis size. Maybe a woman saw me having a piss up a wall in China once, otherwise nothing close.

What do you make of Chinese female fashion?

Nice well fitting, good on the right colours, shoe, skirt, top/dress combo’s. I don’t no… Girls fashion isn’t something I’m clued up on 100%. A fit bird can pull anything off and visually it looks ace. I’ve always said “if she looks good in her work clothes she looks even better out of them”.

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Whats the closest you got to getting off with a bird on the trip?

I put my arm round two girls for pictures and gave some Bruce Willis Die Hard rescue lifts. Might have got a smile once too getting off the plane home. I also touched a girls hand when she was giving me my change back in 7-11.

Would you ever frequent one of the Chinese massage parlors for a happy ending?

 I don’t know if I could be arsed hunting one down. China drains you from being able to do anything. Maybe if aloud it would have been nice one afternoon while it was humid and muggy but Orlando likes to get everyone rolling before noon and after riding i was happy just coching off, relaxing and chatting shit.

How do the women in China compared to English girls?

I think they are more make do, tough, get on with it bastards. They can walk perfect in high heels through low visibility smog, over gutters, pot holes, rubble, engine oil spillage, fish guts, where as English birds complain if the taxi don’t reach the curb before they take a step.

How many wanks did you have on the trip?

Zero. I had to keep a clear mind. China’s not the place for fantasist day dreamers. The plane was probs a bit more over weight going home though…

What do you think of the ex-pat girls in the euro style bars?

Boring lezbo bitch’s that think they’ve done it all cos they went to see the pandas.

What do you think of the Chinese girls in the euro style bars?

I didn’t see many. About two. I’m sure they were just hired to make the bar look good…

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Tommy C’s guide to drinking in China:

Food was a little difficult on this trip, did cheap beer make up for it?

Nothing could make up for how my arse felt the day after some of those meals. I probably apologized to it on a couple of occasions while sat on the toilet in a delusional state!

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What did you make of the Chinese Beer?

Low percentage but really cheap

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How many beers do you think you consumed a day?

2 or 3. Some may say otherwise…

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Who got drunkest on the trip?

Orlando

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What was the craziest drunken moment of the trip for you?

Probably most things that happened Wozzy’s birthday night out; Eating food that looked like it had been cooked in Satan’s piss, singing auld lang syne round the dinner table, having shots of  Chinese whiskey while blowing raspberry’s on peoples bellys, getting a lift to the jellyfish bar on the back of wens motorbike and then having the night end with some people getting threatened with a knife and me with someones belt all over a disappearing hello kitty teddy!

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Would you drink Chinese beer back in the UK?

As a last resort

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The Chinese pubs and bars are a little different to back home, can you explain some of the differences?

The locals love challenging you to a dance off. The toilets have a hole in the floor instead of a toilet and you can smoke inside. Sounds a bit like a Monday night at corp in 2005.

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What do you think of Chinese drinking culture in general?

Not like back home. But we didn’t have many bars round by where we were staying to check out though. I Would have paid good money on a few occasions to have a nice pint of ale in a tankard glass instead of a bottle of snow.

Do you think Wozzy paints you in a bad light?

Always. Anyone that knows Wozzy well enough knows that he likes to embellish the truth a little to get a few extra laughs out of people. With some of the things he’s done in the past that I know about he hasn’t got a leg to stand on.

Are make trips one big piss up?

Only when given the nod “what you doing C?”

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An Interview with The Count:

Food was a little difficult on this trip. What did you make of it?

I did not enjoy it. Honestly i don’t know how you can survive eating that stuff all day every day. Miscellaneous fly covered meat cooked in searing inferno chilli death.

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What did you make of the Chinese BMX scene?

Chinese BMX scene?

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How did it feel to be followed around by 30 kids on riding sessions?

Like i was in Jimmy Savilles wet dream, ha. Honestly stressful. If they were wanting to watch the gnar shred they followed the wrong team.

What did you make of the hostel?

Not as bad as I thought it was going to be actually. There were toilets you could sit on so that was good. I spent most of my time on them…

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Who made you laugh the most on the trip?

Lets be honest, ask anyone and they’ll say Clarky, fuckin laugh riot that guy.

Your a pretty chill dude, do you ever have a plan or agenda when it comes to riding? Or is it just a case of see it do it? Or do you like to make sure you do good stuff every day?

Drinking is usually the agenda. Especially when the Sheff contingency is around to help. My technical ability is low so if I see something I can do I’ll do it i guess.

Being the only married man on the team, whats it like leaving the Mrs for long periods of time?

Best be careful here. I didn’t have time to think about it, I was concentrating so hard on not dying of overheating with the miles we rode everyday in the humidity, and not shitting my self, and generally avoiding death in some way.

What was the craziest moment of the trip for you?

Riding hours to a secret spot with the locals. Turned out it was a skate park. Great. Or knife wielding Triad dude. That was bad too.

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Would you go to China again or is enough enough?

Glad I went. But that was plenty for me. Too spicy!

How do you feel about being dubbed the most attractive member of the team by David?

The man knows what he’s talking about!

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An Interview with Chicken:

Food was a little difficult on this trip. What did you make of it?

Yeah, it was hard work, even the BBQ spots were hard work! McDonald’s really helped though! One night we even had a pizza hut, now that’s living! I found I couldn’t eat enough to get full. Just felt hungry most of the time.

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What did you make of the Chinese BMX scene?

They like to ride in the road on the flat!? At night! Weird… There’s a lot to ride but they really session the flat! Also looks like you have to have a lot of money out there to ride bmx. Everyone had brand new t shirts on every day! All those horrible come up t’s and that crap. Almost like they do it for the scene points not the enjoyment of riding?? Maybe I’m being harsh…

How did it feel to be followed round by 30 kids on riding sessions?

Its a pretty weird experience, it got to me a bit as I find it hard to ride in front of people anyway! It made riding some spots almost impossible because of the volume of people there.

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Who made you laugh the most on the trip?

Wozzy, Clarky, Count, Cookie, Shank, C, everyone really. Not Loz though, he’s just not funny…

What was the craziest moment of the trip for you?

The craziest moment was standing in a Chinese hospital with a broken collar bone waiting for an xray. Proper madness.

Would you go to China again or is enough enough?

I’d go to China again as I had such a good trip when we went to Shanghai, that place was amazing! Loads of good food and spots! It’s just a place you’ve got to go at least once in your life. Sometimes it feels like you’ve slipped into the 4th dimension!

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The Chinese medical services leave a lot to be desired. Maybe you could explain your experience?

Not a good experience. The Hospital was just a nightmare. There was no organization at all! Just a wooden school desk looking table where you book your self in. In the xray room when the door closed there was rusty water running down the walls and shit like that. Orlando helped me out a lot to be fair. If he wasn’t there I think I would have lost my mind. Also big thanks to David for sorting out the whole thing in the end.

What do you think of China as a place in general?

China is a big place you know and Ive only been twice and both trips were completely different.

You had to leave the trip early, did it feel like an escape?

Yeah i guess it did feel like a lucky escape, but a 12 hour flight with a knackered collar bone ain’t fun, but at least I got to eat some proper food that filled me up.

Are Make trips bad luck for you?

Nah, not really. I don’t really come off much at all but when I do it’s normally pretty bad. I’m not used to riding everyday for a week solid so I guess sometimes you just let things slip and accidents happen. Could it be the beers every night though?

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An Interview with Marv:

Food was a little difficult on this trip. What did you make of it? Most meal times were difficult to negotiate. Egg Bitch was alright for a few mornings, until she put the prices up. BBQ Bitch was good, but we didn’t want to go there every night.
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What did you make of the Chinese BMX scene? Pretty new.
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How did it feel to be followed around by 30 kids on riding sessions? I found it quite off putting but then i didn’t want to tell them to fuck off.
Who made you laugh the most on the trip? Probably Orlando or Clarky.
You were the self proclaimed Best Rider on the trip, do you think the video does this justice? A lot of bob chat goes down over two weeks.
What was the craziest moment of the trip for you? I was very impressed with Count hangering that rail on the first day. Something mental happened everyday with the general public though.
Would you go to China again or is enough enough? I’d like to go again. Maybe somewhere with better food and slightly less humid. It felt like an endurance test, dealing with everything but getting to ride all these great spots. The spots were the reward for all the other shit.
You had to leave the trip early, did it feel like a lucky escape? Kinda, yeah.
The Chinese medical services leave a lot to be desired, maybe you could explain the service you received? It was like a pay as you go service with lots of injured/ill people everywhere. There was one guy wearing nothing but his y fronts and a colostomy bag smoking fags in the waiting room. Another guy burnt very badly in a bed waiting in the hall. And the ward was insanely busy.
What do you think of China as a place in general? Similar to America but just from a different angle.
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An Interview with Shaun Hadlington:
You had to leave the trip early, even though you didn’t get hurt yourself you did the honorable thing for your mate. Did it feel bad to leave early or a like lucky escape?
I wouldn’t say say it was a lucky escape, the food and humidity was definitely difficult to get used to but I would have liked to see it through to the end. I kinda had no choice with going back with chicken as we live so close to each other!
How did this trip compare to last time we were in China in Shanghai?
To say both trips were in China they felt completely different, the spots were a lot more my style in Shanghai and plus they had the smp park which was always wicked! Also Shanghai has the BBQ spot!
Food was a little difficult on this trip. What did you make of it?
Yeh the food…… Basically you had the choice of spicy as fuck so you can’t taste anything but a painful burn! Or you had no spice but then the food had no taste at all. But I’ll never forget the first meal we had, to see everyone’s faces when the white slop in a bowl turned up. If I wasn’t crying from laughter I was crying in pain!
Having no pegs how did you get on with the street spots?
Well what could I do apart from get out the iPhone and take pictures and videos of grinds and the locals, both interestingly foreign to me!
Maybe a lot of people don’t know but you permanent injury to your arm, how does this affect you on trips like this?
Yeh the arm isn’t too bad these days, it probably helps that Ive stopped riding so much street in the last few years so it’s not getting a battering from dropping stairs. I just struggle with riding day after day for a few weeks so I just take it easy for a few days.
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How does you liver enjoy all the beer on these trips?
Haha well as I don’t really drink when I’m at home I do struggle to keep up, I just enjoy seeing Tommy C and The Count get a bit loose and watch the trouble unfold!
You’ve been to China on Make trips twice now. Would you go again or is enough enough?
I wouldn’t say I’d never go again cus Shanghai was a wicked trip! But I’d certainly like to try some countries that speak English and serve normal food.
What did you make of the Chinese BMX scene?
It’s pretty incredible to see how many riders there are in the city and yet we go there for 2 weeks and find more spots than they show us! There interesting folk to say the least but then again I bet they think that about us when we stop to ride a curb! Haha
How did it feel to be followed round by 30 kids on riding sessions?
Yeh it was interesting to have so many spectators, I definitely would rather they weren’t following us like shadows but then that’s the whole reason we are there so I just get on with it and try to blank them out.
What did you make of the hostel?
I thought the hostel was pretty decent , it had your typical hostel heads that travel to amazing cities and don’t leave the hostel. But it had a good stoop for sitting off after a days riding and there was plenty going on out front. Plus they had euro toilets so it was a winner in my eyes!
Who made you laugh the most on the trip?
There was no one in particular but the combination of everyone together created quite an amusing atmosphere, it was my first time meeting Wozzy, Clarky and Shane and they’re all really sound guys! Clarky and Sandy were like a doubles comedy act 24/7. But the banter was top notch even tho I couldn’t join in some of the time cus I didn’t really no everyone that well! All in all tho it was an awesome crew!