Want a proper tour of Los Angeles? Let BMX rider Nigel Sylvester show you
He jumps from a helicopter downtown, zips through traffic along the Hollywood Freeway, and even vaults over a woman eating lunch in Chinatown — all while on his BMX bicycle.
In a performance that is both acrobatic and perilous, professional BMX rider Nigel Sylvester offers Angelenos a unique perspective on their sprawling city in a newly released video that is part of the athlete’s Go! series.
“When I do a ‘Go!’ video I’m looking to tell a very compelling story about my environment and my point of view as a rider,” Sylvester said. “My goal is to pay homage to the city that I’m filming in. I want locals from the neighborhoods of these cities to appreciate how I captured their home, but also make it exciting for people who’ve never been to that specific city and give them a true feel from my perspective of what it’s like.”
So far, the 28-year-old Sylvester has made videos in Los Angeles and his hometown of New York City. He also plans to shoot in other cities throughout the world.
Using a Sony Action camera, Sylvester begins his fast-paced tour of L.A. in grand fashion — from the belly of a chopper landing on a high-rise.
While performing tricks on his bicycle, Sylvester leads viewers through an apartment building where they catch a glimpse of him in a mirror.
From there, he pedals through downtown Los Angeles and helps the Lakers’ Nick Young dunk a basketball with an alley-oop toss. He then enters professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory and is taken on a go-cart ride.
Sylvester allows viewers to take a breather as he dives into a pool and meets a woman underwater.
But the interlude is brief.
Sylvester then jumps into the next leg of his tour, riding past homeless encampments on skid row (while reading a copy of the Los Angeles Times), zooming through a cloud of smoke in Chinatown and rolling through a low-rider meet-up in Elysian Park.
But it’s not all fun and games for the biker, who at one point is chased by a growling Doberman down a tony, palm-lined street.
Finally, after performing tricks at a school with friends and riding through Hollywood, Sylvester ends the tour at the beach.
Some of Sylvester’s stunts put him in frightening — and seemingly illegal — situations, such as when he rides between vehicles on a 101 Freeway access ramp or leaps over bystanders.
In most cases, the scenes were rehearsed and choreographed, but others, such as when he and friends ride through crawling traffic on the 101, were clearly not.
Asked if such stunts might put him at odds with law enforcement, Sylvester said only: “I have the utmost respect and appreciation for the law enforcement, they do so much to protect and serve our communities.”
Sylvester said he chose Los Angeles for his second video installment because the city “has a very special place in my heart.”
Before shooting the video, Sylvester said he and his team did their homework as to make sure not to miss anything.
“Capturing the real essence of a city is key for me,” he said.
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