Sidehack Love: Greyboy & Truly Odd Revamp The Hack
Interview by Keith Mulligan from Ride BMX issue 155 (May, 2009).
Sidehacks came onto the BMX racing scene in the early 70s. One bike, two riders, three wheels, and a whole lot of hangin’ on. The races were entertaining, the crashes were gnarly, and the guy in the hack was called the “monkey.” These heavy pieces of machinery were no stranger to the freestyle world either. Search around and you’ll find photos of sidehacks being ridden in the classic cement skateparks of California back in the days when mag wheels were turning, checkerboards were in, and there were more colors in freestyle than tricks. Then, for the most part, sidehacks disappeared.
Let the record skip to 2009, and there’s a pair of guys on a brand new hack bombing hills, airing spines, and grinding coping with diehard dedication and love for it. Andreas Stevens (a.k.a. DJ Greyboy) and Patrick Freitas (a.k.a. DJ Truly Odd) are well known and established in the music world, but now they’re making a name for themselves in BMX…
Let’s start off with some background info. You’re both known as DJs, but how did you get into BMX?
Greyboy: We both rode bikes as kids. That was like our main source of fun really, BMX. He grew up in NorCal and I was in Southern California, but we both rode and raced. We both kind of left bikes when we were in our late teens and then got back into it.
Truly Odd: My first BMX bikes were like 1975-76. I was wantin’ to be like Evel Knievel—I just wanted to ride in dirt. I was racing by maybe ’79 and then I raced up to ’85 and then again in ’94. But in between there, around ’85, we both got into music and started DJing.
Greyboy: We got back in through old-school bikes and then we just started riding new bikes again because we wanted to ride and you can’t ride old bikes. We collect old bikes, we’re just into BMX in general—all the eras. I got my first BMX bike in ’79 and then I started racing like a year later, and I sucked, but I wanted to race and ride dirt. I got out of it…like ’84 was the last time I saw a BMX bike until I got back into it in the 2000s.
How did you guys get into sidehacks? I mean it’s pretty random, completely unknown by most kids today, and an almost forgotten part of BMX…
Greyboy: When I got back into the old bikes, my next-door neighbor, who was a kid I raced with, had a Littlejohn sidehack, and we used to mess around on it. I wanted one, so I got an old-school one. We were at Bellflower at some gathering and I had the sidehack with me and we were like, “Let’s take it in the pool and just f-cking see if we can carve around the bowl with it.” That was pretty much the beginning of it.
Truly Odd: Him having the hack, and then the old-school gatherings, that’s where we’d get on the hack and start riding around and fooling around. Then the [ABA] was going to throw a national and have a little sidehack race in between…
Greyboy: Oh, that’s right.
Truly Odd: And so it was like, “Oh yeah, let’s race, get back on it…”
Greyboy: We won the race, and then we won the Redline nationals race and then it was just like, f-ck, we can do this sh-t, even though we’re old [laughs].
Truly Odd: The radness, just BMX, the bug just gets you.
From the helmets you guys wear to the T-shirts and jerseys, it’s obvious you guys have an appreciation for the old stuff. Do you do a lot of collecting or are there just certain things you are into?
Greyboy: It’s pretty much obsessive [laughs]. You kinda start [by saying], “I want to build my childhood bike.” And then it just turns into…I remember a dude telling me, this guy was a big dude into the hobby at the time, he was like, “Oh, you’re building your first bike? You’ll have 15 in like a year.” I’m like, “15 bikes? There’s no way I’m going to have 15 bikes.” I was like 24 bikes deep after the first couple of years—just ridiculous—way too many bikes [laughs]. But it’s just kind of like that, you get an appreciation for it and then you just start to appreciate bikes you never even had or heard of just from a design standpoint, and we just really dig BMX from all the angles. And the finest bikes are always fine design.
So tell me about Hercules.
Greyboy: That’s a little idea that we came up with for our own sidehack company.
Truly Odd: We felt like the sidehacks from the past [used] an old design that needed to be redesigned in a way that we wanted to ride it—in the parks and on the street—and you couldn’t do that on the old ones, they weren’t holding up. So we wanted to make a hack—kinda design a hack-2009 by people that rode a hack—make the best hack possible for us to do our thing.
Greyboy: And with the technology now, the new stuff’s killer—way less bolts to turn and way lighter. It should be pretty cool, we’ll see what happens. We get crazy reactions every time we’re out with it. It seems like even just a regular person who has no interest in BMX gets vibes from the sidehack, which is cool.
What’s with the bike you guys are on now? Is it a Sunday frame?
Greyboy: Yeah, it’s the new Sunday Second Wave frame. We had the basic design, and luckily I had become friends with Ben [Ward] at Odyssey and he helped us kind of co-design and really dial in the finer points…
Truly Odd: With bike designs nowadays.
Greyboy: Yeah, ’cause he really understands, and just made sure all the clearances were straight. He also hooked us up with the guys at Solid who could do the fabrication, so that was cool. We were stoked to have a U.S.-made product.
So that’s a prototype and you’re still refining things. Is the plan to make production ones?
Greyboy: Yeah, we’re using the prototypes to see how much interest we can get, ’cause they’re pretty costly—more than the average bike, so we’re just trying to figure out if we can stir up enough interest to make it work. But yeah, that’s our end goal, for sure.
Obviously a sidehack isn’t something that someone would ride around by themselves very often, how often do you guys get together and ride?
Truly Odd: A few times a week.
Greyboy: Yeah, pretty often. We get together a few times a week to ride bikes, period. Yeah, we’re pretty pumped on it. We try to get out there. I injured myself a couple of times and so did he, so we try to wait until we heal before we go back out.
So Greyboy, are you always the pilot and is Patrick always the monkey or do you switch it up?
Truly Odd: Pretty much.
Greyboy: We switched it up one time, and…[makes crashing noise]. I was over it.
Truly Odd: I don’t have anyone to ride with me. If I could ride…
Greyboy: Yeah, he could pilot for sure, but I am not a good monkey. I felt like I was getting thrown around the whole time.
Do you always feel like you’re just along for the ride?
Truly Odd: That’s the impression people get from it, but it’s dual riders on that bike. Like, even though I don’t have a sprocket, the platform is still my cranks, and even the bar—I can influence how he’s turning, so if I’m not turning with him or in the right position then it’s a whole different thing.
So from riding parks and bombing the fire roads, to ABA races, what’s most fun to you guys?
Greyboy: They’re all kinda fun in a different way… We wish we had downhill tracks to race ’cause they’re not really meant to be raced on flat tracks. It’s cool, but it’s a f-cking lungbuster. They were meant to be raced on somewhat of a downhill slope. I guess it’s kinda like racing regular bikes; whoever is out of the first turn first is going to win pretty much. It’s hard to catch up on a flat track. Downhills are cool because they’re so much gnarlier—anything can happen—somebody that’s ahead can go over a turn because they’re going way too fast.
Truly Odd: But they’re all fun. Riding the park is fun, but riding the park you can get hurt, too.
Greyboy: Racing is fun because it’s that weird thing of beating other people—that adrenaline rush, and the park is like just the f-cking shred rush.
Truly Odd: Can we clear this? Can we jump that, can we get up on top of this? [laughs].
Greyboy: Like whatever we do, we don’t know if we’re going to get f-cked up or how it’s going to turn out.
Truly Odd: And nobody’s really done it yet either, so we’re just experimenting the whole time.
Greyboy: And then the downhills, obviously that sh-t is fun ’cause you’re just going fast and sliding…
Truly Odd: Drifting…
Greyboy: And hopefully not eating sh-t [laughs].
What’s the reaction from kids at parks when you roll up and drop in on it?
Truly Odd: They trip out.
Greyboy: They’re always like, “Did you make that?”
Truly Odd: “Are you going to ride that in here?”
Greyboy: “Can you do a tailwhip?” That’s the first thing they want to know [laughs]. It’s like, “No, bro. I want to tell you I can do a tailwhip with him in the sidecar, but… [laughs].”
Truly Odd: The kids dig it.
What’s the wildest thing you guys have done?
Greyboy: Airing over a spine on it was the wildest thing, which we did at Fullerton a few times and didn’t get broken off.
Truly Odd: Yep, and El Dorado.
Greyboy: Yeah. That’s the biggest thing for us, doing something big off transition and landing back on. It’s killer when you do it.
Truly Odd: Big air in it is fun.
Greyboy: We snapped the entire rear hub out of the Tuff Wheel doing it at Fullerton. Even landing on the transition was pretty sick. I feel like there’s so much gnarly sh-t to be done, we’re just scratching the surface; we’re just trying to show people that it can be even crazier. We might not be the ones to do it first…
Truly Odd: Like maybe taking it to the trails [laughs].
Greyboy: Like any sizeable gap would be really impressive, I think.
Truly Odd: Or a backflip.
Greyboy: We want to hit a foam pit. We’re itching to hit that, [a backflip] looks so right.
So do you think there’s going to be a resurgence in sidehacks because of what you’re doing?
Truly Odd: Oh man, that would be great.
Greyboy: That’s our ultimate hope.
Truly Odd: But have them presented nowadays in a different way than just the old-school view.
Greyboy: We’re trying to take it out of the garage. They used to be like a garage-made item—homemade, homebrewed type of thing. We just want to try to…like with this prototype especially, this is like the most refined we’ve gotten the hack to be with the dropouts on the sidecar that match the rear dropouts on the bike and the sizing is 2009 and everything. Our ultimate goal is to spark the resurgence, and hopefully other people will pick up and help.
Truly Odd: Take it from OG…
Greyboy: Take it out of obscurity.