Name: Gilles Van de Sompel
Age: 22 (12/12/1986)
Location: Schilde, Antwerp, Belgium
When did you start riding?
I bought my first BMX in 2001 without knowing flatland even existed. It was only one year later that I got exposed to the sport. The more I rode the more I fell in love with it!
How often do you ride?
Basically I ride as much as I can. But since the weather conditions in Belgium are generally bad and I have a really busy schedule, the quality time with my BMX is pretty limited. In the summer I try to ride 2-3 hours a day, almost every day. The rest of the year I ride maybe 2-4 hours a week averagely.
Do you ride contests?
I ride as many contests and jams as I can. For me this is one of the most wonderful aspects of riding BMX flatland. I love meeting new people and seeing how much everybody has evolved since the previous contests. I also really love the party’s too of course!
Where do you ride? – Your Spot(s)
I ride on the corner of my street. Unfortunately it is a pretty busy street and a car passes every 20 seconds or so. This gets REALLY frustrating sometimes. I do not have a single other spot at all. The only advantage is that it’s close to my home and that it teaches me to be patient (well sometimes it does).
Can you tell us a bit about the riding scene in your town?
The answer to this question is really simple: no, there is no scene in my town!
Imagine you could make a flatland world tour, which 5 places would you like to visit for riding and why?
First and I guess it’s on top of everybody’s list: Japan.
Second I’d like to visit the Voodoo jam in New Orleans, USA
Third I would like to ride in Spain; it’s likely that I will live there soon for six months to work in a design company in Barcelona.
My last two choices are combined because it’s a pretty large area: The whole wide world. I just love to travel and see new places. I hope I’ll be able to see as much of it as I can before I die.
Is there a goal you would like to reach concerning your riding?
I always have a goal in mind. This applies to everything I do and this goal always evolves. In BMX it translates to pulling specific tricks, setting the bar higher in contests ... This way I keep motivating myself to ride as much as I can. I’m also looking for sponsors right now!
Which trick/combo do you work on at the moment?
I’m working on a lot of tricks now but the most important one is a link that combines all my front and back wheel tricks in one. So it’s a pretty loooong link!
What kind of music do you like?
My musical taste is pretty wide. Obviously I like rock music because I play guitar and the drums. Some of my friends are drum and bass and dubstep DJ’s so I listen to that music a lot too. Some bands I like are Paramore, MGMT, The Black Box Revelation (Belgian band), Pink Floyd, Bloc Party, and Metronomy...
In case you guys are wondering: the song in the video is Skream – Midnight Request Line.
Tell us 3 things you like and 3 things you don’t like
I like: girls, achieving things in life and of course BMX!
I don’t like: bad weather, boring jobs, spending time talking shit about other people
What is your job / what do you study?
I’ll start with school: I’m in my fifth and final year of Product Development now (2nd masters’ degree)
My work: I work 15 hours a week in a design company called Vero Design. It’s a manufacturer of designer fireplaces. I make their flyers, brochures, technical drawings, 3D models, product designs and drawings for abroad manufacturing and soon their new website!
I also designed and programmed my website from scratch. It’s about BMX, my portfolio and my CV. I will update it regularly with my latest news, contest reviews and much more. http://www.gillesvandesompel.com Feel free to contact me!
What are your hobbies besides flatland and do they influence your way of riding?
I play the guitar and the drums. I do think that the drums could influence my way of riding because I think it makes use of the brain in a similar way as riding. In both cases you can’t think about what you are doing, but it has to come naturally from your body after a lot of practice.
I also make logos, house styles, business cards, etc, to get some more experience and a little extra money on the side before I will work full time.
I designed the Chimera - Elements frame and sticker design.
Sometimes I participate in design contests too.
As you can see I always have a lot going on and I haven’t spoken about the most important yet: my girlfriend.
Your Bike – Bikecheck:
Frame: Chimera Elements
Bars: Suelo V2
Stem: KGB Trap
Grips: Animal Edwin
Fork: KHE Tanaka
Front rim: Alienation Deviant Rim
Back rim: Sun Rhinolite
Freecoaster: KHE Geisha
Tires: Odyssey frequency G 1.75
Crank: KHE Hindenburg
Seat: Odyssey 99er
Pedals: KHE Stimulator
This is the place for shout outs, wise words or whatever you would like to tell the world...
I would like to thank:
Everybody who has supported me over the years. First of all the people from the “kelder” (a place where me and my friends meet, drink, listen to music, go party and watch movies regularly). I’m having the best time of my life with these guys!
My girlfriend, I love her for who she is, and I believe it’s the same way around.
Everybody from the Belgian BMX scene who pushed me to progress over the past years.
Global-Flat of course for providing everybody with the latest hot news, thus motivating the whole wide world and for giving me the opportunity for this interview.
Chimera Bikez for giving me the opportunity to design my own frame and for supporting me over the past 2 years. (The Elements 2 frame is coming out really soon by the way)
Everybody I ever met and will meet thanks to BMX, I made friends from all over the world and I had a lot of great party’s with a lot of these guys too.
Lena De Vleeschouwer, a really pretty girl who used to ride flatland. Unfortunately she chose to take her own life. She was the best friend of one of Belgians best riders: Tom Dejaegher. Although it’s a while ago, these things never heal.
The biggest shout out goes out to “Koene” (Koen Van Donink), he was one of the best friends you could ever imagine. He was killed on his birthday 2 years ago, run over by a car while he was walking to the party where he was going to celebrate. There doesn’t go a day by that I don’t think of you and I know I’m not the only one. I hope you’re having a kickass time up there!
Keep on riding and pushing yourself in life! Nothing is impossible...