The following was written by Sandeep Sunny Singh.
Josh is a rider I knew briefly, but will never forget.
Tonight I learned that Josh King passed away. I had the distinct pleasure of riding with Josh a few times while I lived in Virginia from 2008-2009.
His front wheel links were elegant. That's the only way I can describe it. It seemed like a joke to him. The way he manipulated the bike was flawless and is something every flatland rider strives for but never, ever achieves. I also remember wanting to call it a day when he started doing some back wheel links that I had no idea were in his repertoire.
Although he wasn't too consistent the few times we rode, his level of riding was surreal. He can be seen on the green bike at York 2009: http://vimeo.com/5299424?ab. I regret not filming our few small sessions together.
He was one of the most dedicated riders I had ever met. I knew he had suffered from some chronic illness, but it didn't seem to stop him. He always seemed to be in so much pain when he rode--it was almost palpable. But he didn't care. He would throw on his headphones just like every other god damn seclusionist flatland rider and try his links over and over and over ad infinitum. He loved to ride. He loved meeting and riding with people of any skill level.
He loved flatland.
I remember shortly after the Voodoo contest in 2009, Josh posted the following story on Facebook [I've changed some names] that he later deleted. I saved it for posterity because I was so moved; his intentions were so genuine, so sincere. It underscored everything I have not done or considered with respect to paying my dues to a community that has facilitated my growth. There are certainly problems within the flatland community, and Josh recognized that. He wanted to do his part to rectify them.
Josh King loved flatland. This was his desire to give back to a community that he loved.
"Basically, I came to New Orleans with a $25,000 cashier's check in hand hoping to give it back to Flatland in some way, shape, or form. I'm entirely naive and stupid about finances. I've avoided it all my life, because it's a world I hate. The bank told me that if I went to any other bank in New Orleans I could cash it no problems... Wrong. So, that kinda sucked. Didn't want to risk carrying the cash on hand. Too risky and dangerous.
What I did to Bob and Joe was completely unfair. I didn't have enough time between work and finding time to ride to make the right preparations. Just pretty much sprung it on them there at Voodoo. At first, I wanted to do it anonymously, but things weren't working out so I felt as if I had to step up. Just a lot of miscommunication going on between Bob, Joe, and I. Bob told me to talk to Joe, and it seemed like I got his blessing, but then I went back to Bob and got a no go. He told me that handing the money out freely to the riders is like saying a big 'Fuck You' to the sponsors handing out the cash. Which I agree, it is. Just wish I would've known about that sooner...
The intentions were to hand 11k to the riders in the Pro class evenly distributed, 10k to Katrina Victims, 1k to Richard Zabzdyr's family, 1k to Colin Winkelmann's family, 1k to Paul Palmer's family, and 1k to Stephan Murray. All individuals who have impacted my life and inspired me. Flatland and BMX has given me a reason to live for the past 15 years. Just a means to accomplish something when the world kept digging a grave for me. BMX/Alternative sports has always been the only community I've ever felt any similance or an attachment to. I've spent the past twenty-eight years of my life alone. Anyone who's close to me knows that. I've spent nearly the last decade in agonizing physical pain. I got a job 3 years ago for the first time. I needed to, because my health was deteriorating too fast. Tumor on the side of my face and an ache in my legs that doesn't go away ever (aside from the few weeks prior to Voodoo).
I conserved all my energy before that time to simply ride my bike at night. It was killing me that I couldn't help my parents out more. Just a vegetable absorbing light and water during the day.
Work is such a contradiction. I made a promise to my parents when I graduated High School... I told them to give me 2 years to do something with my riding and then they could kick me out or do whatever they willed with me... Then again, I also made a promise to myself when I was in school that I would never get a profession unless it revolved around riding... 2 years passed and my parents never kicked me out or forced me to stop riding my bike. So I moved with them to Viriginia and then the pain started... I think I've finally accepted that my job was/is a means to give back to myself and riding. So, to answer the question as to where the funds came from? There's your answer.
The majority of my life savings in the time period I've had a job. I was saving up to buy a house, but that's less important than showing my gratitude.
I just came to New Orleans with the intentions to help out the people I care about. I really didn't want to do it alone so I was trying to seek help in the end. I just wanted to make a ripple. Together we're a giant wave... This was my only way of creating perpetual motion. Self-sustaining and self-sufficient. A union like fusion... I'm sick and weary of fighting. If Flatlanders want to battle, than be an Army of Goodness and take on the World. That's the way to promote. I've seen the good they can do and I know it's possible.
I gave Bob a check for $25k and one for $15k during the time I was there. I told him to use the latter one for next year's Voodoo at the end. He better cash it! Don't let my attempts go in vein and be meaningless.
I don't want to see anyone ignored, forgotten, struggle, or suffer."
It saddens me that only now, after about 4 months, am I learning of Josh's passing. Josh, you will not be ignored or forgotten. Your dedication and heart inspired me. I am sincerely thankful to have been able to ride with you. You were naturally gifted in a sport that is often overlooked and frowned upon.
Whether or not you knew Josh is irrelevant. He rode flatland and loved our sport.
photo by Ryan Bartz of Josh riding at York Jam 2009 where I first met him.
Josh is riding the green bike in this