Rhysty, a few years ago. Photo: Brendan Boeck
It’s boss man/husband/shop owner/trail builder/racer/dad of three Rhys Williams’ 40th birthday today. Rhys is not only a dedicated BMX rider, as well as all of the other things mentioned, but he also works hard to continue to build the Canberra and Australian BMX scene.. From holding jams, to sponsoring jams and huge contests, to sponsoring and hooking up riders Australia wide, Rhys has done a lot. So from all of us who’ve been helped and influenced by you, happy birthday!
Below is Rhysty’s Finding Time interview from 5 years ago that featured in 2020, awesome and still relevant today. Enjoy.
‘You’re young & life is long & there is time to kill today, then one day you’ll find ten years has got behind you’
It’s exactly as Pink Floyd has told it, from as soon as the sun rises to when it falls into night, time escapes us all. For a BMX rider it’s no different except that most of the day (& night) is occupied with doing as much riding as we can.
For a portion of your life you can ride for as long as you want, whenever you want – it’s freedom at it’s very best. The only thing that ever really slows you down is the call you get from your parents to let you know dinner is ready & when the school bell rings. School holidays takes care of that though, no big deal.
Responsibilities sneak up though & naturally start to make the leap from the ‘should do’ to the ‘have to do’ pile; that time we found to have in surplus starts ticking faster, leaving us with less time to enjoy the amazing feeling you get from riding a BMX.
Although riding time is cut down once you start to gain a routine of need-to-take-care-of events, the will to ride doesn’t go away, instead it gets stronger; you start to realise that the free time you find anywhere in your day becomes precious riding time. As soon as that session is squeezed in, riding takes on a whole new meaning & is taken to a higher level of appreciation that you couldn’t imagine when life was simpler.
Here is a perfect example of an individual whose life is truly a floor-to-ceiling time line of events. Crammed with responsibilities as well as other activities they are passionate about, Rhys still finds time for BMX. Best of all is that while the time he finds may sometimes be few & far between, he cherishes & loves riding more than ever.
Rhys make you truly realise that while you may not be able to enjoy BMX for as many minutes of the day, it becomes some of the best minutes – not to be taken for granted & to be made the most of.
It’s comforting to think that no matter where you go in life, if you want to you can find time for something you love.
What do you do from day to day? (Occupation, other hobbies, what you’re up to etc.)
I get up to plenty [laughter]. I don’t even know where to start. I get up at 6 – 6.30 with the call of ‘Dad’, ‘Dada’ & then I get the kids up & ready with breakfast & getting dressed – then usually I get to have breakfast & dressed [laughter]. Then I work at the shop & stuff, then sometimes I get to have a ride. Usually I work all day then come home & get an hour to put the kids in the bath & bed, then I might get a quick chance to ride & then get into bed myself so I can do it all again tomorrow.
It sounds like quite a lot of that time is taken up with family stuff; how has this affected your riding & what’s your take on being a family man now?
Well that’s what I am now you know? I mean I’m a Dad now most importantly, like that’s my most important job cause my kids don’t care about anything else I do – I mean I could come home with a busted leg & they’re still going to tell me about playing in the sandpit all day long, y’know? So I guess [because of that] I get a lot less time because of these responsibilities but I just try to make the most of whatever time I get & it makes me enjoy riding more because of it.
Are you happy with taking those responsibilities?
I definitely wouldn’t change the family responsibilities I have at all. I mean I’d definitely give a few [responsibilities] away, just in general I seem to have a lot of them with running the shop & what not, so I could definitely go without a few. But it just goes hand in hand with the work & family life I got & I’m happy with that.
So you obviously have owned Back Bone for the past 5 years & BMX is a huge part of your day, but not necessarily the act of riding. Even though you’ve got BMX as a huge aspect of your day, do you still get the same out of riding as you always have?
Yeah definitely – I guess I don’t have the spring in my legs as what I did when I was younger [laughter] but to go for a ride now is an escape – but I mean it’s always been an escape for me, you know? You have a shitty day at school or wherever you are & riding can be the most amazing escape for you. It’s the same thing now. While it’s a lot of fun running a shop there’s also a lot of pressure & stress to it. Riding is the ultimate thing to get away from it all & clear my mind. Often while I’m out riding my mind is in this blank state & I’ll think of ideas for everything from ads to things I can do with the kids. I find it really refreshing to go for a ride now; [I find that] a lot of answers come to me for a lot of difficult questions in my life.
How often do you get to ride a week & what time during the day do you normally ride?
I try & ride everyday; I’m kinda bummed if I don’t. Some days I go to the park & ride for 15 minutes then have to jet out of there but I still consider that riding to me. Some days I might get to ride for an hour & a half or something & that’s awesome as well. Generally I can find time to ride anytime after 7am until the shop opens [at 11am] & then after that at about 7.30pm.
So you shot some photos in your backyard for this. How has this changed your riding since building this & did building eat up riding time?
We just went through a really bad spell in Canberra where every trail spot we had was getting dozed. I just needed some jumps to ride – I don’t feel normal on my bike if I don’t have jumps. So it meant everything to me to be able to build these. I like building jumps just as much as I like riding them as well. I’ve been pretty blessed over the years to not have the desire to learn tricks, I can’t even remember the last time I wanted to learn a trick – I’m just happy to do kickouts & turnbars. But through building jumps I also aspire to make them better & smoother & anyone who has jumps can understand that you’re constantly working on them to make them better. So rather than learn some trick, [building] is where I spend my time.
You’d be the most chock-a-block schedule person I know that rides a bike at least. What would you do if you had more time in the day?
I’d like to say sleep, but if I did get more time in the day I’d probably just be busier [laughter]. I’d spend more time with my family & I’d ride my bike more.
Where do you want to take your riding in the future?
I’d probably like to take my riding up to Stromlo [laughter]. Just to ride for as long into the future as I can. I’m 35 soon & I figure if I keep riding most days then I should be able to keep riding at the same level for a fairly long time. If my kids would like to get into BMX then I’d like to be able to ride with them & teach them a few things.
Do you have any final thoughts for those that are worried about riding time depleting?
I just don’t like to waste time, time’s precious & I see a lot of my friends & younger guys waste time on stuff. If there’s something you want to do just get out there & do it, because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow.
Rhysty at Hush. Photo: Raine Turnbull