(Foreword: Niki’s near-fatal injury in 2010)
“One of the reoccurring comments I’ve read or had people say to me since the edit went online, is how great it is to see Niki “at peace” with his bike these days. At first this is quite an odd thing to hear, but on reflection is perfectly true. There was a great feeling on the trip, a vibe that could only be present with a rider who is, for want of a better word, happy.
We woke up at 6am most days, explored the cities at sunrise, had a couple days to chill, BBQ and drank coffee at little café’s – this was a riding “holiday” more than a riding “trip”. Perhaps now I see this attitude really was a reflection of how comfortable Niki now is not with himself on a bike, but BMX in general.
One of the many moments I’ll remember from this trip was the opposite table we shot of Niki at sunset in Kortrijk. That afternoon we were driving from Oostend to Kortrijk. After filming some lines and sessioning with the locals we left to go grab some dinner. At this point we had no Sat-Nav, we were doing it old school and following road signs. With the intent of heading to Antwerp that night, we got a little lost just trying to get out of Kortrijk. The sun was setting in the distance when we both saw Kortrijk skatepark at the end of the road … we’ve just driven back on ourselves.
However, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. With the sun lighting up the sky a blood red Niki turned to me bursting with his usual, sometimes intense, enthusiasm and said “Richie, want to get an awesome photo here!?”. Well … you don’t need to ask me twice!
I don’t know many riders who would be up for that after riding all day. However Niki has a great appreciation for “the moment” and I’d like to think that’s a quality that comes from being “at peace” with himself and his bike. The fact that came across in the edit, I take as a big compliment.
Between filming, we managed to shoot the odd photo. Here’s a collection of some of the moments, I hope you enjoy.”