Derrick Girard…. Man, myth, legend…. Those of you who know the name will be excited to read where he’s been and what he’s been up to, and those of you that don’t have probably drooled over his custom machined/engraved sprockets that adorn the steads of some the biggest names in BMX without even knowing the name or the history of the man behind them. He exploded onto the scene and inspired many (myself included) with his skillfully loose and wild beast man style, rode for FBM with the wildest bunch of dudes, had a signature frame called the Deployer and had the best suicide no handers in the game. Without taking anything away from Trey Jones who rode shoeless and sockless at the Vans BMX bowl contest, but when Girard did it in the early 2000’s he didn’t wrap padding around his pedals…
Interview By Chris Coutts
So Derrick… First things first, where the hell have you been?!?!
Pretty much just hanging out laying low on the planet of Maine with my dog Harley, and my beautiful wife Carrie.
You blasted onto the scene riding barefooted, doing half barspins mid-set and then 360ing with the bars the wrong way around.. Who influenced you back then?
Ha, pretty much everybody I rode and traveled with at the time. Probably Brian Yeagle mostly.
FBM is notorious for parties, fun, riding, friendships and wild times, and in my personal opinion represents what BMX is all about. How did you end up on FBM?
Well if I remember correctly, I think I met Crandall and Ryan Corrigan at Impact skatepark in 199??? Pretty sure I was sporting a Mr. T mohawk to sideburns combo and riding an S&M dirt bike that had been welded back together 6 times. Shortly after that at an ECT contest, I can’t remember if Steve Crandall or Mike Tag offered me a bike. I was pumped it was right when the Night Train came out.
Best FBM story/memory?
Pfff. Kelly Baker
Are you still friends with the FBM family?
Yes. Our acquaintances aren’t as frequent as they should.
The big question is do you still ride?
I got an old Schwinn 10 speed that gets it here and there, but as far as BMX, it’s been a thing of the past for quite a while.
Do you miss it?
Yeah I miss launching through the air and building jumps and berms in the woods. Haven’t experienced much in my life more fun than running tight trains through the woods over hand built jumps. Pretty hard not to miss.
In March 2016 DIG published an article called “10 Riders We Wished Still Rode” and you were #6. Did you read it and are you aware that riders are still to this day influenced by your riding, and how does that make you feel?
Haha I didn’t believe it but somebody tagged me on Instagram, that led me to the DIG website. I was humbled to say the least, to think I was even considered to be apart of that lineup of apes.
When I finally managed to contact you the original reason was to talk about these sprockets I keep seeing pop up on bikes the world over, they’re definitely taking over the woods and I can see why. (I want one SO bad) Tell me a bit about them and why you went with the classic ripsaw look?
Well it all started a couple years ago when my job offered me an opportunity to learn to use the CNC programming software. Basically I was bored with hole patterns and simple stuff, so for shits and giggles I designed my own version of my favorite sprocket from the good old days. I made one outta some scrap from work and mailed it to Clint Reynolds to test and use “if it worked”. I had no intentions of making more at the time. Around the same time I got my own CNC mill set up and running in my garage. Now I just make whatever I dream up for fun.
Chase hawk rides one right? What other big names run a Girard quad saw?
Clint and all the Credence boys, James P. Nutter and Matty are roasting some insane shit down in Austin. I was stunned when Garrett Byrnes ordered a couple custom engraved sprockets.
Custom engraving is an option… What’s the weirdest shit you’ve had to get written on one?
Some funny movie quotes like “Royal with cheese” made me laugh. A dude from Canada ordered “juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust” from the movie Major League. But it’s usually something I can relate to like the name of their trails or something.
Are you doing or going to do splined sprockets and other colours?
I’m personally a bolt on kinda guy but they’re fun to make, so probably eventually yes. I’m currently making 28 and 30t 19mm spline drive versions. I’m pumped about the 41T spline driven “race” sprocket that’s coming down the pipe. As we speak it’s being tested in Florida by one of the fastest used car salesman out there.
With the popularity of the sprocket, do you have anything else in the works?
Believe it or not it’s challenging working a full time job and essentially running my own machine shop outta my garage to keep up with custom engraving and all. I mean it’s fun, I like doing it, but you gotta get away and play sometimes too. That being said I’ve got more options as far as tooth sizes and colors planned for the quad saw. I’ve also got a couple stems modeled up and simmering on the back burner.
Your wife told me when I contacted her through Facebook that you’re anti-social media…what’s your reasons behind that?
I don’t like Facebook. If that makes me anti-social media so be it. I do like Instagram, so whatever I guess.
There are lots of riders out there from the same era that were a lot less popular than you were who manage to keep squeezing some fame out of BMX using social media. Was it ever a job for you or was it just in the name of fun and making memories with friends the way BMX should be?
When I rode my bike it was pure fun. I always had to work to get by and travel. I had help from people like FBM and SHITLUCK. They both sent me on adventures overseas and dragged my ass all over the country just to have fun. If we rode, cool. If we didn’t, we didn’t.
What are your views on the current state of BMX and what would you change?
I’m so outta touch with the current state of BMX, who knows. I’d like to stay in the pre-girl pants days if I could.
What does a typical day in the life of Derrick Girard consist of?
Work, come home and do my own work. Maybe get some chilling in before bed.
Any last thanks or any last words/advice you’d like to give?
Thanks to everyone who has supported my creations so far. I hope they treat you well.