WRITER Brittany Ineson
PHOTOGRAPHER Nick Brandreth
With his very own reality show on YouTube, it's safe to say that professional BMX athlete Nigel Sylvester can add reality star to his list of accomplishments. The show, "Get Sylvester", airs on Network A every other Tuesday and is an unscripted behind-the-scenes snapshot of his daily life. The cameras follow Sylvester as he journeys from Barcelona to New York and everywhere in between, including a visit to his tattoo spot for some fresh ink.
Ink Master's tattoo studio is comfortably tucked away on a strip of pavement in Elmont, New York. Sylvester is encircled by cameras, crew and his artist, Made Rich, gearing up for a new piece. "The camera's are just flies on the wall capturing the moment for what it really is," he says. Smiling and laughing with his crew and friends, Sylvester chats about his tattoos, his career and his reasoning behind "Get Sylvester".
"I just want to tell my story for kids like me," Sylvester says of his reality show. "I want to tell people what I've been going through for the past six years as a professional bike rider and even before that. Tell the story of what led me to fall in love with bicycles, what kept me in love with bicycles and where my love of bicycles is going to take me." The show follows and films Sylvester going through the current events in his career and daily life. "Everything that happens in the show naturally happens to me, nothing is scripted," he says.
Amongst the unscripted content is Sylvester's new tattoo. The fresh ink will sit amongst a small array of other tattoos that Sylvester holds close to him including a bike "popping-a-wheelie" on his left arm and a kid and his big-wheel on his right arm. "My earliest memory of bikes was when I was six years old and I was in my grandmothers driveway on my big-wheel. For some reason I locked up the front wheel and the bike did a drift. My cousins were like 'yo that's crazy do that again' so I went really fast, locked up the wheel and did another drift. By the end of the week I had holes in the wheels because they were plastic," Sylvester laughs, "I remember feeling the freedom of it, the joy that it brought to me. I'll never forget it and I still get that feeling now when I'm out riding my bike."
That freedom is what takes Sylvester from the plazas of Barcelona back to his roots on the sidewalks of New York and much like the bicycles he loves, Sylvester is always moving. "I like to be busy, I like to be productive, I like to work," says Sylvester. And as for what's next, "Maybe another series," he half jokes.
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