Getting older doesn't make you less competitive, but it does make you nicer
Jim Holst is a Kali super supporter. He wears our helmets. He talks Kali tech like a boss. And when he goes to the races with his kids and his grandkids he sits under a Kali Protectives tents and preaches the word of Kali.
And up until now we knew him as our friend who works at QBP, races BMX and is passionate about getting better protection on racers of all ages, sizes and talents, but we wanted to know more. So we asked him some probing questions. The answers made us love Jim even more and we wanted to share his story with you.
Can you tell us about your very first bike? And do you have a story associated with your very first bike? My first bike was an old Rollfast 20 inch. It was a handed down to me from my next older brother, which was the same for my next two bikes. All Rollfast bikes from Sears, Roebuck and Company. Over the years it was highly modified to end up with hi-rise bars and a hand sewn pad on an old banana seat shell. We rode everywhere, had races, tried to jump them and all the usual kid stuff in the early 60’s.
What is the first bike you bought with your own money? An Ibis mountain bike frame from the early days of Scot Nicols. Coming from my converted Rollfast balloon tire bike that Ibis could climb like a goat.
What does your current setup look like? I have an XXL Staats Polished cruiser with Onyx hubs, Promax rims, brakes and cranks and a Yess aluminum fork. The bike is way faster than I am.
You've been at this BMX thing quite a while and I understand your grown children andt your grandchildren also race. Can you tell us how things have changes over the years? I missed the first round of BMX racing, having been just a little old in our area. Plus, I was super into ski racing through college. I started BMX in the mid-90’s when my kids wanted to get into it. I had been doing a little road racing, a lot of mountain bike racing, but my first trip around the track hooked me. I couldn’t stop smiling or taking laps and bought my own cruiser a few days later. We raced mostly NBL, ended up doing nationals, starting a team and diving in deep. Now there is only one sanction so some things are easier, tracks have changed, smoother surfaces, more obstacles and more consistent from place to place. Its definitely more organized overall and with the new beginner leagues springing up all over, its much easier to try it out. When my grandkids wanted to ride I couldn’t resist coming back.
A lot of us raced BMX bikes when we were kids, until we graduated to the "big" bikes? How has BMX kept your interest all these years? Its just way too much fun. Plus all the old guys in the 61+ group I race are great guys. I also love to compete, not sure why but I cant seem to stop racing, trying to catch up to the youngsters.
BMX has ridden a rollercoaster in popularity in recent years, would you say we are seeing a resurgence in the sport and, if so, why do you think that is? I would say BMX is on the upswing, partly because its easier to access with beginner leagues but also other sports require so much time and money. With BMX you can ride when it makes sense to you, from a few local races a year near your house, to full on nationals all over the country. Its very scalable. And did I mention the fun? Its very family friendly, as well. The biggest classes when I travel seem to be the 9-13 year old groups.
You have been a fan of the Kali brand for sometime, how did that come about? Well about four years ago I was racing a national in Kansas City, MO, riding a Troy Lee and launched off a double, landed directly on my head from about a 10 foot drop. I crushed my helmet, got a concussion and missed riding for about 3-4 months. While recuperating I started to read everything I could find on the internet about helmet safety, mostly research done at universities. I Learned about shell thickness, foam densities, rotational forces and weight influences. All of which led me to an Interbike discussion with 6D. I rode a 6D when I came back to riding. I continued my research and discovered Brad Waldron. What fun, I had only been riding the 6D for a few months the first time I met Brad and we had a discussion. Everything he said made total sense and matched up to the conclusions from the research I had done. I switched to Kali right away and started telling everyone i know about the many advantages to all the Kali helmets. We just needed to get better graphics for BMX, which now has happened with the Alpine.
If you could have one superpower what would it be and would you use it for good or evil? Be able to jump doubles, all good for my sore knee.
What three words would your close friends use to describe you? Old. Slow, but Friendly. Like the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, next to my picture, it says Mostly Harmless.
I understand your wife doesn't race, what does she think about this "hobby" of yours and what does she do while you are racing? I have gotten my wife to ride the track a few times. The last time was last February. She wants me to not race so much, especially nationals, but she supports me. Mostly she comes along and watches, more for my grandkids racing, but I think she secretly likes BMX.
If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be? Jesus, for sure.
The midwest has always been a hotbed for BMX, but it is also see a surge in other locations. What are you seeing? Minnesota is growing a lot but so is Arizona, Florida, Texas. Lots of areas are seeing increased participation. The 41-55 groups are getting bigger as dads and moms are racing along with their kids.
What is the furthest you have ever travled to race your bike? I’m not sure what is furthest away, but Utah or Florida is the longest drive time so far.
What is one thing most people don't know about you? I also really like golf and I build clubs for myself and others.
Red Wine, Soda or Cold Beer? Smoky, peaty, old scotch whiskey from Islay.
You work in the bike industry. Have you always worked in the industry and how does that influence your love of the bicycle? I’ve worked in bikes since 1984. I got into it while working for a ski/bike shop. I loved riding as a kid and enjoy it as an adult. If anything working in the industry sometimes makes you want to bike less, since you do it all day everyday. but as soon as you hop back on board a bike the fun and smiles return.
Tacos or burgers? Tacos
If all your BMX friends were coming over for dinner what would you cook for them? Loco Moco, a Hawaiian treat, for sure.
What is your favorite movie? It's a toss up between Casablanca and Bruce Brown Endless Summer
What are the last three albums you listened to? Johnny Cash “Silver”, Ray Conrad “Cotton Pickin Lift Tower” and Neil Young “Comes a Time”. I listened to those 3 plus Leon Russel “Hank Wilsons Back” while building my grandsons fat big last weekend. Oh wait, yesterday I listened to a new album from Josh Turner “I Serve a Savior”.