Edwin De La Rosa: Here and Now

While taking on new ventures and shifting his roles within BMX seems like the 26-year-old "thing to do," Edwin De La Rosa still dreams of doing tailwhips when it gets too cold out to ride in NYC. Justin Kosman/Red Bull Photofiles

Edwin De La Rosa is arguably one of the most influential riders of our generation. Credited with making street riding look smooth, the 26-year-old from Brooklyn, N.Y. (via Panama) has been honing his skills for well over a decade. The majority of that time, De La Rosa spent with bike sponsor FitBikeCo. But in July of 2010, Edwin and crew confirmed rumors of Skavenger stepping into the hard goods realm, specifically making frames. To many who couldn't picture Fit without Edwin, the move came as a surprise. But to De La Rosa, it only seemed natural. This natural decision has propelled Edwin into a new role with many different hats; professional rider, business man, and more recently, photographer.

De La Rosa originally caught the attention of the BMX world through stand out sections in Animal's self-titled video and Ride BMX's "Turbulence." Out on the road filming for these projects, Edwin, with longtime friend and former pro rider Vic Ayala, came up with the name Skavenger. "I don't think it's funny now, but we came up with the name in Florida because all we saw was homeless people in Jacksonville, so we just started calling them scavengers."

The name stuck and eventually it turned into stickers, t-shirts, and a video. To this day, the company's art direction is based off their original logo. It wasn't until recently that the thought of doing Skavenger as a hard goods company came about. When it was time to actually move on, he knew working on his own venture (with partner Vinnie Sammon) would be more work. But he was not expecting the talk around him leaving Fit. "I was surprised people even said anything," says De La Rosa. "The opportunity was there, and it was the next step," he continues. And who could blame him? In a time when new pros switch sponsors at an alarming rate, spending nine years with a company is astonishing. With that said, when someone as influential and intriguing as Ed changes even his peg set-up, it's news.

As for Skavenger's intentions, according to Ed they will be offering products made for what him and his friends like, street. Simplicity is a large part of Skavenger's direction. The Tunnel (Vinnie Sammon signature design) and The Bridge (De La Rosa signature design) frames are offered with no stickers, but a New York/New Jersey themed sticker pack and decorative seatstay bridge. "There's too much crazy [expletive] out there and you just can't beat a simple looking BMX bike." Ed continues, "We wanted to make a frame that was the size we wanted, looks simple and was strong. You only get one impression, so we had to come out with the frame and have it right. That's why it took so long to release production models."

Similar to Skavenger's art direction, New York has had a huge influence on Edwin's life. "The different cultures, its diversity. I got friends from all over because I meet them here. I mean, I wouldn't have gotten in a magazine if I didn't live in New York! The Jersey dudes came to New York and then they started Animal and that blew up," he says. "And I love riding through the street and dodging traffic just as much as I like doing tricks. New York showed me that," he continues.

Meeting New York based artists like Ryan Humphrey also played a role in Edwin developing as a photographer. "He's real supportive and his studio is one block away from his house. I would go there just to be around all the artwork. He knows a lot about art and all kinds of stuff really. He's helped me a lot. He's the one who gave me the push. I showed Ryan my photos and I didn't show many people my stuff, but he told me I should keep shooting photos and working." Ed recently had his first solo show in New York City.

From the early days as a 16-year-old from Brooklyn on a scrap bike, to the well respected industry icon that he's become, Edwin De La Rosa has shown that BMX is where his heart is. He is the consummate pro, and street riding certainly owes a lot to him. While taking on new ventures and shifting his roles within BMX seems like the 26-year-old "thing to do," a recent De La Rosa dream sounds more akin to that of a 16-year-old BMXer: "I haven't been riding because I've been sick and it's cold, but last night, I was dreaming about doing bunnyhop whips and I couldn't believe how good that felt."

De La Rosa's signature Skavenger Bridge frame is now available worldwide.