Niels Thanild has been on the BMX scene for a long time. The Danish Dragonfly rider wears a lot of hats. He runs his own BMX distribution, he’s a stuntman, he’s a student and he likes to spend time on the road. Most and for all Niels considers himself a bike rider.
FATBMX met up with Niels in Tallinn, Estonia at 04:45am to grab a taxi to the airport. While waiting for our flights the laptop was opened to do this Bizznizz interview with the overall nice guy who is trying to keep the Danish scene alive. Nielswheels in full effect:
Name: Niels Thanild
Hometown: Copenhagen, Denmark.
How many years have you been into BMX?
Niels: Since I was six, so that would make it 21 years now.
What is the scene like in Denmark?
Niels: Good. There are not a whole lot of riders, but the people involved are good people. There are a lot of good parks to ride, and there are much more coming up all the time. There has been some smaller problems with bikes not being allowed in some skateparks, but I hope that people will open their minds soon. I would definitely say that we have a good scene in Denmark.
Has it grown in the last couple of years?
Niels: It has. More people are getting into it, and Copenhagen has had some people moving in from various places. It used to be, that I knew all the riders in Denmark, but now I can go to the skatepark and see people riding there whom I have never seen before. It’s great.
How many riders do you think Denmark currently has?
Niels: Hard to say. Maybe 30 or 35 of the more â€˜serious’ or whatever riders, and then a good group of people that have bikes. It depends on how you look at it.
What’s it that you do nowadays?
Niels: Many different things. I’d have to say that I ride as the first thing. But besides that I study. Go to university to get my degree in teaching. This summer I will graduate (hopefully), and will then be licensed to teach sports, art, math and English. I also work as a stuntman for the Danish and Swedish movies. Not just with bike riding, but anything. And besides that I run a company called Sunshine Distribution, taking bmx into Scandinavia. I distribute WeThePeople, Fly, Dragonfly, Primo, Odyssey, Lord and MPS.
How many shops do you sell to?
Niels: I work with shops in Denmark, Finland and Sweden.
How do you combine this with you normal riding/student life?
Niels: All the things that I am involved in are things that I like doing. I do what needs to be done, and never really have a set schedule. I just take things as they come, and try not to miss too many deadlines.
How many days a year do you spend on the road?
Niels: I am not really sure about that. I would say anywhere from 4 to 7 months. I do travel a lot, and I really like it. I have traveled lots with my parents when I was younger, and that has made me want to go see more. Traveling is the best.
How hard is it to combine the job and travel?
Niels: Lots of the things that I do I can do while traveling. The internet is a good thing. But I need to plan my travels with the things going on at university. There are busy periods, and then I need to be home, but when the times are more laid back at school, I am usually not there as much.
Do you believe it is important that BMX-ers are working in/taking over the BMX industry?
Niels: I think that some bmx’ers can be a good addition to the industry, but I also think that it can be the contrary. You don’t necessarily know a lot about running a business just because you can do a wheelie. But in general I think it is a good thing. Riders take care of riders more I think. Riders know what bmx is about. If you could talk about such a thing as soul, then I think that the riders are the only ones who will understand what that is.
Where would you like to see BMX in Denmark in 5 years?
Niels: Hmm, I would like to see people still having fun on their bikes. And I would like to see bmx accepted in all the skateparks. Bmx is all about having fun, so I hope that a lot of people will ride and have fun like we have.