I don’t know that much about Seattle except that everybody there tries to ride like Machuga. — Some Kid from Kent, Washington
A couple of months before I moved away from Seattle this last time, I finally ran into my old friend Toast. We were track-standing at the Green Lake dirt jumps, catching up, when I noticed that the guy to my left on the Terrible One (Toast was to my right) looked hella familiar.
As Toast and I pitched shit at each other, I remembered the first time I went to the Everett Skatepark. There was a guy there, riding around (on a Terrible One), ripping the place up. He went big, he yelled a lot and he had braces on two of his fingers on his right hand causing them to stick straight out from his grip. He continually taunted other riders and presumably friends by pulling impossible moves and yelling, “If I can do it with two broken fingers…!”
On my way out of the Everett park that day, my attention was ransacked by the familiar sound of a BMX bike flailing across cement. I turned around just in time to catch a broken-fingered hand sling a broken-linked chain across the park.
Just then (as Toast was in mid-shitfling), I realized that the guy to my left at Green Lake and the loud, broken-fingered aggressor at Everett that day were one and the same. He introduced himself as Steve Machuga.
Over the next several weeks, I was acclimated to Machuga’s brand of high-octane, often out-of-control street riding. He spends more time on his bike than he does anywhere else and he rides everything with the same supercharged attitude. He’s the only guy I’ve met who will spend three hours with me riding in a parking lot with a curb and a slightly under-vert wall and absolutely rip it with technical combinations, high-speed power moves and crazy style to boot.
Though he claims he hates the name now, Steve runs a nascent BMX parts company called “Today Forward.” He designs stuff, he and Chris Martindale test (read: “try to destroy”) stuff, and his dad (back in Steve’s hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania) manufactures stuff. So far, he’s got bulletproof pegs and sprockets with a stem in the works. The impetus for Today Forward is simple: Tired of breaking other companies’ parts, Steve decided to make his own.
Steve’s day job is working on airplanes, but it affords him more than ample time riding his bike and roaming the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.
After spending several weeks riding with Steve, I can tell you he’s a great rider, a good friend and an all-around class act. Ladies and Gentlemen, Steven Machuga:
Roy Christopher: Age?
Steve Machuga: I am twenty-seven years old.
RC: Years riding?
SM: (This excludes my first huffy that had fenders but that thing still got air) I started racing when I was twelve and I have been up and down since then.
RC: What are your plans with Today Forward?
SM: I really have no set plan forward, maybe take steps back to start over product designs.
RC: Are you really going to change the name?
SM: I don’t have a good reason for wanting to change the name. I simply hate it.
RC: I’ve noticed that you seem to have a lack of concern for the BMX industry; how did you arrive at this healthy attitude?
SM: I think you are wrong there. I am concerned. So concerned. I could actually give three concerning shits for the glamour and fame leading half the people to continue riding. (Like this hasn’t been said before) When I was younger, the only big rewards were two BMX bucks redeemable at a local shop or some dust collecting trophy, still collecting. Clearing more bikes upside down at the gully than the day before or learning how to skid further was exciting. The industry is not what lures me to get back up.
RC: What are some of your favorite books?
SM: I enjoy books by Tom Robbins, J.D. Salinger. It varies often and it will change day to day. Tonight, The Maine Woods. The next could be some Bukowski…
RC: I just found out that you have a metal rod in your leg. How’d you get that?
SM: I was in Erie for vacation and a few of us were stalling on some new dirt pile when I decided to use it as a lip. I landed, rubber down, a few soft piles away and stopped dead. My shin decided it was tired and split in two. It got me a quick ride to the hospital and a free month off work. I think I was on the crutch crew for six months.
RC: Favorite riders?
SM: My all time favorite is “for Chris sake” Martindale. I get to ride with him about everyday. Also Ty Stuyvesant, Mike Szczesny, Chris Doyle, Kris Bennett, et cetera. I only see them ride when I visit home though.
RC: Whom does Steven Machuga respect?
SM: I respect a lot of people whom are close friends/family to new people I meet. They can easily lose that as fast as they earn it.