{editorial} Clint Reynolds lives with his girlfriend Jamie and dog Woody in an airstream in a backyard of a house he is sharing with a bunch of people in Austin’s east city. He builds bicycles, he rides them, he builds jumps, he road trips around the States in his Mercedes-Benz van that runs on vegetable oil. He’s living the dream. He is a dirt jump legend; he wouldn’t tell you though. Clint is a humble man. He shows us his airstream, the one he’s living in and the one he’s working on. We go for a ride in his van and visit the Eastside trails where he spends most of his time when he’s in Austin.

{Find the interview from 2015 below the images. Enjoy!}

I’ve heard you’re one of the best BMX dirt jumpers around these days. Is this true?
(laughs) I don’t know. I guess. I don’t know. It’s my life.

You grew up in New Hampshire.
Yeah, in Southern New Hampshire, like 40 minutes from Boston.

How did you get into building bicycles?
My father built mountain bikes back in the day for a company and their company fell through and he started building his own custom bikes for people. I worked for him. Building bikes, welding and missioning in the shop. Me and my friends rode BMX so we started building our own BMX bikes. I was probably 15 or 16. My dad taught me everything. He is still in New Hampshire, still builds bikes, he is a big inspiration in my life for sure. Obviously. I just had a good group of friends who all rode BMX growing up.  I went to a welding school. As the years went on, everybody kind of weeded out but I kept riding and traveling and now I live down here. I moved here six years ago. There’s a big riding scene here.

What made you move to Austin?
I guess just the winters in New Hampshire were like crazy cold.

So you’re not into skiing or snowboarding?
I snowboarded a little bit but I was more stoked on riding my bike. I would just come down here to escape the winter and every time I’d come here, I’d stay longer and longer and my good friend Steve would let me stay at his place and I had no money, just eating Ramen noodles. I worked in his house or something to stay there and then just be at the trails every single day building jumps and riding.

How do you spend your days?
Right now I just wake up and work on this airstream and then go to the trails and work on the trails. Then we’ll ride ’til the sun goes down, have a fire, throw back a couple of cold ones and then come back, eat dinner and that’s pretty much it. Living the dream.

And you still build bicycles, right?
I run this company called Credence and it’s a BMX company. I work with this bigger company S&M, kind of like the Harley-Davidson of BMX. Everything is really high quality. They’ve been around for almost 30 years. It’s been going on for the past two years that my smaller company partnered up with their bigger one. Now they’re making all the bikes in California, which is awesome. It allows me to just ride my bike. I’m pretty fortunate to be able to do that.

How does the collaboration work?
They basically sponsor my company. I get paid for a trip, say Australia and we make a video and this will promote their company and mine that have merged. It’s a dream come true being able to work with this company. When I was younger I thought, yeah, I’m gonna have a bike company and ride all the time and travel and build bikes but in order to actually run a company you really gotta be there and put in some work to have it exist. I realized that and Credence was just me making bikes for my friends when I had extra time. And then S&M came along. It’s crazy now. I can go to the trails and see a bunch of Credence frames.

Do you feel proud?
Yeah, I guess so. It blows my mind. Me and my friends design the bikes and I typically go out to California when they’re making a batch of frames and then help with the welding or whatever and maybe tweak the design a little bit, ride it a bit and maybe trim this up here, change this angle or something… that’s really fun to go out there and work in the shop. It’s awesome because you can go from just a thought to drawing on the computer and then to the shop downstairs and have a product that same day.

Where does the name ‘Credence’ come from?
My buddy Joel came up with the name. I guess it just sounds sick and means like to do something that has truth in it, to believe something. It seemed like a good fit.

When you travel, is it for competitions or to promote the bikes?
It’s more like vacation. It’s what we would be doing anyways. Sometimes there will be a contest or something we’ll go to but typically me and my friends aren’t really contest riders. So we’ll just travel wherever we wanna go with our bikes and ride some cool stuff and typically make a video from the trip or something for a magazine article.

Have you done contests in the past or has that never been a big deal?
I guess I’ve ridden in a handful of contests but that was never really my focus.

What’s the most important thing for you in connection to riding?
I guess just riding with my friends and keeping the stoke high.

Best trails you’ve ever been on?

Posh trails in Pennsylvania. I’ve got a soft spot for them for sure.

Do you go there regularly?
Every summer I go out there for a bit, because the summers here, it’s crazy hot. I never spend a summer here. My girlfriend gets a little sad about that.

What does she do?
Jamie teaches yoga here in Austin. And she actually just got a job working with the X Games.

You’re also into building trails. Is this something you grew up with, riding and building your own trails?
Yeah. When I grew up, I didn’t have anything to really ride so I built something or drive really far to ride something. So we just built trails at my parents house. We had a few acres of land. When I was in high school the trails got plowed so we built some new spots. After I went to Pennsylvania for the first time and saw real real trails, every free chance I had I tried to go to Pennsylvania.

What are recent trails you’ve built?
The Eastside trails are a local spot here where we build a lot. Me and a scoop of friends go out there pretty much every chance we get and build new stuff. I also get hired to build. We just built this thing called the Dreamline in North Carolina for Red Bull and that’s what really brings in the money. I’m fortunate enough to come across these jobs. You’ll work for like a month straight and then you can coast through for the rest of the year.

Where are you traveling next to?
I‘m probably gonna take the van and head to west from here and go to the S&M shop in California and follow the coast north to Portland, Oregon. Maybe go to Vancouver and then drive the van back to New Hampshire and then east coast and then head back down here. Realistically this will take me months because this thing is super slow.

But riding your van is for free. Where do you get the vegetable oil from?
I get the oil from restaurants after they fried with it.

Where do you get it from while traveling where you don’t know anyone?
It’s everywhere, you just roll up and like “What’s up with the oil back there?” and they’ll see the van. A lot of times they don’t even know you can burn vegetable oil.

So it’s not that common here?
It is getting more common for sure. Back when I first started doing this, probably like nine years ago, the restaurants had to pay for people to come take their oil away. So if you came up to them like “Can I have this oil?” they were like “Please take it”. As more and more people started burning vegetable oil, they are like, this is something we can sell. So now the collection companies that use it to make soap and whatever stuff they make, they’ll pay the restaurants to take it away and they have contracts with them. But it’s still pretty abundant.

Do a lot of people convert their cars to run on vegetable oil?
A lot of people try it but not many last. It needs some effort and it can be gnarly, too. The oil can be gross when you collect it. It’s worth it for me, it saved me a lot of money.

So you get enough to get around?
Yeah. And I have a huge tank that can hold 25 gallons which means I can drive like 2000 miles on a full tank. I can go from my parents home in New Hampshire to here on one tank and still have oil left over.

Where did you get the van from?
I got it in New Hampshire from this guy I know, Dave, and I traded him some welding work and he gave me the van.

What’s your van’s name?
Her name is Betty and it’s a Mercedes-Benz 207D 1982.

Have you done quite a few trips in it?
It’s been across the country a handful of times with like seven dudes in there and all their stuff.

How fast do you drive it on average?
50 miles an hour, maybe 55.

How long have you been living in the airstream?
Since like four years ago. It’s been awesome living here. Now it’s just super tight. I’m gonna sell this one and am busy fixing up a bigger one. We’ll have ten more feet space.

Tell me about the neighbourhood, it’s very close to the centre of town.
It’s the east side of town where I guess back in the days it was more ghetto-y. There are so many people moving here and so many shops going up, there’s so much building going on, it’s crazy. Right now this is a pretty cool place.

Photography by: Desmond Louw & Antonia Heil

Text by: Antonia Heil

Follow Clint on his trips via Instagram.