He Likes Bikes
“Nothing else gives me that kind of serenity. It frees my mind.” Lafayette native Steven Taiariol, 28, is describing the transcendental bliss he achieves soaring through the air on a BMX bike, an act that’s more commonly associated with words like extreme and adrenaline.
Best known for his ability to perform inventive midair tricks, Taiariol has gained much acclaim in BMX circles. Since 2000, he has been featured in the national magazine BMX Plus!, named as a newsworthy rider by BMX News, and sponsoredby both S&M Bikes and DC Shoes.
Death-defying courage is required, but success in the sport is also based upon discipline, dedication, and knowing your limits. “BMX is self-gratifying and self-motivating,” says Taiariol. “You are your own coach, your own boss, you are the one that pushes yourself.
”Taiariol likes to emphasize the positive attributes of BMX riding because, he says, “when I was younger, riders had the image of the badass. It was about being a rebel.” As extreme sports have entered the mainstream, in events such as the X Games, Taiariol has been pleased to see BMX riders gaining respect for the athleticism and talent they display during races and while performing daredevil tricks.
Taiariol didn’t set out to become a biker. Six years ago, recurring ankle injuries shattered his childhood dream of a sponsored skateboarding gig and prompted a shift to biking.
Aside from San Francisco’s Meet the Street competition, which draws the local crowd, Taiariol isn’t interested in the competition lifestyle. He stays focused on perfecting his signature midair tricks.
His celebrity in the BMX community hasn’t gone to Taiariol’s head. In fact, when he’s not busy with his day job working with helicopter paramedics at John Muir Medical Center’s Walnut Creek Campus, he spends time teaching young riders to do BMX tricks safely at local venues like the Alameda Skate Park.
“When I was a kid skating, I looked up to all the [older skateboarders] in town, and they never gave me the time of day,” says Taiariol. “I want to be someone [younger riders] can look up to—a positive influence.”