While most teenagers were learning to drive, Brian Kachinsky focused on his two-wheeler.
Kachinsky began to do tricks on his bike for fun at an early age, like many other kids in Neenah, Wis. Unlike most of them, however, he kept it up.
His hard work paid off.
Kachinsky recently began competing professionally and now has bike, clothing and shoe sponsors. A sophomore at UW-Madison, Kachinsky plans on majoring in consumer science.
Kachinksy’s big break came when he won the year-end title at ESPN’s CFB competition, to which he referred as the biggest amateur biking contest around.
“It forced me to go pro,” Kachinsky said.
Kachinsky started receiving phone calls from companies wanting to sponsor him after the CFB contest.
“That’s cool,” he said. “It’s something that you dream about.”
Kachinsky has competed all over the country. He said although winners are more than happy to walk away with the money, biking events remain friendly between bikers.
“It’s not really a competition,” Kachinsky said. “It’s more like a gathering. It’s more fun than anything.”
BMX biking has become more popular in the last few years, thanks in part to contests like the X-Games. While biking is not yet main stream, the media has taken notice.
“Sometimes I see a TV commercial with some guy I was hanging out with last weekend,” Kachinsky said. “In our own little world, they are household names. But even though they are all over the media, none of them are cocky.”
One of Kachinsky’s inspirations has been his good friend pro biker Dave Freimuth. Also from the Appleton area, Freimuth has been to the X-Games and has taught Kachinsky many tricks.
Kachinsky said he hopes to compete in the X-Games sometime soon. He said he expects to receive an invitation to participate, especially after placing 19th out of 56 in the recent Vans Triple Crown competition.
It’s been a bumpy ride for Kachinsky. Like most bikers, he has stories of concussions, broken hands and knocked out teeth. He also sometimes finds it difficult to keep up with his schoolwork and still make it to competitions.
“If I miss an exam, it?s harder to explain than football players,” he said. “You see athletes on campus and they might have special tutors and their travel is paid for. It’s hard to be pro and still go to school.”
Kachinsky said he has been pleasantly surprised at how understanding his professors have been.
Kachinsky said he is eagerly anticipating an indoor skate and bike park, which is currently in the planning stages for Madison. Currently, there are no such parks in the area.
Kachinsky said the site of the park, which will be on the city’s southeast side, is fortunate, considering there are few bikers in the Madison area. He also said the park may entice contests such as the X-Games to come to Madison.
In the meantime, Kachinsky will continue to balance studying and traveling to as many of the competitions he can.
“I’ll keep going to school,” he said. “Then I’ll see where I’m at and see where it takes me.”