The Tomas Lemoine interview
I was about to count the medals accumulated by Tomas to write him a nice introduction paragraph, but I quickly gave up. He's been snatching up so many medals over the last few years that it must even be hard for him to keep track. But how exactly does a kid from France ends up winning so many contests on a regular basis, in 3 different disciplines? We've been big fans of Tomas Lemoine for a while now, not only for his riding but also for his implication in the sport and after what went down at the 2022 Red Bull Joyride event, it was time for a Tomas Lemoine interview.
Q: Let's get the boring stuff out of the way. How did you start riding bikes?
A: I started riding bikes at the age of 5, my dad brought me to a bicross track, made me try a bmx, and I said that I ride again so he registered me to the club and I slowly discovered all the aspects of biking.
Q: What is your bike setup at the moment? Anything particular about it?
A: Pretty basic DJ set up, no gyros at the moment because I can’t either find a good hydraulic one or a cable one that brakes good. Pike forks at 215psi, 4.5 bars (65 psi) in the rear tire and 4 bar (58 psi) in the front.
Q: What trick took you the longest to learn or never worked for you?
A: I'm a very bad oppo 360 spinner, I have trouble with it since 2014 and I started giving up a little bit on it lately. I try to have fun with the tricks I do, that's what keeps me happy to ride almost everyday and keeping the love for it !
Q: What is your best bike-related memory so far?
A: I have to say this was Crankworx Whistler 2022, the full week was feeling like a big dream, such a good vibe with good friends. The fact that I won speed n style, did a Rap show, jumped over the last feature on slope course I think will be my best ever souvenir!
Tomas Lemoine giving it all he's got during a Dual Slalom race - Photo by Boris Beyer
Q: Some people might not know that you grew up racing BMX bikes and later switched to Freestyle, which explains why you do so good in Speed & Style events. Can you elaborate on how/why that switch happened for you?
A: I was riding bmx racing and also a bit of DJ/Park bmx when one day I went to a lil BMX trail where I met people riding MTB and telling me there will be a MTB event the next day, so we went back to watch and I thought the vibe was really good, it looked fun so I started asking my dad if maybe I can get a MTB, then I got one for my 11th or 12th birthday and I never quit.
Q: Do you feel like Slopestyle is heading in the right direction, and would you change something about it?
A: I’d say yes and no, we got a lot of good kids coming up right after us, the level keeps on going up. I'm super happy to have new courses with new features at some events, but feel super bored when it gets to a basic whale tale and dirt jump line like the world class events. I think having new, weird, unpredictable features is what's gonna push MTB like we’ve seen back in the days. I like showing up and having to think to find some good tricks for my runs, not showing up to a course I already knew everything I would do at home because it’s so basic. In my opinion, some runs should score higher when they are original, creative and clean, higher than when it’s a bolognese of whips and bars ahah!
Q: What do you think of the industry and how athletes are treated in general?
A: Most of the people I meet in the industry are super nice, I’m feeling super comfy and helped by my partners, but I'm not a big fan of the fact some people having followers and barely any skills get paid more than world class athletes and all this follower game. I would say some people with more core knowledge and vision could help some brands get better and push the industry the right way to keep inspiring the youth with the right vision. What’s the right vision, that I can’t decide for the industry but we do extreme sports, it’s important to keep some of the base of it! Biking is my passion, and being able to pay my life expenses thanks to it and being able to ride almost whenever I want is a big blessing so I won’t complain. So much good people to meet, many trips, good memories all the times. More bike in the world will give more happiness :)
Tomas kicking it with the fans after his run at the 2022 Red Bull Joyride contest - Photo by Jake Paddon
Q: If you could change something about your career, what would it be ?
A: I would have only one regret maybe, not even sure it would make sense there at that time, around 2014 or 2015 I got invited to Rampage because it was part of FMB world tour, but I was too inexperienced in Freeride so I declined the offer twice telling myself I could do it later. Now it gets harder to get invited but I’m feeling more and more that I can do a Lil Moine line over there and it's one of my life goals. No pressure, let’s see what time says !
Q: After riding huge Slopestyle courses and big jumps, what makes you come back to skateparks and street riding ?
A: Skatepark and street riding is one of my favorite kind of riding, I love to jib, surf in the park creating my lines, having fun for 3 hours at the same spot is what I like! On jumps I end up doing tricks, so it’s always a bit of the same. In a park you can choose your mood of riding and I like that. I love riding with no pads knowing I will not throw one single whip for the full sesh haha and it’s during these sessions that my mind is the most creative !
Q: Where do you primarily train? Do you have a special compound?
A: I have one, but it's not rideable since a year now. It’s 1h away from home and I mostly ride it alone. My 2 official "training" spots are PIZZOWARD; a diy wood and resi compound a friend built in his garden located 45 minutes from my house, and COLLERIDER Bike Park located close to Nice with Tim Bringer, my best MTB mate and one of my oldest friends and best friend. Then it’s a lot of Park riding, or even more driving! I wouldn’t say no to having a house with jumps in the backyard but for this, we keep grinding !
Q: You're really present at competitions, do you have any video projects in the pipeline or do you rather focus on contests?
A: I wanna do more projects with time but it’s a bit hard when we got big seasons to link both competitions and videos. Definitely wanna do more edits in future !
Q: Why do you stick with the hardtail even on some of the biggest courses out there?
A: I love my DJ bike, it’s my everyday bike. I like to stick to one bike and feel like we are one ahah!
Tomas' legendary gap over the last feature - Photo by Red Bull
Q: This interview wouldn't be complete without talking about your legendary gap at the 2022 Red Bull Joyride. I feel like I speak for a lot of people when I say that was one of the sickest things to ever happen in Slopestyle, did you plan it for a long time or was that more of a on-the-spot decision?
A: I had something like that in mind as a dream, I was not sure what it was gonna be like in real life so I was waiting to see. We arrived 1 week before the contest and rode a lot of downhill, every time we went up we talked about it with Tim bringer, his bro Max, and Edgar Briole. We were excited it could work but really not sure if it was doable or not. All week I wanted to do it so I didn’t do any trick on it and had to focus on other events too. On the last day, about 1h before the show and after 1h of thinking, I sent it, went too far and crashed. I told myself if my run goes well untill there, no options, I jump it!
Q: How do you balance risk vs. reward at contests? Is it hard for you mentally to find the thin line between going all in and playing it safe to make it to the bottom?
A: We have to do a lot of planning and a lot of times change plans, it is part of the game thought I like it. I always try to stick my best trick on each feature and keep riding the way I like, keep variety and if I can show some Lil Moine actions I’ll try !
Q: What is your vision for your clothing brand Stratos, do you plan on bringing more people under the Stratos umbrella?
A: I do it for fun, I'm working on it now to make it better and easier in some ways. I don’t expect much from it, I just love to see people vibing with my stuff and supporting, wearing it, riding in it and partying hard in it !
Riders getting ready to compete at Lemoine's Invitational - Photo by Boris Beyer
Q: We were big fans of your event so we wanted to know what motivates you to organize your own "Lemoine Invitational" events? Will there be more in the future?
A: I wish there would be more big MTB Skatepark style events, I don’t know where we're going with it for now, I’d love to do more, open it to amateurs, kids, girls, etc. With a dream that in the future we could create a real Slopestyle Skatepark event !
Q: Let's talk music. You've been releasing Rap music under the alias LIL MOINE for a while now, and your last project has more of a Punk Rock twist to it. Can you describe a bit what making music means to you, and how has been the reception from the public so far?
A: I started for fun as I was listening to a lot of music everyday and still am, then I got into it and felt a real attraction from it. I need to listen to beats all the time, I play and try some flows when I’m in my car and I write lyrics when I'm traveling or when I'm bored. It fits so well with biking timing-wise and from a body perspective, biking is more physical (a lot mental too ahah) and rap is more about finding what my brains wants to do and imagination. "I like this beat, what am I gonna say on it, how, what there, and there ?" To me it’s just like thinking of a new line at a skatepark but as a sound!
Lil Moine performing at Lemoine's Invitational - Photo by Boris Beyer
Q: What’s the craziest situation that biking ever put your in?
A: 3 teeth got out on a face plant crash in 2020. The teeth are still in healing process, it’s super long to heal and repare as 3 of them didn’t go back to life it’s a bit annoying. But as a life experience, this is part of what we do, we brake ourself sometimes haha.
Q: What life advice would you give the 10 year old Tomas?
A: Keep it going, trust in yourself, don’t listen to everyone, focus on the ones that want to help you, watch out for snakes, and have fun! Make music as soon as you can 😂
Q: Any people you would like to thank?
A: All my partners, my family that always been behind me supporting as much as they can & always watching every event, my friends thanks to who I made it where I am today because riding alone would never put me here, people that follow my shit and vibe with my stuff, the legends that inspired us to be here, The Rise for keeping Street MTB alive, Drewbich aka HULK my best mate thanks to who I love every trip now in the good and bad moments, Big up to anyone riding a bike, +1 if it’s a freestyle bike ❤️🔥