Meet Fast Friend, gravel rider, and co-owner of Petshop Skateboards: Filipp. Originally from Khabarovsk, Russia, Filipp moved to Barcelona in 2008 to study and skate “as it’s one of the best cities in the world to skate.” A year later, he seriously injured his back while skating downhill, which caused him to lose feeling in his tibialis anterior, a muscle on his left leg. Forced to stop skating for what would turn into 8 years, he picked up a fixie as a means of moving and stimulating his left leg. Yet the bad luck continued. Only the second time out on a road bike, a car hit him and destroyed two vertebraes. Since then, he sticks to CX and gravel.
1) When and why did you start riding bikes/skating?
I started to skate when I was 11 years old in Khabarovsk, my hometown. In 2008, I moved to Barcelona and injured my lower back while skating, so I started to cycle instead of walking everywhere. I really started to be curious about cycling as a culture after I got my first fixed gear bike in 2016. In 2020, I got my first cx/gravel bike and started to ride almost everyday exploring places around me.
2) What do each of these activities bring to your life? How do they coexist?
Both are perfect for disconnecting your mind inside or outside the city. It’s all about being present, knowing your rhythm. Cycling definitely helps me stay healthy and keep my legs and body strong to be able to skate longer.
3) So how exactly did you hurt your back? How does the injury affect you as a skater/cyclist?
In 2009, I fell on my back while skating. Since then, I lost feeling in my tibialis anterior, a muscle on my left leg. So I couldn’t skate at all for like 8 years. And that’s why I started riding fixed gear because it helped to stimulate my left leg. And it helped me be able to skate again at least something. As soon as I tried road cycling, on my second time out, a car hit me and I broke 2 vertebraes again. When I recovered, I got myself my first cx bike.
I have a disconnected muscle, so when my posture is good and everything, cycling is really healthy. I spend hours attempting to connect with that muscle–there’s some small progress after 2 years of cycling. Maybe it will never come back completely, but whatever, I’m still happy I can do what I do.
4) What are your pre-ride rituals? What do you do after you ride?
I usually eat a big meal around 2 hours before starting, even if I have to eat it at 4 am I will do it. I always eat a big breakfast before long rides. And smoke some dabs too, haha.
After riding, the first thing I do is eat, then take a shower, stretch, and eat again. I usually go for a walk too, at least some 5-10kms, and go to the beach, slow, chilling. Of course if I come home at night, around 3-4 am, I usually just pass out while stretching on the floor.
5) What does a Friday usually look like for you?
I plan weekend rides on Tuesday, so on Friday I usually just do minimum preparation–maybe I go buy gummies at Decathlon if I need to, but not much more. I just go smoke some bongs at a weed club and go to sleep at 23:00 to wake up at 4am and go.