You might expect an 16yr old bike rider from California to be hitting up the big downhills on rad bikes. But Tydeman Newman is a bike rider beyond his years. A self-confessed XC and Cyclocross addict, Tydeman brings to the single track an outlook more common at the beach, the skatepark, or at the dirt jumps. We first ran in to Tydeman in 2017 when he was racing the Grinduro event in Quincy, California: “You want to do a lap together?”, he said.
Now he rides for Fabric.
Who are you? My name’s Tydeman Newman. I ride bikes and do some other cool things.
Age? 16 years young.
Where do you live? Livin’ the SoCal life. Living in a shed in the yard just outside of Los Angeles.
What bikes do you own? My main bikes are a Cannondale F-Si hardtail, Cannondale Scalpel-Si, Cannondale SuperX, Cannondale CAAD12, spray-painted single speed cyclocross bike, a BMX bike that I share with my brother, a dirt jump bike.
Have you been out riding today? Of course, I’ve been out today – (laughter). Did this gravel scavenger hunt that the local shop, Pedaler’s Fork, put on. Super fun ripping around the Santa Monica mountains with good mates. Lots of wheelies. Lots of skids.
Tell us the kind of riding you like to do? I love to do all types of riding. Primarily I ride mountain bikes and cyclocross/gravel bikes, but you often see me out on the 20-inch or blasting around on the road bike. But yeah, I just like riding all bikes – (laughter).
How did you get in to riding? I got into riding through my dad. I was on a bike from an early age, I think I rode without training wheels for the first time when I was somewhere around two. Ever since then, I’ve loved it. I’ve played baseball and soccer and other stuff, but I’ve always loved riding the most. The last few years I realized that I was somewhat fast and could win a race here and there – (laughter).
What are you doing when you aren’t riding bikes? When I’m not riding bikes, you’ll find me bumming around the beach looking for waves. The ocean has always been important to me and has always been a happy place for me to go forget about everything else and just be calm. Whether I’m out on my board in perfect head high surf or flopping around with fins in some heavy shore break, I just love catching waves – (laughter).
You live with your family in the hills north of LA, what’s the story behind the neighbourhood where you live? Yeah, we live in a pretty cool spot. My neighbourhood is one of the first in all of Woodland Hills. Our house was one of the first ten. It’s super small but in a really awesome spot. Only problem is that we’ve somewhat run out of space with two adults, three teenagers, two dogs and a load of bikes and surfboards. To solve that, me and my brother live in these 10×12 foot sheds in the garden. Mine has the bike shed below and then my loft bedroom above. People come over and see it and they either think it’s super cool or that we are nutters.
Tell us about the riding scene where you are? Look up #lasucksforcycling. You’d be surprised. It is quite sarcastic – (laughter). In general, the scene is pretty awesome. We have some pretty incredible riding and even better weather which means that we get some awesome people coming out to ride. It’s not abnormal to see dudes like Stephan Hyde or some of the U23 teams out training in the hills. And there are a ton of fast group rides that definitely help whip me into shape.
LA is a big place, do you drive? Funny you ask. Just got my license the other day. For the most part, I just drive to school and the beach and ride most places. It’s more fun and gives you time to practice all your wheelies to impress the girls – (laughter).
Your dad is a designer? Yeah, my dad is pretty awesome. Along with being my introduction into cycling, he is the owner, founder, designer and customer service for OMATA. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s the world’s first GPS analogue bicycle speedometer. It’s genius. It captures all the data you want but shows you only what you need while riding in a way that’s never been done before. If you want to learn more head over to their website at www.omata.com. It’s worth a look.
Are the rest of your family sporty like you. Yeah, I’d say we are a pretty sporty family, haha. Both have been pretty strong athletes. My dad rides bikes and has raced and won multiple 24-hour solo races on a single speed. He’s an animal. My mum used to race triathlons and has done a few half-ironmans, which is nuts. Both my brother and sister are also super athletic. They are both pretty high-level soccer players. If they both got into riding they would be pretty fast too – (laughter).
The cabin, set the scene: what have you got in there? Ah… the good old shed. Downstairs is all bikes. Pretty much overflowing with bikes. Upstairs is my room. It’s pretty much a bed, a guitar, my record collection and record player set-up – I cobbled together mine with a turntable that my friend gave me and then two speakers I found lying on the street. Sometimes you’ll go to change the volume and you’ll turn it up and it will quiet down. A real mood-killer sometimes, but none the less super awesome. I love my records.
“I dream of being able to cook well… I’m no Gordon Ramsay.”
What is your favourite Fabric product? That’s difficult. I’d have to say the Scoop Pro Team Flat. That or the ALM.
Why? The Scoop is just such an awesome saddle. When you think about it, saddles are one of the most important parts of the bike seeing as we are sitting on it nearly all of the ride. Unfortunately, so few people actually use saddles that are correct for their body type or riding style. The Scoop is super comfortable in all the right places, but isn’t extra. It’s light and comfortable at the same time. I love the ALM because it is just so beautiful. It is just amazing how it looks like one piece of carbon. And despite it being an ultralight minimalist saddle, it is one the comfiest I’ve ever ridden. So comfortable in fact that I went against Nick’s idea and ride with it on my hardtail – (laughter).
Do you cook? I dream of being able to cook well. I’ve got the basics down and can get a little fancy if the time is right, but I’m no Gordon Ramsay.
Wales or California? Oof. That’s hard. I’d have to say California only ‘cause I don’t have to pay for housing etc. yet, and I love the beach and big mountains. But Wales is awesome and I feel a real blood connection from my dad’s side there, despite not having lived there before.
You have a curious taste in music and stuff for 16, where does that come from?
I’ve always liked being a bit different. Yeah, I’m really into surf punk and the punk rock scene. Right now, everyone my age is into this weird music that is really just some dude mumbling the same word over and over again. I hate it. The first time I really enjoyed music was when I heard FIDLAR, this LA surf punk band that my dad found. Everything about it was fun and it just struck home. But then I also love the Sex Pistols which is more political stuff. I’m also into vinyl records and stuff like that. Yeah, it’s making a return for teenagers, but I had them before it was cool again – (laughter)! Yeah, I think it comes from just always liked being different.
Have you done other sports or has it always been about bikes? Bikes have always been there, but I have done some other sports over the years. I used to play soccer and baseball. I wasn’t half bad at baseball. I was a left-handed catcher and first baseman. For anyone that knows baseball, they know that a good left-handed catcher is quite rare. Again, I just loved being different. But yeah, bikes have always been my love.
“It’s very easy to get caught up in trying to win every single race or be the best at everything.”
We saw all different kinds of bikes in your yard, do you have a favourite kind of riding?I don’t think I really have a favorite type of riding. I love every part of just going out pedaling. Everything from road riding to messing around on the 20 inch is fun to me. You could put me on any bike in the world and I’m sure I would be able to find a way to have fun on it.
What is the SoCal High School Cycling League? Set the scene for us. The SoCal High School league is my local part of the NICA league. It’s basically a series of races that are only for high school and middle school riders. It is one of the coolest things on the planet. It’s such inspiration to me. There is everyone from elite level racers like myself to kids that are doing their very first race ever. It is truly the most awesome thing ever. 2,500 kids from across SoCal show up at a mountain and camp and race and have an awesome time. It’s just so cool. It is how I realized that I love racing.
Which riders influence you? I’d say I have a pretty interesting spectrum of guys that inspire me. I have guys like Mathieu Van Der Poel that is just such a legend on any bike he rides, but there are also guys like the 50-to-01 boys that are all such cool people. They are awesome characters without their riding. But they can ride a bike like nobody else. I love jibs, (laughter).
Do you think XC gets a bad rap in the MTB world compared to downhill and dirt jumping? Yeah, XC definitely gets a bad rap. Yeah, we are skinny dudes that ride in lycra and shave our legs, but we love going fast too. We just like to ride up the mountain fast too. And I think XC is also getting gnarlier and more techy, and that people need to stop hating on it for being for roadies. If a roadie turned up at one of the local high school races, they wouldn’t last a minute in the varsity races. You do actually have to have skill to ride fast on singletrack – (laughter).
Biggest race of the year for you? Grinduro is always pretty important to me. I do national champs and stuff like that, but more and more now we are seeing people leaving that world and just partying on bikes. Grinduro perfectly embodies that and is just everything that awesome about bikes. More and more, those races are getting more media and it’s become a race that is super important to me.
Who is Hamish Paine? Bloody Hamo. He is a tall Australian with some madness going on! I don’t know how he does it, but it seems all he does is ride bikes and drink beer but he can turn up at a race and hammer everyone. They need to run some power tests on that mate ‘cause he is an animal – (laughter).
What Fabric riders would you like to ride with? I dream of getting to ride with some of the 50-to-01 dudes. They have so much skill and style and make everything look effortless. I also dream of having a crew of guys like that, who just want to go ride bikes and mess around and have fun. They are such dudes.
Who would you most like to ride with – out of every rider in the world? That’s really difficult. It would probably be either the 50-to-01 guys or someone like Taylor Phinney. After watching Thereabouts 2, I was seriously captivated by Phinney’s style. He is so relaxed and such a character but is one of the best cyclists in the world. He is a character off the bike and that is something that I’ve always looked up to.
What’s next for Tydeman? More Euro trips! In the grand scheme, I’m just going to keep having fun on my bike and trying to win some races. Just enjoy life and make the most of my carefree teenage years – (laughter)!
Any parting words? To all the kids out there, just have fun. It’s very easy to get caught up in trying to win every single race or be the best at everything. Just go out and ride your bike and enjoy being able to pedal. Simply put – just ride for the fun, nothing else. Oh yeah, get sendy. I promise – it’s fun.