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November 11, 2019

It’s still summer? Republica Dominicana: Leeper, Hinkens, and Coplon

Back in October of 2018, Madera’s Mike Hinkens had just set up his home base for two years in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
With that, came an invitation to come visit at some point over those two years. We did our best to get things rolling right away, but there were some setbacks that ended up putting us (myself and Dillon Leeper) there a year later (November, 2019).
Leaving Florida at 60 degrees, it was quite the shock to show up in the DR as the weather was much more like Florida in Mid September: low 90’s with close to 100% humidity. We learned quickly that we had to pace ourselves. The amount of incredible spots took advantage of our threshold for heat exhaustion; within the first three days it was quite the struggle. Ever have to revert to Pedialite when riding?

Dillon Leeper: Day Three. Just another Unreal spot.

Dillon Leeper: Palm Tree Launch along the Malecon.

Dillon Leeper Along the Malecon

Staying 7 miles from the Colonial Zone, we got to ride plenty of hidden gems on the outskirts, some one-of-a-kind spots on the Malecon while heading into town (directly along the Caribbean), and then in the Colonial zone itself.

Pirate Enclave in the Caribbean

Along the Malecon…

Right out of the gate, Allan Valdez took the week off to be an additional tour guide. We quickly found out that Allan, on top of being a solid filmer, and all around solid human, has a great sense of humor which helped keep the stoke high all week.

Allen Valdez: tabe amongst serious (and treacherous) traffic.

On Tuesday, enter Jose Paliza from ZonaBici. Another incredible person who’s one of the main cycling advocates in the city. ZonaBici couldn’t have been a more perfectly curated bike shop (with Jose’s roots in Bmx), but also a hub for the cycling community in Santo Domingo.

ZonaBici Bike Shop

Whopper along a Colonial Lane: Dillon Leeper

L to R: Mike Hinkens, Jose Paliza, Allen Valdez, Matt Coplon, Dillon Leeper.

After some chill time at the shop, Jose took us back to his house where we were shocked to find a perfectly built dirt bowl in his side yard.
Beyond the two hour session, Jose filled us in on the history of bmx in Santo Domingo and set us up for a bike tour of the Colonial Zone for our 4th night in town.

Dillon Leeper: Front side and…

…back side.

After spot hopping for four days, and learning to pace ourselves the hard way, we ended up back in the Colonial Zone for a night tour covering the Pre-European, Colonial, and current history of the Island. I knew a little going in, but coming out, I felt like I had just taken a course on the Island’s last 500 years. Three invasions, Colonial in-fighting, the past and present economy, etc… Our jaws were dropping as Jose was apologizing for his attention to detail shown out of a complete love for his city. We could have been on his tour for another 3 hours and still been completely content.

  
Although this was a non-stop bmx trip, the cultural education we got on the sidelines really hit home as much if not more than finding spots to ride. Thankful to those who opened their arms, doors, and schedules to dig deep into the city of Santo Domingo and into the DR as a whole: Jordy, Mikhail, None, Amaury, Allen and Jose.
We appreciate you.
And special thanks to Katelyn and Mike Hinkens for hosting us for the week.

Tres Ojos Cave.

Content will be posting on our social media, and clips will be featured in Dillon Leeper’s 2019 Year End Edit as well as Matt Coplon’s “On 43” out in June.
Thanks to Profile Racing for the support, and thanks for checking this out.
-Matt Coplon
(All photos by Dillon Leeper and Matt Coplon)

November 11, 2019