FYI: Ryan McNulty
photos: Micayla Gatto, Dakoda Osusky, saskia dugon, graham fee, boris beyer, ryan mcnulty
Waddup! My name is Ryan McNulty. I’m 21 years old, originally from Bend, Oregon, but living in Hurricane, UT. I pretty much just fish, dig, and ride!
What do you do for a living?
I’m a professional Freeride Mountain Biker. I couldn’t be more grateful to call something that started as a hobby and slowly turned into my passion, a career, and something I do full time. I will never take my position for granted. The places and memories I’ve experienced from biking are something no other career could bring me. I am forever grateful.
How did you get involved in riding?
It came supernatural. One of those things where it was never forced, just always doing it purely for love. One thing led to another, and I slowly got involved with the biking scene in my area, which was very small for the ‘freeride’ side of things. It was weird figuring it all out at first, as not a ton of people around me really rode or understood the vision. Just had to figure that stuff out on my own. I had a lot of good and a lot of bad influences around me growing up. A lot of dudes getting into some bad stuff, and I couldn’t see myself going down that path. I knew I had to keep my head on straight and keep working my ass off if I wanted to avoid those bad influences. Very glad I had several good influences to look up to in my surrounding area that helped me stay focused and on the right path.
Do you have any other interests besides riding? Are there any other activities or hobbies that you do?
Definitely! I’m pretty into fishing, mostly bass fishing. I try to keep it going year-round if I can. Something about taking a little time off to go fish is so relaxing and calming. I’ve also been pretty into plants this past year. They just look way too steezy. My house has them literally everywhere (laughs). Other than that, I love photography and cinematography. Understanding what happens behind the lens and getting the experience myself is something I really enjoy. I’ll go on drives or hikes pretty often to take pictures and get ideas for stuff I’d like to create a scene out of in the future. Something about nature and the beauty it brings is unreal. I wanna capture as much of it as I can!
What’s your best memory to date?
The best bike memory is going to Chile in 2023. At this point, I had not been out of the country aside from Canada and Mexico. Me and my good buddy Dakoda Osusky were traveling together, both so freaking excited to get there. We went skydiving, rode around in Ferraris, ripped motos to the store, jumped a Prius 80ft, became close with so many of the dudes I grew up idolizing, had the best riding times of my life, and learned so much from my peers on and off the bike. Hard to bring to words what that trip did for me, but it was an unforgettable one.
What does riding a bicycle mean for you?
Riding a bike, to me, is a form of expression and freedom. I feel as if, through my riding, I can forget about everything around me, zone in, put on some good tunes, and be the happiest dude ever. There’s no better feeling than the feelings I get from biking, whether it be setting a goal to do something and accomplishing it, getting visions for projects, or just simply taking a pedal around the neighborhood. All of it is relative, and there’s nothing I’d rather be doing! Andreu Lacondeguy once told me to “express yourself on the bike” and that forever stuck with me.
What does inspire you and keep you motivated?
I think my main inspiration comes from trying to become the best version of myself and always reaching for something greater. Being settled or satisfied has always been a tough one for me to figure out. I try my best to live in the moment and enjoy every bit! Also, having like-minded people around me has been huge as well. The people I surround myself with nowadays I consider family as we all work as a team to help each other accomplish our goals and visions. Being around people who motivate you and constantly push you to one-up yourself on and off the bike is huge for the process. We all have the same outlook on the sport and feed off each other’s energy so hard. Super thankful for these people.
What’s the best and worst part about riding, if there’s any?
The best part of riding for me has to be the ability to set goals and achieve those goals. I think there is so much more to riding than just being on the bike. It’s the things that come with it that make it so special. The community you surround yourself with, the places you see, the people you meet, and all the experiences and memories that come along with it. I have experienced so many things simply because the joy of riding has made me cross those bridges to new paths and understandings. It’s something you could never buy with any amount of money, and that is what I think makes it so special.
How’s the biking scene in your area?
Currently, I reside in Hurricane, Utah, which is just down the hill from all the old/new Rampage sites. The scene is interesting here. Typically, people have their crews and usually tend to be with just them. Different from what I grew up on. But I guess that is just the way she goes as things start to get more competitive in an area that has been getting a ton of attention over the past couple of years. The scene is starting to get overwhelming with people coming out to Virgin and looking for blood. I can’t really talk shit since I’m not from here (laughs). This place is no joke, and it can go bad very quickly if you are not on your A-game. I’m super interested to see what happens with this area in the next couple of years. I moved to Utah to make the whole riding thing a career and something I can fully pursue day in and day out. Luckily, I met some pretty badass dudes who decided to move down after a year of me living in the area (Talus Turk, Hayden Zablotny) who had the same intentions as me. They’re definitely key players in what I do. We have all had to earn our way up the totem pole, and in no way are we done yet.
Which is the best place you’ve been to for riding?
I know it’s a cliche because I live here, but to this day, my favorite place to ride is still Virgin, Utah, 100%. The amount of progression that can take place here on any given day is unreal. No better place to push yourself. There’s always something to challenge yourself with, whether it be riding or building. If you want to be different, you have to bring a new perspective out here. Pretty rad place.
Are there any places that you would like to visit to ride?
I’m really excited about trying to get to New Zealand in the near future. A place I’ve always dreamed of riding but just never got the chance. I’m also pretty stoked about exploring some different parts of South America, Specifically Chile. So much big mountain potential and zones that are nothing close to what I’ve experienced. That one is high on the bucket list. The last one I can think of off the top of my head is exploring more of Canada and B.C., in particular. Everything about it speaks to me, and it is something I gotta truly experience aside from going there just for Crankworx (laughs).
How important are the clothes that you wear, the products you use, and the look of your bike? Do you put thought into it, or you don’t mind at all?
I believe the image you portray plays a huge factor when it comes to how people perceive you. The style you have on the bike, the way you present yourself on and off of social media, and what you choose to represent in terms of companies and bike brands. These things all play a huge part in what you are doing and who you want to be. So yes, I definitely pay attention to those particular things.
What bike do you currently use?
I’m currently on Canyon bikes, so my go-to rig is the Torque. I pretty much don’t change anything on that bike settings-wise the whole year. I keep it stiff with a slow rebound all the time. I couldn’t be more stoked about the setup. Maybe you’ll see a 26” version soon…
Who are your favorite riders? And video parts?
Some of my biggest influences in biking are Graham Agassiz, Andreu Lacondeguy, and most of the OG Fest Series dudes. As I started to get into riding, I really got into those videos, and they were people who stood out to me the most. But more than anything, I grew up on a Moto influence, so dudes like James Stewart, Jeremy McGrath, and Cary Hart. Those dudes are the shit. My favorite vids gotta be Ashes To Agassiz and Jason Levy-Aspire Round 2. IYKYK.
How would you describe your riding style?
My riding style is definitely catered toward big mountain. I’m a big fan of steep creeper lines. Any spot where you can get to the top of the mountain and pick a line down is the best. Any big jumps as well; Fest jumps are by far the best thing to ride. Leaning off jumps that size and throwing spins that big is what dreams are made of. But I also have a big skatepark background, so anything jibby I have a good time riding.
Have you suffered any injuries because of riding? How did you face it? Did you learn something from it?
I have gone through my fair share of injuries… 2023 was a super hard one for me in that regard as I was injured for 6, almost 7, out of the 12 months this year. I would go from healthy to injured for a month, back riding for a month, injured, repeatedly. It was mentally the toughest thing I’ve dealt with confidence-wise. I would just start to get back into the level I wanted to be at, then break myself off again. Extremely frustrating, especially in a year that was super key for my goals and my transition from working a full-time job to a professional rider. I learned so much from this happening. One thing is being patient and finding things outside of riding that make you happy. There are other things to focus on in your pastime that’ll keep you plenty busy. Another thing I learned is everything happens for a reason. Not to ask, “Why me?”, but rather think about the process and how to avoid those things next time.
If you had to choose between getting a magazine cover, winning a well-known contest, or filming a full-length video part, which one would it be?
100% a Magazine cover. It’s something my generation unfortunately missed out on. Nothing is better than print, in my opinion. It has so much more meaning to it, especially compared to social media nowadays, where people see your work for 15-20 seconds and then totally forget about it. I cannot imagine getting the cover of a magazine and having people be able to hold that magazine and keep it in their possession. So rad.
How do you see the future of the sport going? Is there anything that you would like to see done differently or better within the biking scene/industry?
The sport is in a very delicate spot right now. The amount of people that are into the sport nowadays blows my mind. It’s pretty awesome seeing mountain bikes everywhere you go. More than ever, the love for the sport is shared by so many individuals, no matter your interpretation of bikes and what it means to you. With that being said, I feel as if there is a lack of creativity and authenticity within the sport. I haven’t been in the sport as long as some of the veterans, but the core side of the sport is slowly declining. Unfortunately, Social Media has brought negatives and positives to the equation. There is so much senseless content being produced nowadays simply for instant gratification. I hope to see a turnaround in that part of the sport in the future. Fingers crossed.
What are your plans this year?
I have some big plans… My best friends/roommates (Hayden Zablotny, Talus Turk, Evan Bradley, JP Purdom, etc.) and I will be launching a company later this year! The whole purpose behind it is a mountain bike media company that aims to redefine the future culture of this sport. We believe in keeping the roots of mountain biking intact while introducing a set of fresh eyes. A new perspective and outlook without getting caught up in technical jargon, today’s “trends”, product reviews, ads, etc. Just go out, dig, ride your bike, and make cool shit. That is what we are about. I don’t want to give too much away, but we’re going all in on this one. Very excited for everyone to see what we have cooking…
Any last words?
Go out and create what you believe in. Don’t do what other people are gonna think is “cool” just to fit in. Follow your vision and passion and see where it takes you. No matter what you’re doing, put 100% effort into it, work your ass off, and enjoy the process. Dip into your creative side and think outside the box. Authenticity is huge nowadays and is so rare to come by, so be yourself! And most of all, have fun! Love you all. #heshmtb