Years ago, I shared a more temporary business Jeff Mayer and wife Angela De Vincenzo had established for summers out east. This dynamic duo has since made the Hamptons a permanent residence, and in doing so they have re-created and revamped their truck and biking facility Blocks, Trucks, + Art to be equipped for year-long use. Embarrassingly, a little secret about me, I learned to ride a bike out here when I was 11 years old. For whatever reason, I never spent time learning, but always wished I’d honed in on this skill that lasts a lifetime. Luckily, I have Jeff to thank for teaching my girls how to ride way earlier, at 5 and 7! They have been taking a few lessons and after just one, could pedal on their own for a few feet. I highly recommend this if you want to teach your children how to ride properly, and then accelerate to their incredible dirt bike path, where they get to listen to some great tunes from the DJ booth set up in the truck. Their track is a great way to encourage and facilitate both socialization and physical education. You may even want to join your kids for the ride!
How many years have you been in business in Hamptons?
We launched our program 5 years ago in Bridgehampton, NY – the program is uniquely housed inside and around our family-owned 1981 Kenworth 18-wheeler, aka Big Mama.
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
I was a professional BMXer back in the late 80s (pre X-Games), and as my BMX career was ending I moved to NYC in the early 90’s to pursue a career as a DJ. Following BMX and DJing, my biggest source of inspiration is my son, Luca. From six months old, Luca’s love for big rigs was massive, and I followed his lead. We bought a semi for him at the age of 3. My wife and I knew that inspiration equals motivation, and this truck would help him as he went through multiple surgeries to repair his cleft palate. I wanted to share this truck with kids on a bigger scale than my son and his friends. Working with my wife, and my family was an ultimate goal. Angela’s extensive background in education got my wheels spinning – we were able to collaborate, and combine our talents to create something special, and important for kids. Never was I more inspired to create and build something. The outcome is our program, Blocks, Trucks + Art.
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
We stay true to who we are, personally and professionally. The combination of my BMX background, professional DJ experience and designer, with my wife’s 20 year career in the top private schools of NYC make us pretty original and authentic.
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
Staying grounded in our areas of expertise – not just going with the trends or what’s hot. We keep things old school – block building, biking, vinyl and reading and writing instruction. Our vision is to keep the quality of our program tight. We are not interested in expansion, and spreading ourselves too thin. We care deeply about the integrity of our approach, instruction and relationships with the families and children.
How do you positively impact your clientele?
We inspire kids to find their passions through the outlets we provide – whether it be physically, creatively, socially or cognitively. We aim to tap into areas that kids don’t necessarily get enough of during the school day, but are instrumental in developing the whole child.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Seeing kids gain self-confidence through work I am passionate about is pretty cool.
What is your favorite secret Hamptons spot?
Gibson Lane Beach, around 6pm, when it is quiet. Going for a swim after a long day feels like a cleanse. Tutto il Giorno (even though I DJ there every Saturday night, I love the homey vibe there - especially off season + plus the food is great!)… And lastly, our nightly “Sunset BMX Sessions” in Bridgehampton is probably my favorite spot to be out East. Those who know, and have been to witness the magic at our Sunset Sessions (with the chill house music coming out of our 18-wheeler while kids are learning to bike and ride BMX on our 3 dirt tracks), know how special it is, especially in the middle of the crazy summers out here in the Hamptons.
How do you benefit mamas?
I think parents, more than ever, want to see their kids having authentic, tangible experiences. When you come to our track and truck, you can’t help but feel a sensory connection to what’s going on. The experience of seeing and riding the track, skating the mini-ramp, DJing on turntables or perusing my wife’s amazing children’s literature is the antithesis of what you get from an iPad.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
Recently, a parent told me his 5-year-old daughter’s favorite day of the week is Monday (the day she rides with us). He said she was afraid to ride a bike, and now cannot wait to hop on her BMX bike and ride the ramps and dirt track with us. He said biking with us has encouraged her in so many other areas, and that her confidence is soaring.
(We do a Sunday morning Girls Ride BMX Session in the summer too, which started when a few 8-year-old girls said to me, “Can we have our own day to ride (BMX) without the boys? We are addicted to the pump track!” And so, we started Girls Ride on Sunday mornings -- it’s been a hit ever since.
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field.
My friend, Walt Lindveld, out in Montauk (of A Walk on Water) does some amazing stuff for kids with special needs through surfing. Jon Snow has been a huge inspiration to me since he supported our desire to buy a trailer in spring of 2015. He gave us the chance of a lifetime to test our program out here in Bridgehampton.
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
We use the classic Robert Crumb phrase “Keep on Truckin’” pretty much daily in our home and on our truck (we have the words emblazed down the entire length of our 48’ tractor trailer). We encourage perseverance and resilience – we hope to inspire kids (and families) to never give up. We are big believers in following your dreams with determination and passion, which ultimately makes your dreams becomes reality.
As moms (dads), the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
Get your social media and emails done before 6 am, and then put the phone away for the day (at least for breakfast!). We spend way too much time on our phones these days and it’s damaging for everyone (especially children). This is why we have a serious No Phone policy for the older kids.