At the top of the Onewheel XR all-time mileage leaderboard, Javier Starks holds a mind-blowing 60,000-ridden kilometers record. That’s 1,5x the circumference of the Earth. And he’s not stopping.
INTERVIEWER: Who is Javier Starks?
JAVIER STARKS: Javier Starks is a positive youth advocate, educator, and athlete who works to make the world a better place daily. He has been doing this for practically his entire adult life.
Is that your mission?
I feel that’s what I am on this earth to do. And I enjoy every day – I barely have bad days.
Why do you think is that?
I’m not saying my life isn’t hard or that things are not challenging. My life has always been very challenging. But when I say positive, I’m not talking in the sense of being unrealistically optimistic. On opposite to that, staying positive for me means just focusing on the good. In my case, it’s my music, my art that I create.
You said you were an educator. Why do you focus your work on the youth?
Youth is the future. If we don’t look out for them, then who will? We got to show them the positive things in life and let them focus on them. It’s not all about money and material objects. Kids must have fun and be free.
How is it to be a leader?
As a leader, sometimes it is tough to be in a position where people look up to you – it sometimes reaches a point where some people don’t treat you like you’re human.
I mean, you’re supposed to be positive like me, and you encounter disrespectful people or people who are doing something opposite of what you’re trying to do in terms of positivity. There are people promoting negativity or even bad stuff that will harm kids’ life, I’m not going to respond positively to that. There are a few things, certain attitudes, that I can’t support. If I’m disrespected, I can’t just be like “hey man it’s cool to treat me that way”. I’m a human also. And that’s hard when you’re an example of positivity and good vibes.
What’s your biggest challenge or responsibility as a leader?
One of the hardest challenges I’ve encountered along the way is realizing that, regardless of how positive you are, and no matter how much positive stuff you do, there are gonna be people who won’t support you.
Why do you think is that?
For different reasons. One, because they’re jealous or they feel threatened by you. Or two, because you’re so likable that they hate it – they want to be in your position.
Why do you ride your Onwheel?
I ride because it makes me feel free. It just makes me feel free. My Onewheel is a vehicle not only for me to move through life but also a vehicle of change. And… well, no pun intended but fun happens.
How did skateboarding change your life?
Skateboarding shifted everything. It moved me into a space where I began to get creative not only with how I travel but also with what I did on the device that was allowing me to travel. It inspired me to get out of the house, it inspired me to try new things, to challenge myself. Skateboarding was one of the things that added to my ‘get it done regardless of the circumstances’ attitude. It pushed me into a space where I take on challenges like I don’t mind.
What’s your biggest passion?
My biggest passion is working with youth and showing the world the beauty of electric vehicles in the process. What I’m working on is a cross-country campaign that would be doing a little bit of both: showcasing my music with my band and connecting with youth: showing them that we can change the world and, most importantly, save it through positive ways of interacting with it. Ahh man, that’s my biggest focus right now. I’m also working on launching my non-profit organization as well
What do you think is your mission in this world?
My mission in this world is to set an example and to show people that you can be successful doing what you love, being true to yourself, and functioning with integrity. I just want to show everyone that it works. You can’t just be like ‘be positive and life will work out for you’, no. People have to see it working out for someone for it to make sense. That’s my mission.
What would you like your legacy to look like?
I hope the legacy of my work will inspire generations of kids to come to do what they love. Inspire them to see negative things as being successful, and they would say ‘Ah I don’t need to do that though because I can do what I love. Javier did it – so can I’. That’s what I want my legacy to be. Stood my ground going against all odds regardless of the circumstances and making it happen – that’s what I want to be known for.
You’ve ridden 35,000 miles on your Onewheel, you’re at the very top of the ranks. What does that mean to you?
I remember nights when I would be out riding, and it was literally like 30ºF outside, and I’d still keep riding. I remember most of the days riding by myself because there are not many people who’d be willing to put in eight hours on the board. I remember telling my dad as things were progressing “Hey pops, I’m up another thousand” and to me, it’s just a reminder of being able to do the things that I set my heart on doing.
When I first got my Onewheel, the person in the first place already had ten thousand miles on their board. I was able to catch up to them and pass them by far. To me, having set a goal, chased it, overcame the challenges along the way, remained true to my word, and accomplished my goal means everything. That’s what being at the top means. Being at the top also means I’ve got to set an example. I’ve got to be diligent, and thorough, and create opportunities for other riders, too. And I’m working on that. On creating opportunities for other riders in my city, making videos, and connecting with new brands and organizations. I want to help them – that’s what being on the top implicates. It’s an everyday grind. I’m trying to use this platform to do something greater than myself, something bigger than me.
What motivates you to keep going?
The world is a complex place, and my take on it is like “if I don’t do it, who will?”. Who’s to say that someone else will come along and do the work that I’m trying to get done? There’s no guarantee that anyone will do this work. The only way that I can guarantee that the work will get done is if I do it. So what motivates me every day is getting the work done.
Having invested +15 years in my vision, I cannot give up now. Seeing so many youths being misled, I cannot stop.
It’s just so much stuff out there that is just bringing the youth and even adults into spaces where they’re not happy with themselves because they’re comparing themselves to other people and other things that other people have.
I want to show them that life is not about those things. I want to show them that true happiness lies in what’s inside, and what’s inside needs to be love for self, and what better way to love yourself than following your heart, chasing your dreams, chasing them to the point where it becomes a reality.
“I want to show the world that true happiness lies in what’s inside, and what’s inside needs to be love for self, and what better way to love yourself than following your heart, chasing your dreams, chasing them to the point where it becomes a reality”.Javier Starks
I’ve followed my dreams my entire life. I traveled the world, worked with some of the greatest musicians of our time, I’ve been all over the news, and I have the chance to ride my Onewheel every day, everything comes a full circle when you decide to chase your dreams. That’s what motivates me. There’s so much to lose, why quit now? Why quit now when you can change the world?
As riding rises so do accidents. What advice would you give Onewheelers so they can stay safe on increasingly dangerous roads?
Never assume you’re safe. Never assume the road is flat. Never assume the path is clear. Always check, never assume. Drivers are often using their phones or simply distracted, so never assume would be the one piece of advice that I’d give to all cyclists and riders.
Were you or someone you know ever involved in a rider accident? Incident? How was it and how did that affect your life and rides?
After so many years, I’ve known quite a few people who’ve been involved in accidents: broken arms, and broken body parts, mostly after they’ve been hit by cars. I’ve known riders who have had their boards ran over by cars in moments of road rage – it’s just a reminder to me that you can’t afford to be going down the street and doing whatever you want; you got to be in your own space, you got to be respectful, you got to focus on all those things. And that’s similar to what happens in life, you gotta keep those things in mind as you move through life. You can’t just move out there like you own the road. You don’t own the road, we are sharing this road with drivers. I’ve seen riders ride on the opposite side of the road and flick riders drivers off. We can’t afford to -as riders- function like that because it’s a bad look for Personal Electric Vehicle riders all over the world. We don’t want governments to start creating laws that would restrict where we can and cannot ride. In some countries that is already a thing, thus the importance of being considerate when you are out riding. You can’t just be like a jerk. From the beginning, I’ve always taught like riding ethic. When it comes to riding, we need to stay on our side, when someone is coming toward us down the path we cannot be swerving doing big carving in front of them as they get close, because people are frightened by that. And we don’t want to be the group that frightens people. We want to be the group that is inviting the people, that excites the people, that enlightens the people. We don’t want to be the frightening group.
What is the thing that I like most about the FARO helmet?
Oh, this beauty of an incredible creation I’m wearing. I like being visible when I don’t even try to be visible. Like, I used to use my flashlight for that. But since I have FARO, I don’t need to, I’m visible even in the daytime. It’s like super visible, and at night it’s incredibly visible. Oh, and I have the turn signals as well which are a lot of fun to use.
How does FARO make your rides better?
As I said, I’m just far more visible even when my goal is not to be visible and I’m just riding. People see this line of light in the front of the helmet and it’s so bright that people -drivers- will see it from a distance, before I even see the driver they may see the light on my helmet and that could save my life, to be honest.
How important is it to be visible when riding in DC?
It’s critical. Cars come out of alleyways, cars come out of parking spaces, and cars come out of nowhere. There are people doing U-Turns in the middle of the street. Many people do not even warn. So being visible, for me, is critical. Not even a question.
Do you believe that smart, technology-enhanced products like FARO, which focus on communication between riders and drivers can help in this nonsense rivalry? How possible do you think it is to end the rivalry between riders and drivers?
The rivalry between riders and drivers all stems from a sense of entitlement. Entitlement to the road, entitlement to go first… entitlement is like the key. Smart technology, and having the possibility to communicate with drivers through turn signals and brake lights are a step in the right direction. That’s not even a question. I think that this rivalry will end when more riders show more consideration for the drivers. Like, if I come to a four-way stop I’ll stop just like any other driver would stop and I’ll let the person on my left or my right go first if they’re waiting because that’s the type of consideration that we need to foster; an environment where we squash that rivalry. It’s just going to take people setting the example, that’s how it always is with life and history – people who made great changes had to step out there, set an example, stand on it, and then other people adopted their behavior over time and respected it.
You’re about to host the Green Flight Festival event in DC.
The Green Flight Festival is a culmination of my current hopes and dreams. It is a platform with which the general public can learn about personal electric vehicles, a platform with which riders in the area can share their love and their knowledge about personal electric vehicles with the general public and other riders. It’s a meetup where you’ll be able to connect with vendors and different companies that also support the cause and the movement. They’re gonna be kids, there’s gonna be music, there’s going to be games for them to play, it’s going to be a lot of information floating around so a green flight festival is just a culmination of all we love with personal electric vehicles, electric unicycles, electric skateboards, electric scooters, electric bikes, Onewheels, all of that is going to be present even a lot of non-electric stuff regular bikes, longboards like yo it’s all going to be there and I want to bring them all together in this area in dc. I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time and now I’m doing it.
Can anyone attend the event?
Yes. It’s open to the public. All vehicles are welcome. Even if you don’t have a vehicle, you’re welcome. Even if you’re riding a scooter that you’re renting from the city, you’re welcome. Even if you rent a bike from the city you are welcome. If you’re a runner and you want to run with us you’re welcome. Everyone is welcome and it’s a free event so come out enjoy and yourself.
What should people expect?
People can expect group rides, live music, youth performances, and community energy. Definitely to meet a lot of vendors, connect with a bunch of people you may have never met before, or just hang out with a bunch of people you’ve known for a long time. In terms of contests, it’s going to be reloading: races I’m setting up, best tricks, best style contests, a little bit of everything.
What’s the main goal of the event
It’s an awareness event. We want the general public to come into contact with electric vehicles and have a better understanding of how they function and how we tie them into our lives. We are doing our part in terms of saving the environment, but at the same time, the electric unicycle has high speeds so it’s functional. A Onewheel is super cool, and even though it doesn’t have the incredibly high speeds like the unicycle, it’s functional and it’s very fun. The learning curve is very small. I’ve taught people from 4 years old to 70 years old to ride in less than 10 minutes. I can’t even remember how many demos and lessons I did but whirling is beautiful, it’s easy to catch, and mastering only requires practice. So, yeah, in short, the main goal is to get people acclimated to electric vehicles. Also, we want to raise funds so that I can launch my non-profit, cover the event costs, and improve this event for next year. There’s also a raffle with cool prizes you can even win a FARO Helmet. You can check that out on the Festival’s Instagram. It’s a good cause – you’re going to help me create change.
Think that’s it.
Thanks to anyone reading, and thanks for giving me your time. Thanks to you guys at UNIT 1, creators of FARO. Much love. You’re at the top with this, you just took it to the next level, and you worked to create something beautiful and functional. I’m happy to be riding with FARO but also that I’m raffling off one because wealth is better when you can share it. Make sure to check the raffle out – there are other prizes, too! If anyone is interested in sponsoring the festival as well we do have a few more slides open, please DM me on Instagram. Take it easy, ride safe, and move in love.
Javier wears a Stingray FARO Mips, which you can purchase using the button below. We will donate 1% of all orders placed through this button to the Green Flight Festival.
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