Riding a bicycle is an activity best suited for kids. Just don’t tell that to Kevin Robinson, one of the most decorated BMX’ers of all-time. The man known simply as KRob has won five X Games Gold medals. He also holds a world-record for highest air on a quarterpipe and is credited with landing the first ever double flair– a double backflip with a 180-degree rotation.
Though he still rides at 40, his career is transitioning from full-time competitor to ambassador of the sport. After spending time with KRob at Woodwood East, it became apparent that the new role suits him well.
In the fall of 2009, KRob got a wake-up call after suffering a severe shoulder injury at a MegaRamp contest in Brazil. Unable to ride for an extended period of time, he was forced to figure out alternative ways to produce for himself, his family, his sponsors and his sport. Inspired by one of his best friends, Junior Seau, along with his wife Robyn, they formed the Kevin Robinson foundation in order to help kids from his hometown of East Providence Rhode Island. “Junior was my guidance. He was the reason my wife and I wanted to start the organization. Junior had the amazing ability to make people see the positive side of life, He always preached to keep your chin up and believe in what you’re doing, and that’s what we did. Next thing we know we opened up the foundation.”
KRob and friends providing the entertainment at the Ride with KRob Family Fun Festival.
As a part of their second annual Ride with KRob Family Fun Festival in East Providence, the KRob Foundation teamed up with its sponsors Target and Camp Woodward to send 16 kids to a week long camp at Woodward East with KRob as their coach and camp counselor. “Knowing that you’re partially responsible for their eyes lighting up when they come up to me and say it’s the best week of my life. If I can play a part in that with the help of my sponsor Target, there’s nothing more rewarding.”
While Kevin was injured, Target came to him with a special type of sponsor requirement. They asked him to drive the sponsorship program with Woodward, an opportunity in which he became the unofficial godfather of the camp, cruising in the Target golf cart, eagerly fixing broken spokes and flat tires, while offering a few riding tips along the way. “Kevin really took the opportunity to build out our program as the Target Ambassador at Camp Woodward and ran with it. He really put together the plan and has personally executed some fun ideas over the past few years,” explains Target Lifestyle Marketing Manager, Laura Anderson, “Kevin has really personified our brand at the Camp and elevated our program in a way that we’ve been really impressed by and excited about.”
Camp Counselor Kevin Robinson helps a student from the foam pit.
In addition to playing an integral role in the program, KRob and Robin somehow found the time to develop a safety product line–Grindz Protective Apparel. “All kids including ours don’t like to wear pads because of how they look, so Robin and I decided to work with some of our friends to create a stylish pant with the pads sewed into the inside so it doesn’t look like they’re wearing pads.”
KRob is quick to point that out none of these ventures would be possible without Robin, “Behind every decent man is a great woman, as my wife is the back-bone. She’s the unsung hero who makes everything work, she put’s in just as much effort as I do, not to mention she’s an amazing mom to my children.”
Recently the busy duo also formed Kevin Robinson Events, a program in which he travels to school assemblies speaking to students about topics including the power of perseverance, substance abuse prevention, and overall kindness. “My wife and I joke all the time that we kind of Forest Gump our way through things, because I do it all from my heart.”
Inevitably, when discussing the topic of retirement, the term legacy comes to mind, and for Robinson, legacy is very important, “People ask me how I want to be remembered and I always say I just want to be remembered as a good person who helped everybody I possibly could to live a better life…and was a pretty good bike rider who gave a big portion to the sport.”
After my time with KRob, I felt confident that he’s ready to accept his new role off the bike. I was wrong. Robinson said, “I love going to X Games. It’s a huge part of me. I’m still going to go there to try things no one has ever tried. That’s just who I am. I will retire when I’m ready to retire. When you’ve paid your dues and you’ve worked hard to get where you are, no one has the right to tell me to move on.”
KRob is back on the bike and headed to Los Angeles next week to compete at X Games in BMX Big Air. And you can bet that he’ll be looking for his 6th Gold medal.