Interview: Brad Johnson
He is the one who knows how to get through the worst obstacles. He keeps riding no matter what. He did not give up his passion for extreme riding, even having lost the ability to walk. Sounds like he is kind of a Superman? We think that’s true. Please meet Brad Johnson.
— Please introduce yourself, who you are and where people could see you.
Hello my name is Brad Johnson, I live in Alaska and I'm 33 years old. I have been paralyzed (T12) from the waist down since February 2012. Ever since then I have been pretty active on social media documenting my many accomplishments in the motorsports industry and you can find me on Instagram @bradjohnson590 and YouTube at (Brad Johnson Alaska)
— We met you when one of your subscribers mentioned our company in the comments and we helped you a little. Is it okay if we ask you to tell our subscribers about your problem and how you deal with it? Because you ride more than some riders, and that is so amazing.
So being a paraplegic the last 8 years i have truly learned what it really means to adapt and overcome. Seriously though about every single task you can think of in a day I had to relearn and honestly it all came pretty easily for me because I'm highly motivated to succeed and I'm extremely independent on top of it.
But seriously compared to everything else, riding sleds, bikes, and ATVs came extremely easy to me, I think mainly because I love it so much and also I was an expert rider before my accident so that helped a lot in the learning curve.
I start by putting my Finntrail waders on. They are 100 percent waterproof and that's huge for me. I have no feeling in my legs and I can't tell if my legs are wet or cold or even hurt so the added protection is truly amazing for me. I also live (well at least for the last 3 years) with a chronic infection in my hip so keeping dry is the most important thing i can do.
Ok so next it's time to load up and go wheeling, I'm extremely independent and have developed a system to load my ATV into my truck without help, I have videos of this on my Instagram account if you are curious how that is possible for me in a wheelchair.
— How long have you been riding off-road? What made you take your ATV ride for the first time? How did everything go? Why did you choose this machine?
I have been riding ever since I was 6 years old and you could say it has always been kind of an obsession for me. I spent years of my life racing dirt bikes winning many state motocross championships in the years 2005 to 2012 here in Alaska.
Meanwhile always taking my professional snowmobile career seriously as well that was always my main goal for years until the last 5 years. Now I'm 1000 percent focused on riding ATVs, building monsters and ripping skeg. My focus changed because my health started failing me to the point that snowmobiles and dirt bikes hurt me too much to ride, doesn't help I only know how to ride on one level and that's the most extreme. ATVs are easier on my body and I love it honestly.
I call my wheeler the best wheelchair money can buy.
— Do you remember your first race in life? Or which race was the most memorable and why?
I don't necessarily have one particular race that stands out to me. There have been so many in my life but I do really remember my last championship I won in 2005. It was 250cc intermediate here in Alaska with the state series that was an amazing accomplishment that I worked hard for. I also remember my first race on a bike as a paraplegic I killed it and jumped all the jumps at Kincaid motocross track. It blew my mind and everyone else is lol.
— How often do you ride? Is this enough for you? How do you prepare yourself and how do you prepare your machine for the next ride?
I try to ride one time a week now keeping up with the maintenance and everything is a lot of work for me so for the last bit I shoot for riding once a week and no that's not really enough for me but my health these days won't allow me to do anymore unfortunately. In the past though before my hip infection when I was super healthy I would ride day in and out at least 3 days a week. Those were the days I miss that a lot, those were amazing memories.
— Many people know you, watch your videos, and follow you on Instagram. Can you tell us about your job? Where and by whom do you work?
So as far as work goes I haven't really worked a full time job since becoming disabled unfortunately. I have focused mainly on my riding and wellbeing. I admit though lots of times to make ends meet I work part time on other people's snowmobiles and ATVs that has gotten me through a lot of tough financial times.
— Some questions about your blog: Who is your favorite subscriber? The most annoying comment you've read? Who do you follow on Instagram and YouTube?
Who is my favorite subscriber on Instagram? Uh man that's a hard question, I would say that it motivates me how many other pro athletes watch my channel.
Most annoying comment ever on my channel? HA! Well let's just say haters happen on social media and some people's jealousy shows it's sad.
Who do I follow on Instagram? I like to follow people who inspire my drive, anything or anyone who doesn't do that absolutely doesn't make the cut.
ATV or Snowmobile?
ATV now it's been a long road to this though!
Mud or Snow?
100% mud now I'm all about it and so stoked every ride!
BRP or Polaris?
In the last 3 years I have owned a 2018 Arctic Cat mud pro 700 and a 2020 Polaris Sportsman XP 1000s and lets just say I sold them both for a 2021 Can-am Renegade XMR 1000r so yea BRP.
— Tell more about your current machine. What is it? What did you change in it and for what purpose?
My current machine is a 2021 Can-am Renegade XMR 1000r and I'm building it into a monster! I'm shooting a YouTube series on this project as well called (Dream Quad Build) LOTS of effort is going into this and I can't wait to share it with everyone!
— What brands in the ATV industry do you trust?
The brands I trust in as of now are Super ATV, RJWC Exhaust, FINNTRAIL warders, these brands choose to help support me and I believe that they are the best in the industry.
You are the strongest rider we ever knew. You show everyone that there are no barriers if you like to do what you love. Сan you give an advice for those who are just starting their journey off the road?
Advice for anyone dealing with hardships or disabilities all I got for you is attitude is freakin everything, work hard, and NEVER GIVE UP!
— Is there anything to add for our and your subscribers?
I just want to add that you can't always know how tough someone has it so always be nice to people and try to smile. It goes a long way.