Sandy Hook Diner, Newtown, Connecticut.
August 2 — By the time the Newtown Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings had happened, I was already living in Redondo Beach. It was a Friday and I had the day off. I think I went to go get a haircut, and I remember discussing the tragedy with the stylist. I remember telling her that it still felt close to me in terms of proximity, because I had frequently driven past Newtown for work throughout the years.
This time, I was 3000 miles away and I stayed inside to recycle through the 15-minute news cycle. I remember thinking how cold it probably was in Connecticut on that fateful day. I remember growing very tired of the senseless tragedies that befell the parents and relative of those affected by gun violence. I remember thinking that there was probably not a need for semiautomatic weapons in a suburban Connecticut town.
And then, earlier today, on the stretch of 84 that cuts through Newtown, I veered off the Sandy Hook exit and took the main road into the heart of a small country town. I parked at the Sandy Hook diner and walked through a dirt parking lot to the entrance. A rain had just fallen and the streets were quiet.
Everything was quiet. Continue reading
The International Boardwalk in Redondo not far from my house. On the bottom is R.L. Osborn shot by Windy in 1988, and on the top is last weekend. I like that the iron bars over the front door are still there.
Christian Hosoi shot by Windy in 1987 on the left, and that same column just a few days ago. It’s in Redondo, and a man plays a harmonica often near it now.
The first time I stumbled across this Hermosa Beach wall ride (circa 2000ish), I was staying at the Hermosa Hotel on PCH for a Soul Bowl comp. I recognized it immediately from old magazines, including this BMX Action cover with R.L. Osborn from 1988. Today, it’s a cable company, someone recently quick-creted the approach, and I do Bikram Yoga across the street from it.
I remember drooling over this photo of S&M Bikes owner Chris Moeller when I was first getting into BMX. It later ended up in the Freestylin’ book that was released in 2008. After I moved to the South Bay a few years ago, I started noticing all of these vaguely familiar street spots that I had never ridden before. The reason was I remembered them from the pages of Freestylin’ and BMX Action magazines, which was based in Torrance. I’ve been kinda bored so I figured I’d go back to those spots and connect the past with the present, and occasionally document the fact that I’m surrounded by spots that shaped my childhood and teenage years.
(I wrote this for espn.com after Hurricane Sandy and was reminded of it after seeing a photo of Ryan Hoey riding today.)
On Sunday, as Hurricane Sandy progressed towards the New York/New Jersey area, Long Island based trail rider and builder Ryan Hoey made a simple observation: “Hurricane coming. Trails are done for.” Continue reading
Subrosa Bike Company, the brainchild of Ryan Sher and Ron Bonner, the one-time producer of limited edition purple jeans under The Shadow Conspiracy name, have recently released a new limited edition item: sweatpants, complete with the Subrosa logo screened down the one leg of the sweatpants. While my quick reaction could have been, “Be honest Brian, you hate these as much as the limited edition purple jeans from a few years back,” I chose to look deeper into myself and remember all of the ways in which I’ve benefited from sweatpants, and why, at the end of the day, sweatpants aren’t such a bad thing for a bike company to produce. Continue reading
(I had been noticing a lot of “Open letters to:” lately and realized that I’ve never really paid my respects to pretzels. That changed today.)
You come to me, twisted and baked from wheat flour and malt syrup. Your salt glistens, and those of you unfortunately located at the bottom of the bag break apart from their formed shape. They are renegades, unassuming and innocent, but I cannot turn away from them. Continue reading
Perhaps these are some of the reasons BMX sales are down, if in fact they are at all:
It’s hard to get good at riding BMX: Garrett Reynolds or Chad Kerley or any number of good bike riders weren’t born that way. They started at a young age, put in years of work, and continue to hone their riding. Getting started in BMX and learning skills takes at least two years, and in that time, you could simply turn to…. Continue reading
The brand of irreverence I’ve come to identify with the upstate New York band now known as Self Defense Family is not something typically found in the genre of music in which they exist. In many ways, they could be up their own asses about self righteousness, instilling rules on their listeners, and all of the other bullshit that comes with listening to emotionally tinged modern day hardcore music.
Instead, they laugh at themselves, they position themselves as politically incorrect and they generally don’t give two fucks about anything that anybody says about them. They could’ve sorely been used in 1995, when backdoor rules and conjecture on the pages of zines with circulation rates of 50 mattered, but it’s more a wonder that they exude their brand of no fucks given in a time when everyone has the voice to give a fuck. Continue reading