One of my first 'pilgrimages' after arriving in Southern California was to 3162 Kashiwa Street in Torrance. Because I'm on a Rain Man level with BMX minutia, I remembered the address as the original home of BMX Action and Freestylin' Magazine. It was a strange trip initially. I was walking around an empty industrial park on a Saturday thinking about the movements and the energy created by the original staff in this building during the '80s. Last week, I was home for almost a week, and sick, but needed a bike ride. So I returned to 3162 Kashiwa armed with a ton of PDFs, screen shots, etc. It turns out, the staff made good use of the area around the office. I don't know much about Mike Buff except that he did awesome endos all around the South Bay in a full uniform (and it seems as though he might be the inspiration for @bob_haro 's early artwork.) This is in front of 3162 Kashiwa Street, and the trees are much bigger, to the point that the roots have now tilted the power box in the background. But endos and head clearing bike rides are still great.
I owe this one to Mike Daily and Chris Moeller. This is on the street in front of the house formerly owned by R.L. Osborn in Hermosa Beach. Mike @aggrorag used to live with R.L. and once drove me past the house, mentioning in passing about this old Hammer ad. Earlier this year, Chris @sandmbmx mentioned the same thing. The only problem was, I remembered the ad but couldn't for the life of me find a copy of it. After some digging, I located the ad in an old Ride BMX Magazine. The crazy thing about this ad is that the street in Hermosa Beach is seriously steep. And I highly doubt this ended well, even with neoprene Hammer pads on. I also got yelled at by the current home owner. 'Why the hell are you taking photos of my house,' he said. He did not like my answer: 'Instagram!'
The Beryl Banks — a very well known spot to me and thousands of others before I ever arrived in Redondo, are a bike ride away from my house. Located inside the fence of an elementary school, the spot comes with the traditional issues of private property, trespassing and all that goodness. I'm now 40, and I work for Disney, and I don't want to be arrested or be labeled a weirdo for climbing a fence to take photos of a children's playground. That's just me. So I leaned over the fence and did the best I could on a Sunday morning. As for Dave Parrick and the photo from Ride BMX Magazine, it astounded me. Dave was larger than life to me since the early Homeless videos, and his influence on progressive riding, video production, doing actual lines in videos are all still felt today, even though I secretly hate him for existing on a different plane of space and time from the rest of humanity.
27 years can drastically change a landscape. This is near the base of the Strand in South Redondo. I'm fairly certain it's the same place because of the shape of the street lights and the diagonal pathway leading to the beach, but all those trees and fencing added halfway down the dune confused me. On the left is Rick Allison from an issue of Super BMX and Freestyle Magazine, and on the right is from last week. Rick was one of the top mid '80s flatland pros, renowned for a lot of his balance moves. He also sold me on riding a Mongoose FS-1 and then Decade. These days, Rick Allison still rides and is a recovering meth addict that is open to talk about his disease in a pragmatic way, warning about the dangers of meth. As awesome as his riding was and still is, I tend to think his position now and ability to reach out to people is inspiring in a culture where addiction ruins the lives of a lot of really talented bike riders.
The first generation of freestyle BMX pros pushed the sport/lifestyle forward in a variety of directions. But the one area in which they seemed to lack, and I can understand that it was second hand, was creating individual images for themselves. A lot of them looked the same, and that was okay — more important things were being attended to. The CW Racing duo of Ceppie Maes (pictured here on the right on the Hermosa Beach pier in 1986) and Dizz Hicks changed all that, and they couldn't have been more different. Dizz was for lack of a better word, the heavy metal guy, and Ceppie, I hate to use the word but he came off as the 'alternative' rider at the time. He rode to different music, his hair was all over the place, and he seemed to recognize the importance of style in BMX before that was a thing. (That's evident in every single photo taken of him during his CW days.) For me, as a young kid getting into BMX, insecure and trying to fit in at school, Ceppie's iconic getup and attention to style showed me that I didn't need to wear chest protectors, dress like everyone else, or even listen to the same music as everyone else. He was one of BMX's first individuals. And I think he's the reason that lawnmowers still look awesome in photos.
A few years ago, Chad Johnston designed a signature frame for @sandmbmx called the Intrikat. I've had two so far, and it's seriously one of the best bikes I've ever had. Everyone these days knows Chad's pegless approach to flatland, and he's managed to push his riding into new unseen territories still. But I guess you could say he's been doing that all along. This photo (left) was from Go: The Rider's Manual in 1990, and it features Chad riding in Redondo doing some pretty hard tricks for the time. On the right is from the other day in approximately the same location. Were Chad not such a recluse, I might go ride with him. But I'm also okay just visiting the Johnston house in Long Beach a few times each year and looking at his collection of bikes…
This was a tough one. New buildings, Redondo Beach Public Works fencing, me wandering into areas with No Trespassing signs posted. This town is a strange one. The architecture is either 30-40 years old, or 2-3 years old, and the old buildings are stacked right up against the new ones. Such is the case with this RL Osborn Hammer Bodywear ad. I live close to the smokestacks, but the original building just isn't there anymore despite many searches. So I gauged the location from the smokestacks in descending order. Those haven't changed. Luckily, pro BMX outfits and one-piece bathing suits have. (Also, I might be completely wrong here, and I'm okay with that.)
I really wouldn't know who to credit for making the connection from quarterpipe, to bank to curb, to bank to object, to pre-built sub box. But around the time it was happening, Jason Lee and Spike Jonze happened upon a bank to rock in Hermosa Beach and shot the above photo. The rock and rail are still there, now joined by a neighboring tree. And the act of bank to to object stall has been done to death in both skate and BMX. But it's nice to think that way back once upon a time, Jason Lee and Spike were looking at things in a new way and trying to figure out how to adapt a skateboard to a random rock atop a bank, and succeeding. I like to think I took that 'what if' aspect of skate and BMX during this time, interpreted it to my own purposes, and applied it to the rest of my life. But I am just not that smart and that's all good. And my neighbors are having sex really loud right now.
Not BMX, but live a little people. I had driven past this dinky little Mexican restaurant sign in Torrance a few times and always had deja vu, like I knew it from somewhere. Lo and behold, I did. The original Blind ad, with Jason Lee sitting on the same fire hydrant, hung in my bedroom as a teenager. This would've been around the time the original Blind team started filming for 'Video Days,' and we know where things went from there. At the time, Spike Jonze was working for Go: The Rider's Manual in Torrance, shooting ad photos on the side, and I assume plotting the course of 'Video Days.' As for Jason Lee, his section was burned into my brain because it kicked off with 20 seconds of vert riding and then went into crazy manual lines, all to the tune of Milk's 'Knife Song,' which featured a bunch of BMX magazine editors and a BMX pro on drums (at least I think so, RL Osborn). Yeah, you might say it was a convoluted little world back then.
In the mid '80s, a contingent of BMX riders from the midwest arose that could ride everything in their path. DMC is the most common go-to reference, but not far behind him was Rick Moliterno. Rick rode for Hutch, followed by Haro, and then went on to start Standard. And once upon a time in 1986-ish, he did I-hops at the place I usually ride at now. I got to see Rick ride a few years after this photo was taken at Haro demos in 1987 and 1988, and he seriously blew me away with his ability to ride flatland (fast) and then blast crazy airs on the quarterpipe afterwards. And then there were his miniramp/spine ramp years, which no one has been able to replicate to this day. All in all, Rick is one of the best BMX riders to make it through the '80s and '90s, while still remaining relevant and original. But he still needs to do some explaining about that 'I want my life back' documentary…