Musings on the GT Demo Tape

Allow me to enter into some BMX-centric nostalgia. We never had BMX videos as a kid in the mid ’80s. Not until the tail end of 1987/1988 was I able to actually go to a bike shop and purchase a BMX-dedicated video for upwards of thirty hard-earned dollars. And that is exactly what I would do, whenever I could get my mother or father to drive me to the one bike shop in Howell, N.J. that catered to BMX freestyle. (Ironically, Scotty Cranmer now owns the same shop in the same location).

The first bike video I owned was the GT Demo Tape. Hosted by McGoo, featuring the GT and Dyno teams being interviewed, attempting to give somewhat half-assed how-to instructions and boasting about life on the road as a BMX pro in the ’80s. The VHS cassette came in an awkward plastic box, the same kind we once used to encounter when renting VHS videos from the video store.

The most awkward part for me was the then-slightly-older GT rider Brian Scura. During his riding demo, he wore a full jersey, helmet and leathers. And he seemed to have no problem listing off the amount of flatland tricks he had invented and then named after himself (scurfer, scircle, scura tuck, etc.) I’m not knocking it, and I appreciate the engineering work he did to basically invent the modern-day dual cable detangler, but I usually skipped his section and went to Eddie Fiola.

Eddie was also one of the seasoned vets of the GT team, and his riding in the video still holds up today. (Scura’s does as well, but I’d rather watch a dude carve a bowl.) Before anyone was really doing regular and opposite airs, Fiola was one of the first riders carving in both directions and able to use that pump to generate airs in the 8-9 foot region with style.

Fiola seemed to be one of the first pros to fall victim to the recession that started in BMX in 1988, and there’s a part of me that still thinks that if he had factory support through 1989 (and the concrete parks were still in place), vertical skatepark riding might have persevered more through the ’90s instead of slowly fading away.

I might write more of these if someone uploads the Brett Hernandez section from the same video.

Addendum: Someone uploaded the video to Vimeo and edited out the McGoo interviews. That made me laugh.

Addendum plus one: Josh White riding flatland with no pegs and no socks is still amazing.

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