Rick Allison, 1987

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.

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Ceppie Maes, 1986

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.

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Chad Johnston, 1990

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…

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Hammer ad, 1987