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.

A photo posted by Brian Tunney (@briantunney) on

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