I'm in Austin, it's a Thursday night and I was wandering aimlessly around the University of Texas campus when I stumbled onto the fabled red rail. I guess my first interaction with this mellow rail was when the Gute grinded it for his final trick in the Homeless 'Trash' video in 1993. My 19-year-old brain thought I was watching some kind of optical illusion at the time and I could not comprehend how someone could actually hop so high or balance for so long in a grind. But that revolution was happening before my eyes because of the scene in Austin at the time. I tried taking a screen shot of the Gute's grind, but then I remembered the photo on the top from @sandycarson. It's @rubenalcantara grinding the red rail on a Huffy in Jnco shoes, with @davemirra and @ryannyquist waiting for a turn at the top. Basically, this rail has helped pioneer a lot of progressive riding in its heyday (Paul Buchanan still owns it: feeble to crankarm in a T-1 commercial) and it's awesome that it's still around (albeit mostly unrideable). So I got off my bike, walked to the top of the rail, shot a quick photo, and thought to myself that at the time, the Gute knew no boundaries.
(I realize the photo says “1986.” I need to fix that…)
It's been a bit of a whirlwind week, thanks in part to eBay. I did not win the Standard Shorty frame, but I did win 12 issues of Freestylin' Magazine in pretty good condition from the height of its popularity, approximately 1986 through early 1988, and I 'only' paid $150 for them. I know that's a lot to spend on magazines that originally went for $2.50, but I had to right a wrong perpetrated by my father's second wife (who threw out all of my BMX magazines). I don't blame her, but I did have plans to hold onto those damn things. They arrived today, and the first page I opened up to was basically my white whale — the Frank Garrido gap above the International Pier in Redondo. I've visited it multiple times (and took photos of it multiple times) and it's still pretty crazy to jump (even with bikes that can withstand abuse). Despite knowing the gap was there, I could not for the life of me find the magazine or anyone that remembered the gap. Part of my gamble in this eBay bid was proving to myself that I wasn't crazy and that this sequence did actually exist, and I'm happy to say that I'm not crazy. At least not nearly as crazy as Frank Garrido in the September 1987 issue of Freestylin' Magazine, as shot by Windy Osborn.
January 3, 2015 was my last visit to the Torrance office park where Wizard Publications existed during the mid to late '80s. It's on a street called Kashiwa, now home to a small brewery named Strand Brewing Co., and pretty desolate on the weekends. I imagine that during their tenure on the street, Wizard Publications were the outcasts, with ramps in the parking lot and all types of riding happening in and around the building. Here, R.L. Osborn poses during a cherrypicker for the lens of sister Windy Osborn (on the left), from a bike test for a race bike, the 1985 GT Pro Series, and the same location as iPhoned by me on a weekend day in early January from the same location. Basically, I drove to Torrance on a Saturday morning to take a photo of a bland garage door for the sake of Instagram. But it is cool to see R.L. Osborn not riding a Redline, General or Bully. I am a nerd, I know.
My only connection to Lomita, California before living in the South Bay came courtesy of an All song written in 1988 about a Mexican restaurant in Lomita named Alfredo's. The lyrics read 'At Alfredo's, in Lomita…' and paid homage to their favorite restaurant to eat at when the band was not practicing. Then I moved to Redondo and slowly began to head south on PCH and explore the weirdness that is Lomita. On one of those bike rides, I came to realize that Mike Buff and the BMX Action Trick Team did demos on almost every corner in Lomita, including at this motorcycle tire repair shop on Western Ave. in Lomita. On the day I shot this photo in late December, the tire repair shop was open and I ended up talking to the repair man on duty about the BMX demo that had happened thirty years earlier. I even had the original Mike Buff photo to show him. He thought it was weird that the logo of the business had not changed in all that time, then doubled back, shook his head and said 'things don't change around here.' Later in the day, I found Alfredo's. It's still there too.