This is one of the first spots I found after moving to Austin two months ago. It's a wall ride setup downtown that was used for a Trend Bike Source street contest in the spring of 1990. And it was featured in the August 1990 issue of Go: The Rider's Manual. I pretty much drooled over the original photo (shot by Spike Jonze) for the remainder of the year. I wanted the bike (a Bully ll) even though I knew I would break it, and I tried unsuccessfully to do one-handed tailwhip foot plants for years afterward. (As soon as I took my hand off though, the bike spun out of control.) But for Vic Murphy, of course it was no problem. And of course he made it look stylish without forcing it. I shot the more recent photo on a recent Sunday afternoon ride through town. It was cold, grey and windy, but the parking lot location was bustling with people and cars. It made me wonder, how the hell did Trend manage to pull off a street contest in downtown Austin? But I already know the answer — it's that a lot has changed in 25 years.
By now, in case you haven't been paying attention, I spent a lot of last year riding at a location that I held sacred as a teenager: The Spot in Redondo Beach. For the most part, The Spot was inhabited by the editorial crew of Freestylin' Magazine, Craig Grasso, Pete Augustin, R.L. Osborn, Chris Day and any number of BMX riders that lived in the South Bay area in the mid to late '80s. Kevin Jones was not one of those people. He lived (still lives?) in York, Pennsylvania, and essentially defined and then redefined the flatland discipline by creating most of today's rolling and scuffing tricks, and then documenting them in one of the first homegrown, rider-created BMX video series, 'Dorkin' In York.' Because of this, early interest in him generated sponsorships from Skyway and then GT. Skyway came first, and for some reason, Kevin Jones ended up at The Spot (most likely pushed by his sponsor to get magazine coverage), doing a how-to for Super BMX and Freestyle sometime in 1987, pretty much right at the exact location where I did a bunch of Kevin Jones tricks over the past year (right). What's interesting here is that he has no cranks on his bike, and he's rocking the full factory Skyway uniform. Aside from his eternal influence on me as a flatland rider, I learned at an early age that Kevin Jones wasn't going to let himself be boxed in by sponsors. He did what he wanted to do with his riding and life, and rarely if ever allowed himself to become a commodity or sales platform. Hell, he probably got in trouble with Skyway for riding without cranks on his bike, shook his head and laughed it off. (Waits for Brett Downs @bdc4130 to chime in with the actual story…)