So I had to cut NYC rider Jason Leder's head off — it's something I never wanted to do since I spotted the first photos of him in Freestylin' Magazine in 1987, but for the sake of Instagram squares, it was necessary. From what I can gather, he got enough photos in the magazine that Schwinn's Yo! program took notice, sent him a bike and started sending him to AFA contests around the country, including the AFA Masters in Austin, Texas in the spring of 1988. And then Windy Osborn took him to the most inopportune sidewalk in all of Austin to shoot a backwards decade photo. (Seriously, it's a sidewalk on a heavy trafficked bridge.) I went by there earlier today, and all I could think was that the skyline had broadly changed in less than 30 years. This town is a mess, I'm partly to blame, and I wouldn't be surprised if I end up back in Redondo or Hermosa because of it. Also, it's cold and windy today, so ignore my whining.
Between Freestylin' Magazine's coverage of the AFA Masters at the Austin City Coliseum in May of 1988 and the 2-Hip King of Vert in Austin in July of 1988, I became acquainted with the non-competition riding scene of Austin, Texas. There were ditches, wallrides, fountains to jump out of, parking lots to be ridden, and lots of locals that were good at all types of riding. Of course, back then, a teenage kid in New Jersey had to wait for his favorite editorial crew in California to travel to Texas, report on a scene, get back to Torrance, write, edit, develop, layout, proof, print, et al, before getting the actual magazine in the mail some five to six months after the magazine's initial trip to cover the competition in the first place. And of course, I was more interested in the non-competition photos shot while the Freestylin' crew were on their various excursions. Basically, they knew that the comps were just an excuse to explore a new place and show the true side of bike riding. Dave Voelker arrived in Austin to compete in 19 and over expert ramps. He got fourth place in the contest and then shot this no-footer out of the fountain on the University of Texas campus with Windy Osborn. It's been burned into my brain ever since. I think the wait for the magazine was worth it.
Who woulda thunk it? Ron Wilkerson has a brother named Sean that also rode and was featured as a sponsored amateur 'Spam file' in Freestylin' Magazine sometime in 1987. I don't think he got too much coverage past this one two-page profile, but he definitely visited Torrance Beach once upon a time and busted out some tweaked no-footed cancan endos. Towards the end of my tenure in Redondo, this became my go-to riding spot, and I am eternally grateful that I shared the pavement with so many legendary names in a parking lot overlooking the PV Peninsula. (Sometimes I don't have the greatest story to create surrounding these things, but that was one of my favorite spots to ride ever…)