RL Osborn, 1987

In 1986, Redline Bicycles dropped their top freestyle pro, R.L. Osborn. He went on to sign with a newish bike company from Rutherford, N.J. named General Bicycles, which reportedly paid him a salary of $100,000 a year. With connections to the magazines of the time (his dad was the publisher, his sister the photographer) and geographic proximity to the offices, R.L. did what he knew best and started promoting General Bicycles to the masses. But he never rested on his laurels or seemed to take advantage of his familial connections at the magazine — he rode, a lot, and progressed originally with the trends of the time, adjusting to rolling tricks, street riding and changing anti-uniform styles. In 1987, General unveiled their first run of complete bicycles, and of course, R.L. Osborn ensured that the lower end General R.L. Osborn Hustler Pro bike was featured in the March 1988 issue of Freestylin' Magazine. 'Bike test' is a loose term for the feature, because it's R.L., Chris Day and Craig Grasso all riding their personal bikes, with one unridden photo of the new complete bike taking up a page. Instead, it was three of the best riders of the time doing progressive moves on street and flatland with the likes of Spike Jonze and Windy Osborn behind the lens. Here, R.L. Osborn pulls a switch-footed handlebar grab backwards wheelie to fakie whiplash in the parking lot along Harbor Drive in Redondo Beach. I rode the same lot more times than I'd care to admit, and I always remembered that loose bike test whenever I passed that parking garage. General Bicycles didn't make it to 1989, and R.L. disappeared from BMX just a few years later. I still kinda miss them both.

A photo posted by Brian Tunney (@briantunney) on

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