(I originally had this titled “Brain Trauma” but it might as well be called “Young and Dumb.”)
I was young, naive, i was trying these forward rolling backyard glides. I was sitting backwards on the bike, the bars were behind me, my hands were on them and I was trying in earnest to pull the front of the bike up so I could balance on the back pegs while standing backwards and rolling forward.
It wasn’t working and I was five miles from home without a car. At the time, my bike was pretty heavy. This was the accepted truth about BMX bikes. If they weren’t heavy, they weren’t strong, and you risked your life if it broke in the wrong circumstance. On the converse though, when you did go down with the ship, all 40 – 45 pounds of that bike came down with you. And I was stuck trying something and not coming close. Continue reading Young and dumb
A few months ago, journalist Abigail Geiger reached out to me about a story she was writing for the York Daily Record on the Plywood Hoods. I was unable to speak with her by phone about the Hoods (it was a hectic day) but she e-mailed over some questions that I rattled on too long about. The Plywood Hoods and Dorkin’ videos remain my bible to this day, and I am always honored to even just speak about them. Once, I even got a clip in a Dorkin’ video (“Balancing Act”) and really, if I’m being honest here, I probably could’ve given up bike riding when that video came out and told everyone that I had achieved everything I had ever wanted to as far as getting noticed in BMX went. They are that important to my roots as a lifelong BMX rider and the reason I can recite by memory Rob Base’s “It Takes Two.” They also remain my go-to example of a Malcom Gladwell-ian combination of the right people in the right time, excelling at flatland while also progressing in avenues that allowed them to self-publicize their exploits in media, from video to photos to writing. They were the perfect mashup of misfits that bordered on genius. I can shut up now: This is the full Q&A that didn’t make it into the original article, published for 5-10 people here on the advice of Bob Scerbo. Continue reading A Hood No More…
Vic Dicara’s guitar playing was a marginal character in my life for a few months when I was 16, mainly because I was an unfortunate fan of the East Coast based Krishnacore band Shelter. Dicara spent a few months in an early incarnation of Shelter, and at the time, I saw them at least a half dozen times. I don’t even remember too much about the playing of the music, but I vividly remember the conflict that a Krishna-fronted band presented for the youth, the parents and everyone in between that dared to question authority and rallied against the establishment. It spilled out into the parking lots of shows and bled onto every fanzine of the time. It pushed my father to ask me, “You’re not joining a cult, are you?” Continue reading Creation, Sustenance, Destruction: 108 lives on
I bought this used copy of Freestylin' Magazine off of eBay featuring South Bay police officer Mark Kirunchyk doing the first no-handed fakie wallride in Hermosa, and the pages were all marked up with written comments on the photos. The previous owner hated Craig Grasso but approved of this photo and the spot, which I revisited in September of 2015 to shoot the photo on the right. This is still insane to this day. I don't think I've really seen anyone aside from Vinnie Sammon step up to it in the time since but I could be wrong.
On the left is Brad Blanchard, as shot by Spike Jonze in the August, 1990 issue of Go: The Rider's Manual, and on the right is the crazy parking lot located in the middle of downtown Austin on a grey day in January. It still baffles me that Trend Bike Source managed to hold one of the biggest competitions of the year in a parking lot in downtown Austin, but it definitely happened 26 years ago. According to Go, "The Bully/Hammer crew of Vic Murphy, Pete Augustin and Brad Blanchard drew plenty of respectful onlookers. Vic caught a plane into town the night before and Augustin/Blanchard drove in together. The three of them assault the wall, the car and the stonehenge non-stop during practice, except for an occasional Big Gulp break."
SNEAK PEAK! @united_bmx and I have been working on a signature frame for the past 8 months. Here's the prototype frame without the nylon bashplate. Although lately you have been seeing a few one off bashguard bikes this will be full production and available soon. With all the riders running no pegs I can't wait to see who drops in and delivers original new grinds and ideas! Stayed tuned for more info and pics! #betheadventure
Yesterday, a unique United Bike Co. prototype frame popped up on Mike “Rooftop” Escamilla’s Instagram account, featuring a Haro Sport-style bashguard from the early ’90s. Me, wearing my love for early ’90s BMX proudly on my sleeve, hit like and moved on with my day as many of us goldfish-brainers do. But I kept coming back to this unpainted oddity, now regrammed by United, thinking to myself that I will probably read about it on a BMX website in the coming hours. I was wrong, no one picked up on it. I can’t say I blame anyone, I know our attention is being pulled in a thousand directions at once these days, and that it’s only a matter of seconds before you miss out on something, but I figured this deserved some attention. Continue reading United/Rooftop and the bashguard frame
On the right is RL Osborn from his December 1988 interview in Freestylin' Magazine. The original photo, shot by Windy Osborn, was taken at the now infamous and fairly deserted location dubbed 'The Spot' above the International Pier in Redondo Beach. I always wanted to recreate the original photo but I never got around to it. That would've also required hair extensions, so it's probably for the best. In the same interview, RL equated his new hairstyle with riding different types of setups: 'If your mind is open, like cutting your hair in a certain way, then your mind is open to anything.' That still baffles me.
This shot was originally a sequence of Dave Voelker cranking uphill and blasting a tabletop into the corner of Lucia Avenue and Torrance Blvd., literally a walk away from my former house in Redondo Beach. I initially recognized it because photographer Windy Osborn was panning with Voelker as she shot the sequence, and the last slide shows the sign for the White and Day Funeral Home, which is still in operation today. The curb is no longer a kicker to jump. Hell, it may not have been when Voelker was riding it either. That dude just knows how to blast. And those Dyno sweatpants, well I may have had a pair or four…