September 2007

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Tom Dugan, toboggan
Major boost courtesy of Tom Dugan. Photo courtesy of Thad Allender.

Last night, Red Bull sponsored a BMX Jam at the Pleasant Valley Skatepark in Kansas City, MO, and it was fast, loose and everything a jam-format contest should be. Justin Mann, KC local, organized the whole deal and Red Bull provided the cash for the riders and the beverages for all. With as much Red Bull as was flowing, there were a TON of kids in the crowd who are probably still buzzed.(Editor’s note: I’ve been given more information on the contest, and want to pass it along, especially as it seems this crew has some big plans for next spring (more to come on that). Jesse McCollum worked hard to put this together with Kyle Munn and Justin Mann, mentioned above, and Ivy Melvin from Red Bull. Dig.)

The format of the contest consisted of multiple 10-minute open sessions with judges throughout the park giving $$$ for tricks pulled. Then, there were 5 or so 10-minute sessions on various features of the park, and winnings were given for longest jump, biggest gap, etc. At the end of the night, the riders turned in the funny money for cold, hard cash.

Personally, the contest was cool for so many reasons:

  1. The turnout was impressive – 25 or so riders competing, with many more all over the park, and a big crowd taking it all in. This all went down with mostly word-of-mouth promotion from what I can tell. My faith in BMX went up a couple notches.
  2. I brought my 5-year old (his first contest in-person), and he was so stoked about the whole thing, especially the gap session.
  3. I finally got to meet a couple guys whose work and riding I’ve respected for a while. Phil Wasson, FBM rider and now machine shop entrepreneur – he was one of the judges, and we talked about doing an interview about the work he’s been doing for Knight, Tree and others. Also met Thad Allender, an excellent photographer and rider, whose work I’ve followed for a while. He’s now a neighbor of mine, and I’m hoping to ride with him and his crew soon. Check out more of his photos of the contest at his Flickr site (need a flickr or yahoo account to view them).
  4. Got to make reintroductions with Dennis McCoy, as well as see him ride and introduce my him to my kid. I knew it was Dennis from across the park when I saw the full-face helmet (more riders should take note…), and the crazy-long hang-fives and nose-wheelies out of the transition and around the bowl. He said he was asked to judge, but was unsure of his schedule, with things like running and riding in the Dew Tour, for example. Instead, he just came to ride, watch and enjoy the level of riding from the locals.
  5. As I said, the level of riding was right-on, and the respect between the riders was evident. Technical and flow styles were represented, and both were encouraged by the judges and applauded by the crowd.

I hope that the organizers continue to put together events like this around Kansas and Missouri. With support from Red Bull and bike shops like Cycle City, (who gave a $600 gift certificate to one of the riders who was tearing it up on a beater of a bike for the unannounced P.O.S. award) I know they’ll continue to grow and pull in more riders, crowds, and kids wanting to give BMX a go.

If anyone has more photos or video, send me links, and I’ll post ‘em up.

KCI baggage claim
The Baggage claim at Kansas City International Airport – what a perfect ledge to slide

I wonder how many of you are as affected as I am. Every curb, ledge, embankment, handrail, and dirt path catch my eye, and I’ve been this way for what, 26 years, now? Even when I wasn’t riding as much as now, I’d notice the possibilities of the angles, and be able to feel the pitch in my mind’s eye. At what speed will you boost the most, slide the furthest, or clear the gap without hanging up?

There are those identifying marks which are always obvious – tire marks on a wall, a parking block at the top of a bank, or grind marks on a ledge. Maybe put there by bikes, could be by skaters, but there for a reason … because the opportunity to pull a move was too great to ignore. The feeling of landing something, even if it is the 172nd time you’ve done it, always feels right. Other times, there’s nothing to identify a spot, just that it is the right shape, in the right place, and most of the time it won’t be really big or noticable, at least to those who don’t have our affliction.

I’ve been lucky enough to travel a bit either on business or pleasure, and while out, I always see objects of desire – and I know that generally speaking, nobody else I’m with has any idea that I’m lusting over a 3′ high transition with a perfect run up and landing on the other side, on the side of a seedy restaurant, at the end of a dead-end street. But, there I am, searching and plotting, every day. It is a switch that was flipped long ago, and there’s really no reason to turn it off. Sure, I may be more conscious of personal property now, but I still love architects who seem to design buildings with built-in skateparks, and city planners who make perfect 5 inch kickers along the sidewalks.

Next month, I’m going to visit my wife’s family in Iowa, and there are a couple spots there I’ve been eyeing for years. This time, I’m bringing my bike. ‘Nuff said?

BMX Roots Interbike Coverage

We’re bringing you links to much of the major BMX media coverage of the Interbike 2007 bicycle industry trade show. New products and new technology is always released at this show, and this year seems to be no exception. I remember hearing about all of this stuff months afterward from the print bmx magazines, and then waiting months to see it in the shops (if at all). With this kind of coverage all over the net, it brings it to the masses quicker than ever. Especially the shops that will carry the products and the riders that will buy them.

Support the manufacturers by hitting their sites also – they’re all providing coverage as well.

We’ll be there in-person next year, with bells on.

Vital BMX – some good interviews (Brian Castillo of Volume/Demolition, Dave Mirra of Mirraco, Chad DeGroot of UGP, etc.) and a ton of photos
http://www.vitalbmx.com/features/Vital-BMX-Interbike-Highlights,2849

Go211.com – video interviews, including Robbie Morales from Fit and George French from G-Sport/Odyssey
http://www.go211.com/u/Interbike/videos

Ride BMX – photo coverage, check the top two links on their homepage
http://www.bmxonline.com/bmx/

DigBMX.com – photo galleries
http://www.digbmx.com/news/

RideBMX Insight Video

Dakota Roche, wallride to air, grabbed from the Insight Trailer. 

RideBMX Magazine has a full-length trailer of their new video, titled Insight up on BMXOnline.com. Looks like it will be out by Christmas, and this trailer is up just in time for Interbike, which starts today.

The title comes from the overall concept of the video, which, from what I understand, is to give viewers a glimpse into what goes into the making of a video, including the run-ups, misses and hits that go into each rider’s part. The video is shot and edited by Ride’s video guy, Ryan Navazio.

Spike Jonze Was A BMXer Sticker
Well here’s a new one, for me, anyway … a Spike Jonze Was a BMXer sticker, from DigBMX – have a look, and enjoy a brief history lesson – featuring a small who’s-who of ex-Freestylin’ magazine guys.

Anyone have any idea where these came from, or where they might be able to be found?

Volume Z06 Ad

Ad courtesy of Volume.

Continuing a long-standing tradition of bicycle companies creating bikes named after cars, (see the Schwinn Corvette or the Mongoose Blue Max) Volume Bike company is releasing a limited edition version of its Sledgehammer 26″ cruiser, called the Z06. I’m assuming the name refrerences both the Corvette Z06 (a badass production car in its own right), as well as the infamous Slegehammer Corvette – a twin turbo monster made by Corvette tuner Callaway in 1988. At 898 Horsepower, it was tweaked in every way possible to make it run like hell.

Now, Volume has taken their self-proclaimed “old man bike”, the Sledgehammer, and tricked it out with a full set of Demolition parts, full 4130 Cromo tubing, and custom Volume/Corvette graphics. This one, they’re calling the “supercharged old man bike”, and man is it clean looking. The Z06 Sledgehammer ad above features Volume/Demoliton main man Brian Castillo boosting high on the big two-six.

The Z06 is a limited edition, available in October via the Volume site or Volume dealers. Check it out here. As I know that many riders are also gearheads of different varieties, seems like a perfect combination.

Volume Bikes Z06 Cruiser

Photo courtesy of Volume.

Aside from all of the other madness in this clip, wait for the end… Scotty Cranmer and a front flip-whip. It looks like a videogame move or something. A couple of years ago, I remember Tony Hawk talking about the up-and-coming skateboarders, and the fact that they have been brought up on “Up, Down, Left, Right”. Hawk was referring to the fact that so many kids have learned skating through their game controllers. Totally what this clip of Cranmer reminds me of, whether or not he actually plays video games is something I cannot comment on.

From the FeltBmx site, Cranmer’s sponsor.

Head First Video - 1991, Mat Hoffman

A week or so ago, I posted here that the entire video of Aggroman was available on Google Video for all to enjoy. However, the real news is that Eddie Roman created “The Trilogy”, with Aggroman, Head First and Ride On all on one DVD. Looks like it is a limited run of DVDs, available only in a select few places – directly from Eddie via Aggroman.com and also from Sidewall Distribution – Hoffman Bikes distributor – let me know of anywhere else.

These are some of the earliest rider-created Freestyle videos, leading the way for so many of today’s bmx movies, regardless of format – VHS, DVD and most recently, the Internet. Granted, as I said before, some of the plots, especially in the case of Aggroman, are, well, a bit cornball. However, the riding is just so damn good, and it still holds up even today.

I’ve got my copy on order, you should too.

Albe's Video Contest Image
Albe’s – a great mail-order shop in the Detroit area, with serious roots in bmx – is having a video contest to get its users to make their next commercial for them. The winner gets a $500 gift certificate.

Pretty cool idea, and something I haven’t seen done a lot in the BMX industry to this point. Probably because there aren’t many manufacturers with the kind of ad spending necessary to do broadcast commercials with any sort of reach. However, with more online video outlets focusing on BMX, the short feature/video ads will become more standard practice. A ton of companies are taking this approach on sites like Vital BMX and Ride BMX. This ad will run in the next issue of Props Video Magazine.

User generated video content has been all the rage for a few years now with corporate marketing departments – some have nailed it, some have fallen beyond flat, and some are questionable (regardless of your political affiliation – we’ll see how ol’ Mitt’s campaign does). When user created videos really work is when the creators are passionate about the brand, the brand category, and have a built-in desire to create. In Albe’s case, I think they’ve got all of these ingredients to make this contest work. I’ll update the site with the entries as they come in.

From the Albe’s Site about the contest:
Here’s the chance all you aspiring Spielbergs, Tarantinos and Singletons have been waiting for. Props Video Mag let us know that the deadline for our next commercial is coming up but we’re way too busy to put one together so we’re asking one of you do it for us. Of course the winning submission will be paid handsomely in the form of a $500 Albe’s gift certificate but we’ll warn you that it’s gonna take a bit of creativity to be chosen to represent us. If we just wanted thirty seconds worth of dorks doing turn downs we could do that ourselves, we want something more unique. Silly, funny, mysterious, weird, thought provoking, cool, odd, interesting, whatever…have some fun. Sure there can be some riding in it if you like but in order to cut the mustard it better stand out. Make sure it’s 30 seconds long and has our name and web address in it somewhere. Now get crackin’… the entry deadline is October 26th. The rules are below.

Entries should be uploaded to youtube at www.youtube.com and a link e-mailed to us at albesbmxstore@aol.com along with your name and address so we can check it out.
The winner will have to be able to supply us with the video ad on a mini DV tape within a few days of being notified as the winner.
The best ad (as judged by us) will get $500 credit here at Albe’s
The 3 best non-winning ads will be posted here on www.albes.com
Have fun…don’t get hurt and try not to get arrested
Read the paragraph above to see what we are looking for.
If you have any questions e-mail us at albes@aol.com
We reserve the right to cancel / end this contest whenever we like if people nit pick and make it no fun.


Link courtesty of watchbmx.com and thecomeupbmx.netWell it’s 1989, okay? All across the USA… (Apologies to Iggy Pop).
Awesome riding footage and absolute zaniness as well. Oh, ninjas, too.


Mat Hoffman’s first 900 – 1990

Last night I was rolling around the driveway with the boys and hitting some old freestyle tricks – building nerve, hopping higher and spinning faster. However, it was the simplest of all tricks that got me – an endo. I was showing my oldest how to do it, and my foot slipped, the freewheel spun and, WHAM, pedal to the shin. It immediately bruised up, started bleeding and hurt like hell. Added to my scar tissue for the first time in a while, and it is throbbing as I type this today.

The night before, the oldest boy had his first big fall on a bmx. He was on his 16″ and got into some trouble with some walnut shells along the sidewalk, after a great hour long session at his school with the whole family. My wife rode my most recent acquisition – the ’86 Haro FST – more to come on that. Anyway, his tires were a bit low as well, so when he hit the walnuts, down he went, hard. He was very upset, and bleeding from his knee. It was just road rash, but his hardest fall on his bike. I don’t know that he’ll remember it, but I’ll remember, for sure.

And I know that if he keeps riding, there will be many, many to come. I just finished Mat Hoffman’s book, The Ride of My Life, and it gives a ton of details into Mat’s career, including major slams and injuries, and how he often had to alter his riding style or actually lost tricks because his body couldn’t move a certain way anymore. Scary stuff, though as the tricks have gotten bigger, the technology of protection has gotten better, with more options for helmets and body armor. Now the trick is to stuff the young riders into helmets at a young age and hope that they keep it on as they roll out of sight…

By the way, Hoffman’s book was co-authored by Freestylin’ Magazine alum Mark Lewman. I definitely picked up on some of his style in the editing.


See More BMX Videos at VitalBMX.com

A cool concept for an art show was held yesterday in LA at the SLB store. Called Tuff Luv, it was billed as “A celebration of the Skyway TuffWheel from today’s leading bmx companies”, sponsored by Knight Brand.

Vital BMX has coverage on their site (nice work, guys) – looks like a good time, and an excellent concept. The wheels were all done up by a number of bmx companies – I personally dig what Stolen and S&M did with their Tuffs. I’m really happy to see the bmx community participating in something like this. The skate community has been doing art shows and other celebrations of the culture for a long time, and it is time that we see this from the bmx set as well. It would be rad to see this show on the road and growing (which the organizer, George Yang, from Knight, mentions in the video). I hope I get to catch it.

Any other shows like this out there? Post in the comments and let me know.