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I got a couple great links from a couple friends this week. You can call them vintage, retro or whatever, but here’s some enjoyable viewing to be had.

First up, from Jason, I got the above video, “Industry on Parade”, featuring Columbia Bicycle manufacturing. A great look at an American bicycle factory in the 1940s. Check out the women who could be our Grandmothers lacing wheels around the 2:40 mark. As Jason said, it is definitely “worth the 5 minutes”.

Airwalk 540s

Next, from Andy, who gave us the behind-the-scenes on the Nike Olympic designs a few months back – airwalkprototypes.com. Ollie pads, lace-savers, neons, and more. The site is a labor of love by a guy with a serious fetish for some rare kicks.  Though I often rocked the ever-popular Adidas hi-tops or Chuck Taylors, I destroyed a few pairs of Airwalks back-in-the-day. The best thing is that you could probably re-create the visual design of many of these by using Nike ID, or Converse One.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some updated ways to help Mike Aitken, as well as a couple of new big bikes I gotta tell you about.

Bob Haro feature spread from BMX Aciton
Bob Haro from a feature spread in BMXAction magazine in 1983. Click to see the whole page.

In recognition of the first running of BMX in the Olympics, and all of the build-up and hype that surrounded it, I wanted to share some stuff that is pretty special to me.

One of the best things to come out of this Olympic thing, as I’ve called it, was the re-introduction of sorts of the BMX masses to Bob Haro. Through his contribution to the Olympic efforts by lending a hand to Nike – curating the Lightning Bolts numberplate art show, co-designing the Olympic uniforms and generally being a great ambassador, it has been so good to see some of the spotlight shared with such a major influencer of BMX culture.

On the heels of this, there have been a couple articles about Haro in both RideBMX and DigBMX magazines, and you should take the time to hunt them down. These stories give background on what he’s been up to since selling Haro Bicycles in 1993, and what inspired him to create probably the most successful brand name in BMX. If you don’t know, he’s been running a successful design studio, Haro Design, and launched Axio, a “performance luggage” and “technical pack” company.

What he hadn’t done much was show or talk about his art, which was so inspiring to so many of us BMX kids. That is, until just recently, showing his “cartoons” and photographs in the Bike Curious art show that opened in LA during the 2008 X-Games, as well as a multi-page article in the August 2008 issue of the art magazine Juxtapoz. Seeing those images of his illustrations slapped me back to my 10-year-old self, thumbing through BMX Action magazine, enamored with these black-and-white drawings that showed these exaggerated characters having fun on their bikes. And, true to his roots, Haro didn’t discriminate; he drew guys on tracks and dudes on quarter-pipes, usually with Haro numberplates and pants, JT gloves and the ubiquitous accessory of the 1980s, Oakley goggles.

As I said in my first post ever on this site, guys like Andy Jenkins and influenced me to explore art, photography, and ultimately my career in advertising/graphic design/digital media. How I left Haro off of this list of influences, I have no idea. I’ll be correcting that throughout this week, with Haro’s illustrations scanned from my archive of BMXA magazines. I left them pretty much un-retouched (thus yellowed, torn and faded – look, I flipped through these pages SO many times…), and if you click, you’ll get them at a larger size.

Enjoy the first of these illustrations, from March of 1984. Mr. Haro, this week is for you.

Bob Haro Illustration - BMX Action Magazine, March 1984
(Click to enlarge)

Related:
Freestylin’ Magazine Book Launch
Interview from Ride in 2004.


BMX Starting hill at the USA Olympics practice facility in California
THAT, my friends is a starting hill… Photo Credit: Casey Gibson/USACycling.org

As I type this, the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics are underway. Controversy aside, it is pretty amazing to see BMX recognized as an Olympic sport. Thanks to the good folks at the OS-BMX Forums, here are the broadcast schedules for the Olympic BMX coverage on NBC, here in the United States. If you’re a night-owl, you can watch some of this live online at nbcolympics.com

August 20, 2008 – 12:30am – 2:00am EST
Late night (LIVE) BMX cycling, featuring men’s quarterfinal races.

August 20, 2008 – 8:00pm – 12:00am EST
Prime time (LIVE) cycling’s BMX finals.

August 21, 2008 – 2:00am – 5:00am EST
Prime time Replay BMX finals.

Wanna know more about the bmx athletes? Check these links:
jillkintner.com – Personal site of the sole female USA rider and all-around badass cyclist
USA Olympics Cycling Team
Redline’s Global Olympic Team Page
Mike Day (Olympic rider) on EXPN.com

Uhh…

Related:
Nike USA Olympic Uniforms

Dan’s Comp has 3 of the 2,500 limited edition Freestylin’ Books from the Nike Collaboration to give away. These are much sought-after in certain circles, and I gotta say that I’d love to get my hands on one as well. You can enter once a day, and there’s no purchase necessary. Check out the details here.

Nike Olympic BMX Uniforms

My friend, Andy, (thanks, man) sent me a great link to the Nike Lab, a series of interviews with their designers, and there are a couple with John Martin, who led the Nike/Freestylin’ collaboration and is leading up their Olympic BMX effort. As most of you know, the 2008 Olympics in China will feature BMX (in the form of racing) for the first time in the Olympic games.

Hit these links to check out the uniforms and the shoes they’ve designed for the riders. Interesting to see the inspiration from the early Haro Designs uniforms and hear about their design process.

I thought we might see more coverage from the Nike SB BMX/Freestylin’ launch party today, and indeed, the info keeps getting better and better. Above, there’s a video that just came up on YouTube, from what I believe to be is Mark Lewman’s (Lew for those of you Freestylin’ Magazinephiles like me) design company, Nemo Design. Note that John Martin, Nike’s Director of Action Sports spearheaded the project, and he gives a very emotional introduction to the Nike BMX work. Cool to know his history of BMX as well.

Vital has a photo album and a great introduction by Mark Losey, here:
http://www.vitalbmx.com/features/Freestylin-Retrospective-Launch-Party,3925

Discuss this over at the VitalBMX forums:
VitalBMX Old School Talk Forum

Update: Sounds like the release party was a helluva good time. Ride has a video of the festivities on their site. So good to see the originators of BMX receiving the recognition they deserve. Check the video here. Note that Mark Lewman mentions the limited edition book (only 2,500 printed) will probably be available to view online.

Nike Trickstars

Yesterday, Nike released their limited-edition SB BMX pack in honor of the first Olympics to feature BMX – this year in Beijing. This is a continuation of the participation Nike has had, starting with the Lightning Bolts show last month. The SB BMX collection will feature four different shoes, including a limited-run pack that includes the “Trickstar” Dunk Low and Blazer Hi, as well as a couple throwback Hutch-styled jerseys. Only 600 Trickstar packs were made, and were released at DQM in NY and Brooklyn Projects in LA – both shops participated in the design of this collection. The other shoes will be out later in July, though the Trickstars have already hit the ‘bay.

Also, rumor has it that these will coincide with a Freestylin’ book release, more info as I hear it…

Interesting, because though it is great to see Nike giving major support to the BMX effort this year, they’ve never been known as much of a BMX brand. Recently, they have built a BMX team with Nike 6.0, but in the 30+ years since BMX began growing, their participation has been limited. That said, a big brand getting behind the Olympic BMX effort should only help the recognition of the sport.

Also, I’m a bit confused by the fact that they have released the BMX collection under the SB (skateboard) brand, and not the 6.0 moniker. Probably has something to do with distribution, but seemingly minor details like this unfortunately only add to the little-brother status of BMX riders to our skateboarding brethren.

See other shoes in the colleciton:
Michael Lau Chinese BMX Federation
and
Kuwahara ET