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Taj Mihelich riding in an abandoned school, in Odyssey’s Electronical video.

I’ve written about the bmx perspective before, and I realize that it is not only unique to those on 20″ (24, 26) wheels. Skateboarding, mountain-biking, and other, more “traditional” outdoor activities (hiking, rock-climbing), also come from the idea of taking your environment and finding a way to adapt it to your activity.

What’s interesting about bmx and skateboarding is that so often, we’re looking at man-made objects to adapt in our quest for the perfect spot, be it a 3 foot bank to wall, or an abandoned building with an olympic-size pool – more on that one for another time… So often, the exploration is as good as the session. It was true when I was 16, and could throw my bike in my truck to venture to far-away spots, and it is still true today, when I see footage or photos of unique set-ups or abandoned junkyards full of vintage autos. Not always bicycle-related, but still conjure the same feelings of finding or creating something unexpected.

And that’s what I’m getting at – I think that so many of us who were (are) riders have that exploration built-into us, and it continues to permeate what we do. Be it as literal as my friend Scott, who shoots photos of his own “urban exploration” to beautiful results, or my friend Kevin, searching for the next perfect part for the hot-rod he’s building, or Phil and I talking about crazy boat trips up the Missouri or Kaw rivers. For me, it all revolves around some kind of creative outlet; building, photography, bikes, art, collecting, etc., and I know I’m not unique in this.

Funny that little bikes can open so many opportunities and perspectives for a lifetime.

By the way, check out Taj’s blog for a post featuring darn near every video he’s ever done. So rad…

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.

We’re only a few weeks from the wrap-up of the Beijing Olympics, and the London 2012 organizers have released the plans and the above video for the “VeloPark”, which includes an indoor velodrome and outdoor BMX track. As this is one of the premier permanent facilities for the 2012 Games, it will remain a part of the London cycling scene, and an additional 1-mile road cycling path and MTB course will be added after the games. Read more about it over on the BBC.

I know this is for the Olympics and all, which means big plans and a big outlay of cash (though not to the extent of the Beijing games, I’ve read) but it would be great to see more multi-use bicycle facilities in the US. With the popularity of track/fixed/single-speed bikes, it would seem that there is a market for more velodromes, and BMX tracks and skateparks should just go hand-in-hand.

Related:
2008 Olympics BMX coverage on BMXRoots.com

Bob Haro Illustration - BMX Action Magazine, January 1985
“Ampin’, Rampin…” illustration by Bob Haro from BMX Action Magazine, January 1985. Click to enlarge 3x.

Way before the X-Games, Bob Haro knew that kids were into all kinds of different fringe sports. BMX, Motocross and Skateboarding are all represented in this illustration from 1985. I love this one – the over-vert 2×4 transition quarterpipe really does it for me…

One more day of Bob Haro week – be sure to check in Friday. In the meantime, check out this interview with Haro during the Olympics on CNBC.

Related:
Bob Haro week, Day 3
Bob Haro week, Day 2
Bob Haro week, Day 1

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.

Download Donny Robinson, US Olympian and Silver Medal Winner

Well, even after the semi-finals were rained out, and thus, not televised as planned, the BMX events in the Olympics put on a solid 45-second (per race) show. Jill Kintner, Mike Day and Donny Robinson all medaled for the United States with bronze, silver, bronze, respectively. Maris Strombergs of Latvia won the men’s gold, and two French riders, Anne-Caroline Chausson and Laetitia le Corguille took the gold and silver.

Stuart over at DHADM sent me a couple of videos in the build-up to the BMX racing events in the Olympics. One from the Seattle program, Evening Magazine, and another from MSNBC. The video from MSNBC, above, features some more behind-the-scenes of the track, and an interview with racer, Donny Robinson.

Interesting that the host on Evening Magazine, John Curley, mentions that if you haven’t heard of “BMX Motocross” before, you’re not alone. Strange, because I know that BMX has always had a good footprint in the Pacific Northwest, and, well, it has been around for what, 30-plus years? Public perception of BMX never surprises.

Download Evening Magazine BMX Feature, featuring some solid Washington racers

If you didn’t get a chance to see the Olympic medal rounds on tv, you can check them out here

Oh, and George over on Kranky found some great photos (via We Mine Deeper) of the Olympic BMX races, shot by a non-bmx photographer. Cool stuff.

On the heels of this, I’ve dug through my archives, and I have something pretty special planned starting Monday – it will be Bob Haro week at BMXRoots. Check back for some stuff many of you may have never seen.

Minnesota Faction BMX Olympic Watch Party

The BMX competition in the Olympics is only three days away, and with that, there are some lively discussions popping up all over. Since most of my time has been on the freestyle/non-racing side of BMX, I’m focusing on this side of the fence. There are plenty of other places to get the BMX racing contingent’s thoughts on the Olympics, and a quick search will get you there pretty quickly.

First, Phil at Super Rat Machine is giving you a shot at winning a set of Super Rat Prototype pedals as one of his Friday Freebies, for answering these questions in the comments of his site:
Since this is the first year of bmx in the olympics and since it will essentially expose millions of people to bmx racing what are the pros and cons of the event as you see it? and do you think it will affect your daily interaction with joe public? and to go along with that do you think any other form of bmx will make it into the olympics?
Post your answer here by Friday, August 22nd, for a chance to win a set of sweet not-even-yet-released pedals.

Over on the RideBMX site, there’s an interesting bunch of quotes from BMX-industry folks and riders. Mat Hofman’s response and comments (taken from another interview in a German newspaper), have sparked quite a bit of discussion. Rad to see the infamous McGoo throwing some thoughts, as well.

(Note that I’m not the Jeremy commenting on the Ride site, it is me on the Super Rat site, however, for what its worth…)

On a lighter note, I encourage you to take a cue from the Minnesota Faction BMX crew, and get some other riders together and watch the racing. If you’re in Minneapolis, join them. What better reason to ride, drink and eat – in whatever order you prefer? Thanks to Paul Smith for the heads-up.

Super Rat Pedals
Corked pedals…not pedals made from cork. A Super Rat Friday Freebie.


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

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.

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