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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…


RAD, GNARLEY, DUDE BMX Freestyle illustration by Bob Haro, 2008
“Rad. Gnarley. Dude,” illustration by Bob Haro, 2008. Click to view at 3x (1500x1211pixels).

Well, I’m a week late to closing out the week of Bob Haro here at BMXRoots. However, I think this installment and the above image makes it worth the wait. See, after I began scanning a bunch of the previous illustrations from my old magazines, I began digging deeper into the web and I found a couple of Haro’s images that others had scanned, and then I found the image above – a recent illustration that Bob had created and passed along to a guy by the handle of “Wildman” over on the vintagebmx.com forums. I knew I had an week-ender with this image, but because Wildman mentioned that Haro had sent it to him personally, I wanted to see if I could get Haro’s permission to run it here.

So, I fired-off an email and waited. Note that I had also waited to send the email until last Friday, the same day the official Bob Haro week was ending, but anyway, I digress. My email was at least 4 paragraphs long. I had so much to say to him, I mean, this is BOB HARO, c’mon, but knew I should cut to the chase. Seriously, I was anxious enough that I shot the email off and forgot to attach the image. Nice one. Bob was kind enough to write me back, ask to see the image, which I promptly sent again, and then wrote me back almost immediately giving me the okay to post it for your viewing pleaseure.

I love this one because it encapsulates the history of Freestyle in one simple image. As with the other illustrations that I’ve featured, the details are thoughtful and at-times humorous, from the bikes and clothing featured to the brands and sponsors. Unlike the Zipatone shading of the older drawings, this seems to be marker-drawn and scanned (or illustrated with a pen pad, directly) and then shaded on the computer.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these illustrations/cartoons/drawings as much as I have. Keep looking here for more features like this, including some bike collections, and even more history from a broader swath of bicycle culture.

Thanks again for the inspiration, BH.
-Jeremy

Related:
Bob Haro week, Day 4
Bob Haro week, Day 3
Bob Haro week, Day 2
Bob Haro week, Day 1

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 Illustration - BMX Action Magazine, September 1984
“How to Save Yourself from Going Over a Berm” illustration by Bob Haro from BMX Action Magazine, September 1984. Click to enlarge 3x.

Alright, we’re half-way through the first ever Bob Haro week at BMX Roots, and here’s one that wasn’t a part of “Haro’s Corner”, his semi-monthly feature in BMX Action. Instead, this is a double-page spread for an article called, “How to Save Yourself from Going Over a Berm”. Elbows flying, speed lines and rat-trap pedals. What more do you need?

Also, note that Rider #33, taking the elbow to the head, is running what looks to be a Zeronine plate and Dyno pants – both competitors at the time of Haro Designs soft/hardgoods business, as seen on rider #6. A not-so-subtle shot at the competition? You be the judge.

Related:
Bob Haro week, Day 2
Bob Haro week, Day 1
Freestylin Book Launch

Bob Haro Illustration - BMX Action Magazine, April 1984
“Factoryman and Yoshi” illustration by Bob Haro from BMX Action Magazine, April 1984. Click to enlarge 3x.

It is the second day of Bob Haro Week here at BMX Roots. Yesterday, I posted an introduction to this feature I’m running this week, and the illustration was of a rider popping out of a quarterpipe, doing some “trick riding” as it was known early-on. Today’s illustration is much more about the race scence of the early ’80s, especially the perception of the factory riders.

The tiny details are what count in this one. For example, the DG sticker on the toolbox, the can of 3M Chain Lube and the lifted box truck, which was, in fact, very much in-line with the motocross (motorcycle) rigs of the day. Also, you’ve got “Factoryman” with a cold drink in his hand, and his “ace mechanic”, Yoshi, representing the team. Again, I believe these caricatures were picking up on the moto references of the time.

Technically speaking, the illustration is done in marker and Zipatone, the preferred shading method of cartoonists in the days before the computer.

Related:
Bob Haro week, Day 1
Freestylin Book Launch

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.

SBC Fork Designs

Standard Byke Company Shank and Race Fork graphics by 57 Even.

Well, since I’ve been on a Standard kick, with the build of my 250 over the past few weeks, I thought I’d fill you in on some very cool stuff that I’ve dug up about what’s coming up with Rick, Jess and the crew as we head into 2008.

First up is the news that the new shop that they’re building in Davenport is coming together quite well. I was in Davenport visiting family last week and visited the Goodtimes store, where I heard from Ryan that they’ve built a couple forks and are moving quickly to getting frames into production. Hopefully, I’ll be doing a feature on here about the shop in December.

Hot on the heels of this are some new graphics and apparel that 57 Even has worked up for Standard, and it all looks rad. 57 Even has been making a name for themselves in the bmx/skate/street culture. I’ve been watching their work since I started seeing it on the Standard site – they’ve done the graphics for the parts, apparel and site for the past few years – and it has been great to see them pickup other clients and adapt to their brands, while remaining true to their style, which is based in a hand-crafted collage approach. Have a look, and enjoy. You can see all of their work (I swear they don’t sleep – I think that is part of their mantra, actually) at: 57even.com

Standard Byke Co. Skull T-Shirt Design 2008

Standard Byke Company Skull t-shirt and poster by 57 Even. Check the details with the Standard logos and the textures that build the depth of the image.

2007 Standard 250L Frame

I’m running these on my 250, even though my frame is a couple years old – 2007 Standard Byke Company 250L frame graphics by 57 Even.

Nicole
You stole my soul with your cute little bunny hop, your radical table top
Girl I wished you would never stop.

Back when Nicole Kidman was an aspiring actress in Australia, she made a movie called BMX Bandits that most of you BMX-heads have seen, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve seen it countless times. I always dug the fact that the three kids rode in full gear while being chased through the city by goons with a trunk-load of guns. But, being an aspiring gearhead as well, the Austrailian-issued 4 door Ford LTD with mags also intrigued my 12-year-old brain. A giant Ford with mags? What?

Well, the band Wheatus must’ve felt the same (at least about the BMX bit, the car thing is totally my issue), because in 2005, they released a song called “BMX Bandits” that was on their album Too Soon Monsoon. The video has a pretty cool collage/illustration style, and features a red head who appears strikingly similar to Ms. Kidman. In keeping with the smattering of music videos I’ve posted lately, I had to get this one on here.

Random trivia – BMX Bandits is also the name of a Scottish band featuring members of pop-rockers Teenage Fanclub and The Soup Dragons.

S&M .38 Special with RealTree Camo

Find the frame in this photo … no really, it’s in there.

No, it isn’t a trail report, or some dirt contest in the backwoods of Kansas, featuring Warren Beatty and Burt Reynolds. Instead, some brief news about an extremely rare animal.

S&M Bikes did up two of their .38 Special frames for the Interbike tradeshow wrapped in Realtree Camouflage. Realtree is amazingly detailed camo wrap and covering for all sorts of applications, primarily used by outdoors enthusiasts (hunters, fishermen, paintballers(maybe?)) on anything and everything, including clothes and hardware.

One of the frames S&M wrapped went to Shimano and racer Chad Roberts. The other one is on Ebay. There won’t be another one of these created by S&M, so if you want a 1-of-2-of-a-kind, get your bids in now. The auction ends Wednesday, October 17. Would be a rad addition to any collection. Again, cool to see bike companies mixing up finishes and creating limited editions that are released to the public, who want to see this kind of thing.

Link to the auction here: S&M .38 Special on Ebay

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?

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.


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.