Freestyle

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If you’re in the midwest, particularly around Davenport, IA/The Quad Cities, keep your eyes open, for Rick Moliterno’s bike. It was stolen earlier today from the Davenport skatepark. All of you outside of the area, lookout for it on craigslist or ebay. It is a pretty custom ride, with features and parts that only Rick has.

Rick Moliterno's Stolen Standard 20" BMX

Rick Moliterno's stolen Standard 20" BMX

Here’s the info from Rick (Standard Byke Company Owner/BMX Veteran), himself:
My bike was my first and only bike made here in our shop. It had unique engraving on the head tube and drop outs. It had a custom green paint job to match my 1963 Ford Galaxie. The fork had straight cut legs and a freestyle steer tube instead of race. The compression bolt was a sample we never sold.

It had a titanium Standard front peg that is like 10 years old. Oh yeah, the frame has euro bb and a 27.0 seat tube…2 things no other freestyle frames that are up to date have. Man, I loved that damn bike! It had so much I liked plus being the first one from here and being the one I am getting back to riding full time on again….

If you see this bike, let Rick/Standard know via:
info@standardbyke.com
twitter.com/standrdbykeco

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic
Nothing like a new term in BMX – and it is a trick that is completely over the top. Here’s a photo, courtesy of @odysseyBMX of Jim Bauer and Rooftop attempting a 1-handed backflip on a sidehack into the foam pit. They were at Woodward West for the Old School BMX Reunion. Should be a ton of coverage on this event soon, and we’ll keep you posted here at the ‘Roots.

Ah, video as well, from ShredorDie.com check it out.

For the past four years, one of the good guys of the vintage bmx scene has held a party at his house in New Jersey. Brian P and his family let a bunch of BMX kooks invade their yard, street and home for a day of fun. Folks bring out their bikes for show, and to get their kick-turns on with the wedge ramp. Enjoy the video from this year’s 4th annual Summerjam.

This is what “roots” are all about, indeed.

Oh, and you KNOW I mean “kooks” in the best way possible. Heh.


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.

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.

Knight Performer 24? Retro Cruiser Standing Platform

Seat stay/framestand and bologna-cut top tube detail. Photo: George Yang

Looks like there’s already quite a bit of chatter about the Knight Performer – I’ve seen it pop up on a number of the vintage BMX sites over the past couple of days. One thing that’s been discussed is the geometry of the ride, and how it compares, considering it is overall, a pretty modern ride. I hit George at Knight up for some more information, and he sent over pretty much all you might want to know:

Material: 4130 Chromoly
FRAME
Top tube length: 21.5″
BB height: 12″
Chainstay length: 15.25″
Head angle: 73 degree
Seat tube angle: 70.5 degree
Headtube: Integrated
Bottom Bracket: Mid type
Brakes: 990 mounts
Seat post: 25.4mm
Dropouts: 3/16″ thick
Axle type: 3/8 axles
Extras: Coaster Brake plate like the 20″ version

So, there you have it – the top tube length should keep it roomy, yet quick for a cruiser. With the 3/8″ axles, you might need to hookup a set of the Skyway Graphite TuffWheels to go with the frame. Keep a lookout here for shots of the prototype as it gets built-up.

Related: Knight Retro Performer Prototype

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.

A Day of DMC

Dennis McCoy at the Pleasant Valley Skatepark BMX jam 2007. Photo by Thad Allender.
Dennis McCoy at the Pleasant Valley Skatepark BMX jam last year. Photo by Thad Allender.

A short three days after I posted the photo of Dennis McCoy riding at a custom car show in 1986, he pops up in two different places in the past couple days. Thanks to Phil W., Phil K. and KrtSchmidt for the knowledge.

Locally, he’s got a two-page interview in the Kansas City Star. A great history lesson about the man and his 41 years.

There’s another interview on the EXPN “The Endo” blog, by Cody York, as well as a bike check. As many of you know, he rides a FBM PW MOTO, designed by another upstanding Kansas Citian, Phil Wasson.

And finally, he has a video interview with Rooftop over on the ShredorDie site.

Check ‘em out, and give due props to a badass rider, ambassador of bmx and lifetime Brigade member…

Steve Fair - Abubaca, Shawnee, KS in 1988

I shot these photos of Steve Fair (sp?) back in 1988, in the parking lot of Little Darlings, a former 7-11 in Shawnee, KS that had been converted into a dance studio. This spot was a favorite mellow bank to flat that was a lot of fun to pop out of. Plus there was (is) a very small bump to wallride on the side of the building.

I didn’t know Steve very well, and we really only rode with him for about a half of a day. Like many of us at this time, he was a “street” rider, and a damn good one at that – definitely inspired by both the street skating of the day and pure BMX-style. Check the flattie below…

I used a photo of Steve in the new header graphic, above. I knew I had to give him his due on the page. If you know of his whereabouts, drop me a line.

Oh, and as always, click the photos to enlarge. I have a feeling I’ll be making a desktop/wallpaper of one of these as well.

Steve Fair - Flattie Tabletop, Shawnee, KS in 1988

Dennis McCoy 1987 at Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, MO

I’ve been using the new scanner a lot over this weekend, so here’s some samples of the goodness I keep digging up. Click on any of them to enlarge.

Above is a shot of Dennis McCoy doing a lookback in 1986 during a Darryl Starbird custom car show at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, MO, taken by Mike Haefner. I say ’86 because he was riding an early fluorescent Haro Master, a color that was released on the ’87s. I remember people were going nuts for both the ramp and flat, and Dennis, always the showman, was feeding off of the crowd, blasting consistent 8-10 ft airs on a shady quarterpipe.

Tony Schrag, can-can out of a ditch in Lenexa, KS, circa 1989

Tony Schrag, one of the crew I mentioned in my first post of old photos. In the midst of either a candybar or a can-can, at a ditch in Lenexa, KS. I’m sure the DANGER sign behind him mentions not “playing” in the ditch or something.

Jeremy Schutte - Bar Endo on the Trickstar, 1987

Here’s another shot of me on my Hutch Trickstar, with a bar-endo, circa 1987. I stripped the candy flake blue off of the frame and repainted it grey with Freestylin’ Magazine stickers, pink griptape, and a duct-taped numberplate.

Jeremy Schutte, Hang-5

Yours truly, hang-5 in Shawnee, Kansas - 1989. Nice bent seatpost – I always had to run a layback because of my height, and the short top-tubes of the day.

19 years ago, growing up in Shawnee, Kansas, I rode with 3 guys pretty consistently – Scott Haefner, Mike Alexander and Tony Schrag. We met when I moved from Kansas City, KS and searched out anyone I happened to see on another BMX bike. Back then, it didn’t matter if it was a race bike, a freestyle bike, whatever – just seeing someone else on a bike was enough to open up the possibility of cameraderie. We rode flatland, “street”, ramps (though they were few and far between, until Mike got more into skating, and had an amazing 6′ mini ramp), anything was a possibility, and we didn’t see any issue spending hours at the same concrete banks – there were NO skateparks within 200 miles at that point.

Though Scott, Tony and Mike were a few years younger (which for some reason, can seem like a big deal in high school…), we became good friends and rode together consistently from ’87-’91, when I graduated high school and left for college. We would ride off-and-on until about 1994 or so. I’ve kept up with Mike through the local music scene, and Scott occasionally via email, but haven’t spoken to Tony in years (where are you, man?).

Part of the reason I started this site was to share the photos and stories from this time. A time when freestyle, especially, was so raw and still fairly young. My other love was photography, and in fact, we all took photo class in school, and shot photos of each other. Well, I finally got a new scanner, so look for a bunch more of this stuff to come. This first batch is me, Scott and Mike. Tony will be in the next batch.

Discuss these or post some of your own over on the Vital Old School Forum.

Mike Alexander, wallride, Shawnee, KS

Mike Alexander, curb-to-wallride with Johnny Rotten sticker in full-effect.

Scott Haefner - Front Yard

Scott Haefner – spinning frontyard. Adidas high-tops, 2-Hip shirt and a General RL Hustler Pro.

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

Endless lines at Camp Woodward.
Endless lines at Woodward. Photo from the Camp Woodward site.

The Penn State Daily Collegian has a recent article about the BMX pros who call the area around State College, PA home, so they have full-time access to the Woodward sports camp. The article features interviews with Jamie Bestwick and Chad Kagy and gives some good history on the camp, with insights from Woodward main man, Gary Ream.

Interesting to read all of their thoughts on the popularity of BMX, and how Woodward helps this progression.

Check out the full article: here

They also have a couple of slide shows with audio: here

DVD Cover of Standard Video - Stronger Than AllMayhem and Metal from SBC. Photo by Jeremy Schutte.

As planned, I got the Standard Stronger Than All video in the mail this week from Goodtimes, and I’ve watched it three times since. That’s three times through both DVDs. See, the first one is all about the Standard Army, section after section of their riders, both US and European, tearing it up both on their bikes and off. The footage is cut with archival military footage and some home-grown destruction. The second DVD has separate riding sections from 13 of the guys in the videos. Street, parks and mini-ramps are well-represented here, with a small bit of trail action.

The footage spans a number of years, and you see it in the various styles of riding throughout. Front brake tricks, no brakes, boosts, foot-jams, lip-tricks, rail grinds, giant gaps, flairs, ledge grinds, whips, manuals; they all come fast and with abandon. Guys like John Rodgers, Drew York and Bommel throw down the latest tricks, with massive lines and flow. Vets like Rob Ridge, Jaimy Spreitzer and Rick Moliterno show just how they’ve been getting it done for years. None of the riders featured here currently have podium spots on the X-Dew-Action Tours, nor are they necessarily the riders blogged about or with multi-page magazine interviews. They rip anyway, period. And, there are a number who will be the riders generating the chat on a message board near you, soon.

In these times of HD and exquisitely shot bmx videos, with the bar being raised everyday, there is a certain beauty in the rawness that Standard has delivered with Stronger Than All. Some of the night riding is lit with flares, a couple of the edits appear to be self-shot, and the DVD menu, or lack therof, makes me crazy. Yet what matters to me is that STA makes me want to put on my headphones, crank the Dead Kennedys, and ride like hell. This video is purely about riding and pushing what can be done on a 20-inch bmx. Make notes when watching it – this video will remind you of how much fun you should be having on your bike.

Get it for $19.95 plus shipping from Goodtimes, now, though I’m sure it will be available other places soon. Check out the following promo videos that Standard put out in 2006-07 teasing the release of STA.




When I was visiting family over the holidays in Davenport, Iowa, I hit the Goodtimes Superstore (also the home to Standard), as I always do when I’m up there. I got to check out the artwork (created by 57Even) for the new Standard Byke Company video, Stronger Than All. They didn’t have the video in stock, quite yet, but it is now, and I’ve got one on the way to my mailbox.

It has been eight years since Standard has released a team video, and based on everything I’ve heard as well as the preview video that has been on YouTube for a while, I have no reason to think that it will be anything less than outta control. I’ll have a full review as soon as the DVDs arrive and I dig into it.

Head over to the Goodtimes site to check out all of the details, and order one up by calling them direct. There’s also a sneak peek at some new SBC product on the site as well.

Stronger Than All Video

Craig “gOrk” Barette (Redline’s Marketing Director, and O/S BMXer), or krog, as he’s known on the Vintage BMX forums, just posted a link to a video of “Fish” Johnson doing a 2-mile long hang-5, a few years ago. The video is almost 6 minutes long, and in the youtube comments, Fish mentions that he was hitting 30-35 mph during this downhill run in Auburn, WA, which, after living in the Seattle area, I don’t doubt at all. Pretty rad to watch, as you can see the proverbial wind in his hair (or is that a jester hat?) as he hauls down the canyon road.

Dennis McCoy, 1988 AFA Flatland Finals
Dennis McCoy grabbed from a video by krtschmidt.

Kurt Schmidt has a great site with a bunch of vintage freestyle info, and a ton of videos that he has put on YouTube. His most recent videos feature Eddie Fiola, Woody Itson, Dennis McCoy and Rick Moliterno at the 1988 AFA Finals in Wichita, KS. I wasn’t at this contest, though it was only a few hours away from my home in Kansas City, but some of my friends went, and I remember how stoked they were when they got back. You can hear the crowd just LOSING it over the tricks being pulled, something you don’t hear as much on the televised spectacles of today, even as guys are pulling triple-tailwhips – perhaps because the tricks are just SO big today…

Interesting to see the different styles between the four riders. Moliterno and DMC just fly through so many of the rolling tricks that were becoming popular at that time, whereas Woody and Fiola pull more of the power-moves that helped progress freestyle past the balance tricks and hopping of the early-80s.

I believe Schmidt filmed these videos, as he was deep in the freestyle scene of the mid-80s and 90s, and has the knowledge, history and footage to prove it. In 1991, he formed Standard Industries with Rick Moliterno and Bill Nitschke.

Check out krtschmidt.com, and then jump over to his YouTube collection. Make sure you have some spare time available. You’ll be there a while.

Winter Sports


See More BMX Videos at VitalBMX.com

I found this video over on the Vital BMX site today. First, it is a rad old-school trick adapted to street – one I haven’t seen many times before – a whiplash (rolling tailwhip) to stair jump. Second, Ryan Harley, the guy doing the trick, and I’m assuming filming, pulled it in Alaska, with snow all around, in a limited window of time because the days are so short this time of year.

I’m done complaining about the 30 degrees we’ve had in Kansas. Look at his face after he lands. Brrr…

Dan’s Comp - Support Jimmy Levan

Jimmy Levan continues to progress well after his fall and head trauma that occurred a couple of weeks ago. He’s not healed, but he is healing.

Over the past week, a couple more chances for you to help him as he heads into a rehabilitation facility have been announced, and both give you opportunities to get a little in return. For the vintage guys, Profile has dug into their warehouse and has an auction running on ebay for a NOS 1985 Profile ProStyler Frame, Fork, Ladder Handlebars (Still with original warranty card), Padset (Still in original packaging), and old style Profile polished seat post clamp. For those of you new-schoolers, Dan’s Comp is offering a chance to win a new Shitluck Magnolia frame signed by Shitluck main man, Leland Thruman.

Click here for the Dan’s Comp Levan page.
Click here for the Profile auciton on ebay.

Oh, and the auction for Jim Bauer’s bike ended, raising $1,025 toward Jimmy’s recovery fund.

Vintage Profile package for Jimmy Levan

Andy Shohara, airing at the Krause Family Skatepark in San Diego

Birthday Boy, Andy Shohara. Photo by John Leonard

As we noted a little over a week ago, a skatepark jam went down in San Diego, celebrating the 40th birthday of longtime rider, Andy Shohara. Sponsored by Black Lighting, about 30 riders plus some of their kids, showed up to the park which was reserved for this event. Andy (on his new Black Lightning bike), Brian Blyther, Dave Voelker, Todd Andersen, Lee Reynolds, Woody Itson, Xavier Mendez, Alvin Mullins and others all ripped up the park for a few hours. Mullins has posted about the event in a couple of places, and has a bunch of images John Leonard shot, on his Photobucket (note that you may need to be a member to see all of them).

Happy Birthday, Andy! Damn, California Dreamin’, indeed.

Mullins’ post on the OS-BMX message board.
Photos on Mullins’ Photobucket.
Quick write-up on the event by Lee Reynolds on Fat-BMX.

Flyer for Andy Shohara’s Birthday Jam

Just received this bit of news from Kevin at Black Lightning, a new BMX lifestyle/apparel/frame(?) brand, featured in the Cool Kids video I posted last month:

Black Lightning presents the Flyin’ Hawaiian Andy Shohara’s 40th Birthday Jam.
Where: Krause Family Skatepark, San Diego, CA. 8:45-10:45 sat. nov 24th
Riders attending: Eddie Fiola, Woody Itson, Brian Blyther, Dave Voelker, Lee Reynolds, Tony Murray, and more. Show up and have a blast with riders from the past.

Shohara competed in a number of the King of Skatepark contests in the mid-’80s and continues riding today. If any of you in San Diego go, send me pics and I’ll post them here.

My new build - Standard 250

So, my posts have been really lacking lately, and I think it has been with good reason – at least to other riders – maybe not so much to my wife. ;-)

I’ve been building a new bike, and I’m really happy with how it has turned out. It is my first non-complete new(er) school ride, and I’m getting ready to take it out on its shakedown ride as soon as I finish this post.

The frame was raw, but the clearcoat was in rough shape. I sanded it down and sprayed a number of coats of clear, so it has protection and a light shine. I dig how the color combination turned out very hand-made looking overall – dare I say almost traditional hot-rod style.

Frame: Standard 250 (American BB)
Fork: S&M Pitchfork with brake bosses (Yeah, I’m a part of the front-brake revolution – heh)
Bars: S&M Slam XLT
Grips: Odyssey Team
Stem: FBM Protect Ya Neck
Wheels: Haro 48s and Haro Directional Tires (From my Retro Sport – will be switching to some Odyssey Hazards, I think)
Seat, Post, Clamp: Haro (I’ve got a Primo Seat and a Shadow Conspiracy Post on the way), Kink Clamp
Brakes: Dia-Tech Hombre Brake, Odyssey Monolever, Odyssey GTX Gyro
Cranks: Primo Hollowbites
Sprocket: Tree
Chain: KMC
Pedals: S&M one o one

I sold my FST and some other vintage parts to fund this build, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. Not to worry, though (I’m talking to you old schoolers), I’ve got a bunch of other builds planned now that old man winter has arrived. Thanks to those over at bmxmuseum.com who sold me parts, and bought other ones, and thanks to eBay for being like a bad addiction…

More photos to come…

I found an album with more photos from the Red Bull contest last weekend. Some nice shots from Mike Williams, passed along by “mtbjunkie” on the Kansas Freeriders forum.

Check out the Flickr album right here.

Thanks for the hookup, mtbjunkie.

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?

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?

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.

haro_wallpaper.jpg

To properly welcome you to BMX Roots, I wanted to give you something to remember us by. One of the many objectives with the site will be to do some great photography, and share it with you. Here’s the first in what will be many photos available for your viewing pleasure. Hit the download page, and enjoy.

BMX Roots Downloads

-Jeremy

BMXROOTS

In 1986, I took my first swipe at becoming a bmx publisher. It was the early days of the ‘zine, and I made one of my own, called Motion. At that point, I also had a loose association of bmx and skateboard friends called the Motion Trick Team. We mostly drew logos on our notebooks and talked about what our shows would be like – drawing schematics of the ramps, p.a. setup and music choices. We rode for ourselves, mostly, but man, it was fun to work all of this out. Someday, we hoped, we’d get the gear and make it happen.

Back to the ‘zine: It was pre-computer (at least in my house), so I used a typewriter, the school photocopier, and my 110 Instamatic – I was loaded for bear. I put out 3-4 issues every 6 months or so, getting friends to help produce it, upgrading to an early Mac for typesetting and improving my hand-lettering and illustration, as well as shooting with a 35mm camera. Still, the content mostly covered my friends and our little scene in a suburb of Kansas City. I’ve got plenty of fodder for this site, which I’ll be scanning and uploading over time – trust me, you gotta see some of this stuff.

I kept riding throughout high school and into the beginning of college. I kept shooting photos and learning of this profession called graphic design. I went to school for advertising and photography at first, then switched over to visual communications (design), and as I began working, I stopped riding. My old Haro was in pieces and I found excuses not to ride. Too busy, too lazy, too old, whatever. Hell, I even bought a mountain bike thinking that I would be able to enjoy myself on that – however, when I rode, I missed something. I missed the feelings of throwing the “little bike” around, launching off curbs, and pedaling until you’ve got no more gears.

Last year, I bought my oldest son a Hoffman 16″ bmx for his 4th birthday. And thus it began… Though I had been following the bmx scene via the web, tv coverage and the occasional magazine, I decided that there was no way that I could ride a mountain bike while my oldest was learning on such a cool bike. With the encouragement of my wife (who still doesn’t quite understand what all the fuss is over beat-up parts – “but they’re vintage, honey“), I bought a 24″ Haro cruiser, then a 20″ Haro Retro Sport, and began putting my ’87 Master back together. Buying parts for the Master led me to many sites (bmxmuseum, vintagebmx, os-bmx) and I was amazed to see this community of people building, saving, riding, and racing these “little bikes”. However, I shouldn’t have been surprised. See, there are kids jumping on bmx bikes everyday – more than in years past, even, and there are guys my age and above who never stopped riding.

I became inspired by bmx again, at least that was the simple way to look at it. Yeah, I’m riding a lot more now, and I’ve got a few bikes that I’m restoring, but really, I had been inspired all along. My job is as a creative director for an ad agency, and it was under the influence of Freestylin’ Magazine, BMX Action, and BMX Plus! that I began my design career, and now, I want to bring those influences to the pages of this site. It will be current, yet reflective, and always feature stories that provide a peek behind the curtain – of riders, spots, shops, etc. I want anyone who stumbles on here to add to the stories, and provide ideas for more. I want to inspire others to create, no matter how their creations take shape.

-Jeremy