Vintage

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Stu Thomsen vs. Greg Hill

Stu Thomsen, Greg Hill and other race heros from the 80s.

Looks like Mark Eaton of Bang! Pictures and of course the “Dorkin in York” series of videos, is at it again. Following-up on the BMX documentary, “Joe Kid on a Stingray”, Eaton is releasing “Stompin’ Stu, the Story of BMX Legend, Stu Thomsen”. Looks like it will be similar in style to Joe Kid, with filmed interviews, vintage film/video footage, as well as still photos.

I forgot that Stu’s wife is Greg Hill’s sister. But hearing that in the trailer, I was reminded of how much the magazines used to push their rivalry back-in-the-day.

I love to see BMX remembering and celebrating its roots. For too long, we’ve only focused on the new and now. Every day that continues to change. Good stuff.

Check out the trailer here.

Discuss over at the BMXMuseum.

Found on ESPN, posted by Brian Tunney.

Happy Holidays

I fell off the blogging wagon over the past few months, as seems to be the case with me every-so-often. My work and home lives have both been busy, and I haven’t come through with new material for a while. So, I at least wanted to say “Happy Holidays” to those of you who take the time to read my ramblings. I wish all of you and yours a safe and Happy New Year.

While visiting Iowa with my wife and kids for Christmas this year, my boys watched “E.T.” for the first time with their cousins, and they were both excited to tell me all about it, including the parts with the bikes. Funny enough, over on the SPRFLS blog last night, there was a comment with the link to the above clip, featuring the big chase scene in the movie. For many of us, this defined BMX, or at least got us excited enough to go jump some hills. Before “RAD” with Bill Allen as Cru Jones, there was Bob Haro preforming in and providing input to Steven Spielberg on all of the bicycle stunts in the movie.

Now, there are no big tricks (other than E.T. making all of the boys fly), but there is amazing camera work and the feeling of just pedaling like hell. Look for the scene near the climax where all of the federal agents and police come into the frame giving chase on foot. Good stuff.

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.

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.

Keith Mulligan’s BMX Sticker Board

Ride Editor, Keith Mulligan’s custom-made sticker board.

If you haven’t been over to ridebmx.com – aka bmxonline.com – aka bmx.transworld.net, get over there and check out their new site, which launched a couple weeks ago. Much more user-friendly, with content from the magazine and new blogs from their editors, the new site has a ton of reasons to visit and hang around for a bit. Personally, I’m just happy to see the funky photo gallery navigation/pop-up thing go away.

Keith Mulligan, Ride’s editor, wrote a “favorite things” post about a week ago, and most of them are of the vintage variety. From his first BMX racing trophy in ’81 to the plexiglass board his dad made, covered in hella-cool stickers of various eras, it is definitely worth a read. BTW, what BMX rider hasn’t had a certain place to stick, or horde the many stickers collected over the years? I know I do.

Check it here: Mulligan’s Favorite Things

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.

One Got Fat, Archive.org Video

I’ve known about the Internet Archive for a long time, and have used it for work and personal research for years. Between the Wayback Machine (a website archive – here, check out RideBMX’s site from Sunday, June 18, 2000), and the Live Music Archive, you can literally spend hours finding hidden gems of all sorts.

The sweet spot, to me, however is the Moving Images archive. Especially the vintage films found in the Prelinger Collection. You say you want a Chevrolet World’s Fair movie? Check. How about some AFL-CIO union worker training films? Sure, no problem.

Well, this being a bicycle/bmx-focused site, and all, you know where I’m going with this. After yesterday’s big industry discussion, I wanted to post something a bit more light-hearted today, so here’s some TRUE vintage for ya.

There is some great bicycle safety film footage from the 50s-60s that is too good. And in the case of “One Got Fat“, the gem above, it features a bunch of kids riding with creepy-as-hell monkey masks and running into steamrollers and other obstacles in suburbia. Seriously, the masks are waaay creepier than anything from Planet of the Apes.

Here are some others to check out. The first one reminds you that you should never be a “showoff”:
You and Your Bicycle
Drive Your Bicycle
Bicycle Safety – shot in Lawrence, KS

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

Skyway T/A Wallpaper

Jeremy Johnson’s survivor Skyway T/A. Photo by Jeremy Schutte.

In honor of the recent appearance of the 1st of the 150 Skyway T/A frames being made this year at the Rockford BMX show last weekend, I’ve pulled out a desktop wallpaper (background, to us Mac users) that I created back when I shot this photo last year. For some reason, I never posted it, but new that now the time was right. Visit this post to learn more about the history of the bike, and go to the Downloads page to pick up either the 4:3 or 16:9 versions. Plus if you haven’t checked them out before, there are two others there for ya.

Plus, it has a nice “red, white and blue”, 4th of July thing going on… So, why not?

Hutch Hi-Performance BMX Logo
I wondered when it would happen. We’ve seen a number of retro products over the past couple of years being pushed out by Knight, SE and other manufacturers. Just yesterday, it was announced on a number of the BMX message boards that John De Bruin, who has been making repro Hutch pedal cages and decal sets, has acquired the rights to the Hutch Hi-Performance BMX brand, as well as CW. He plans on creating new product “reissues” that have at least one detail that is different from the original, and down the road, creating more modern products. Read his full press release here.

This story holds interests me a lot, because I was a Hutch kid. When my department store Columbia BMX (that had been quite updated, mind you) cracked on a jump, my dad and I went to BMX Pros, THE BMX shop in Kansas City in the 80s, so that I could pick out a new frame. They had all the flavors of Hutch Candy. I picked a Candy Metal Blue, had it built with the good parts from my Columbia, hooked up a pair of white Skyways, and so the freestyle story began. I’ll scan some photos over the next couple of days and tell more – that bike was THE nicest thing I had ever owned, and it was absolutely my baby.

Needless to say, with the prices of Hutch parts continuing to climb, Hutch Hi-Performance with be something to watch. Interesting to see if John will build bikes with modern geometry and old-school flavor, a la SE, or vintage-style frames with 1″ headsets. Hell, they’re making “new” 60s Ford Mustang bodies now, so it was only a matter of time until we saw this happen with BMX.

Terrible One Barcode 2008 Colors

Funny, I was just chuckling about the ad on albes.com that says “1988-2008. We’ve been around since the first time neon colors were cool”. See, there was a time in the very recent past when BMX went chrome and black, with a few colors mixed in here or there. I believe it had a lot to do with the fact that not only did painted or anodized colors go out of “fashion”, companies probably cut back on the number of colors available to cut production costs. Pre-X-Games and the recent growth of BMX, companies simplifed yet also fed the desires of the riders who remained at the core of the sport.

Now, there is a virtual cornucopia of colors to be had from most manufacturers. Painted, powdered, anodized – whatever a rider may want, he can have. Or it is common to custom paint the parts, or strip them down to their raw, welded state. Terrible One just released their new colors for the 2008 Barcode frame, and following the desires of their buyers, they’ve got a beautiful robin’s egg blue, and a hot (welded, get it? hehe) clear/raw finish. Their site says that this is just the beginning of things to come for 2008. Also, if you’re near Austin, be sure to head to the T-1 ramp this Saturday for a fakie-air contest. Should be a fine time.

Oh, and I’m right there with the bright colors – I just built a new Standard 250 that was custom-painted a bright jade green. More to come on that…

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.

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

Today, we’re saddened by the news that Evel Knievel, the first Daredevil that anyone over 30 knew when we were kids, died today at 69 years old. Knievel had cheated death many times throughout his motorcycle-jumping career, with stunts that went awry, but amazingly he always pulled through. He often joked that he had broken every bone in his body, except his neck. Knievel was most recently in the news for an amicable settlement with Kanye West following a lawsuit against West for using the likeness of Knievel in a music video for West’s song “Touch the Sky“.

He was the reason many of us built our first ramps, launching our bikes over our own version of Knievel’s “Snake River Canyon Jump”. I even had the stunt cycle toy that you would wind up and launch a plastic Knievel over anything in its path. I have a feeling my boys might end up with their own this Christmas.

Mat Hoffman was one also one of the kids under the Knievel influence, and once he finally met Knievel, they struck up a friendship and Hoffman Bikes built a limited run of 500 Evel Knievel signature bikes in 1998 and then followed with a Wembley Stadium edition in 1999. There was also a few Harley-Davidsons built to celebrate the launch of this collaboration.

Hoffman Bikes Evel Knievel Bike

Close-up shot of a 1998 Hoffman Bikes Evel Knievel bike, 1 of only 500 made. From BMXmuseum.com

From EXPN. com: “If you asked Mat to make a list of who the most influential people in his life have been, one name that stands at the top, in regards to his influence on Mat’s riding and determination, is nothing short of pure Evel. Evel Knievel that is, the greatest stuntman to ever dawn a two-wheeled vehicle. Now, in honor of Evel’s lifetime of achievements, Hoffman Bikes has been granted the privilege to manufacture a signature series bicycle worthy of flying the Evel Knievel banner.”

The decals on the bike featured a quote from Knievel, “You’re never a failure in life when you fall, as long as you try & get up.” Truer words have not been spoken. I mean, c’mon, he did these jumps on a freaking 300-pound Harley-Davidson, after all.

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.


Innovators…

RL Osborn and Mike Buff drove around the country countless summers in the early 80s, driving from shop to shop and mall t0 mall putting up their 8ft. wide quartepipe (maybe only 6ft?) and putting on shows, introducing the country to this thing called freestyle. They were a team in the loosest sense – nobody gave signals, or passed a ball, but they were part of a wider-reaching brotherhood that so many of us kids in the time grabbed a hold of. It is all about individual style and how riding made you feel.

My introduction came when the Haro team put on a similar show at Metro North mall in Kansas City. I got a front brake, put away my racing gear and started learning to do kicturns on a ramp my dad and I built from plans in BMX Action magazine. The magazine and these teams influenced how we rode, dressed and spoke.

This 8mm footage from Crabtree Valley mall shows the giant crowds these guys would pull, even as people questioned these growing men riding around on kids’ bikes.

Thanks to Kevin for the link.

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.

BMX Old School Custom Toy

“BMX Old School” created by Israel Chavira, image from Custom Toy Lab.

Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of custom toy makers, creating vinyl/metal/plastic toys rich in detail and creativity. Much like BMX, there is an obsessive community that surrounds this very cool culture. I became aware of this a couple years ago via Kid Robot, and I am lucky enough to have a Lettus Bee figure signed by Andy Jenkins. My very cool former-team in Seattle gave it and another piece of Andy’s artwork to me as a going-away gift.

Today I found a toy that, unfortunately, is a one-off, but a rad one-off nonetheless.

Israel Chavira is an artist and designer from Guadalajara, Mexico and he’s created a character called “BMX Old School”. I dig the details of the the scarred helmet, JT gloves and matching shoes. I think a bunch of us riders need to come together and order enough so that Israel can get them made. He can be contacted via his website.

There are a bunch more photos and details on the Custom Toy Lab site. Check it out.

Chris Drake’s Schwinn Predators

Chris Drake of Independence, MO brought out a nice collection that included these two Schwinn Predators.

This was the second weekend in a row that I got to take my boys to an event focused on bikes. Never a bad thing. Sunday, we headed over to Independence, MO to go to the Peddler’s bike shop swap meet and show. Traditionally, this has been more of an balloon tire or track-style antique/vintage/collectors show (as with many bike shows), but as BMX collecting gains momentum, these shows have begun to open up. Through the influence of a few riders, including Chris Drake (above photo), there were a few guys who showed up with some nice bikes for sale and for show.

Though I think the rain/drizzle kept some folks away, it was great to meet some of the people I’ve previously only met virtually through the message boards, and meet a couple of new guys as well. At the next of these type of events, we need a ride or a flatland/dirt/street session as well. You can see a few more shots and more info about some of these bikes over on the BMX Museum as well. Check back here for more events like this around the midwest.

Skyway T/A

Jeremy Johnson, of Kansas City, MO, showed this survivor Skyway T/A. It is owned by his uncle, John Hershey, who raced it for years, though this was the “street” setup, with the white mags and skyway pegs. It has been in Johnson’s grandma’s basement and hadn’t seen the light of day for 8 years.

S&M Daily Rider

Johnson’s S&M daily rider – pure street.

S&M Holmes

Jake Gatschet of KCMO brought his S&M daily rider out as well – a meticulously restored 1990 S&M Holmes trail machine. It was recently featured in the news section of the S&M site.

Skyway T/A Frame and Fork

Yeah, you read that right, hot on the heels of the Tuff Love art show, I’ve got some more news about Skyway.

First, at Interbike, there was a Skyway Team 20th anniversary reunion. Xavier Mendez has some great photos and stories over on the Vintage BMX forums. Very cool to see the 1987 Skyway Trick Team together. That team toured constantly, and featured a bunch of diverse riding styles, setting the groundwork for the types of bmx tours still going today.
Check out the post on the Vintagebmx.com forums

Also hot from both the BMXMuseum.com and VintageBMX.com forums is news from coloredtuffs/planetbmx main man, Ed Ferri that there will be 150 Skyway T/A frame and forks made, as well as retro-styled 20″ and 24″ frames in celebration of the T/A’s 25th anniversary. I’m only guessing here, but I assume this will follow the trend of other retro bikes of late, with threadless headsets, modern geometry and vintage-inspired paint/graphics – which is cool enough. Even cooler, the first 150 “originals” will use original True Temper Skyway tubing and have the exact geometry and design of the original ’82 T/A. Rad … The T/A was a badass race and early freestyle frame lusted after by many a kid back in the day (including this one), but it always freaked me out to see someone running it with spokes – never seemed quite right. Pro Maurice Meyer has a great account of rebuilding one to his original specs on his site. A serious freestyle history lesson there.

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?


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.

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