Monday, March 2, 2009

back in the day...

Dizz Hicks, CW Freestyle Tour 1983 (or '84?)
bob A. photo.

man, this was when it must have REALLY set in.

Every kid gets to that age when they get a bike. It's
progression. Slowly you get those training wheels off,
then it just seems to be instinct to start jumping curbs.
Trying to clear the sidewalk, bombing down the steepest
hills in the neighborhood and park. Eventually the sketchy
tires, bricks and discarded wood are piled into ten year
old's MacGuvyer jump. The bike provides hours of exploring
and adventures with friends.

Then one day, while at the 7-11 getting Slurpees and brain
freeze, you stumble across it. The magazine that shows that
there's even more to the world you never knew existed.
BMX ACTION. The title said it all. Then they made FREESTYLIN'.
And your world completely changed. Lunch money was hoarded,
and everyday you rode to the store waiting for the new issue.

One day, there was a little ad for an upcoming tour. And then,
as you slowly scroll down the lists of cities you've never
heard of, there's yours! Plans are made. The ride to the bike
shop is like a great cross country adventure. It takes what
seems to be hours. No one mentions where we're going to their
parents, we're 'just riding around'.

It's easy to find. The crowd, a van and trailer. The quarter
pipe and bank ramp. That day, the pros were in our town. They
were as close to rock stars as we'ld ever see. Awe struck.
The sun pounded you out on the hot asphalt. Sweaty, thirsty,
and no money for a drink because you needed every quarter for
that 'World Tour' tshirt to get signed after it was all over.
The struggle to worm your way up to the pros, unable to get
word out except a muttered 'thanks' as the crowd pulls you
away and spits you out. You then, like a hundred other kids,
shuffle off to find your bike and regroup with your friends.
Slowly pedalling back home, recounting every trick, the new
bike you want, the tricks you want to learn, and how you'ld
love to be those guys traveling in a van, riding EVERY day!

Yeah, I think THAT was the summer. I wasn't bitten by the
bike bug, more like clobbered. Or picked up and slammed
into a wall. I've skated. I snowboarded. Played with cars.
Worked on motorcycles. But through all of that, and in
between most of those, there's always been bikes.

Years later I got a chance to visit the old neighborhood.
The hills weren't that big, actually they weren't hills at
all. The 7-11 wasn't that far away. The fields were small.
And the bike shop really was only a couple miles away.
Such is life. It's realitive to your experiences.

But the feeling as I throw my leg over the top tube, clip
in and start off down the street on my way to work. It's
still the same as I coasted down the driveway on my bmx

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