Young and dumb

(I originally had this titled “Brain Trauma” but it might as well be called “Young and Dumb.”)

I was young, naive, i was trying these forward rolling backyard glides. I was sitting backwards on the bike, the bars were behind me, my hands were on them and I was trying in earnest to pull the front of the bike up so I could balance on the back pegs while standing backwards and rolling forward.

It wasn’t working and I was five miles from home without a car. At the time, my bike was pretty heavy. This was the accepted truth about BMX bikes. If they weren’t heavy, they weren’t strong, and you risked your life if it broke in the wrong circumstance. On the converse though, when you did go down with the ship, all 40 – 45 pounds of that bike came down with you. And I was stuck trying something and not coming close. Continue reading Young and dumb

A Hood No More…


A few months ago, journalist Abigail Geiger reached out to me about a story she was writing for the York Daily Record on the Plywood Hoods. I was unable to speak with her by phone about the Hoods (it was a hectic day) but she e-mailed over some questions that I rattled on too long about. The Plywood Hoods and Dorkin’ videos remain my bible to this day, and I am always honored to even just speak about them. Once, I even got a clip in a Dorkin’ video (“Balancing Act”) and really, if I’m being honest here, I probably could’ve given up bike riding when that video came out and told everyone that I had achieved everything I had ever wanted to as far as getting noticed in BMX went. They are that important to my roots as a lifelong BMX rider and the reason I can recite by memory Rob Base’s “It Takes Two.” They also remain my go-to example of a Malcom Gladwell-ian combination of the right people in the right time, excelling at flatland while also progressing in avenues that allowed them to self-publicize their exploits in media, from video to photos to writing. They were the perfect mashup of misfits that bordered on genius. I can shut up now: This is the full Q&A that didn’t make it into the original article, published for 5-10 people here on the advice of Bob Scerbo. Continue reading A Hood No More…

Creation, Sustenance, Destruction: 108 lives on

Photo credit: Deathwish Inc.

Vic Dicara’s guitar playing was a marginal character in my life for a few months when I was 16, mainly because I was an unfortunate fan of the East Coast based Krishnacore band Shelter. Dicara spent a few months in an early incarnation of Shelter, and at the time, I saw them at least a half dozen times. I don’t even remember too much about the playing of the music, but I vividly remember the conflict that a Krishna-fronted band presented for the youth, the parents and everyone in between that dared to question authority and rallied against the establishment. It spilled out into the parking lots of shows and bled onto every fanzine of the time. It pushed my father to ask me, “You’re not joining a cult, are you?” Continue reading Creation, Sustenance, Destruction: 108 lives on

Keep Them On The Screen

Once upon a time, I was probably fanning out over a professional skateboarder that a close friend knew better than me, when he said something that resonated with me: “Keep them in the videos,” meaning, if you came to love or appreciate someone through a piece of skateboarding recorded for a video, don’t seek them out. Continue to take inspiration from them, but let them remain on the screen. Kinda sorta like that movie “Almost Famous,” don’t go out of your way to make friends with the band, because more than likely, they will disappoint you as a person and leave you wondering why you felt inspired by their music in the first place. Continue reading Keep Them On The Screen

Albie Bennett, 2013?

Brad Blanchard, 1990

On the left is Brad Blanchard, as shot by Spike Jonze in the August, 1990 issue of Go: The Rider's Manual, and on the right is the crazy parking lot located in the middle of downtown Austin on a grey day in January. It still baffles me that Trend Bike Source managed to hold one of the biggest competitions of the year in a parking lot in downtown Austin, but it definitely happened 26 years ago. According to Go, "The Bully/Hammer crew of Vic Murphy, Pete Augustin and Brad Blanchard drew plenty of respectful onlookers. Vic caught a plane into town the night before and Augustin/Blanchard drove in together. The three of them assault the wall, the car and the stonehenge non-stop during practice, except for an occasional Big Gulp break."

A photo posted by Brian Tunney (@briantunney) on

United/Rooftop and the bashguard frame

Yesterday, a unique United Bike Co. prototype frame popped up on Mike “Rooftop” Escamilla’s Instagram account, featuring a Haro Sport-style bashguard from the early ’90s. Me, wearing my love for early ’90s BMX proudly on my sleeve, hit like and moved on with my day as many of us goldfish-brainers do. But I kept coming back to this unpainted oddity, now regrammed by United, thinking to myself that I will probably read about it on a BMX website in the coming hours. I was wrong, no one picked up on it. I can’t say I blame anyone, I know our attention is being pulled in a thousand directions at once these days, and that it’s only a matter of seconds before you miss out on something, but I figured this deserved some attention. Continue reading United/Rooftop and the bashguard frame