Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pocket Change

In the opening sequence of The Bones Brigade Video Show, Lance Mountain, rolls out of his house in the AM then rolls back home just before midnight; spending the entire day skating and relying only on his skateboard for transportation.

My buddy Matt and I always talk about how simple things used to be and how our bikes and riding were all that mattered. Despite growing up worlds apart, we have the same childhood memories. Our daily summer schedule was the same - wake up, eat breakfast, ride bike, eat lunch, ride bike more, then head home for dinner. All of this was always possible with mere pocket change. We both remember our bikes took us to places near and far. In those days, it was a BMX bike and there were no gears, rarely a flat tire, and the biggest mechanical problem was a loose headset that was easily repaired with the human vise grip, namely, your hand.

Over the years, although my bikes became more and more sophisticated (and expensive), I make it a point to return to the simple days. Now I do it on a 1968 Schwinn complete with fenders and steel rims. I run my errands on it, ride it in sandals and shorts (often no-handed), and I rarely lock it up. The freedom of this simple machine can be intoxicating, I even find myself blowing off my errands just to keep riding.

Hurray for the simple machine and the pleasure it brings!
Hurray for the car-free, hassle-free leisure of a bicycle!
Now, if I could just get by on my pocket change.


Anonymous said...

Awesome photo - '70s BMX styling.

Your summer memories are similar to mine. Cruising the neighborhood on converted Sting-Ray (and the like) BMX bikes.

We'd ride all over the place - all day. Jump off steps, race each other BMX style, set up Observed Trials sections - all kinds of fun.

Other kids would be in the pool. Me? Practicing wheelies on my bike - sweating my ass off in the heat.

In actuality, we were imitating motorcycles - dirt bikes - which most of us couldn't afford at the time. Later, when we could afford one, added another dimension to summer fun.

I remember one summer, 1976, all of 15 years old. Rode dirt bikes all day with friends, headed home for mom cooked dinner, then back out with same kids for BMX action into the night. We did this for days on end.

Compared against today - was done on pocket change. Our "BMX" bikes were pulled from dumpsters and modified for free.

I bought my first real dirt motorcycle used for around $500 with help from my dad. 1974 Suzuki TM125 - yellow tank with green stripe - just like Roger DeCoster's works bike. Well, almost.

30+ years later - dirt bikes long gone - replaced with mountain and road bikes - I still feel a little of that freedom every time I escape for a ride.

Dan O

Matt said...

Nice air there Freddy!

Erik said...

Thanks for referencing one of the seminal skate videos of that sports history. As a kid that grew up skateboarding in california (my dad owned a skate shop on PCH), I rarely find skating crossover into my love of cycling now that I am an adult. They are very similiar in there outsider status. Very cool to show how much it is all so interconnected and really all about "soul" in the end.