Riding for the right reasons

 Over the years of riding,one thing has become more important to me thing than anything else. Having fun and enjoying it to me is most important. This means riding and doing it because your psyched on bikes not for the notoriety, status or money. Just the pure thrill of the ride, hanging out with old friends, meeting new ones, exploring new spots, sessioning old ones, travel…..fun! People that take riding too seriously, make me kinda sick to my stomach. Yes right now the industry is flooded with money and sponsors. What happens when the money is gone? Will those people still ride? I’ll willing to bet that half won’t, it’s the ones that will that know the true meaning of it all. It’s happened before in the mid 90’s, BMX was extinct and the ones that rode were the true riders. Not for anything except the enjoyment of bikes. With all this said there are a few dudes that I know that embody that exact principle. Some you may know, some may not. These guys have endured over the years, some have left riding for awhile some never quit…one thing is for sure though they all ride for the right reasons.
  Over the next few days I’m gonna pay homage to these guys. First up is a guy that alot of people from the area my know. He’s been around for awhile. He rides everything, even races BMX. His name is John Ouellette. He’s a guy that I’ve known for years. We recently started cruising around again and talking about things and remembered that he said he had a collection of old school BMX bikes, not to sell but just to have to ride them every now and again. He and I started talking about them so I had him pull them out and take some pictures to send to me. The fact that he has these things and doesn’t care to sell them (some of them are worth a few bucks to collectors) tells me that he’s psyched on them. Now having a collection of old school BMX bikes usually means that there’s a few stories tied up in the gathering of a few of them. So I had him give us a quick back story on the ones that were a mission. The following are some of the pics of Johnny O’s collection and some stories that lead to the curation of some of these beasts. I guess it’s best left to his own words:

The “collection”

   What I got. All dates are approximate. Starting from the front left , I have a Chrome ’91 S&M Holmes, Black ’93 S&M Dirt Bike, a Red ’87-88 Mongoose M-1, And a Green ’94 Auburn. Looking on the right front to back is a Blue ’86 GT Pro Performer, a Primer Grey ’85-86 Dyno Compe, A Blue ’85 Skyway Street Scene, A Chrome ’83 Torker, and an unpainted ’83 SE Quadangle. On the end you can see a pair of Hutch Frames. An ’86 Windstyler and an ’84 Pro Raider.

rear veiw
S&M Holmes

Odyssey “pitbull” brakes

S&M Dirtbike

Auburn with the detachable rearend

GT Performer

SE Quadangle

Best grips ever made: Jive handles

  I’m not a really a collector, just a BMX enthusiast. I enjoy finding, working on, and riding some of these bikes from and earlier era in BMX.  

-The Holmes. This is my favorite bike of all. This is the one I will jump on and ride today. I’ve taken it to trails, skateparks, and even raced it. My wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas one year and I told her I never had one of those old school Holmes’. And just like that she searched E-bay and found this shiny jem. It feels really good to ride, but you do notice the flex on the old threaded forks and how not so great the Pitbulls stop.
-The Dirtbike. Some good friends told me about this bike sitting in a bike shop close to the trails. I was really stoked that the owner and I settled on a price and I got to haul the brown S&M home. I was even more stoked to find out the bike was really black due to several years of dust build up! The Redneck Stem is a shafted one with a Weggie Jackson!
-The Mongoose M-1. I love to go to flea markets. You never know what treasure you might find rummaging around. A trip to Rietta Ranch and I netted a Mongoose! One of my first bikes was a Mongoose. 
– The Auburn. Another favorite of mine. I get lots of nice compliments on this bike. This bike just started out as a frame and an idea. I sent the frame to Central Mass. powdercoaters to get that Auburn green color. I found several of the parts quickly and easily. How crazy is the rear triangle! All held together with four bolts!
-The GT Pro Performer. I bet every old schooler  had or knew someone that had one of these. This was the first oldie I came across and rebuilt. It was at a skatepark under a ramp. A kid told me some other kids were comin’ back later to smash it with a sledge hammer so I did it some justice and it now it has a good home.
-The Dyno. My wife found this one at a yard sale and brought it home. I have yet to turn wrenches on it. I always thought the forks on those things were the strangest things ever. Who puts drop outs behind the legs?
-The Skyway. This was another rescue mission. Sometimes you just have to climb down a steep snowy embankment into a freezing stream for that old school goodie.  
-The Torker. Another cool product of yard sailing. I was only a town over when I spotted this jem. I asked the fella how much he wanted for it. He goes, “how’s five bucks sound?” I say, “awesome! Do you have anymore?” He says, “sure. I got a garage full.”  Now I’m like….wow! I just found the mother load! The guy opens the door and I see bikes….junky ten speeds and kiddie bikes. The aura around the garage fades away. But I still go home with a Torker and a smile!  
– The SE. This was a bike given to me by a good friend after he didn’t sell it in a yard sale. As kooky as it looks, you can see details present on modern bikes of today. Some day it’s going to be black and white with checkered pads.                                                                                  
Johnny O as most of his friends call him, is definitely a guy that rides to have fun and doesn’t care about who’s doing what. He’s someone I’m glad to be able to ride with after all these years and hopefully many more. Everytime we’ve ridden together in the past year I had some of the best sessions I can remember. He’s also an awesome tour guide as he’s got a ton of “spots” tucked away. One dude I’m glad to call a friend. The fact that he had this collection of older bikes just made this an added bonus to show how much he loves bikes and a chance to “showcase” them alittle easier than dragging them out if you were over his house. Plus the fact that he’s not willing to sell em only strengthens that. Like I said earlier, I’m gonna be doing a this with a few dudes. Everyone of them is down for the cause and I know that anytime I ride with them I’m gonna have laughs and fun. Reminding us why we started riding BMX bikes in the first place.

Johnny O at his trails in Athol