The next dude up in my “reasons” article is a guy that I’ve been friends with the longest riding wise. I’ve known him since the late 80’s. I remember our first meeting at the Brockton fairgrounds on a Sunday afternoon. He was the first guy I ever saw do a peg wheelie and could actually ride pretty well, I was blown away. From that day on I never forgot his name, and from that point on we were friends and one many dudes that I got to ride with on a regular basis. Over the years as with many friends we lost touch and he slowed down to have kids and start a family.(although he rode flat and I rode more street/ramps) Recently he has been riding again and coming into the shop, and been real amped on BMX again. He even set up a flatland jam last Summer, just to get all the old flat dudes back together. His name is Rick MacDonald and I also asked him to write something about BMX and how bikes have impacted his life. So without me rambling on any further here’s what he had to say:
Well, the other entries in this series have hit numerous points that I was in total agreement with. Good job guys, you nailed it. Simply put, it is all about life and fun, and who can argue with that?
Here’s my own perspective on “Why BMX?”
I’ve been psyched on bikes since around 1987. Even the cheese-laden 80’s, something about it was cool…I wasn’t into other sports, and the trombone was losing its appeal! A lot of my friends were skaters but it was the bikes that caught my eye. My bike was mainly for transportation in those days…Besides learning the basic tricks, we were RIDING the bikes for miles and miles. One day my friend Jared just HAD to have a new pair of Haro Kneesaver bars, so we rode our bikes on sketchy roads from Sharon to Whitman. That’s 23 miles, 1 way! I cannot imagine that today, but that’s just the way it was.
As we all got better and better at tricks, it just led to more and more riding sessions all over town. Crappy ditches, handicap ramps, parking lots, you name it. This BMX thing was so different than what everyone else in junior high was doing…and how do you explain to somebody who didn’t ride how you could have fun for 12 hours in a parking lot? Or entertain yourself with a jersey barrier? Or pile your buddies in a car to do the same thing, but in New Jersey or Pennsylvania? The sessions and contests and road trips are too numerous to mention and simply unforgettable.
I certainly hope all you teens/20somethings are making the most of your time, because these are the days you should be totally OWNING!!!
When I tell another adult that I still ride BMX bikes I have yet to hear “that’s stupid”. Most of them say it makes sense because they all think I’m younger than 37. Mission accomplished, I love “living young”! I am riding quite a lot now compared to a few years ago…I really needed the cardio, plus there are hundreds of tricks I still want to learn. I am sort of getting closer to my “peak riding level” of 1993…But now instead of riding from sunup to sundown, I squeeze in a lunch hour here and there and go back to work all sweaty and banged up. The occasional afternoon with the guys in Cambridge is always a blast…and I even hit the skatepark several times recently…
And since FUN is the one and only goal, I’ll ride with anybody. We had a park session this winter with 1 legendary old schooler, 1 top X Games pro, his 4 year-old son, myself, and lots of young kids actually practicing skids. And it was all really cool!
Another benefit to riding was learning to be a little “mechanically aggressive”. In a way, working on bikes came in real handy later in life, whether restoring an old car or taking care of a house. Lots of people I know are afraid to turn a wrench or drill a hole! What’s up with that? Go modify something! Bring an old bike part back to life, get resourceful and stop buying stuff. Little technical lessons from way back still help me today, all because of bikes.
I hope my daughters have the same awesome experiences in whatever they get involved in, and I consider myself lucky since I’ve had several hobbies and enjoyed success in each of them. But honestly, if my kids showed me a Bone Deth video, I’d have to say “No way in hell are you doing that”! It’s sort of a weird conflict being a parent and a rider. And now my oldest daughter is the same age I was when I got interested in bikes…so it’s hard not to compare my childhood with theirs, but that’s nothing new I guess!
So how long will I be doing this? Who knows? I ride with guys in their early 40’s who are still progressing and having fun. Maybe that’s a question better left unanswered….
And do I have any regrets? Nope. Well, aside from riding with my elbow wrapped in toilet paper when I should have had it stitched up…or hopping that gate in NYC resulting in an asphalt sandwich. But that’s in the past, and as for the future, I can tell you this for sure: 30 years from now, it will still be fun to 360 over a spine, table off a loading dock or link a hang 5 to halfpacker. I guarantee it. So all you young dudes potentially have decades of riding fun ahead of you, go get some!
BIG big thanks to Kathy and my girls, TL and all the Mauls, and you!
Photos taken by Chris Nesti, My Mom, Brian Tunney and Nic Ferreira