The past few days got me to thinking about how much easier life was when I was 16. No bills to pay, to real responsibility. The biggest problem was where we were gonna ride and how we were gonna get there, scraping up enough money for gas and some food. Back then all that mattered was bikes.
Getting older we got to explore a little more and once I had graduated from school, there was a new found freedom to travel. I had a shitty part time job and a car, so off we would go. John Maul, and the Daugirda’s were the usual suspects in the front and back seats of my crap ass car. We would be gone for days, and sometimes weeks at a time. Crazy to think back at those days, since now I am literally being pulled in several directions at once, and have very little free time. Anyway, this isn’t about now, it’s about then…so I digress. Travelling afforded us to meet a lot of people. We made friends from a few different states.
One particular adventure we ended up in Reading, Pa. at Magic skatepark, one of my personal favorites. (RIP)
While there we ended up riding and hanging out with a few guys that were very similar to us. Their names were Steve, Mike and Jeremy, about the same ages, liked to travel, even were trying to start up a bike company. Back then the Daugirda’s and myself were trying to get one going ourselves, which at that age who isn’t? The weirdest thing was that ours was going to be called F.B.I., which if my memory serves correct stood for “fat boy inc”. Not really sure how we came up with the name but none the less we were gonna run with it. Turns out the group of guys we met were calling themselves FBM, which was really close to what we were trying to do. We ended up trading numbers and we keep in touch with them.
About six months later Joe decided he was gonna move out to Indiana with a few of the guys we met and live in a house with these dudes. The “The Fat House” was born. I’d talk to Joe once and awhile and it sounded like they were having a great time. They traveled a bunch and were always in the videos. FBM around the same time really took off, cementing them in BMX history.
Throughout the 90′s I kept in touch and even rode with the guys. We would all go to every contest and always would hang out when we were all together. Back then there wasn’t much going on for a BMX scene. If you rode in the 90′s you pretty much knew everyone. You went to all the contest and jams, even if they were far away. BMX was like a huge extended family, people who rode became life long friends. There wasn’t a few hundred kids per town with BMX bikes. There was like maybe three, and you eventually met guys from other towns and so on and so forth. Which takes me back to my second paragraph.
I’ve had the pleasure of getting friendly with the FBM guys through the years, we used to hang out quite a bit. Shared a few adventures even. I have always considered them all good friends, even if I’ve lost touch with some of them over the years.
The passing of Mike Tagliavento, got me to thinking about how short life is and how things can change in an instant. Making me glad for what I do have and have accomplished. As I stated I considered Mike a friend and was pretty blown away by the news on Friday. Even though I hadn’t spoke to him in years he was one of the original guys that we met back in Reading in the early 90′s. He had made his mark on BMX, with everything from his creative riding to filming. I’m proud to say that we were part of 1201 that he and Stew Johnson had made back then. Some guys even consider it to be one of the best BMX videos of all time.
Mike was great guy and was one of the first people I looked up to back then. Although we were around the same age, he was years ahead of myself and a lot of us in progression. Making him an instant legend.
My condolences go out to his family, friends and the rest of the original FBM crew. Rest easy my old friend!
So for you younger guys, take advantage of every day you can. Enjoy your youth and squeeze every drop out of it possible! Travel, experience new places and meet new people. I hope for your sake, BMX brings you life long friendships that it has brought to me.