When I was a kid there were few things more important to me than my bike, and there were few things I'd rather be doing than riding my bike. Just up the road from me was an empty dirt lot known as "the Jumps". All the kids in the neighborhood went to the Jumps to jump our bikes. The local streets and driveways were where we attempted the tricks we saw on TV and in freestyling magazines.
This was when freestyling was just getting popular, before the modern era of X Games and multi-million dollar stunt riders. The names of pros were known only to the dedicated few who spent their allowances on freestyling and BMX magazines. I remember there was an older kid a few blocks over who was the hero of all the younger kids.
He just seemed cooler, ya know? And his bike was better than ours. He rode a Redline. Nobody else I knew had a Redline. Redlines were the ultimate bike in my mind. It was the brand legendary freestyler R.
L. Osborn rode. That cool older kid a few blocks over had a Redline and he was the best rider I knew. Now that I think about it, though, I have no recollection of having actually seeing him ride. I just remember him sitting there on his gleaming Redline, just being cool. That's what cool's all about.
Another bike company which was popular at the time was Haro. Haro had all the best riders like Ron Wilkerson and Dennis McCoy. Then there was Hutch. Know anyone who had a Hutch bike? Know anyone who still has one? It could be worth something because Hutch is no longer in business. Other popular brands when I was a kid were Mongoose, Diamondback, GT, Dyno, and CW.
The fact that I can still list these brands at my age is a testament to the impact this period had on my life. I'm talking about 80's, that halcyon decade when BMX and freestyle riding was just getting big but it wasn't the huge deal that it is today. These days you can see riders on television hawking everything from deodorant to mobile phone companies to video games.
Heck, a bunch of riders have video games named after them. Dave Mirra comes to mind when I think of such mega-popular ridres. Another superstar is Matt Hoffman. Hoffman has his own bike company. I remember when he was the young gun. Dennis McCoy, who I mentioned earlier, was another young up-and-comer who exploded on the scene, took over, and has since become one of the old guys.
Time flies, doesn't it? If you're interested in learning more about BMX and freestyle history, there are some excellent web sites which will jog your memory and take you back to the days when doing an "endo" was the coolest thing to do, when riding in circles in your neighbors driveway was a way to pass an afternoon. If you're in the market for a bike today, there's also plenty of info online for that. Most of the companies I mentioned are still in business and continue to lead the market and sponsor the top riders. All of them have web sites providing more information on their history and their current product lines.
Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Beach, Florida. Find more about this as well as cycling news at http://www.cyclinggearplus.com