I grew up riding bikes, doing some crazy things as well. I remember the time age 11 or 12 (and indeed, I still have the scars) when I snapped the handle bars clean off my Raleigh Striker in a ‘who can get the biggest air of a caravan levelling ramp’ competition. At 15 or so, I was regularly racing mountain bikes and road bikes from time to time. Cycling ran through my veins, it was part of my life.
For a season or two I had the fortune to work for a pro mountain bike team, looking after Steve Peat, Rob Warner, and a bunch of others. This led (although it helped I was working for the BCF at the time) to working with the Olympic Mountain Bike Squad (including David Baker and Tim Gould) in the lead up to Atlanta.
There was something about the carnival of the professional mountain biking circuit I loved (although plenty I was less keen on). Hanging out, working with and travelling the world with some of the worlds best cyclists was a blast. There was a fun trip to Budapest, where I happened to ‘forget’ to tell my crew I turned 21 on the final day of racing, knowing what they were planning for the evening. (But that might just have to be another blog post, as I have not even got to the Albion yet!).
I did my research online, but then took it up a level. I called the Boarding House and reserved a board and helmet. We had to pop back and swap the helmet, (due to colour and size!) and when we were there, Mary picked up a copy of the Albion.
So, as you do, I tried reading it. First pass – well, I looked at the pictures. Second pass I skimmed a few articles and was a little put off. I found it barely comprehensible “Access Barpin to Dog Kennel Manual” etc.. I had no idea. Then there were the road trip-esk stories of dodgy bars, girls, drunken journeys and injuries – it reminded me (maybe too much) of life on road as I had observed it. So I reverted to looking at the pictures.
And, to my surprise, once I got through the issues that put me off first time round, I started to enjoy it.
There are some really interesting articles – one titled “Quitters” was an interview with James Brooks, former VANS uk rider, which in part, tells a tale of how Brooks realises that while he still rode his BMX, he had essentially quit four years before. It reminded me that for a while I was like this: week in/week out, I went to church, then one day, I realised I had quit, possible years before. Brooks didn’t really manage to quit properly, until he found other things to do (like get married). In the article, he reflects how it got to the point when he just had to let go. Let go of ‘owning’ a dirt track. Let go of thinking he had to be the main one. And the delightful answer to the question “what about now you are not there?” is “I have no idea.”
hmmm. Interesting. People still do things, even if I am not there.
So, I guess what I am saying in this Friday night ramble is this: get yourself to a real skate / BMX shop, buy something, and see if you can pick up a copy of the Albion. And then read it, enjoy it, be shocked, confused, but whatever you do, make an effort, and then reflect on the experience.
I will continue to do the same, and I might even blog some more about it.
grace and peace