The Limited Edition Vans X The Birth of the BMX Freestyle Movement Package launches the Global Edition of the book. With almost 200 pages of new and updated content, we journey through the history of the UK Freestyle scene in a dedicated chapter that features input from British riders and industry figureheads. We also get into the van with the Factory Tour teams in a chapter that pulls the curtain back on the mid-80s summer tours titled “East of the 5” with insights from the teams, the announcers, and the brand owners who handed over the company credit cards and AAA maps before sending their crews into the depths of every town USA and beyond for the summer months.
To send this last edition up, the good folks at Vans allowed me to design some of their new dedicated Wafflecup BMX Shoes. Bob Haro and Bob Morales feature through archival images shot on the 1982 Haro Freestyle Tour by Dean Bradley.
In addition to the new edition of the book and the shoes, the package includes a dedicated 120-page brand history book titled “The Business End” with brand chapters dedicated to the industry that underpinned Freestyle through the 1098s.
The Full Package…
1 X copy of The Birth of the BMX Freestyle Movement Global Edition. 1 X copy of The Business End Brand / Industry History Book. 1 X custom “43” BMX T-shirt.
Name: Maurice Meyer Hometown: San Francisco, USA Started riding BMX in: 1975 or so? Number of bikes in the collection: 4 fully built, 1 complete unbuilt, a few frames, many Tuff Wheel sets, parts, etc.
You put together your first 'collector' bikes some 15 years ago. What made you decide to put these three bikes together? Maurice Meyer: I was seeing a lot of really cool stuff being done on VintageBMX.com so I went back to mom's house and dug in the old shed. Found my first Skyway TA frame and fork in really rough condition all rusty from laying on one side on this damp plywood floor. It was probably the best thing I could find though since it was my the bike I rode on my first tour and in my first contest and also had a rare fork since Skyway welded it up with no rake for freestyle. Robert Peterson got the same in white and I think that's it - two ever made and just this one left. At first I thought I'd just put some used parts on it and make it look as used but the people on VintageBMX started hooking me up with mint parts which meant I had to step up and get the frame repaired and chromed. Doing the really personal stuff like making the number plate and custom stickers got me some heavy flashbacks which was awesome.
Name: Arthur Kourtis Hometown: Melbourne Northcote, Australia Started riding in: 1979 Number of bikes in collection: I currently have 16 what I call boutique BMXs. All of which date from '77 to '84
What was the moment for you to start collecting BMX bikes? Arthur Kourtis: I started collecting bmxs from a very young age. I’d even say for a long time I kept most of my original bikes from when I was a kid and only got rid of them in the last 12 years as I wanted to buy bikes I couldn’t afford so I’d trade up. Growing up in the northern suburbs in Melbourne our BMX was our wheels. We went everywhere on our bikes. Being of European background as a kid our parents wouldn’t let us race. So we just lived on our bikes
Is older better in your book? Arthur Kourtis: Good question. I have full respect for all eras of BMX. As I was there for all of it.
Name: Cash Matthews Hometown: Shawnee, OK Started riding BMX in: 1972
Like many in the very early days who could not afford a motorcycle, the bicycle was turned into a motorbike look-a-like. What were some of the things you did to reach that goal? Cash Matthews: Like most, we made lots of cool 2-stroke motorcycle sounds with our mouths!! As our group of friends who rode progressed, we started riding “flat track” style in a circle. We emulated Kenny Roberts and my Uncle, Jerry Matthews who were all accomplished Flat Track Stars. I conned my uncle out of a number plate from his motorcycle so that was the first cool-mod of the Schwinn. As many Flat Track guys, we added cardboard, grip covers to save us from rocks and things that never really mattered but they looked cool. In those early days, just having a set of waffle grips was epic, so we began there,
Pre-internet Gen-X: Skating, freestyle BMX, and the explosion of goth, industrial, post-punk, and electronic music connect and divide a series of teens exploring sex, drugs, and violence amidst a racially polarized blue-collar bedroom suburb backdrop of Cleveland, Ohio, Dayglow Black is a series of all true tales from 1987–1991.
Name: Stu Thomsen Started riding in: 1972 (I Think) Teams represented: Three Majors: SE, Redline and Huffy. Some of the smaller and short term teams were: Dirt Master, Webco, DG, FMF, Motobecane (One Weekend), my bike shop (Stu Thomsen’s Family Bicycle Center), Southridge Cycles (on MTB and BMX). A short stent back on Redline and now representing SE again.
What was the first bike you used to ride Bicycle Motocross? Stu Thomsen: Schwinn Stingray
In 1973, what were people using at the first few races you entered? Stu Thomsen: Modified Stingray type bikes and a few custom garage builds by ingenious fathers.
You've seen the BMX bike development firsthand. What kind of full suspension bikes did you get to ride? Stu Thomsen: I had a custom made Monoshock bike I would race now and then at the Corona downhill