Who’s radder? BMX racing vs. Roller Derby

26 06 2014

If you spend any time at all on BMX racing websites and forums, it’s inevitable that you will stumble upon a thread on “how to grow the sport.”

That’s because BMX racing participation rates, while steady, have dipped considerably since the glory days of the 80s and early 90s.

Sure, BMX racing got some media attention from its inclusion in the past two Olympics, but it’s effect at track level was hardly the magic bullet many thought it would be. Many tracks struggle to make a full gate in many classes and local races can often have only a handful of motos.

In comparision, Roller Derby has seen a growth spurt in both popularity and participation that BMX racing can only envy.

What does Roller Derby have that BMX doesn’t?

Let’s take a look.

Roller Derby is primarily local. In BMX racing, “Nationals are the new locals”. Marquee riders are hardly ever at local races beyond stopping in for some gate practice. In Roller Derby, bouts between local teams are common. Moving on to national or international competition is secondary. Leagues and teams are sprouting up everywhere…from small towns to major urban centres.

Roller Derby participants are characters. From their outrageous costumes to their crazy nicknames, these girls create a persona that people can latch onto. Remember when  BMX superstars like Stompin’ Stu and Pistol Pete Loncarevich used to have their nicknames and funny sayings sewn onto the back of their race pants?  They were characters with larger than life personalities…contrast that to a pro of today with earbuds in, riding rollers between motos. In Roller Derby, these girls are larger than life.

Roller Derby bouts are not just a competitions, they’re a show. Look into a crowd at a BMX race, even a big one like a National, and chances are the the audience is made up of parents, spouses and brothers and sisters of the participants…maybe the grandparents too. You would be hardpressed to get a person off the street to plan an outing out to a BMX race just to watch. Contrast that with Roller Derby.  People plan on a night out to check out a Roller Derby bout.  People get into the characters, the excitement of local teams battling it out, the whole spectacle of it all.  And most Roller Derby venues serve beer…that can’t hurt either.

Roller Derby is full contact in a way that BMX used to be. In Roller Derby posters you can often see lines like “the hits are real”. Roller Derby is full contact with people working their way through the crowd and sometimes winding up on the floor by a hit from a rival team. Likewise, back in the day it was more of a berm warfare kind of thing in BMX racing…elbows out and going for it. With the advent of more technical tracks and clipped in riders…many races end up being follow the leader type of exercises once riders exit the first turn with riders trying to avoid unclipping if they happen to end up going sideways  (granted there are exceptions to this, but I’m speaking generally here).

Roller Derby walks the line between outsider and accessible perfectly. For all its badass babe mentality, a roller derby bout is something you can bring kids to without worry. If anything, witnessing a roller derby bout could be an empowering experience for the little tikes.  Yet, 2o-year old hipsters also find it right up their alley too.

It’s interesting  that in the roller derby movie, Whip it, the protagonist blows off the SAT prep to pursue Roller Derby. It reminds you of how in the movie RAD, Cru Jones forgoes taking the SATs to participate in the big Helltrack race that came to his town.  But even in Rad, it’s all about the big race and Cru trying to fit in with the factory hot shots.  In Roller Derby, it’s less about the competition and more about expressing who you are. Without trying so hard to fit in, Roller Derby has created something that people can buy into…and that appears to have made all the difference.

 

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Rockin’ the eye of the tiger on an SE Quad

20 06 2014

Now this is the way to start your day!

Rocking Eye of the Tiger and taking on the mean streets of the city riding a cruiser, Rocky-style.

BOOJI brand shoes brings it all together in this video from a few years back.

Enjoy.





S&M introduces 24″ Trackmark race tire

19 06 2014

This isn’t something I expected from S&M.

While their 22 inch tires have been receiving some noticeable buzz, it was a bit of a surprise to learn that S&M now offers a 24″ race tire called the Trackmark.

Available in two sizes, 24 X 1.75 and 24 x 2.1, the Trackmark is smooth, low-profile tire that looks like it would be perfectly at home on today’s groomed, hard-packed tracks.

Built with a kevlar bead and a lightweight casing, it’s clear that S&M has done their homework on this one.

Can’t wait to check these out up close.

The specs:

24 x 1.75

Inflated Width: 1.92″
Inflated Diameter: 23.62″
Max Pressure: 110 PSI
Weight: 19 oz

24 x 2.1

Inflated Width: 2.19″
Inflated Diameter: 24.37″
Max Pressure: 110 PSI
Weight: 22 oz





SE’s collab with Puma and Peas & Carrots

18 06 2014

Is SE the king of collaboration bikes?

It’s starting to look that way.

Every time I turn my head, it seems that SE has found somebody cool to collaborate with on a special edition bike.

Here’s another one, in a long list of enviable collaborations.

SE recently got together with PUMA and Peas & Carrots to create a crazy version of the classic OM Flyer.

Word on the street is that there were only five of them made.

One of them in the possession of rapper Casey Veggies. Wonder if we’ll see it in a music video soon.

Check it.

SE Puma Peas Carrots Collab OM Flyer





The nerd herd: RL & Buff

12 06 2014

A staple in the legendary 80s BMX mag, BMX Action, RL Osborn and Mike Buff could always be counted on for getting rad and doing whatever it took for a great photo.

According to 23mag.com,

As the “Nerd herd”, R.L. & Buff were vital in setting BMX trends during the 80’s, from jumping styles in bike tests to the 4×4 vehicle craze, to clothing fashions and hairdos.

Whether that meant Buff hitting the quarterpipe on a Robinson 24 (“a serious race bike”)

robinsonprocruisertestOr RL, laying down some serious roost in this two-page shot for a 24 shootout, they brought the heat every month.

rlcruiserAnd, with their riding captured by the equally legendary photographer/editor Bob Osborn, these photographs really stand the test of time.

Not a bad way to spend this “throwback thursday”, thinking back to this era and the impact these dudes had on it.

 





BMXer races and announces the same moto

6 06 2014

What happens when you’re announcing the night’s local race, your moto is next to go and there’s no one to step in and take the mic?

Well, if you’re Gary Craig at Richmond BMX in Virginia, you announce the moto…while racing it!

And he doesn’t just hang back and take it easy either…he works his way from fifth to third by the finish line.

Frankly, his ability to give this kind of play by play while racing—with nary a grunt or curse word–is pretty amazing.

Check it out.

Check out BMXNews for more on Gary and his unique skill.





Sneak Peek: SE 24″ Quadangle Freestyle

5 06 2014

SE Bikes has been busy over the last day or so dropping teaser/sneak peek photos of some of their upcoming 2015 lineup.

One bike, in particular, is creating a lot of buzz…the new 24″ Quadangle Freestyle.

Sporting classic Oakley B-1B grips, front brakes, detangler, 80s-style white tires…this bike will pull at the heart strings of any old school BMX fan.

SE Freestyle Quad 24 handlebarKeeping the bike era-correct, SE dispenses with the standard Landing Gear forks and has opted for…wait for it… Standing Gear forks (with the built-in platforms).

SE Freestyle Quad 24 standing gear

And if you’re going to go to the trouble of putting on Standing Gear forks, you gotta go with the frame platforms too, right?

SE doesn’t disappoint.

SE Freestyle Quad 24 rear triangleBoom!

Here’s a close-up of the frame’s standing platforms.

SE Freestyle Quad 24 standing platform


You might recall that Rockabilly Jay whipped up a sweet custom SE Quadangle cruiser back in 2009.  That was impressive.

But this takes the whole retro revival thing to a new level.

Granted, it looks like a top-tube platform was not included…which is a bit of a misstep…bikes of the era (that this bike is supposed to emulate) almost always had top tube platforms.

Other than that though, the attention to detail…Oakley B-1B grips, Standing Gear…you name it….Todd Lyons and the SE crew get full points for going the extra mile on this one…this is one cool bike.