When I was 15, BMX was my life. More so than I could ever describe. Fortunately I grew up around Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which was, arguably, the BMX capitol of the country. It was the early 90’s (pre X-games) and dirt jumping was breaking away from racing and merging with ‘freestyle’. Suddenly everyone was riding everything; trails, street, skateparks. The best riders could do it all. I was best at trails. Posh trails and the locals (what’s up Mach-6, Markie, Sal, Lonergan, Keith, Joe, Griffin) being harsh, but good teachers for a young kid like myself. I was still traveling to BMX races, but soon it was more to ride the local trails then to race some boring NBL track. My style of riding was progressing as I was riding more and more.
In Pennsylvania there is a long, cold winter with no trail riding so we would ride street. This includes 180ing down staircases, grinding ledges and jumping gaps. The bike companies (we’d only support rider owned ones like S&M bikes) were just catching up with making components (called parts) and bikes that could hold up to the abuse we’d put them through. We were often left to improvise. My favorite being a yellow mag I found in Tucker’s backyard. I threw that ugly thing on my bike and felt so ‘street’. Riding street that winter would end up improving my trail riding. I was transitioning from a racing-style to a more all around rider with plenty of trail rider flow.
Our own local trails got plowed the next summer cause some whiny fun-hater called the police on us for loitering (can you call it loitering when you are either digging or riding?). It was a sad day and my mag wheel, after almost a year of use, was ready to be put down. I buried it where the trails used to be. It did not take long for surburban sprawl to take over and now there is a new neighborhood on top of my wheel.
Anyway, I put a mag on my track bike and I am stoked. Am hoping that this story will stop my friends from referring to it as a hipster wheel.