Monday, December 6, 2010
I straight stole the image above, from Dave Hall's site. Thievery, I know, but we have enough old school locals lurking around here, that they should definitely recognize one or two players from the game above.
Lately, we've been seeing an influx of new folks in the crew. As life goes on, the core group is still around, but busier than they used to be, and their appearances on the rides are fewer and further between. They are not gone, in the way that Romeo, Vee, or even Big Tony have moved on. They are still in town, just caught up with ball games, diapers, teething, or in the case of Spanish Mackerel, butterfly watching.The new guys who have either just discovered riding at an obsessive level, or guys who have had that all along, but only just discovered the ego and image destroying, dysfunctional family, that is the BC crew, keep our group rides numbers up.
One of the new guys recently suggested that those of us who have been around around since the beginning should share the history of the crew. This is a great idea, but I have 20 years of crew stories. You guys are gonna have to get these in installments. Hopefully my brothers in arms, at Bikechain and Dirtysouth, will jump in from time to time, with their own stories. If I have to tell them all, they're getting bent to my liking!
Tonight, I tripped over the picture up above, and the memories came flooding back. The purple Joe's Bike Shop jersey worn by Kingsnake, our Revolutions Cyclery jerseys, worn by Double D, and the old Scwinn kit of Zack then Murfree, now Finn.I was there that day, and have a plaque hanging on the wall to prove it, though not from that elite class above.
One of the guys I surfed and skated with, Tom Hellman, unknowingly changed the course of my life one afternoon. I went to pick him up to go skate some ditch, or some other spot we'd heard about, and sitting in the corner of his living room was this crazy looking bike. It looked like a bmx bike on steroids. I couldn't help but be drawn to those huge knobby tires. "What the hell is this?" I asked. "It's a mountain bike.", he replies. "My brother is living in Japan, and he's been riding one all over the mountains. He said I should give it a try, so I bought one at Sears." That was it. Innocuous as it sounds, the damage was done. It wasn't 2 weeks before Ms Worm, my then girlfriend, and I had been to Sears and picked out 2 ultra cheap, but crazy expensive to us, mountain bikes. Grade F department store Huffys, but more than enough to set the hook so deep, that 2 broken collar bones in my first 6 months, were not enough to shake me of my new found, 2 wheeled habit.
The first real bike I bought was a Specialized Rockhopper Comp, purchased from the first serious bike rider/racer I had somewhat befriended, Dave Baton. Dave introduced me to Jason Snow, and later to Nathan King. Kingsnake was still a 16 year old junior back then. He drove this old van, and rode a red Dakar with the shifters and brake levers all drilled out, 70's style. First flat I got was on a campus ride with those 3 guys, and my buddy Tom. I tried to bunnyhop a curb, not at all understanding the physics of it, and promptly dinged a rim and pinched the tube. I was so new that having a spare tube had never even occurred to me. Kingsnake throws me his tube and pedals off to fly off some huge loading dock, while I fiddle with the foreign valve stem, that clearly had had all of the rubber stripped from the outside. Yep, first presta valve stem, too. Completely embarrassed, but too stubborn to give up, I just kept trying to figure it out. Nathan finally comes back, looks at me like I'm an idiot, takes the whole thing away from, fixes it for me, and then promptly drops the hammer so that I get spit out the back. Tough love from a kid still in high school! But when it came to bikes, he was far and away my senior. Bikes will do that. Age goes out the window in the respect hierarchy, and I liked that. Master Baton, Kingsnake, and Snowman taught me a lot, and not all of it in the nicest terms, but I absorbed all I could. Those were the guys I looked up to in this new world I'd discovered, and hell. I was the same age or older than most of 'em.
By the time that pic was snapped, I'd been riding and racing for about 6-7 years. I had been working in a bike shop, for 3-4. Kingsnake still awed me with his natural ability, and still does today, when I get to see him ride, but it's not the same as it was that first year. By then, I was in it deep. Everything revolved around bikes. That bike shop I was working in, was Revolutions Cyclery. Double D is wearing the old jersey in the center of that pic. Revolutions was where the crew started. That melting pot of 20 something year old guys sent us down a path that continues to this day. I have been to more weddings from that crowd than I can count. I was best man in 2. I have adopted nieces and nephews; the offspring of crew members. I have many, many friends that came of that shop, and somehow the numbers just keep growing.