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In the past few months of coined a term to describe my riding: "Ugly Tech™". I've come to love technical riding on small obstacles, but - admittedly - my riding is not very pretty at all. However, over the course of the past few months, I have learned a number of tricks that I've never was able to do before.
A little background for those who haven't read The Old Guy's Guide…
When I got back into BMX in 2008 (before I quit, yet again, for three years), I rode flatland. For some reason, I had it in my head that I was always a flatland rider in the 80's and 90's. However, when I got back into BMX last year, I discovered that my past preference was indeed, street riding. Now, as I recall, I was riding street almost exclusively back in 1991. Over the course of the past 8 months, I've transitioned and set up my bikes as street rigs - goofing off with ledges, benches, flat rails, boulders, and whatever I can find that looks trick'able.
Since I'm not in the BMX "scene" of San Jose (as the guys here ride at strange days/hours and are mostly on the east side), I am forced to ride alone when I stay in town. Besides that, I'm twice the age of most of those guys; I also ride to all the spots as opposed to driving. At first, I thought this was a boring and backwards thing to do, but the more I do it, the more I discover, this is where I actually learn things.
Solo riding allows me to take the persistence and time of flatland (practicing a trick over and over and over again until you learn and land it) to street riding. When most guys want to session a spot and bail after an hour - it takes me an hour before I warm up and start thinking of new and different things. All the tricks shown above, I never did in the 90's - this is all new stuff to me. In fact, I was barely learning feeble grinds by time I quit in my teen years. In retrospect, our pegs did not slide well, so we didn't utilize them much back them. Now, pegs are my go-to for street riding. God Bless plastic sleeve pegs. Handlebar grind? Definitely something that was never around in the 90's.
This time, alone, allows me to stay at a spot and work on things with zero pressure from a group. Or, it allows me a time to creatively think of new things and attempt them within my riding capabilities. I think this is an important aspect of BMX riding for those trying to learn - and this practice was definitely adopted from flatland riding.
While I love riding with the homies often, I've found that I do need this time alone. It helps me build and learn and try new things - to get as creative as I can and step outside of the trend box and my comfort level.
In my quest to get my SS strength and fitness back, I decided to bring Da' Hoppa' back on the trails. It was retired for a bit there, I had slicks, flat pedals and racks and taking it on grocery store and post office runs, but I would like an off-road SS to help me get back to my SS fitness.
Nothing special was done, except the standard SS spacer kit and a 1/8" KMC chain. Tires were swapped for a Forté Dartmoor in back; a Kenda Slant Six in front. I've become used to the short stem on my Jekyll, so I've ordered a short (90mm) stem to replace the 120mm on there currently. With as wide handlebars I have now, I really ought to have the short stem to compensate.
This bike is basic, light'ish (for old steel at 24.5lbs) and fun. I told myself this bike was going to be retired to grocery-getter status, but it's an old rigid SS with BMX stickers - and how can that not be fun?
Note: The ride photos are with the current gravel grinder gearing of 38X18 (54.8 gear inches). The fire-roady stuff around here is nothing but hills and I had to gear it somewhat conservatively. It does spin out on the flats pretty quickly, though.