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Flatland Competition Run – Anarchy In Anderson Competition

Went to Indiana with my friends Tim, Austin and Zunwu to compete in the AMFlat  Anarchy in Anderson competition. It was a pretty good day. Rain ruined the end but it was beautiful otherwise.

My run went ok, but compared to my favorite riders who go a lot faster, I look a bit lethargic.  I need to work on that. Still I placed 2nd in Vet Class.

August 4, 2012 at 1:49 pm | bikes, flatland, freestyle, friends | No comment

Summer 2012 Flatland Riding in New Orleans

I went to a BMX flatland competition called Voodoo Jam. My friend Tim and I drove down to New Orleans on a work trip for him. I tagged along to see the sights and ride in the competition.

We bother entered. I got 2nd place in Vet class. Vet class is for riders who have been in the scene a long time, over 30 but may or may not have polished or modern skills for the expert class.

From the trip, I made a video of my riding, thanks to Tim for shooting with my camera.

June 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm | bikes, flatland, freestyle | No comment

Beautiful flatland riding from Taiko Kaneta in Tokyo

Great form here.  As I watched it I thought that any kid wanting to get into flatland these days has a pretty big workload ahead of him. Even so, this sport must continue. You can see by these types of moves just how fun and mesmerizing flatland can be. These kinds of edits can just keep coming. I’m NOT getting tired of them one bit. The second music clip is very dope. Wish there were more of it.

September 27, 2011 at 8:56 am | bikes, flatland, freestyle | No comment

Red Bull Battle at the Bricks Indianapolis Flatland Comp

What a weekend. I missed a beautiful family wedding, which I regret but had an insanely good time out of town. My good friend Sherrid and I drove to Indy, stayed at my friend Tim’s place in Lafayette, and then attended the Red Bull Flatland Jam and contest the following 2 days. I’d wanted to visit Tim forever and this was the perfect excuse. He’s got the most comfortable sofa in Indiana. As payment, I pumped up the flat tires of his road bike so he could commute the 3 blocks to his job.

Since I did pretty well in Joplin last month in the intermediate flatland class, I decided to move up to expert. There’s a lot of talent in that pool, certainly guys worlds better than me, but I have a few stable tricks I can pull off.  I thought I could manage.  I got 19th of 22.  Could have been better. Nervousness kind of got me. And this is the 2nd time the DJ had technical difficulties and my run was silent. But I think what really gets me is I go too slow. In flatland its a personal preference, but at a contest your speed matters. In some cases the speed will help your stability, as well as it looks good to the crowd and probably the judges.

A friend Joe Cicman shot my run.

A few videos and photos came out of the weekend. I know all the riders agree with me that for flatland, there is no better location and surface than the one we had in Indy. It was inside the racetrack of the Indianapolis speedway on the weekend of the 500. The surface for both the comp and just for practicing was massive, clean and flat. Everyone who wanted to ride around had enough space to spread out. We had free Red Bull the whole time.

Since I lost my memory card from the last contest I made it my mission to get another picture with pro flatlander Terry Adams. Look for his qualifying run below on video. See what you can accomplish when the DJ has your back!

Couple photos from my trip.

If you want to see a couple winners from the expert class, peep Joe Cicman and Mitch Hall below. And lastly, I made it into the Ride BMX magazine website, which was the perfect endcap to an amazing weekend.

I learned quite a few things this trip. It’s a good thing to not try to have expectations for things. Instead just let the situation pull you into the moment to enjoy.  As much as I wanted to score better, that really didn’t matter. And I can see how hard a job it would be to judge this sport, because riding style, the person all create a sort of impression that you must subjectively and objectively rank. I think I maybe did better than a couple people above me, but I’m sure others would have the same feeling about themselves vs my run.  I see it as an opportunity to share what I do, grow, learn and express myself.  The universe really doesn’t care about bicycles, so it’s up to you to create the enjoyment riding ground and find your own reasons why riding is important.

I’m really appreciative of how the weekend went down. It will always be a great memory for me, meeting some new friends, and more conversations with guys I wanted to know better. It’s special being around great and talented people who share your passions, and of course riding 2 days just like I was 16 again.  So happy my friend went with me to share that time, that was a huge thing for me. I’m also lucky we were able to stay with Tim and getting put up at Jake Jackson’s apartment at the last minute.

May 31, 2011 at 4:58 am | bikes, freestyle | 1 comment

e-clips 2000 Flatland that withstands time

It seems that the brakeless decade work that is done in this two-part video will be  untouched for a while. And it’s eleven years old. Some people are professionals at what they do, a few people are gurus and then the very rare passionate fearless become legends.


May 21, 2011 at 4:43 am | bikes, freestyle | No comment

Stop watching stupid crap

Another reason why the collective in society aren’t to be trusted, believed or followed without extreme caution.

This video below has less than a thousand views. That’s on the high end for the content it contains as compared to similar. It represents a vast array of human skills applied to bicycle stunt riding in the discipline of flatland. It takes place in a contest format  in Japan where riders meet up, share their skills and technique maybe win a little money. A little showing off, creative expression. As awesome and difficult as flatland is, it’s quite unknown and barely seen. But it takes a lot of energy and persistence to learn and requires a level of commitment most people just don’t have. In short, these people are more skilled and talented and peristent than 99.999% of the rest of the world.

And then we have THIS video below, featured on the front page of youtube giving it has 1.5 MILLION views. What can I say about this video other than it’s absolute crap. You can tell that in about 7 seconds or less.

Here’s where I was encouraged to write about this.  I ran some numbers. If everyone of those viewers of the second video watched it all the way through, that’s 7.5 million minutes spent or 125000 hours, OR 5,208 days, OR if you like, spread out it’s 14 years wasted on that talentless clown in the second youtube video.

It’s really hard to try to make a point about this without getting into the useless argument that one form of entertainment or expression is better than another. So I’m going to just be the alpha male and pounce on this. The bike video is better than the Ray William Johnson video in absolutely every way without question. There’s nothing good about the 2nd video at all. Nothing funny or worth remembering. I’m not enjoying it during the experience and after it’s a big pile of regret. After analysis and discovering the 14 wasted years thing, it’s another nice kick in the balls too.

To compare it to something else, let’s say you need a house built. 20 guys working 8 hour days for three months can handle that easily. At that count you’re looking at 14400 man hours, all together 600 twenty-four hour days.  That’s less than 2 years stretched out.

It doesn’t matter what I say people should do, but the question remains, why does crap get so much attention when we all claim to care about quality? I realize it’s just 2 videos but it’s enough to offer a warning to all of us. We should be seeking out things even in our mindless entertainment that will create an impression that bursts open our imagination. Demand the good stuff and we won’t be as vulnerable to the pull of all the crap begging for our attention. And those people making crap will be less encouraged to do so.

With that out of the way, I’d like to happily report (as a BMX flatland fanatic) that the following 2 videos have 9 million and 1.5 million views. Bravo people. I think the music helped both of these videos a lot though. Without the music, the views would be dramatically different.  That speaks to where content creators can be putting a lot of emphasis on.

May 8, 2011 at 2:16 am | bikes, freestyle, media, music, rants | No comment

He’s almost 40 and rides a kid’s bike

At fifteen, when I starting riding bikes seriously, learning tricks and enjoying those times with my friends, we’d watch a lot of bike videos together before and after we’d go riding. On a typical bright Saturday morning after a sleepover, we’d wake up and have some cereal. We’d go to the sofa and shove a VHS tape into the player. Some of the pro riders on the videos would eventually become heroes for me.

Someone performs a stunt on camera, the video is edited into a montage with music. You sit and stare at this imagery and it gives you satisfaction, often making you want to perform the trick yourself.

A bike trick is a very interesting human construct. Let me try to convey this as best I can, and maybe you have your own interpretation as to why it has evolved this way. You take the normal state of riding a bike. But then you alter it. You create a position or maneuver in which you are doing something unique with the bike. For example, you stand on the front peg with one foot and twirl the back end of the bike around. Now you are still in the same position behind the handlebars, but the rest of the bike is in front of you. You coast behind the bike and use your free foot to assist with balance on this one wheel. From this position, you either continue with another transitional stunt, or do the reverse and bring the bike back to a normal state. You “pull” the trick when you know that you have performed the maneuver and returned to normal riding without touching on the ground.

To simplify it into steps:

1. Riding normally (relaxed state)
2. Create difficult situation for yourself where you are likely to fall down.
3. Return to normal riding without breaking your balance

I’d say there are two reasons why we call a bike stunt a ‘trick’. One is again how unique it looks to the viewer. The more strange the position, or the more perceived complexity, the more magical it is. This includes aerial stunts. When someone flies twelve feet over spinning the handlebars in mid-air, people describe a sense of awe. They imagine what it would be like to fly that high and maybe the adrenaline rush and risk of landing safely The second reason we say they are tricks is more with sensations the rider experiences.? There are many sensations during a trick ranging from fear and urgency to relaxation and there is a process where you learn to fit yourself in that perfect position where minimal force is required to maintain balance. ? Maybe it’s the sensation of a perfect spinning motion where your mind and body are so dialed into the move that your focus turns inward. Over the course of learning the maneuver people have described creating a muscle memory, where performing it becomes easier and consistency can be achieved and easily returned to even between long periods without practice.

When you walk around the block, you don’t think to yourself that it is an amazing act of balance and performance of the nervous system. But there was a time when you were learning to walk that you might have had to cross a distance of five or ten feet to reach your mothers arms as you were encouraged by her to go a little bit further. ? The excitement has faded with walking for most people just as the trickiness of a bike stunt wears off once it can be achieved too easily. To the rider it ceases to be a trick although a new viewer might be impressed by it.

This raises several questions with me. What force would encourage a person to perform a non standard riding maneuver just to see if they could pull out of it successfully?? Why would we create a self-induced difficulty through non-standard use of a bicycle? We almost take this for granted, but it’s actually quite strange. Try to pretend being an alien observing this type of behavior in humans. Can you come up with a theory??? I draw from Joseph Campbell’s writing on cross cultural heroes in mythology and try to imagine how this behavior might be part of us innately.

Tonight I was reading an interview with one of my heroes from the bike videos I watched over and over. Hero might be the wrong word, as I don’t really want to be like him in any way, but there are certain aspects of his riding that I would like to experience for myself.? Wait though. Maybe he truly is a hero then. If I would like to experience some of the things he’s done, if he’s become part of my memory, if he is a subject of the stories I tell, then doesn’t that make him a hero?

Chase Gouin is his name. Read what Chase Gouin says about flatland freestyle that goes a little deeper than you might expect from a 35 year old who rides a kids bike.

About why I got into bikes and stayed with it for so long? Camradarie is one thing. But I enjoy riding alone too. My reasons have changed over time too. There has always been the narcissism that goes with completing a stunt successfully. But now I think of the enormous range of emotion and tactile experience in biking. I suppose I could describe it, but if you’ve skied down a mountain or swam in a lake, then you can fill that in yourself.

July 22, 2007 at 4:37 am | bikes, freestyle, philosophy | No comment

images from the past

When I was a junior back in Missouri State University, I spent a lot of time in the basketball courts between classes. On warm days you’d find me out there a couple times of week on my bike riding flatland. It was a great surface to ride on. A couple tricks I have only landed once in my life and that was the place it happened. One day in early spring, a photographer was there shooting around the area. He happened to come by my favorite spot while I was riding flatland and snapped a few pics from afar. I remember the nice photographer waving to me.

The next morning I woke up to find a surprising email. A fraternity brother sent out a group email congratulating me for getting my picture in the Springfield News-Leader. It was a pretty cool shot. I didn’t want to buy a paper, but I was able to grab some tossed copies in the lobby of the dorm. Pretty nice shot I thought.

Tonight I was googling my name. I always like to see what pops up. Crazy I know, but I don’t feel guilty about it or anything, it’s just curiosity. The News-Leader used the old photo again for a story just a few days ago. I’m glad I found stumbled across it. I’ll see if I can actualy get a print this time. Flatland freestyle frozen in time.

May 28, 2006 at 4:01 am | bikes, freestyle, nostalgia, photography | No comment

extreme sportscasting

I don’t know how stuff like this slips by me. It was on ESPN and some other news. A skateboarder named Danny Way made a jump over the Great Wall of China on July 9. After searching for a minute, the video of the event was easy to find. Danny’s website shows all five jumps, and fortunately each one of them is from a slightly different camera angle so you get enough to really see the sheer mass of this ramp.

I know this event was covered by ESPN but I wonder if it was shown live. I’m thinking probably not because, well frankly it’s not in America and it’s not football or sports talk, so it probably didn’t even make it on the 4am segment. This leads me to what I hate about American TV and sports in general (major commercial sports). All the cool stuff is ignored and replaced by uselessness banter. You get ten seconds of the actual play and then 15 minutes of people’s bullshit about it. They talk about it beforehand, then they don’t shut up during the event. Then afterwards all of the people wearing ties with their shirtsleeves rolled up want to talk to each other some more about it. In the million of interviews I’ve seen with athletes after a game for “press conferences” I have never seen anything valuable said. Things like “We had a goal and we worked hard out there.” Wow, that’s realistic. Why not show me the coach busting somebody’s balls in the locker room for totally blowing that play.

Dear ESPN (CC all local news channels), I’m really tired of two things. 1. You are not the goddamn radio. You are TV. How dumb must your viewers be to you that you must talk us through everything. If I took my wife and a friend to a game and the entire time my friend sat there and talked in my ear, telling me what I was seeing, guess who is losing a testicle that day? Answer me this question ESPN. If you go out and buy a DVD and put it in your player to watch a movie, is the commentary on or off by default? And why is that do you think?

2. The only thing worse than men sportscasting is women. In fact, the more knowledgeable the women is at her banter the more stupid she sounds. Because no matter what degree she has, no matter how clear, cute or funny her voice is, she has absolutely no relation to the five black guys on the court. To talk about their feelings, their political moves within the organization, their strategy, wouldn’t it help if this 5’2″ woman was actually one of them?

And before you start getting pissed off, this is not about rights, equality or anything that degrades another person. This is about the consistency of a moment. Sports is a moment in time for people. People in this country schedule their lives around it. People beat their kids for it. People alter their brain chemistry and damage their livers for it. I’d say that’s an important moment for people. The moment requires preparation. You must set up the environment, get appropriate supplies. In fact, to enjoy these moment, billions are spent each year. Stadiums, AM radios, flags, TVs, jerseys, the money is sucked away.

So when you have a moment like this, it’s like you are at a movie theater. The environment darkens around you the screen lights up, you are pulled into this world. You are part of the moment of the event. Then what happens? A baby starts crying, burning popcorn sets off the smoke alarm, telemarketers ring your phone, anything that can take you out of the moment will occur.

This is what a women sportscaster does, she takes you out of the moment. Most television sports are mens sports. Disagree? Football, baseball, soccer, hockey, Nascar, golf. Should I go on? One fine day somebody put a women in the box with the microphone thinking she’d do a fine job talking, narrating, giving her opinion, bantering. I don’t care that she played in college. I don’t care if she has some cute story about going to games with her dad.

The need for a commentator to help us watch the action is difficult to swallow anyway, but I’ll forgive this because frankly TV is a small viewing medium for the expanse of a sporting event. I’ll forgive the man who must tell me about the necessary details of this game. But I want this man to sound like the game, to seamlessly fit in the moment. He should be a former player, a coach, former coach, players father. Someone who has something to do with it. Basically it shouldn’t be this guy.

Just like I wouldn’t expect to turn on NASCAR and expect the commentator to be black. (unfortunately, but true) I also wouldn’t expect him to speak with a Russian, British or German accent either. They aren’t part of the sport, nor of the moment. I don’t watch a training video and expect a five year old to describe the process of lithographic printing to me. It doesn’t fit the character. My expectations require certain things to maintain the moment, so why are ESPN and other broadcasters inserting things that break the moment? I don’t even love sports like other people but I think this is still just plain stupid.

Now on the other hand, if I’m watching Women’s sports. Swimming, diving, basketball or anything else, the broadcaster better be a woman. If not, they are breaking the fourth wall. It’s 2:40, time for bed.

July 20, 2005 at 12:32 am | freestyle, rants | No comment