Nobody really likes public transport. We would all rather drive ourselves to our destination. Door to door with our own timetable and agenda. Unfortunately there is a flip side to this. I am not talking about congested roads or the coming apocalypse of global warming. No. Simply that nobody likes public transport and public transport doesn’t like us…. If you don’t believe me go down to the railway station and ask for a ticket to say London. You may at first think that the guy at the counter is trying to guess your mobile phone number but no, that really is the price he expects you to pay! Now turn to him and tell him you want to take a bicycle with you. He may openly laugh in your face so brace yourself and don’t say I didn’t warn you.
You may remember that 2 years ago in issue 58 I wrote about the new Euro Bottom brackets that were starting to pop up on some frames. I also predicted that there would be some other new standards to look forward to. Well now they seem to be starting to come through so I thought now would be a good time to try to review the whole lot… Hold on to your hats, it’s going to be dull…
Someone requested that I do a tech column on head angles and steering geometry. I wasn’t sure at first if this was a worthwhile subject, after all, there isn’t that much variation available is there? Most frames have a head angle of 74 and a half! Degrees and most forks have one and a quarter inch legs with dropouts that stick out just enough to get a peg on.
Granted the odd frame has a 74 or 75 degree head angle and there are so called “flatland” forks that have less rake but by and large they are all the same… or are they?!? Dun-dun-durrr (dramatic/sinister drum roll).
Once again I find myself sitting in front of the computer wondering how to start my tech column. Every few seconds I turn my head to look out the window for inspiration… or is it distraction.
How the hell do you write a thousand words in such a way that people want to read them? How do you compete with the other hundred odd pages of pure quality journalism in this magazine? How do you write on the subject of a small thin tube and not loose the readers interest after just one paragraph?
The progress of civilisation is based upon one thing above all others, Albert Einstein put it very well when he said that “If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants.”
In other words one persons progression is based upon the work done by the people who went before, and many of today’s pros can thank the old school-ers for paving the way. I remember watching my first BMX video, it was Agroman and just by watching it we improved. I can remember watching Matt Hoffman double pegging one of his first rails then re-winding it and watching it again and again in slow-motion to help me do my first rail. Cutting out the bullshit, we all know that you can learn from other people’s riding in videos, photos and magazines. And what’s more you can learn from watching your own riding back to see where you went wrong. In short we all like to take pictures and video for a whole range of very good reasons as well as just pure vanity.
A few months ago I did a tech column moaning about how the parts for your bike often don’t fit together very well, hopefully some people found it interesting but I later realised that it wasn’t a fat lot of use to most riders. So this month, rather than rattle on about some deep technical issue, I thought it would be more helpful to describe some of the less well known “tricks” that can make your life a hell of a lot easier when it comes to mending your bike.
This month I want to discuss something a little different. BMX has been around for about 30 years now and so have I. In that time riders have come and gone as you would expect but there are a surprising number who came and never went.
Jamie Bestwick, Matt Hoffman, Dennis McCoy, Rob Ridge, Kevin Jones, and many many more top riders are now in their thirties and still riding, even guys you might think of as well out of it like Eddie Fiola, are still at it to a certain degree.
When you try to talk to the council about a skatepark in your town they always think of BMX (and skateboarding) as “kids” sports, you can try to tell them otherwise, but you can just see in their eyes that they don’t believe you. They may believe that there are a few eccentric older guys who still ride but they will never truly “get it”.
The last tech column had a stupid name. It’s not the name that I gave it so please don’t blame me. It was entitled “Truth” originally but for some reason it got changed to “Build Your Own Wheels”, which, although a good idea, was very little to do with the article which was just about truing wheels. This month the column is called “Lard inspired quest for reliability and tranquillity”. If it has been changed then you know it’s not because of me. I don’t think Mark ever proof-reads these articles, I think he just does a “search and replace” on fuck piss shit twat etc so this paragraph should escape editing and you will all know the real title…
With Tex taking a very ‘tech’ approach this month I thought I would go back to some basic stuff and do a good old fashioned tutorial. I always said I wouldn’t do this. I always said that it wasn’t really possible. What I meant was that I didn’t think I could face it. Truing wheels is an essential skill for anyone wanting to look after their own bike, yet there is no easy way to learn. Most people learn from their mates and from trial and error, but I am feeling cocky so fug-it lets have a pop at writing it down.