Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How many of us used to be Sk8ers?

Not feeling too perky today; I have some weird headache, nausea thing going on...so I have been sitting around and started watching Dogtown and Z Boyz. It got me thinking about many cyclists I have ridden with that were skaters in their youth.  What's the connection? The freedom? The challenge? Culture?

I remember my first bike and my first board.  I put the first away for many years and got deep into skating.  I will NEVER forget buying that hot pink Tommy Guerrero board.

What followed was....

A ton of learning:

It was so damn hard to learn how to ollie but once I got that, it was on.  I had a burning desire to skate every chance I got. 8hr a day in the summer was the norm, and skating until sun down after school was a nightly thing.  If the weather in KC was bad we would try it anyway.  That worked until the grip tape got wet, then it was off to someone's basement.  We watched videos and copied what we saw.  As Henry Rollin's said in the Dogtown movie, those magazines were an escape to a place with good weather and amazing skating. Best thing about skating was that you were never done learning and trying to improve.

Some removal of skin:

If you skated, you crashed and got torn up some - it just happened.  We probably missed more tricks than we landed, but we didn't care.  We were willing to take risks to land the trick and impress our friends.

Being part of the community and a culture:

Kids that didn't skate, didn't get it and we were glad they didn't.  I can't recall how many times I was asked about my long bangs, skate shirts, notebook stickers and torn up shoes.  I heard, "Skate or die" yelled from every angle by every jock/prep I ever knew.  But, put 2 skaters to together and we could talk, skate and watch each others backs.

Geeked on the gear:

I can't really put into words the excitement I would get walking into a skate shop to buy a new deck or trucks.  I remember trying to save up and be the 1st one with a new H-Street Matt Hensley.  You bought the best coolest gear and then went and put it in harms way.

Any of this sound familiar as a cyclist?

Learning, I am still learning and get something out of having my ass handed to me by faster riders.

Losing some skin...done some of that on a bike too! Can't wait to heal enough to get back on the bike.

Community: Shaved legs, odd tan lines, talking wattage or gradient - I would say we are part of a unique community the non-cyclists don't get.  The same guy that didn't understand my Search for Animal Chin tee has no clue why my shirt  now says SHUT UP LEGS! Now the stickers that confuse are on my car instead of my Trapper Keeper. Tell a non-cycling co-worker you rode 70 miles and they will be mind-blown like the Jr. High Baseball stud was by seeing you land a kick flip.  Getting cross with motorists now instead of jocks, but still feel a bit better when others are out there with you.

Geeked on the Gear..YES!!! I get the same feeling when I buy a new frame that I used to get when I was spent saved up change for a deck at age 13.

They both use my legs, get me outside and change the way I look at the world.  Both have been true passions and sucked me into their cultures.  I was never the best skater, but I was pretty solid. Same with cycling - I will never be the fastest guy, but I can put in a dig and I will keep trying.

PS- I still hate posers!

Here is to staying young at heart and never outgrowing your desire to get better and be a bit different!