Much like everyone else in the bmx blogosphere I was lurkin’ around on propsbmx.tv this weekend, rediscovering some bmx classics. I saw Road Fools 1 and had to throw it in here for the big kids. I honestly can’t believe that the Road Fools series is still going after 12 years. BMX has come a long way in that time. I was lucky enough to tag along on the first Road Fools back in 1998, and I don’t think anyone on that trip would have believed it would continue for so long. It’s definitely good to see.
I thought I’d tell the tale of my personal 15-minute claim to Road Fool fame, the “real backflip” as my alter-ego “the daredevil” (at 25:45 in part 1). People still randomly call me Daredevil to this day, a nickname that I’ve learned to deal with, but not one I’ve ever loved. I realized that it was never explained in the video, nor was the “real backflip” part. So after 12 years, for anyone who even remotely cares, here’s the story behind that…
When we first arrived at the Props office in snowy Chicago to begin RF1, we were hanging out killing time while waiting for more fools to arrive. This was around the same time Props was experimenting with their new print magazine venture called Tread. Tread only lasted a few issues, but each one looked amazing. It just ended up losing money like most print magazines, so they pulled the plug on it. At the same time there was another new bmx magazine that popped up out of nowhere, and the first issue had just arrived at the Props office. I can’t remember the name now, but nobody had even heard of it and it was really lame. It made BMX Plus look hardcore, if you can believe that. So I was flipping through this magazine and laughing at the lameness when I came across an ad for a company called “Dare Devil Clothing”, another company I’d never heard of. I had been running Little Devil clothing for around 3 years then, so I thought it would be funny to give these guys a call. I dialed the number in the ad and it went to a voicemail recorded in french. I think I left a message and that was about it, I never heard from them again. At some point on the trip, after I pulled the first “real backflip” Marco asked me to yell Daredevil into the camera and the nickname stuck…to me. So I guess I’m the Daredevil, I can live with that. It’s no worse than being a Mad Dog.
That leads me to the “real backflip”. This term evolved from the phrase “real street”, which was a funny way to describe street riding at the time. Until then street riding could include launch ramps, grass flyouts, pallet set ups, and various manmade obstacles. “Real street” meant that all of that stuff was now strictly forbidden, and for the most part still remains forbidden to this day. I forget who coined the phrase, but we all thought it sounded completely ridiculous. Riding natural street obstacles was quickly gaining popularity back then, but to call it “real” seemed kooky to us. It implied that if there was any sort of manmade interference with the natural (manmade) environment, it was fake and it didn’t count. This was a time when the Wildman launching a ramp over a Porta-Potty onto the beach was called street, so I guess there had to be a line drawn somewhere (literally in the sand perhaps), but the phrase “real street” just wasn’t going to be the answer. So after that, everything on the trip became “real” to us as a joke. Real coffee, real bikes, real truckstop, real skatepark, real this, real that, real everything! You get the point. At some point I flipped a box jump without putting on a helmet and Jimmy Levan dubbed it a “real backflip”. It was a total joke and only lasted 3 seconds of the video, but I wonder how many helmetless backflips were done as a result of RF1’s popularity. Hopefully not too many, bad idea.
So there you go, 2 random stories about one B-rate character in one classic bmx video. Long live Road Fools!
Here’s part 2. Jimmy’s infamous church gap at 12:55.