Steve Crandall

Coffee sipping pilot of a red FBM frame and a Nikon camera.

Posts from Steve:

The Flying V!

RIP to the Flying V!

Here are some photos celebrating the life of Evan Venditti- check out the full set here with Jake Cunningham.

To see photos from Evan’s life- click here!

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Western Rhode Island

An afternoon at Vic’s house with Chris Hallman, Cody Diggs, Sam Townsley, Matt Plassman, Cam Childs, John Cappsie, Marky Mark, Matt Coplon and friends.

Check out Circuit BMX for more…

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To Learn More Check out RADshare here or on Instagram

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A weekend in Virginia as seen by Murphy Lee Moschetta during the Rumble in Richmond with RADshare!

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Juice Bowl Invitational

The DIY World Championship Series was created with the simple idea of building your own fun – and sharing it. Through loosely organized jams, we are putting a spotlight on dedicated riders, their spots and the scenes that celebrate the do it yourself ethos. Bringing riders together to shred unique handmade terrain built by and for fellow creators and helping support these efforts with good times is how we hope to inspire more fun.
We reintroduced this series at the Juice Bowl in Richmond Va. as an invitational by bringing some East Coast heavies to a giant wooden bowl, tucked away from the world, for a low key session with good vibes. Thanks to Channing Miller, Chris Burke and the crew for sharing this masterpiece.

Check out more from Drop In Coffee here, and scope daily updates here!

Photos By CAPPSIE!

Get stoked. Stay stoked!

When the fine folks that own the Juice Bowl aren’t ripping, they are making some amazing avocado toast at the North End Juice Co. They also support the LaRama Project, a grassroots effort to save the trees. Go follow them on Instagram and learn more about how you can help!

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Faces of Stoke!

Portraits of weekend stoke with Drop In at the Juice Bowl!

Check out more goodness at the Larama Project!

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I locked my keys in the car in the Florida keys…

I drove about a thousand miles down the east coast and ended up at a tourist campground in the Florida keys, at a marina, frazzled, late in the evening, By myself eating pistachios at a picnic table and washing them down with soup out of a can. The soup was the same temperature as the inside of the van.

I had driven this far, so I could get on my bike and pedal the rest of the way. This wasn’t a typical bike ride for me. Meeting my friend Matt to pedal from Key Largo to the end of Rt.1 in Key West to raise money for charity – a nice cruise for a good cause.

Come to find out, my Mother went into labor with me at a bar in Key Largo, so that’s where I would leave from, where it all started. My uncle had owned it, adjacent to another marina, and my father would fix small boats for extra money. Now I just had to find it, many years later.

I was walking around what appeared to be gravel parking lot at an inlet – storm torn parts of the coastline, A woman asked me what I was doing, I said I wanted to see the ocean, and asked if there was a bar nearby, she pointed to a dilapidated building not far off and said -’THIS IS PRIVATE’ , and that I couldn’t look out to the sea here. So there I was, looking around for the bar at Rock Harbor Marina where my Mom went into labor with me, it had been destroyed by one of the recent hurricanes and now it sat quietly amidst the more favorable areas being rebuilt. Seems as though someone bought and fenced off the coastline on both sides since I was last here.

Then I locked my keys in the car in the Florida Keys…

Not soon after we would start pedaling, mile 100 until it ended. Key Largo was busy, but had dedicated bicycle paths most of the time, where you would see Iguanas scurry into the foliage- we would see lots of animals- heron, bald eagles, cuban anoles, egrets, osprey, polydactyl cats, roosters, northern curly tailed lizards and even a guy who called himself – ‘˜Doug the Legend!’ – he then told us – ‘if you wanna be a legend, you gotta do legendary shit…’

Matt was pedaling the full distance, standing up on a BMX bike, my bike would serve as the mule, with a rack and luggage, until both my bags broke, AND the rack. The bumpy asphalt and the lack of preparation proved to be a bad combination. When my bag hit the ground and made a klunk sound, I first worried I would have a broken camera, until I remembered I was carrying my fathers ashes in a coffee mug. Luckily it was just the sound of a multi tool hitting the ground. Repairs and improvisation were on deck, and I would be slowly navigating the not so groomed surfaces from here on out.

Even with being ‘˜out of practice’, ill prepared and generally clueless, every pedal brought smiles out of us, and most people we passed when greeted with a wave and the ring of a bicycle bell. Although mostly mellow, and easy going, riding during the peak heat and humidity of southern Florida was not something I had really paid much attention to until I was in the thick of it. The sunblock i had applied had run into my eyes, and dripped in a greasy sweaty mess onto my eyeglasses, only to be worsened by my routine of trying to wipe them off with my shirt, which was also soaked. Moments like these or flat tires, or panniers breaking, could be kind of frustrating. Thankfully it would be tempered by the beautiful surroundings and the fenced off beaches, where you could hear vacationers jet skiing in the distance.

Pedaling south with sun burnt lips and knee caps, the best parts of the ride were through bike lane corridors in the mangroves, passing kapok trees, gumbo limbo, cabbage palms, royal poinciana, cuban royal palm, banana trees and even a burning yacht. In breaks on the greenery, I would look to either side and see shadows of clouds over clear water, with the Gulf Of Mexico on the right, white capped turquoise- The Atlantic Ocean to my left, with the rippled reflection of the sun, my father’s light.

Before it was said and done, we had crossed over 40 bridges between the start and where the road would end. Some of the bridges were mellow, or had bike lanes and plenty of shoulder. Some of the bridges were long, with sweeping arches over the waterways, with little room between fast moving trucks, and the three foot jersey barrier, the only thing between you and a fifty foot drop into the ocean. Some didn’t allow automobile traffic, just people fishing, those were my favorite bridges to cross.

By the time I got to Key West, at the end of line, I found a decommissioned Coast Guard cutter called the Ingham, the last active warship in the US fleet with a U-Boat kill, it’s now a museum.
My Father, a Navy veteran, retired from the service as a Chief Petty Officer from the USCG, it seemed like the right time and place to spread some of my Dad’s ashes. Journeys end at sunset. Serendipity and catharsis, it was emotional.

Over hundred miles pedaled, go as far as you can, take a look around, turn about face and keep going…

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Hull Street Blues…

I live in a rough part of town, in an old school bus, in-between two shipping containers. I had previously lived across the alley from an abandoned slave cemetery, and recently moved about a mile away. Before this, I had lived in a more traditional dwelling, when I had a successful career, living paycheck to paycheck, that all changed when I started going broke, but I was lucky enough to be able to convert our old tour bus into a tiny home, and find a sound place to park it.

The alleyways throughout the neighborhood are like tiny veins, in a lively area, connecting the streets to the avenues, people to their vices, and leave footprints and finger prints of all the above. The part of town where you can scan the ground to see the DNA of depravity and despair, or maybe just litter. Old car tires, kitchen sinks, hair weaves…

The drains are filled with rain debris which clog and flood the intersections, and the side streets are too, gravel wash from the alley ways connecting the dots between busted curbs and pot hole rubble. The walkways around and between the neighborhood haunts are littered with empty beer cans, empty cigarette packs, discarded butts and scratch off lottery tickets. Hope…

My neighbors are hookers and roofers, junkies, would be gangsters, ex-cons, a prison queen, drug dealers, a generous enterprising couple, and Charles, who lives across the alley, who randomly fires off guns into the air, wears a pistol on his waist and refuses to hurry when crossing the street to the Jack Rabbit to get a beer.

People sleep on bus stop benches or use them as home base in-between sex transactions. The Johns pick up tricks who are on their way back from the mini mart, or on their way to get their medicine, sometimes they park right behind my car, or sometimes they drive off to a darker alleyway. People shuffle past, walking down the middle of the street, either real slow or way too hurried. Rarely in-between.

Summer was hot. From Juneteenth until independence day during months of social unrest, fireworks went off every single night like some kind of psychological operation experiment. The locals seem largely unaware that riots and protests occupy the city on the other side of the river, dumpsters and police cars on fires, as the cops spray civilians with tear gas and rubber bullets, a stark contrast to late model american sedans idling quietly in the shadows, as high rollers monitor local commerce.

In the morning I look at the corrugated sunlight on the con-ex box I live next to, angled shadows from the fence and the silhouette of the barbed wire dancing in the morning breeze. There is always someone revving an engine on some kind of motor vehicle that doesn’t run properly, sitting next to another on blocks, doing some kind of hood mechanic wishful thinking to get it to idle properly or simply just to keep it running! Hot rods and motorbikes, and bootleg metal recycling trucks, slowly creeping through the alley, to the tune of crushing gravel, and bad exhaust.

Winter was cold and dark. Pandemic solitude in the bus, like a run- on sentence describing a really long year during strange times. The floor is always cold, and my typical snowbird travels have been thwarted by a public health crisis and hard times, the exclamation point. Icy rain and short days, and if I am being honest, none of it made me feel really good.

In the evening, when it gets dark, the plastic wrappers littered, stuck in the wind, flickers like the start of a tiny fire as it reflects the orange glow of the street light above. Drunken hollars and drug addled screams, drifting somewhere between jubilation and blood curdling violence, its often hard to tell which is which. The last two nights I heard 4 gunshots, rapid-fire in close proximity, followed by people running through alley ways, it seems more like teenagers that happened upon a handgun than acts of violence or self defense. No sirens follow.

Once it thawed out, the neighborhood came back to life, and sounded like an after hours bar, all hours of the day, with sounds of revving engines of various sorts, and some occasional gunfire peppered in. On Sunday someone was shot and killed a few doors down, no one would really say what happened.

It’s spring time now, I left the doors open in the bus, eventually it got quiet, birds chirping at dusk, It was the best night sleep I’d had in a while…

Additional Dwellings…

The Forgotten side of town

Another alleyway

Motor Hotel

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Florida Excursion

Following Interstate 95 south, for an East Coast cold weather reprieve, Florida proved to be fruitful in it’s riding spots, hospitable hosts, and sunshine to loiter in and drink coffee…

From ramps in backyards and dead end roads in Tampa and Longwood to snake run circa 1977 in a skatepark in Jacksonville, the search for warm weather and laughs to stoke the fire, at places like Kona and Candlyand and in an old boat hull, made dropping in to a new year that much better, get stoked – stay stoked!

Here are a few snaps from a quick jaunt south of the boredom, featuring Matt Coplon, Trey Jones, Ryan Clements, Big Boy, Stew Johnson, Steve Crandall, Zach Rogers, Melvin and friends…

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Richmond Dirt

For many riders, dirt jumps are the essence of BMX – the original DIY approach to emulating motocross on a bicycle. No two dirt jump are the same and each spot is as unique as the riders who spend their time in the woods carving out their own little escape from reality. In Richmond, VA it’s all about riding bikes and building your own fun.

This photo series showcases some of the riders in a modest but vibrant East Coast scene, who create something out of not much. After work. On the weekends. By themselves or collectively on the outskirts of town and just within city limits. When I shot most of these photos this summer, what struck me as being so special was the diverse yet parallel efforts of so many riders simply trying to make theirs days more enjoyable. No pretense. No plan. Just an honest effort to make as many two wheeled smiles as possible.

Originally Seen in Dig Magazine!

Riders shown- Mike Rowe, Kitt West, Adam Guilliams, Mikey Askew, Steve Crandall, Creson Helm, Nate Hanger, Max Hanger, Ben Z, Garrett Guilliams, Rob Tibbs, Bert Lightning, Anthony Gadla- SKI, Craig Welch, James Lukas and Ted Blyth…

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Here In My Van…

Tap the starter with a ball-peen hammer, spray some ether in the intake, jimmy the flat head screw driver in the ignition, and start it up, 8 cylinders of mostly reliable american ingenuity, if the engine is new to me, the mystery of it’s reliability, will carry us in optimistic haphazard confidence to wherever we need to get.

In most cases the weather stripping is dry rotted or missing all together, and at least one of the doors has a broken hinge, or is known to the regulars to NEVER open, otherwise it would fall completely off. The rattling of the door, and the windows with the howling of the wind pouring through is louder than any sound system the vehicle will ever have, but is great when the weather is not too hot or bone chilling cold.

Sometime’s it’s so cold, that you have to pull off the highway in-between St. Louis and Evansville, the ice covered road is at a 10 MPH crawl as you watch semi’s jackknife in the rearview, and when it is too cold, all the bags, sleeping bags,and gear are stacked up on top of bikes, to make a wall, partitioning off the van to keep the heat from escaping the are where its needed most, you can watch as the ice and frost grow on the perimeter of all the windows inching inwards, reducing visibility as you also lose feeling in the frozen parts of your body.

When it’s hot, the windows never seem to open enough, and when they do, anything not nailed down gets blown out the passenger window. The road atlas, or at least the page you needed, , food wrappers, plastic bags, napkins and even a couple bucks bill fold of toll or gas money that wiggled its self loose from beneath the quarters keeping it in place in the cup holder.

There aren’t many stickers outside the van, to avoid getting the attention of the authorities, except for one that reads- ‘worlds best grandpa’ or ‘rather be fishing’. Inside, its littered with stickers gathered along the way, and random sharpie scribbles, doodles and pictographs of van adventures gone by. From the bench seat you can watch all the flotsam and jetsom on the dashboard dance to the rhythm of the road, and if you hit a big enough bump, watch as each object levitates for a split second and comes crashing back down. The wobbly dancing woman in a grass hula skirt never skips a beat.

Sometimes there is a sliding door, wide open, and passengers sit in stolen plastic lawn furniture looking out the passenger side of the moving vessel that turns the landscape into a big screen tv show, until a cop on a motorcycle drives past and makes a hand motion, to either pull over or shut the door. As the door shuts, we just assume it’s the latter and keep on moving.

You can’t tell from just looking, but the inside of tires are worn to the belts from long miles with too much weight, and too much freight, you won’t notice until a gas stop in a winter storm heading west toward Cleveland through the snowbelt of Lake Erie, or while checking the cracked exhaust in Oklahoma, laying down, pressing on the left shoulder while reaching up with your right hand as you wiggle rust flakes into your eye off the loose pipe.

Sometimes, and it’s strange to think that it’s happened more than once, someone will be three sheets to the wind and either relocate to sit shotgun, or dance over the dog box and accidentally use the steering wheel to keep their balance. Fifty-fifty odds on being able to keep it on the road, at this point the gambling rambling odds have been dancing with lady luck long enough, you just keep rolling the dice on down the road.

Changing the brake pads which burned out after stop and go traffic on the BQE, you are lucky to have enough tools to make it happen, and even luckier you know someone with a working vehicle to drive to the nearest parts store, so you can do the repair in the grass in a field across from a skate park, where the pro’s are practicing for an underground event near the end of Long Island.

If you get a flat, it’s always in a place like Shepardsville Kentucky in the winter, where the garage staff throw racial slurs around like shop rags after wiping the grease off their hands, never aware of the multi ethnic passengers inside, who hear each word like nails on a chalk board, totally uncertain of what trouble might be looming. Once we hit the road again, the laughter and howls recounting the episode, hide the despair and disappointment we all feel. Our van is the safe haven in ‘˜Klan Country’, a diverse group of travel kooks, a united nations on wheels, passing through scenes from the movie ‘˜Easy Rider’ years later.

By the time you get to Texarkana or Glen Burnie, the oil is milky white when you check it, because of a cracked head mixing coolant with the oil. No matter what, even if you are checking the dipstick in someplace totally convenient and practical, you always change a fouled plug and bee line it for the next destination, if you are lucky you’ll break down there and not outside of Waco or Baltimore.

If I leave the keys with the crew, I playfully tell them- Don’t drink and drive and DON’T catch it on fire, and of course that’s what happens. True story.

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Three eighteen

When My friends and I were teenagers, we rode bikes behind Pritchard Dodge on Cayuga St. It had a couple of basically convex paved wedges, one with a hip, where we would practice rollbacks, fly-outs, abubacas, and fast plants. It was modest, but it was the closest thing we would know to ramps or a skatepark for years.’¨ One of the neighbors was a surly drunk production line worker who would yell at us and threaten us in the late summer afternoons, no doubt pushed to the edge after hard days work, by the sounds of squeaky brakes, crashing bikes, and boisterous adolescents.

The spot was a bust during business hours, and his backyard butted up to the banks, and he would be livid every time we rode our bikes. After he would tell us he called the cops, We would often sneak around his parked van in his driveway, spy him sitting at his kitchen table getting drunk, and fuck with him. Antagonists. Rotten Bastards. We would then ride off in to the night, to the sounds small town laughter and antics.

Years later I answered a classified ad for an 86 Dodge van for sale. I went and looked at it, and low and behold it was Claude Hickman, the Dodge Banks Bandito. I Inspected the van, and lowballed him an offer, he was a prick, and wouldn’t budge on the price. He then asked why he recognized me. I played dumb, offered up the cash and ended up with a Dark Blue Dodge, with tongue and groove pine wood paneling interior, with Nautical rope, and majestic buck and doe airbrushed on the outside. For 1500 bucks we had a travel vessel powered by a 318 cubic inch engine, soaked in oil, A beast.

This van was the catalyst for many a wild adventure during the time period loosely framed around filming Albert Street, one such adventure was a trip from Ithaca Ny, to Long Island for a 2-hip bikes contest at the skatepark in Greenport Ny, the furthest point away possible on a weird long island outside of New York City. 325 miles in a jam packed van, through one of the biggest cities in the world.’¨The passengers were Kelly and Kim Baker, two brothers from a Yahweh cult in Pa. Brock Yoder and myself. We also stopped at Laguardia Airport and picked up Mike Tag, who was flying home from the UK. 7 dudes, bikes and gear. Tag was stuck in customs for hours.

We got drunk.’¨The stop on go traffic on the Long Island Expressway, combined with the over capacity van load proved too much of a workout for the worn out brakes on the Ram Van. With No brakes we coasted into Greenport and illegally camped for the night. Camping supplies included BBQ potato chips, and Natural Ice.

ԬThe next morning, essentially broke, and facing the a five dollar entry fee to the park marked by an orange bracelet, We quickly scanned the van through bad porn, empties, and the like, instantly a light bulb went off in Kim Bakers head, to which he soon made as many orange bracelets he could out of the empty bag of store brand BBQ potato chips. It worked like a charm.լ

The next challenge was getting the brakes fixed. The park was a good stretch to any useful solution, so John Lee drove one of us to an Auto Zone and we got new brakes. I don’t remember how we paid for them.’¨ Kelly Baker, who at this point in the early afternoon was more than midway through a 12 pack of Natty ice, became the team mechanic, he ‘knew Ram Vans…’ plus his dad, Wobbly Bob, was a mechanic. Okay. No Big deal. The process took a couple hours, the van jacked up in a field while Ron Wilkerson stoked people out on the Mic inside the park. The summer sun, and the potency of a cheap Ice beer made for an interesting compound. Even though on blocks and being worked on, the van was spectacle of a hangout, with the likes of Ralph Sinisi, Ryan Corrigan, Josh Heino, Zeb Williams, and other big names of that era, just partying in a field in an old dodge.

‘¨At one point, and probably into his second 12 pack, we were standing beside the van, and Kelly just kinda fell asleep underneath while wrenching. Josh Heino then started clowning FBM, and specifically Kelly, ‘ Hey man, your FBM Team Mechanic is passssedout…’ to which a seasoned drinker, Kelly replied a nice ‘ FUCK YOU HEINO’ from underneath the van, through an empty can of beer at his feet and buttoned up the rig. Presto, the van was fixed, Kelly was upright, and we continued through the weekend to quiet sound of Joy Buzzer Handshakes, and upstate New York laughter!

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