Jackson Allen

Dirt mound enthusiast. Amateur blogger. Professional hot mess.

Posts from Jackson:

Bikers’ Dozen

11 shots from a roll of film that span a month’s time and 3 bicycle events: Pedalfest in Oakland, Halloween Jam in Santa Cruz and the SF Bike Expo.

Brandon York gets so many flats that he is pretty used to carrying his bike around. Pre-Pedalfest.

Pedalfest had all kinds of bikes on hand. Chopper and matching jeans.

Father and daughter on a giant penny farthing. Cute.

Nathan Parker and Elsie Tuttle crossing the tracks.

We stopped by Alameda after pedalfest and braved a strange mix of skaters, scooters, fixed gears and bmxers with mixed results. Mike Jonas bought two of these sherbert bars and ate them back to back.

Santa Cruz Bike Park, Halloween Jam. Colby aka Yosemite Sam aka Lincoln Hawk with Justine.

Crazy Chris dressed up as "breakfast". Ron Wilkerson looks on.


Dusty, Cat Seiver and Hunter S. Thompson

Jeff Herbertson, Frontflip S.F. Bike Expo

Kurt "The Muscle" Russel, hip boost. S.F. Bike Expo

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The Long and Short of It

This year our friend Brandon Eckles, king of Caliwumpus, asked us to contribute to the DVD he was making. He visited and we went on some trips and the amassed footage made for a DVD section that we in Santa Cruz are proud of. I scraped together the leftovers (and a few clips that made it into the DVD) and baked this cake. Probably months of footage, with spots spanning thousands of miles. Features a lot (but not all) of the Sasquatch Canyon family. You can see more by ordering the Caliwumpus DVD.

On the other extreme, our sister site, Country Clubbin’ compiled this edit in less than 24 Halloween hours, with spots spanning just a few miles.

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The CNYN: Notes from the Field

Old scraps, second angles and a few new maneuvers from the boys at the Canyon. In order of appearance: Jackson Allen, Tristan Adams, Nathan Parker, Chris Riesner, Jordan Murdock, Andy Maguire, Brandon York, Dusty Sampson, Anthony Quiroz, Mike Hernandez.

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One of my favorite things to watch is people riding a set of trails for the first time. Stringing together a few jumps that you have never ridden before is a feeling that you only get a few chances at and a feeling worth chasing for the rest of your life. I love seeing visitors come to the trails and get to the bottom of the hill with huge smiles and high fives from the locals.

Last week, Tristan Adams and Steve Perjanik came to Santa Cruz to ride the trails for a few days and this is some visual evidence of them adapting quickly. No flashes, just some shot-from-the-hip photos of some visitors enjoying the trails.

Tristan Adams. rides whatever you put in front of him well, but when you see him ride trails you realize where his heart lies. Whip at height.

Tristan, kicked out Can-Can Seat Grab.

Steve Perjanik. Nac seat-grab.

The last day of their trip, CJ Arnold stopped by to enjoy the trails as well. Steve shouted out, "SUPERMAN!" as CJ pumped the roller before this jump and CJ delivered with zero time to set up.

Tristan is probably the only guy I have met who is more afraid of poison oak than me. I carefully avoided some p-oak to set up in the woods and shoot this photo of Tristan turning down the final hip and then carefully avoiding the poison oak that surrounds the final berm.

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Caliwumpus at Atascadero

Photos courtesy of Chris Riesner, words by Jackson Allen

When we showed up at the contest at noon, Brandon Eckles was hoarsely shouting into the microphone, ‘I already lost my voice, I’ve been up for 14 hours but I want you guys to get rad to Slayer!’ The amateur class took his words to heart, because what ensued was five minutes of crashing, colliding and shredding fueled by Angel of Death. Looking around, I couldn’t help but think to myself, ‘today is going to be amazing.’

Escaping the rain. Atascadero Skatepark.

Heckling Central, incognito beers galore.

Get to the chopper!

Apparently Brandon had decided that a premiere of his two year video project, Caliwumpus, wouldn’t be stressful enough and he paired it with a contest at his local indoor skatepark in Atascadero, CA. Indoor skateparks in California make about as much sense as tanning salons on the sun to me, but in this case it turned out to be fortuitous, as we got some unseasonable rain on the day of the contest. After a two hour drive from Santa Cruz through a pretty constant downpour, the prospect of riding an indoor park was sounding better and better.

With a night of heavy drinking after the premiere and a couple of weeks between the contest and this recollection, details from the contest have gotten a little hazy, but a few things stand out.

Jackson Allen.

Jackson Allen. Probably landed super flat.

One member of our caravan is no longer welcome at the skatepark, which apparently (and I guess understandably) frowns on the throwing of one’s shoes.

On the subject of shoes, Jared Swafford didn’t need them to do a footjam on the tallest quarter in the place. Jared managed to keep his shoes on most of the time and won first place in pro by doing so.

Jared Swafford. They don't mess with shoes in Texas.


John Glassett wasn’t able to compete in the finals due to some bruised heels but had the crowd’s (or at least my) favorite runs. The downside footplant he did on the roll-up door was frightening enough that it kept everyone dead silent until he dropped back into the quarter and the place erupted.

John Glassett with the move of the night. Prelims.

There wasn’t a wall, fence or other vertical surface that was safe from people’s wallride marks (some with disastrous consequences). It almost seemed as though people were determined to tear down the park with the rubber side of their bikes. After one rider launched 20 feet into the top of a chainlink fence (which somehow created a shower of sparks) and then knocked himself out, the owner of the skatepark determined that particular fence was off limits. Five minutes later the same dude, somehow revived and seemingly jacked up on some kind of energy drink was pedaling at the same fence while Brandon screamed ‘This isn’t my fault!’

This went about as well as it looks in this photo.

Wild wallride transfer. The old man closest to him in the crowd was the bravest of all.

Dude staging area. Babe on deck.

Cameron Dehaas downside double peg "the wall"

Jackson Allen, table.

Identifying the wild life.


Little big man, Bryce Tryon, was pulling flips all day and decided flairs were a good idea too. Didn't turn out well.

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I always have weekdays off from my job and make a point of spending at least one of them taking it easy with my dog and just riding the parks here in town. There is something great about cruising around while most of Santa Cruz is at work.

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Trails and Tribulations: Itching to Ride

Fifteen percent of the population is lucky enough to be born without an allergy to urushiol, the active ingredient in poison oak, ivy and sumac.

I am not one of the lucky ones. Since I first started scrabbling around in the woods I have always had a couple awful cases every year. Some of them are my fault and involve drunken bonfires and hikes, careless root chopping and mountain bike rides through the woods in shorts. Sometimes I seem to do everything right and still get it. Either way, there are few things that make me more miserable than poison oak. I have had it in my eyes, on my junk and everywhere in between.

And as much as I hate it, poison oak is one of those things that you just learn to live with around the trails. You learn how to take care of yourself (you won’t catch me in short sleeves) and for something as good as carving a berm or riding a set of doubles, I’ll put up with a little itching every year.

Obviously I am not a doctor, but I have picked up some tips over the years.

Poison Oak/Ivy/Sumac tips:

  • Learn to identify the leaves, bare branches and roots.

Poison Oak leaves

  • Avoid it like raw sewage or hot lava.
  • If you are going somewhere gnarly, wear pants and long sleeves.
  • Secondary exposure (from clothes, pets and tools) is how most people get it. Wash your shit and hose down your dog.

Clean your tools to avoid secondary exposure

  • Wash yourself with a poison oak soap after exposure (Tecnu, there are a bunch of natural bar soaps, Fez Naptha, dish soap in a pinch (it strips the oils)). Wash where you don’t want it, not where you think you touched it.
  • If you know you touched it sprinkle dry dirt on it immediately and pour lots of water on it.
  • The more you get it, the worse it gets (I don’t care what everybody says about getting it once and being cured. They are full of shit). So, take a little break from the woods after you get it real bad. It’s a histamine reaction, and the next time will be worse.
  • You can look into some homeopathic and food solutions (honey, pills, etc.).
  • I have had some success with over the counter acid reducers (zantac, etc.). The blistering, itching and oozing is a histamine reaction and these drugs block Histamine (H2 specifically).
  • Don’t itch it. Keep yourself calm and cool. Heat makes it worse. Try to stay sane.

Ask Jeremy Kaiser how he doesn’t get it. He is allergic to it but one time I saw him get drunk at the POWS trails, rub it all over himself and chase me around with a branch and after not showering and partying all night, he still didn’t get it.

Poison Oak avoidance techniques from the FBM site:

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Mike Hernandez

When I moved to Santa Cruz ten years ago I didn’t know a single person that rode bikes. Slowly I met people and tagged along and after a while I heard about some trails in Watsonville (a few towns away) that this dude Mike and his buddy Jason ran. Over the next couple years I started riding Watsonville all the time and for me the thing that stood out most about that place was the kind of person Mike was. Mike worked hard there and of course he was ready to defend that place but at the same time they were the most welcoming set of trails I have ever been to. Mike always knew your name, high fived you and was the glue for a set of trails that a lot of people called home.

Watsonville dried up and Mike moved up to Santa Cruz and became one of the main faces in a bmx scene that was growing quickly. Mike’s apartment was a stone’s throw from the new bike park and served as clubhouse, repair shop and international youth hostel. If you come to Santa Cruz there is a decent chance that Mike will be the first person you meet, or at least the first one to ask you where you are from and strike up a conversation.

Mike is happy to drive truck all day for work, get off and head straight to the trails without his bike to dig until the sun goes down. He understands that things don’t improve without work and between sets of trails, quickcrete missions, the warehouse project and his general attitude he has helped make Santa Cruz what it is today. I don’t know anyone who works harder, cares about his friends and family more deeply or loves Santa Cruz and bmx more. FUCK YEAH MIKE!

-Sasquatch Canyon

Mike gets inverted over the Bike Park hip in Santa Cruz. Photo: Jackson Allen

Name: Mike Hernandez

Age: 27 and 10/12ths

Hometown: Watsonville, California

Roost/Roots. Photo: Jackson Allen

First thing you remember that made you want to ride bikes?
Wow, gotta dig deep for that one. Definitely my older cousin John. I always looked up to him, we lived together for a good amount of our childhood. I just alway remember tagging along with him and his buddies on bmx bikes, seeing them jump fly outs around town, doin long ass sit down wheelies, and pretty much just being bmx hoodlums…I thought those dudes were cool as hell, needless to say i was psyched on bmx, thanks to good ol’ cousin John.

First bike? Favorite bike rider at the time?
First real bike, I’d have to say the loogie green(I’m pretty sure that was the actual color name) Haro mirra 540 complete, and duh Dave Mirra, bro. What can I say, I was a grom.

Toboggan. 2010. Loc'ed out and poked out at Freedom 40. Photo: Luke Brennan

Who do you ride with regularly? Anyone you wish you could ride with more?
Regularly? Probably you (Jackson Allen), Andy Mac, Murphy, Anthony, Jordan, Dusty, Eric Zellner and some of the freedom forty locs when we’re out at the trails! Definitely wish I could ride more with my three younger brothers.

How many years have you been digging vs. riding?
Well, like I said i’ve been jumpin’ curbs since I was a just a little grom, but got really into riding at like 15 or 16 and started diggin’ at Watsonville trails at about 16 or 17, so I guess maybe 12 years riding and 10 years digging.

Technique. Early days of Watsonville trails.

Where did you build your first jump?
Down by the creek, behind some houses on Marigold Ave. in Watsonville…little did I know what I was getting into.

How long did Watsonville trails run and how many versions do you think you guys went through?
I think when it all started to fall apart we were on our ninth year there, and probably the third version with one line that always remained “main line”

Turndown. 2007. Watsonville trails. Photo: Joey Cobbs

What were some of the wildest things you saw go down at Watsonville trails over the years, both riding and non-riding?
Holy hell! I could write a book about the stuff I saw go down there…cops coming out of the bushes looking for some dude that had just shot someone, plenty of people gettin’ fully KO’d, Chris Duncan getting way too sketchy on a mountain bike, sketchy tweekers from around the way (that were waaay too psyched on a couple of kids on bikes), shit dude I got stories all day if you’re tryin’ listen.

Why do you think this area seems to always have trails of some sort going on ? Do you think that changed the way you thought/rode growing up?
I dunno, maybe a lack of other good stuff to ride…as for me, when I started riding, there were no skateparks to ride and I came from the outskirts of town and rode dirt bikes a little when I was young so I guess building wicked shit out of dirt and gettin’ kicked out just felt right to me.

So you grew up racing, do you ever miss it? A memorable race story?
Oh man! I always miss those days, too many stories…ok, so waking up in the passenger seat of “nelly”(the old early 70’s suburban we traveled in) in the middle of nowhere nevada, flying through the desert in the middle of the night, freezing cold, windows down, music blaring,and Carolyn driving wrapped in a blanket and determined to get us to whatever hokey ass town we were headed to race in, you better believe we were there on time to catch some sleep in a hotel and get to the track in time for a.m. practice.

Early Race days. Mike once told me he looked faster than he was.

Why Santa Cruz?
Why not? Beautiful mountains, killer beaches, great mexican food, awesome friends, all within a five minute ride from my doorstep. need i say more?

What would your ideal day be like?
Wake up next to my girl and get a little a.m. delight, head to the gym to get loosened up, hit up the concrete bowl to get my carve on, drive out to the trails for some digging, bbq’n, and a super mellow session ‘˜til the sun goes down… yea, thats whats up.

What would your ideal trip be like?
All the boys, on the road, no stragglers/scavengers, riding all day, raging every night, good spots, good food, good friends.

End of Summer 2010. Photo: Jackson Allen

If you were in a hair metal band what would your name be? How long would your hair be?
Easiest question by far… skid savage and the longer the better.

I know you like old things and restoring old things. What’s the appeal?
I’m not sure, it might be in my blood. I’m just very fascinated by old stuff, maybe its the look or the thought of what these things have seen and been through, i usually just appreciate the craftsmanship that went into building stuff.

Why do you like building things so much? Couldn’t you just go ride the skatepark?
Why don’t YOU just go ride a skatepark? Just kidding, uh I guess cause nothing feels better than finishing something that you started and put so much effort into, or that feeling you get when you first send it off a fresh lip not knowing how well its gonna go, and the freedom to create almost anything you can imagine…nothing better.

What’s your favorite shovel?
Tuff series flat head, $12 at OSH, lifetime warranty.

If you had 3 acres of your own, would you try to keep the trails you would inevitably build separate from the massive junk pile you would undoubtedly collect?
Shit no! you know I’d be rampin’ off of something I brought home from work.

Early Toboggan. 280 Trails RIP.

Winter beer? Summer beer?
Winter: Newcastle or Blue Moon, Summer: Corona or Pacifico with some lemon and salt!

What do you love most about bmx?
The simplicity of it, all you need is your bike, some open space, and an open mind. Add in some good friends and…BOOYAA!! enjoy.

Turndown. 2010. Freedom 40. Photo: Luke Brennan

What do you love least about bmx?
How cliquey and segregated it has become… figure it out barnies, we’re all just dorks on kids bikes. You’re no cooler than me just cause you can do tailwhips six inches off the ground.

I know you have been injured a lot during the years you have ridden. Has that changed the way you thought about riding or life?
Damn dude, too much. Serious injuries definitely take a toll both mentally and physically, but you know what? Every time we step foot on our bikes we know what the consequences could be. So if your not ready for that, you could probably get a few bucks for your bike on E-bay.

Lazy one handed table. Solvang. Photo: Jackson Allen

Family and friends, my boss Nathan Lewis, Travis Hill and Matt Mardesich for teaching me what trails are all about, anyone who’s trying to make something out of nothing, anyone who has made a life out of doing what they love, people that don’t sweat the small stuff, and most of all people that have struggled, fought, and overcame to succeed rather than just give in and roll into the gutter.

Thanks/shout outs?
Damn where do I start? Sasquatch Canyon a.k.a Jackson Allen, Least Most, all the santa cruz locals, all the Watsonville locals i used to dig and ride with, Carolyn Flores hands down the best bmx mom ever, my girl Syd for being the raddest chick i’ll ever know, Eric Zellner cause he’s the man, Brandon York and Chris Reisner(when you movin to s.c?!), Crazy Chris YEA BROTHER!, and anyone that has done their part to better bmx in general.

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ATX to PHX to SC

When I heard that Anthem would be premiering in Austin I seriously contemplated flying down there. Work was slow, tickets cheap and the idea of seeing some old friends and riding some trails sounded like the perfect getaway. For a variety of reasons I didn’t pull the trigger and resigned myself to not seeing Anthem until December.

At the last minute my friends Jordan and Anthony, who were visiting Phoenix for a bit, decided they were going to make the drive down to Austin. I bought a one way ticket and agreed to drive back to California with them, with a brief stop back in Phoenix.

What ensued was an amazing week of autumn Austin weather, pedaling, good times and a reunion of sorts with our friend, Ryan Fowler, who moved to Austin a few years back. Thanks for all the green and gold Austin.

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Sasquatch Canyon: The 22 Counties

My work always ends in August and when it does I make a point of going on a trip for at least a couple weeks. In the past that has meant going East or North and crossing state lines. This year I decided to stay gold and keep it within the state of California, to see some people and places that I had been neglecting. I was gone for 12 days and during that time sampled a little bit of 22 of California’s 58 counties. Friends joined me on the weekends and my dog Otis and I struck out on our own during the week. Not much of a plan, no one else’s schedules to contend with and near perfect weather.

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