Friday, 16 January 2009

The search continues

Street spots. They are everywhere. Some have been around forever and some are only rideable for a day. Some are brand new. Some have yet to be found. Living in a city or built up area there is always something new to be found.

For me it’s this constant cycle of regeneration and construction breathing life into the city that keeps riding interesting. There is a perfectly good skatepark local to me that I enjoy immensely and I could happily ride there trying out new lines or sessioning one of the grind blocks to my hearts content.

But there is something about riding like that day in day out which reminds me too much of hitting a piece of apparatus at the gym or turning up at the running track with a pair of running shoes. The skatepark is a constant. Nothing about it is going to change, it will be the same today as it was yesterday. You’ve all seen the kids at the local skatepark. Turn up at the park decked out like a Topshop mannequin, ride said skatepark doing same lines and doing same tricks as everyone else all the while having a sly glance to see what colour Profile hubs everyone is running. Then he returns home to lurk on Streetphire message board occasionally posting the odd message containing weak insults and terrible English.
I don’t get on my bike to practice or train. It’s a bicycle not a fashion accessory or whatever. Riding should be about riding at the end of the day. I mean that in the truest sense of word, i.e getting from A to B. That’s half the fun! Blasting down streets, jumping kerbs, bins, pumping off bumps and stairs. And of course the best part about this is that you come across new areas, new developments and new spots. Sometimes you revisit a place or spot you had been to before but since then your riding has improved or you learnt a new trick. Suddenly a spot you rode past a few years back is suddenly unlocked to you with new opportunities. Finding some boards to put on stairs or making a hop-o-meter out of some construction tape. Riding old spots with different people shows a different perspective on whats possible and gives you renewed inspiration to a spot you thought was dead. And there is something appealling about riding a kicker or quarter made out of pallets rather than the perfect ones down the park..

Take this spot for example. These banks surround a truck depot in Benton, North Tyneside. For years I had passed this spot peering through the mesh fence plotting out imaginary lines that could be possible on the various banks. The problem was it would be impossible to ride with all of those huge trucks parked up. Then one day as I was riding home all the trucks had gone, the company gone bust or relocated. I was over the moon! I began trying to find a way in and thankfully the yard was easily infiltrated as there was a gap in the fence. Success.
The banks were even better than they looked, slightly transitioned and they got steeper and steeper as they went around the yard. It also had a corner section which was really fun too.
The next time I came here I brought Marty, Jo, Tom Finch, Rob and H Man. It was a great session! Rob had the idea to pull the flag stones back at the top and stick a log behind it, making a kicker at the top of the bank. It worked really well and we rode it all afternoon. The fence ride got sessioned to hell as well. On another session Scott Taylor came up and did over ice picks on the extension.

Photo by H-Man

Unfortunately I only got to ride this spot a handful of times before another haulage company moved into the yard. I should have known better than to take something that good for granted! Gutted. Hopefully with the good old credit crunch this one will go bust as well and I can ride it again.

Get out there, go somewhere you haven’t been before and explore. You never know what you might find! You cant beat the feeling of finding something new before anyone else has ridden it and putting the first tire marks on the wall or the first peg marks on the rail. Even if you find sod all its more fun than sitting in the skatepark all day.


H Man said...


tony said...

agreed on all points. and a nice little photo.

Marc / Prefab77 said...

Sweet blog. Long time coming. Nothing tops exploration.

Ms. Tiger Tiger said...

nice one john. its like you read my mind. Coloured profiles are like the nike air max of the bike world needlessly expensive and only run by people with a sheep like mentality. push the boat out and run something different (I heard mega mark(a bit like the gonz when he got thrown off standard and was selling ice cream from a cart) is now riding a chrome 1988 Haro Sport) originality is key. Have you seen I Wanna Live, berringer is king. bring back the footplant. everything rules except not having the balls to be yourself. Im off wedesday and sunday if you are riding. see you soon. Olly.