The dump truck, the fire truck, all of them, on a triple top-tube spray painted black Schwinn with BMX tires I sailed over 27 Tonka trucks. Hmmm. That sounds like a lot. Maybe it was 19, or 11. Regardless, 30 some years later, I can see the wood jump at the edge of my childhood driveway. We’d approach downhill from the street, cut-in to the driveway, hit the lip of the 8-12 inch scrap 2x4 and plywood jump along the curb, fly over every kid in the neighborhood’s Tonkas, and land in the front lawn beneath the sugar maple. I remember a friend’s endo sending him sliding barebacked onto the freshly paved road. His mom must’ve had to pick stones and tar out of his wounds, total Jackass. With yesterday’s video text shot by my sister in law at Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park in Milwaukee, my nephew entered the age of bike stunts.
In my days before cars, our days before Jackass, we jumped fire pits and creeks and circumnavigated our hometowns with a boombox strapped to the rack. None of it captured on video. I don’t think any of our parents could afford a video camera and we wouldn’t even dare to take the expensive family still camera on a jaunt through the neighborhood trails. That was for vacations. Taking it out of the house tempted a serious grounding. Without cell phones, at dinner time my Dad would hollar down the street repeating himself to the East and West loud enough to be heard three blocks away, “Joe and Mike!!! Time for Dinner!” So, my childhood bike memories are that, memories. My 8 year old nephew’s are now online.
|My Childhood Trails Went Through Lime Kiln Park|
Yesterday, my sister in law texted a 10 second video of my nephew “Shady Brady” doing a BMX jump into the foam pit at Ray’s MTN bike park in Milwaukee. Coincidently, they live in the same neighborhood I grew up in, in the same house that my wife grew up in, only now they have a video camera on their cell phone and a foam pit to save the road rash. Some things have changed. The twisted network of trails along the Menomonee River of my youth are home to Target and Home Depot. Judging from this video, I’m sure that won’t stop Brady. There’s still has to be a killer stuff down by the Lime Kiln Park or a 3 foot loading dock drop somewhere. If not, they have a family membership to Ray’s.
8 years old, Brady, or as I like to call his BMX persona “Shady Brady,” doesn’t really know what road rash is yet or what it’s like to get up from a fall in the trails to find a stick sticking out of your leg. He’s 8, still under adult supervision in the childhood protection plan. His Dad, like most Wisconsin Dads has a corral of ATV’s and snowmobiles. As a consequence, and conversely to my experience, under Dad’s eye, Shady Brady learned how to ride before he could pedal. Compared to the speed and snarl of the motors on Wisconsin fire roads, hucking a four-footer inside of an old Menards hardware store is nothing to him.
Trying to be the good Uncle, or as good of an Uncle that I can be working at a radio station from 400 miles away, I put my computer media skills to work and made him his first “pro” video. With a screaming announcer, X-games music and a cheering crowd, he’ll have a memory as blown out of proportion as my Tonka jump. My sister in law said he watched it 30 times within the hour I sent it. I hate to say it, but his airtime makes my exaggerated Tonka truck jump look like child’s play.