Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer '88

Compilation (various artist)

Summer '88 - the Soundtrack D0WNL0AD TH1S!!!!!11

This is the only remaining photo of my '87 Haro Sport. In the days before I had my driver's license, this (and other bikes like it) was how I got around in the suburbs. And as you can probably tell, I put a shit ton worth of work into this particular bike.

This picture was taken before I added the Dyno flip-down platforms and threaded GT pegs to the front. Back then I mostly rode ramp, but the sickest street trick you could do was the "Cherry Picker" and you needed front pegs to pull that one off. These future modifications would reflect my transition from ramp to street, just as Freestyle BMX as a whole started to revert towards ramp riding again with the emergence of Matt Hoffman as the king of the vert ramps. Typically poor timing for me!

I payed over $350.00 for this bike out of my own savings, which at the time made it one of the most expensive freestyle bikes on the market. Only the GT Mach One compared, but I always went with Haro. Sadly, this particular Haro was stolen at the Randhurst Shopping Mall in Mt. Prospect, Illinois in September of 1988 while I was inside looking at cassettes at Camelot Records. You haven't seen it by chance, have you?

Anyway, other than this one somewhat tragic turn of events, the summer of '88 was a good one for me. I was transitioning from middle school to high school and didn't have a job of any kind, so a typical day would involve getting up every morning and riding my bike past the Junior High school up to my best friend Dean's house. We'd hang out in his basement playing NES games or listening to Twisted Sister, Def Leppard and AC/DC cd's on the component stereo in his bedroom while we plotted our next move, which would inevitably be a trip to 7-11 for Slurpees or to Niko's for cheese dogs and fries.

When we'd come back, we'd kick it in his driveway with our shirts off and play one-on-one or horse until the rest of the crew showed up. We hung out with some of the older guys who all had cars. There was John ('85 Mustang GT), Carl ('67 Camaro), Matt ('84 IROC) and Dean's cousin Jim (70s' VW Bug). Car radios at the time were tuned to B-96, WCKG or "The Loop" (WLUP).

Carl had a quarter pipe set up in his driveway where we'd take our bikes and attempt to get "rad". Just getting even a little bit of air was an accomplishment, especially when the alternative was a quick trip to the pavement. Everybody would line their bikes up and just kind of root for the guy who was attempting the run. I remember the tape we listened to more than any other in those situations was the first Iron Maiden (the one with Paul Di'Anno on vocals, before Dickenson joined the band).

In the evening I would generally bike back home for dinner with my mom and then reconviene with the gang over at the pool at the Gary Marova Center. This was a big outdoor swimming pool that all the neighborhood kids and some of their parents routinely congregated at. All you needed was your park district pass and you could get in. These evenings generally resulted in us chasing the trim around (in good fun-- this was still a year or two before we all lost our innocence in that regard) and coming up with far-fectched plans that we knew we could never achieve.

Fast forward to now, and as horrible as the 80s look in retrospect when watching old music videos and TV sit-coms (those haircuts!) it was actually a pretty cool time to be alive. We were thirteen years old, and maybe we didn't have any internet or XBox 360, but dammit we sure as hell had our NES, our Hysteria, our Sony cassette Walkmen and our freestyle bikes.

I'd do terrible things to go back and relive just one of those gorgeous Summer of '88 days, when the nights were long and we could still take pleasure in things that were simple and fun.


  1. I can say that it is very close to your heart! I can understand very well! Thank you very much for sharing such a memorable thing with us.

  2. Hah! Brilliant! I was 18 at the time and it was exactly like this in Devon in England, but with cider. Big rad thanks Q

  3. my "age 13" summer was a decade and a half before 1988, and yet this mix takes me back to my own time. well done!

  4. Awesome, so glad you dug it. It's always a good thing to go back to the past, so long as you don't get stuck there! :)