What's next? Part 1
10 January 2012 / Posted by Brett Phillips
Image: GBHQ, Collingrove, South Australia. Circa 2010
What's next for gravity bikes? - Part 1
Its funny, I've been thinking about this question on and off for as long as I can remember. Its occupied my mind nearly ever day, to some degree, for past 20 years when I haven't been distracted by work, life and everything in between. I've suffered my fair share of sleepless nights thinking about what I could do to increase the visibility of my sport, what I could do to bring people together and what I could do to inspire a new generation to pick up where the old had left off.
I've obsessed about not doing enough and how much might be too much. I've thought about building, riding, developing, organising and advocating almost more than I've thought about anything else. Almost! I've wished that I was part of the early 90's movement in all its well subscribed and well sponsored glory, and then been thank full that I wasn't. I've even worried that I would miss out on the chance to register and ride at the next event and therefor miss out on the chance to introduce someone new to the sport. I obsessed about developing new bikes and pushing things in new directions.
Even now as I sit in a hotel room in Shenzen, China far away from the serenity of my home back in Melbourne, Australia, I can't help but continue to sketch out my thoughts on paper and think about the barriers and the opportunities they lay ahead. What is it going to take to organise, co-ordinate and promote the best aspects of riding and racing gravity bikes, and what it will take to make the sport more accessible and well subscribed? How can I get more riders involved? What will it take to make Gravity bike riding and racing part of a more mainstream bike culture? Obsessive compulsive? Perhaps. Big dreams? Maybe...
In reading about the origins and developments of many 'underground' sports, its pretty safe to say that many of the early pioneers rarely thought about how big their sports would become or what it would take to get them there. They were simply obsessed with emptying their next door neighbours pool and skating it under lights, or spending all day making a set of dirt jumps in their backyard and wondering if they could ever backflip them.
Perhaps in many ways it wasn't for them to worry about! Perhaps, like most extremely talented and passionate people ahead of their time, they were simply put upon this earth to inspire the rest of us about the possibilities. To allow us to dream up new ideas and new ways of doing things.
I can still remember the day that I saw images of Matt Hoffman doing his first ever backflip on the cover of a popular BMX magazine and witnessing Tony Hawk do his first 720. I sat there stunned and wondering what can they possibly do next and could I ever be part of a 'movement' like that. But perhaps that's the point. Perhaps it was Matt and Tony's responsibility to simply ride and inspire someone like you and me into action s