Do you feel there is a need for BMX products to survive for history's sake?
Steve Strong: Hell yeah, it's extremely important to preserve the beginnings of this great sport. Not just the parts and bikes but also the people and the stories from the golden days of BMX. I was at a regional finals a few years ago where a few of us old(er) guys were asked to put on an Old School display and got talking to some of the younger riders who were interested in the old bikes we had. I was absolutley blown away by one lad's comment that he didn't know what BMX stood for although he was there racing in a Regional Final!
How many swap-meets do you go to per year?
Steve Strong: Unfortunately here in the UK, swapmeets do not really exist like they do in the States. Pretty much the only yearly show here (Rad BMX MK Show) is the only show to have a swapmeet (which is excellent).
How was the NBA meeting in Cali you went to?
Steve Strong: Man where do I start!? I've been talking to guys Stateside for a number of years now and made some pretty cool friends. I always thought a trip to Cali was going to be out of my reach but in 2019 I made it happen. Steve Firestein picked me up from LAX with a huge smile and an 'In and Out' burger meal which was a great start to the trip. On the Thursday morning I decided to take a walk from the hotel to the Valley Relics Museum where the NBA meet was being held. Man that place was off the scale. I was blown away by the work that Tommy Gelinas has put into the place, BMX and BMX artifacts were everywhere. I ended up spending way too much money on their excellent t-shirts!
Thursday evening I was invited by Bryan Dworshak to attend a pre NBA Reunion get together at an excellent Mexican eatery which I nearly missed due to jet lag!
Friday morning saw another invitation for a visit to the home of Fast House where I got to meet Ernie Alexander of NBA fame. The great man himself gave us a tour of the entire facility and I also ended up buying more t-shirts (do you see a theme starting here!).
Friday evening saw the NBA Reunion and I cannot thank everyone who I met that night as the list would be far too long. But I must mention a few people. Bryan Dworshak for getting me there, the entire Ricks Bike Shop Team for making me feel like one of their own. Patti Twomey for welcoming me with open arms. Finally meeting Doug Williams, Mike Masher Muniz and Henry Sarria in the flesh and last but not least a huge thanks to Rick Gaytan who pretty much looked after me the entire night and introduced me to a who's who from the first decade of BMX.
Saturday was the BMX Society Show and Swapmeet. All I can say is, THAT IS HOW YOU PUT ON A SHOW! It was epic beyond all proportion. Managed to snag a few parts to take home with me and met up with a few more people I'd been speaking to on the forums/groups.
Saturday evening saw another meal with all the stars of the NBA which again was pretty cool. The Sunday I spent again with Steve Firestein who took me on a magical mystery tour of Chatsworth, showing me all the buildings where Mongoose, Champion and Redline first started out from. All in all it was a pretty special trip and the best thing about it was meeting all the fantastic people who welcomed me into the NBA family with open arms.
What's one of your oldest BMX products in your collection?
Steve Strong: A set of TrickRay seat Struts from around '73/'74 and a 1974 Matthews MS-1 frame.
What bike was the dream bike for you?
Steve Strong: Easy, Doug Schwerma Champion. I bought my first Champion (gen 3) around 10 years ago and through the BMX Society researched the companies roots. IMO that frame was the genesis for Patterson Racing (Schwerma Champion, Kenny Roberts Grand National to the first Patterson Racing frame. I think I've owned a Schwerma, two Squarebacks, two 3rd gen frames and two 24 Cruisers. I still have the first Champion I built.
Do you have that bike in your collection today?
Steve Strong: Unfortunately no, a good collector friend of mine (Carl Garrity) bought it a few years ago along with a few other completes.
Name three BMX collectors that you respect?
1) William Laroque - Bill's builds were the first ones I really took notice of, everything about them was perfect to the eye.
2) Sodbuster - The rareness of Brian's builds are second to none.
3) Rick Gaytan - Rick was there in the beginning. I've been lucky enough to see a small part of his collection and listen to some of his stories first hand.
Do you have decent mechanical skills?
Steve Strong: I can throw a wrench around when I need to....
What products are a great help when you find an old rusty historical piece of shit bike that needs to shine again?
Steve Strong: Damn! I guess you could say the ones my Mum and Dad gave me, my hands...?
How often do you look on eBay/Craigslist/BMX Museum to shop for old BMX stuff?
Steve Strong: Every damn day, it's a curse. My Ebay watch list is maxed out seven days a week!
What's the most ridiculous amount you have paid for a bike part that you needed to own?
Steve Strong: Hmmm, I once owned a G-Boy that I shelled out $2400 for the frame and forks. That hurt but I had to have it.
Do you always have room for "one more bike"?
Steve Strong: Yes. A couple of years ago I said to myself 'no more' but I ended up getting sucked back in. Although I'm nowhere near the numbers I used to have. Three or four at a time suits me down to ground now.
What's a bike (part) you have been looking for but haven't been able to locate?
Steve Strong: My old Schwerma, but the git (Carl) won't sell it back it back to me...
Where can people reach you when they have that part available?
Steve Strong: Usually on Facebook or Messenger. Everyday someone is in contact for a bit of advice or a part.
Thanks to: All I'm gonna say is to everyone that I have met in person or online, thanks for letting me into your world. I really do appreciate the time you have given me. Lastly I have to mention the times that Rick Twomey (RIP) gave me, you Sir are a legend and I wish we could have met in person.
Episode 1: Christophe Detandt (BEL)
Episode 2: James White (GBR)
Episode 3: JT Freestyle (USA)
Episode 4: Ben Murphy (IRL)
Episode 5: Rainer Schadowski (GER)
Episode 6: GAry Sansom (USA)
Episode 7: Michael Gamstetter (USA)
Episode 8: Grant Stone (GBR)
Episode 9: Steve Blackey (USA)
Episode 10: Shannon Gillette (USA)
Episode 11: Woody Itson (USA)
Episode 12: Oliver Kienzle (GER)
Episode 13: Kelly Swanson (USA)
Episode 14: Pat A Lar (GBR)
Episode 15: Billy Mills (GBR)
Episode 16: Steve Brothers (USA)
Episode 17: Aykut Hilmi (GBR)
Episode 18: Alex Leech (GBR)
Episode 19: Mike Janssen (NED)
Episode 20: Brian Gutierrez (USA)
Episode 21: Chad Powers (USA)
Episode 22: Alessandro Barbero (ITA)
Episode 23: Chris Daly (GBR)
Episode 24: Ian MacArthur (GBR)
Episode 25: Steve Strong (GBR)