We've asked Mel Stoutsenberger to pick his favourite photos from back in the day and give us the Who, Where, When, What, and Why. Mel documented BMX first hand. His photos tell stories.
Who: My long time friend and fellow bike mechanic, John George. Little did I know when I shot this photo that John would land the NBA National #1 position later in the year. John worked as a mechanic for Canoga Cycle Center and raced for their team exclusively. He raced NBA sanctioned events almost every weekend of the year as well as many week nights. He was fast, hard to beat and had piles of style. Whether he was on a long gnarly downhill course like Malibu Country Club or a Friday night flat track bash at the Van Nuys Teen Center, John always held his own.
Name: Jesus Pozo (Chino) Hometown: San Diego California Started riding BMX in: '87/'88 Number of bikes in the collection: 25 plus 20 frame sets
Do you remember the moment that you decided to start collecting BMX memorabilia? Chino Jesus: Good question, I’ve kept some of the GT/Dyno pit bikes I had since jr high. I bought a GT pit frame around 2014 and met a good friend that would help spark the BMX bug. Once I saw his collection, mainly RL20 II (7) and Haro Master bashguards (4), I was hooked.
What is your fascination about bashguard bikes? Chino Jesus: An older guy in the neighborhood had a chrome Haro Master bashguard. He worked at a local bike shop and had all the top of the line parts. He would sell my friends and I his left over parts and we would have cool upgrades. That bike always stood out to me. Probably an '89 Master. That’s why when I met my buddy Gabriel and saw his collection, I told him to sell me one of the bashguard bikes.
Name: Martin Pimentel Hometown: Sydney, Australia but currently living in London, England Started riding BMX in: 1978 but I’ve been riding one kind of bike or another since the age of 2 (yes I have photographic evidence) Number of bikes in the collection: 113 at its peak but that’s down to 55 right now. Most of what is left has not been shared widely yet so I have lots of building left to do. 1980 to 1984 was my golden age.
Do you remember the moment that you decided to start collecting BMX memorabilia? Martin Pimentel: Like most things in life, it was at a party. It was the early 2000s and an old '80s song came on. To this day I associate particular songs to certain bikes. Made me think of a black 1983 SE Quadangle with gold parts and camo pads I always wanted but never had. That sparked the flame that burns to this day.
Who were the first people you came across that helped you out to find the stuff you needed? Martin Pimentel: There were too many to mention here. I started going deep and before too long the stuff tended to find me! That’s the good thing about this community. People get to know each other, their
Name: Peter Ashby Hometown: Hurstbridge, Victoria, Australia Started riding BMX in: 1979 Number of bikes in the collection: 15 at the moment
Do you remember the moment that you decided to start collecting BMX memorabilia? Peter Ashby: It was around 20 years ago. I saw an old 1980 Mongoose on a rubbish pile so I took it home because of the great memories I had as a kid with BMX's and hung it in my garage.
Name: Jon Hoffman aka OLDSKOOLPK Hometown: Haddon Township, NJ Started riding BMX in: 1986 Number of bikes in the collection: 10 completes and 2 NOS SE Racing framesets (NOS Gold 1983 PK RIPPER and a NOS Orange 1985 Freestyle Quadangle)
What was the starting point of your BMX collecting madness?
Best of 7. Going back in time with people who captured BMX in the early years. Without these images it would be harder for everyone to understand what was happening in the beginning. It fits the oldskool articles nicely. Episode 49 goes to Bill Batchelor who has been treating the BMX historians with some gold lately.
Photographer: Bill Batchelor
Photo 1 -Who: Bob Haro -Where: Pipeline King of the Skateparks, Upland California -When: 1985 -What Happened: In between the actual contest judging events I always took a lot of pictures of the people and the behind the scenes action. Bob was judging the contest so this photo was part of a series of the judges. -Why this photo: As a BMX kid in the early 1980s, Bob Haro was an idol of mine. He started it all, and epitomized what was cool at the time. We’d stare at photos of his riding in the magazines and his Freestyle Tricks book and try to build his ramps. When I first got a real Haro number plate for my race
NAME: Ashley Little HOME TOWN: Leicester, U.K NUMBER OF BIKES IN COLLECTION: Currently have 21 complete bikes and approximately 20 frame sets. I’ve recently sold my unit where I had all my bikes, motorbikes, cars and other random stuff so everything BMX related is boxed up ready for the move.
What was the starting point of your BMX collecting madness? Ashley Little: Completely random but the company I owned at the time had a job working near an old BMX track where I grew up. I had to sign the completed works off on a Saturday morning and there was an event at the track, I popped over for a quick look and it was a small dirt jump event, hanging around I saw a guy on a PK RIPPER and got chatting. Fortunately for me he had no desire to keep the bike and a short while later the bike was in my car and approximately $120 in his pocket. From then on my curiosity lead me to looking up old local bike shops and buying old stock.
Name: Scott Bradley Barrette Hometown: Santa Rosa ,CA Favourite bike: My 24" Gary Littlejohn race cruiser
What's your earliest memory of BMX? Scott Bradley Barrette: One of my earliest memories of BMX was around 1975. Our local shop 'California Pedaler' was starting to bring in Cool BMX products... One day a Gold G-boy frame showed up on their wall! I remember being so impressed with how amazingly light this frame was! That day was when we met a couple local racers. Doug and John, they shared stories of BMX racing. That was when I decided that I must try this new sport... I did.
Name: Alvin Mullins Hometown: Bell Gardens, CA. USA. Started riding BMX in: 1975 Number of bikes in the collection: 42 vintage bikes. Webco, Two Wheeler, JMC, Cook Bros, G-Boy, Dan Gurney, Matthews, Haro, Skyway. Race Inc, SE...
Is your BMX past more Racing or Freestyle? Alvin Mullins: Freestyle. I rode skateparks and ramps.
Does that reflect on the bikes that you are collecting? Alvin Mullins: Not really, I do have a couple Haro Freestylers but mostly collect '70s BMX bikes and a few late '70s early '80s racing bikes.
Do you try to track down bikes that you rode in the past?
Name: Jason Eley (Jay) Hometown: Consett, County Durham, UK Started riding BMX in: 1983 Number of bikes in the collection: 2 bikes, my collection is based on Haro 1984, I have most of the items from the '84 catalogue including the catalogue.
Do you remember the moment that you decided to start collecting BMX memorabilia? Jason Eley: Probably 2001 when I was going through my RIDE magazine and noticed a UK shop selling one of my dream bikes, a complete Haro '84 Sport still in the box, I bought one and never stopped