Monday, June 29, 2009

Tim Lee - Bangkok scene report

I've gotten to know Tim over the past few months through the wonder that is the internet. This soon-to-be Australian resident has been doing a little travelling of late before he ends up in Sydney over the next few weeks.

Currently in Thailand, he has been spending his time constructively visiting the various riding scenes & getting to know the riders & the culture personally.

Tim was kind enough to grab a few shots & put some words together for us all... enjoy!


Welcome to Bangkok, here is a small scene report on this amazing City.


It is basically my second home, as I went to school here and have lived here, on and off, for the last 10 years.


In this huge city of a population of around 6.5million people, you feel quite small in comparison to the massive skyscrapers and the hustle and bustle of everyday life. From Street Vendors selling Roaches to the Market places and Malls where you can buy pretty much anything under the sun, to massive 5 star Resorts, to the slums on the Klong (River).

It is an amazing place with Dynamic Contrasts of the good, the bad and the ugly!
But it is not impersonal it is culturally Alive and Vibrant.

Getting around is quite easy with a host of transportation means - buses, taxi's, Tuk-Tuk’s, skytrains, subways, Riverboat taxi's, motorbike taxi's (which you wont catch me dead on - seen
way to many accidents!) only to mention a few!


--> Crazy Tuk Tuk Drivers


The Riverboat Taxis<--





--Flooding in the City--


It is now the rainy season, and when it rains - it pours.

Where sometimes the rain is so heavy, the streets flood and you could swear you were in Venice (so roll your jeans up take your shoes off and hope for the best) but i think it is the best time of year... after the rain everything is refreshed, its humid as hell and the best time to ride!

3 things in Bangkok you never leave home without is : bottled water, money and Camera.

The scene here is alive and kicking....with many pro's like Toon, Ping, Da, Tailwhip, Louis just to mention a couple.

Now getting to the spot to sesh is another story..... Everything is so spread out......

Either you risk life or limb and pedal in constant 6 lane rush hour traffic or you catch a cab/ Tuk-Tuk and waste about an hour maybe two in traffic. One of the most famous spots in Bangkok is the Kings Monument (Saphan Phoot)


--> Only way to sesh in the
back of a Tuk-Tuk


Traffic, traffic & more traffic!! <--




--> Saphan Foot - Legendary Spot



Victory Monument <--


This is Toon's local spot a Thai rider and a legend, Martti Kouppa himself came out here a couple years back picked a handful of guys and trained them for the Thai National team. Toon will ride here every weekday twice a day - his routine is relentless. But Consistency is the game. He aims at every link/ combo to be solid five times in a row. He and Ping are off to the worlds in Cologne soon - watch out for these cats!

Another awesome Spot is on the River – The Chaophraya, under the King Rama the 8th Bridge.
Plenty of Riders out that way too.

At Rama IX Bridge

The European and Japanese influences here give these riders a unique style.
All the riders are so friendly and stoked to see you when you rock up @ the spot; it is easy to make friends.
Usually how the session works out is, ride, ride, ride, chill out - mess about, ride some more, then afterwards everyone hangs out and usually has something to eat nearby.
In aspects of all extreme sports everything seems to be so well organized....
With many demos and expo's being held to make the public aware of our BMX culture.






Here are a few photos from one of these events...
Toon & Ping Rippin it up










Well, it’s off for me to Sydney in a few weeks time and i hope to meet a lot of you guys out and about!

New Colony website launched!!!

That's right - the whole site has been completely re-done & re-vamped. Find information on the whole Colony line of products, regular news updates & contact info. All the team pages are now also complete with bios & pics to brighten your day.

Check it out by clicking here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tasmania video promo - Forgotten Ground - Out Now!!

Forgotten Ground, a new video by Matt Wootton that documents the Tassie scene, is due to come out shortly with the crew hard at it getting clips together. It's been a while since something like this has come out in Australia so i'm keen to see what the boys have planned!

Colony Down Underground Finals - next weekend!!

If you haven't made your travel arrangements already, the last stop of Colony Down Underground series is happening in Brisbane next weekend. Check for more details here or the flyer below.



Canadian ripper Eric Effinger dropped me an email during the week & it's great to hear that he's going to be attending - doing the road trip up from Sydney & all!

Shintaro Misawa who is going to be at the finals next weekend also just dropped this SICK new video - killing it as usual on his Cube...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Freestyle Now! - new website launched!

Shaun Jarvis, head honcho behind the Freestyle Now! crew over in Western Australia have launched their all new website. Check it out by clicking here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

From West to East to South - sessions are going down...

It might be winter in Australia, but the sun is still shining (in most places!) & the sessions are happening...

Chief motivator at large, Shaun Jarvis sent me this cool email about a typical day that he Andrew "Buff" McDermott & Mike Brandt just had over in Western Australia...

I rode to the train station to meet up with Andrew as we were heading to the city to ride. There was a lady at the train station who commented that our bikes were to small for us to ride. I told her that we were stunt men and that my bike is my life and i look at my bike with the same admiration as I do when I look at my girlfriend. She did not get it.

We got to the city at about 10am and stopped at the coffee house for awesome coffee. Always a good way to start off the morning. 30 minutes later we got to the concert hall spot and we both started to be shredding... and then Charlie Chaplin comes alive and how can you miss a photo opportunity like that?? Mike B showed up about 2 hours later and he to got into the real deal. As there was a really large seniors concert on we got mobbed with old people and we were asked to move on as it was becoming somewhat hard to ride there. We were cool with that and the director dude said no problem any other day.


Off to our new spot but we were a bit unsure as it was a weekday and it might be a bust and it was. We got jacked about 2 mins into arriving there. Don't want to screw up that spot so off to the library spot...


Arrived there about 2pm and rode there till 4:30. The spot was a little bumpy but sometimes that can be good to keep your ability to ride any surface when the time is needed. I managed to pull a link I've been working on and it was the first time to get it done right. So stoked oh yeahhhh

From the library spot I decided to ride home. I thought that this was going to be the last non rain day in a while so make the most of it. The 80 minute ride home was awesome. Jump kerbs, dodge traffic, pop wheelies,bomb hills and make people in their cars coming home from work think what the hell is that guy on a bike doing - you gotta love that feeling its awesome!!
As I'm riding along I started thinking how privileged I am to be able to ride a bike. So I dedicated my day of awesome riding to every one who cant ride a bike for what ever reason that might be.


And then over in Melbourne, Victoria - Karl (Paradoxium) Hughes put a few words together about their recent session...

Weather was messued up but we had a great session all the same, using the dry area under the roof. It was my first session in months due to working everyday, so I was really stoked to be there. The guys have progressed a little since last time, so its all good from the Melbourne crew. In attendance were Grant, Jim, Michal, Ritchie, Karl and Jake.







And don't forget Tasmania. I caught up with Damon Fox recently & it was great to hear that along with his family & work commitments he he is now getting back into riding... stay tuned for more on that - but check some of the pics below...




Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Colony products just around the corner...

Just a quick reminder too that some new Colony products will be hitting our shores in September this year. We've talked about them previously, but keep a look out for the Colony Clone rims (also available as a complete wheelset, but not with a freecoaster just yet...)



And also out September are the Jam Circle pegs...

Jail time for riding a BMX???

There have recently been a few changes to the law in Victoria. Check this article, but basically the low-down is that they want to crack down on "bad cycling behaviour" & "property damage". The aim is to reduce the states road deaths.... makes you wonder what they'll put in place for cars???

Is doing this in an empty car park damaging??? Photo: Kristy Smith

Ali Finlay has kindly written a small response to this article:

Don’t kill anyone or you’re done for.

The Victorian state parliament changed laws in-relation to penalties for dangerous use of bicycles yesterday.

Read about it here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/06/18/2601834.htm

The story was all over the local TV news and I’m sure the papers are also giving it a flog.

What this really all means is that now if you happen to kill someone or cause an accident or fail to stop at an accident you’ve been involved in whist on your bike, you might be leaving yourself open to fines in the hundreds of thousands dollars and up to five years in jail.

I say now, because it seems previously if you happen to kill someone whilst riding your bike the fine was relatively small and you didn’t have to go to jail.

Or such was the case when a road rider named William Raisen-Shaw hit and killed 77 year old James Gould whist riding in a ‘peloton’ in Mentone.

Read about it here: http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/official-eye-falls-on-hell-ride/2006/08/29/1156816899914.html

And some reporting on the Coroners findings here: http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/coroner-slams-hell-riders/2007/07/26/1185339168515.html?s_cid=rss_news

In short the changes to the law bring bikes into line with motor vehicles when it comes to penalties if you mess up, which isn’t unusual considering bikes already have to conform to a minimum level of roadworthiness, just like cars.

Most flatland and BMX bikes do not meet the minimum roadworthy requirement, some lack at least one brake and when was the last time you ran a reflector, let alone pedal reflectors, wheel reflectors and front and rear reflectors?

Ultimately, if you don’t hit anyone when you're riding, then you’re okay and it doesn’t matter if the penalty is $500 or lethal injection.

But if you do hit someone, whether its on the way to your spot, or even at your spot (as I have seen happen) then you could be busted, twice as busted if your bike isn’t considered roadworthy.

So try not to hit people or things with your bike when riding and if you do, stick around and assist them in not dying or you may get some serious damage thrown your way.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

New 2020 BMXmag, LoveBMX from Czech & Vintage Show & Shine in Brisbane!

Bored? Looking for something to do or read? There is a tonne of stuff coming out with BMX & flatland content aplenty...

2020 BMXmag
Out around Australia next week.

148 pages of straight up, 100% riding from around this rad as hell country, what more do you need?

Check out the preview below, make sure you click fullscreen...


Thanks to all involved in the making of the issue. It rocks. Many more to come.




LoveBMX - Czech Republic
The new edition of their online BMX mag is now available! Always loads of flatland & general BMX content, plus lifestyle, technology, reviews etc. Great read with a great bulk of it in English
Check it by clicking here.

Finally don't forget the Vintage Show & Shine that is happening June 27/28 (next weekend) in Brisbane. Great way to check the roots of BMX with some fully restored old-school projects. Peep the flyer below for all the details....

Friday, June 19, 2009

Back to the Future... a miniview with Clint Millar

I've known Clint since pretty much day 1 of my riding life. I was 14, new to BMX & Flatland & looking to meet other riders. Picking up a copy of Ride US I saw an advertisement Clint had running for his Prody videos from back in the day. Well from there I got in touch, got the video... & we kept in touch old school style as pen pals - finally meeting about 7 or so years later. In that time he helped me immensely with motivation, trick ideas, BMX travelling stories... all the good stuff to get any younger rider stoked. Now Clint has a successful career as a pro rider along with owning & running Colony amongst many other things. He continues to help riders & promote BMX & the Aussie scene in a way that only he can - cheers Millar! - Badman.


* Years involved with flatland and/or BMX
I started riding flatland back in August of 1988. It all started with me learning back hops out the front of my house & then being stoked that I could do 300 of them in one go. haha.

* Describe the local scene when you first started
When I first started it was basically myself & two of my new found friends, Bob Herbohn & Michael Canfield. There were a few other scattered groups around Brisbane but not many riders at all. If your saw someone else on a bike you were instantly friends. Over the years it started to grow slowly but then took a dive in the early '90's. It was very hard to find bike parts then & almost even harder to find riders outside of your own group. It was a good time period though & we all rode cause we loved it.

* How does the current BMX/flatland scene nowadays compare to the past?
The BMX scene in general is totally different now. So many riders & so much good choices for bike parts, places to ride & people to ride with. Kids really are spoiled today with the choices & opportunities in BMX in Australia right now. Flatland on the other hand is probably still small & unique but on the rise with the help of a few select key people within the scene.

* You've travelled worldwide - how does the Australian scene compare to abroad?
I have said all the time now for a few years but the Australian BMX scene I feel is the strongest in the world, period. For the small population that Australia has in world standards we have a very high percentage of BMX riders here. It's a really good scene here with it's own industry. I am doing my part with Colony to make sure the industry grows in the right direction for the riders here. I want to build the industry to a level where riders can begin to support themselves by riding full time. This day will come for sure.




* As the mastermind behind Colony - you have a lot of involvement with flatland in Australia these days with sponsoring Australian flatlanders, developing flat products through Colony and sponsoring the D.U.G. series. what motivates you to do this?
My motivation for this is just because I used to ride flatland & want to be able to give back because it gave me so much for so many years. I may not ride flat all that often or at a level I used to but I still totally respect it & want to help build it up stronger here in Australia. Plus just helping out my friends like Shane & Simon with their own product ranges is all the motivation I really need.

* Where do you see the future of flatland in Australia?
With the right direction I can see it getting quite strong for those involved for the right reasons.

* You recently put together a new ride - what made you get another flatland bike?
Yeah I am stoked. Been wanting to mess around again with flat for about 9 months now & finally got around to doing it. Just wanted to have the feeling again of doing flatland moves & to see what I could still do. It was awesome to pull some of my old stuff again & I am looking forward to riding as often as I can.

* Final words?
See you all at DUG !!

* Thanks?
Thanks to anyone out there that supports what I am trying to achieve with Colony.
Yo yo !!


And check out Clint's current flatland setup...

Frame: Colony Bloody Oath 19.8
Fork: Colony Hell Stallion
Headset: Colony
Stem: Colony Official
Bars: Colony Teddy
Bar Ends: Colony Konka
Grips: Animal
Cranks: Colony Colonial
BB: Colony Mid
Sprocket: Colony Official 23T
Pedals: Colony Fantastic Plastic
Chain: KMC K710SL
Front Wheel: Colony Clone Hub with Proper Rim (soon to be Colony Clone Rim)
Rear Wheel: Generic Freecoaster with Proper Rim (soon to be Colony Clone Rim)
Tyres: WTP Feelin' Foldable
Pegs: Colony Jam Circle
Front Brake: Hombre
Rear BRake: Fly
Gryo: Snafu
Brake Levers: Colony Transformer
Seatpost: Colony Pivotal
Seat: Colony Cube Pivotal



Global-Flat, Technology & Flatland...

The next instalment from Ali Finlay....

Dear Flatland Australia Blog reader,

It’s a little slack I know but below is an essay I wrote for school well over a year ago. It was for a class called New Communication Technology and is about technological convergence. Basically I was lazy used the global-flat website as the basis for my analysis. It was pretty much the first thing I wrote for school after returning to formal education for the first time in ten years. I got 78 for the essay and the version below is almost identical.

This essay is relevant for three reasons; one it’s about global-flat, two it started a long tradition of me using flatland as a basis for essays and three, it was just after I wrote it that I worked out that my school marks way too soft.

ali

Martin Hirst and John Harrison in their text Communication and New Media: From Broadcast to Narrowcast describe convergence ‘In the context of communications technologies’ as a process of ‘the coming together of telecommunications, computing and broadcasting into one electronic system’ (2006 p.65). They also argue that ‘technological convergence is itself the end product of important social and economic forces, in particular the process of commercial convergence. (2006 p.69).

www.global-flat.com (Schulz, 2008), a website dedicated to the sub-culture of Freestyle BMX Flatland, shows examples of Hirst & Harrison’s definitions of convergence. Old forms of broadcast media like print, still images and video are available in electronic format. The front page of the site displays recent news and updates in a text box and can contain a link to another site, video or photo. The news updates have an archive going back to 2004 and are available by RSS or Really Simple Syndication feed. The site also makes its text based news available in different languages, however because the news has to be translated by volunteers the service can experience delays.

There are clearly defined links above the main content panel at the top of the site that link users to the Video, Photo, Events and About sections. The Video section contains a convergence of this old technology with the new technology of online and on-demand streaming and downloading. Users have access to a large library of videos at no cost. These videos are produced by the site’s production team and users. The videos are delivered by the older direct download process and the newer web based streaming. This reflects changes in the way users access videos on the internet. We again see the convergence of old and new technologies in the photo section. Here still images are presented in albums arranged by subject. Users are able to view the images on-demand, as well as give a rating and make comments on each individual photo. This is an interactive element to global-flat.com.

One example of economic convergence is the sites ability to market itself to companies within the community. The site carries click-through advertisements for products and services relating to Flatland. Global-flat.com connects consumers to companies with relevant, desirable products. Companies and users utilize the reach global-flat.com has to market and develop interest around products and brands. The site content brings companies and users together via its news, videos, photos and forum posts, these can often contain an element of brand placement or endorsement.

Interactive is defined in the Concise Australian Oxford Dictionary (1997) as “1 Reciprocally active; acting upon or influencing each other” and “2 (of a computer or other electronic device) allowing two-way flow of information between it and a user, responding to the user’s input.” Interactivity is the act of being interactive.

Global-flat.com has interactive elements which are also linked from the top menu of the main page. The sites interactivity can be broken into three groups; online, offline and combination. The online group includes things such as the forum where users interact with each other, generally sharing information, discussing issues of importance to the community as well as non-Flatland related topics in a web based environment. This takes place on a PHP or PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor forum, which allows for the direct linking and display of images and videos. The PHP forum displays elements of technological convergence combined with a high level of interactivity and interpersonal connectivity. The parts section of the site contains an element where users can construct a virtual bike using real world parts. The end goal is to produce an image that gives users the ability to view possible combinations and see approximate weights and then apply that information in the real world to setup and purchase choices.

The offline interactive sections include a Tricks page which is a detailed how-to listing videos and text that give people instruction on how to complete certain Flatland tricks. The use of this online information takes place in the real world. In the past limited portability options have meant this information could not be taken on location, recent developments in wireless broadband internet technology now enable such information to be accessed at a spot and applied rapidly.

An example of combination interactivity is where volunteers provide an updated list of parts and their relevant aspects. Users are then invited to give each part a rating. A problem with this interactive element is that users have a tendency to give ratings on parts they have only experienced through the internet. A direct example of this is when over 1300 users rated a product that was still in development phase and being used by less than three riders in the world. A possible issue with the part rating system could be that it gives the wrong impression to users who might access the information with an aim to making decisions about product purchases.

Ultimately, global-flat.com is not the first Flatland website to use media like videos and digital images in combination with things like forums and live chats and it will not be the last. The relative success of global-flat.com within the Flatland community can be attributed to its model of narrowcast and diversified convergent technology. It seems to be the quality and quantity of its content and a high level of interactivity and connectivity that brings together a small community. However as the site continues to develop content and interactivity, it may have to face issues of accountability and advertising declaration.

References

The Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English (1997) Moore, Bruce (ed)
Hirst
, Martin and Harrison, John (2006) Communication and New Media: From Broadcast to Narrowcast.
Schulz, Martin
(2004-08) www.global-flat.com

Thursday, June 18, 2009

West Oz... where the action is

Shaun Jarvis & the Freestyle Now crew over in West Oz have been keeping very active of late. They had a demo go down at Duncraig High School with other Perth ripper Andrew McDermott keeping the flatstyles alive.

It was not a normal Freestyle Now demo as only Andrew was riding along with some of the students from the school ripping it up on the ramps. My freecoaster hub on my new bike is not working so and I'm now waiting on some replacement parts. Hope to have them before the weekend to get some good riding in... - Shaun Jarvis


And in other news from Shaun...
I've been doing a bit of my old job this past week as well: painting a friends house and have enlisted the help of Russ to help out. Russ aint got a job at the moment so if I can help him out with some cash I will. If any one wants to give Russ a job he can not only paint a house but can build web site, awesome artwork and graphic design work.


And with the Colony Underground finals in Brisbane on July 4 - Shaun will be busy getting the trophies done.... check below for the previous version - sick!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Paul Chamberlain update...

Paul Chamberlain & his wife Jen have been clocking up the miles on their trip around the Americas. Paul stuck this little piece up on the Flatland Australia forums recently....

Hey guys,

I´m at Cuba at the moment. I´m going to do a full write up for the blog when I can get some pics from SD card onto the computer. This is difficult out in the country in a country where internet is a luxury.

I don´t have my bike with me here. It would be more of a burden to be honest seeing as we´re staying max 2 or 3 days in one place. A couple of days ago Jen got sick and we were quarantined... Crazy shit. There´s no swine flu in Cuba so they´re really cautious. They have really good health care here... A shit load better than America as it´s all totally free.

We climbed up a mountain to a waterfall today and saw a couple of snakes which was good. I smoked a couple of Cuban cigars too and found out that smoking cigars is a totally filthy habit that I seem to enjoy. We´ve got two more weeks here so I´m allowed to smoke 2 more cigars! Better make sure they´re massive ones!

After Cuba we´re going back into Mexico and then back into the USA. We scored some cheap tickets to Iceland so after the USA we head there. By that time I´ll need a job so I´m looking... I miss riding but I get to do it again in July. Now I´m trying to learn Spanish and take exercise so it doesn´t feel weird when I ride again. . .

Peace

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ross D Lav's ride... with proto Cube bars

Ross D Lav also sent a pic of his ride with the proto Colony Cube bars that were featured earlier & are due out in August/September....


Sessions at Wembley - Brisbane

Ross D Lav sent me over this piece about the infamous Wembley spot in Brisbane.


Wembley has been a flatland haven for more than 20 years. This place is where quite a few of us learnt to ride with some of the best Aussie riders back in the late eighties and early nineties. With Clint Millar getting his new flat bike together and Tony Newton riding again after becoming a Dad for the third time, it was an awesome Sunday arvo session out in the winter sun. Check the pics... good times.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Shaun Jarvis & his new Colony ride...

Shaun Jarvis out of West Oz just sent me the specs on his new ride... looks the goods & definitely rides like it. In the words of Shaun himself...

Rolled out on it and dude this is one of the best rides I've ever had. Yeah it's longer than what I had but after about 5 minutes on it, it felt so stable and I was hitting everything better than ever. Just about every trick felt so much better.

Was riding at the new spot with Mike Brandt and when he left at about 4:30 and I just stayed on and rocked out till 6. That spot even has lights. I had to finish my session only due to the fact that I was shaking from over doing it. It was about 15 degrees out and I was sweating like crazy.
Any ways - getting ready for the Colony Downunderground Round 4 in 3 weeks...



Specs on the new ride...
Frame – Colony - Bloody Oath 19.8TT
Fork – Odyssey 41thermal min off set
Headset - sealed
Stem – Colony TLD
Bars - Odyssey – Chase Gouin 8inch rise
Grips – Animal Edwin signature
Leavers – Odyssey M2
Cables - Odyssey
Brakes – Odyssey evolver front and back
Seat post – Odyssey Intac
Seat post clamp - integrated
Seat – Primo (plastic- always had a plastic seat)
Cranks – Profile 165mm
Pedals – Animal Steve Hamilton
Bottom bracket – mid sealed
Sprocket – Animal sprocky balboa 25t
Chain - Eastern half link

Front wheel
- rim – Odyssey midway 48 hole
- hub – Odyssey hazard 48 hole 14mm axle
- spokes – stainless radial laced

Rear wheel
- rim – Odyssey midway 48 hole
- hub – Tuf neck rollacoaster 48 hole 14mm axle
- spokes – Primo white

Pegs – Demolition street
Tires – Animal ASM-R
Tubes - fluoro yellow ones

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Simon O'brien... back in Aus!

Simon's just returned from an awesome trip he's just had in Japan. He dropped me a quick email to let me know how things went....

I'm good, hopefully didn't catch the swine flu and had a great time being with friends and my girl in Japan. Lots of Asahi beer and sushi.... good times!!

I spent just under 2 weeks there, got home yesterday. Already I'm really missing it, the people, style of Japan and shirt weather every day then back home to cold days and freezing nights.... average!

I spent most of the time in Tokyo and travelled north for 2 days to check out some temples and stay in a Japanese style hotel, was awesome, tiring but awesome!!

Overall a pretty relaxed time though. Didn't do too much, a few sights... Odaiba, Asakusa etc. a lot of chilling.

Can't wait for my next Japan trip! :)




Don't forget Simon is also working on the follow up to his phenomenal solo DVD Made You Look, that is due out next year... stay tuned.