“The Revolutions Will Not Be Televised” on ESPN

June 16th, 2009 | Category: Essays

My first column for ESPN, entitled “The Revolutions Will Not Be Televised,” in which I reminisce and ruminate as to why BMX flatland television coverage disappeared.

Steamroller in Red Square circa 1995 [photo by Eric Black]

Here’s an excerpt:

When I started riding flatland BMX, there were only a handful of flatland tricks to learn, and it was easy to see where to start if you wanted to learn even the hardest of them. Curb endos, 180s, rollbacks, the core of the sport’s repertoire didn’t even require pegs. This changed quickly as the sport progressed. By the late ’80s, there were hundreds of tricks, many of which involved rolling around in either direction on either wheel, and many of which I can’t do to this day.

At the same time that flatland for the beginner was approaching impossible, dirt jumping and street riding were becoming viable aspects of competitive BMX. This is not to say that hucking yourself over gnarly doubles or down doublesets of stairs is easy. It is to say that one can see where to start if one wants to do one or the other. If I hadn’t started riding BMX in 1984, I wouldn’t have ever started. Have you seen what those guys do these days? It’s insane. Once the barriers to entry for flatland were raised too high, new blood was scarce. A species that stops reproducing itself endangers its existence.

Here’s the full article.

Mad thanks to Brian Tunney for setting this up.

[That’s me steamrolling across Red Square on the University of Washington campus in Seattle during the dark days of 1995. Photo by Eric Black.]

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