Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The Freewheelers

Late July or early August 1985.  Luc and I drive to Moncton in his dad’s Ford LTD.  The first summer that we have our licenses.  The freedom of driving to the city unaccompanied by our parents.  Music blasting, Vuarnet’s covering our faces, Vans covering our feet, we head over to our friend’s house.  We have never been there before, put Luc has the address.

We had met Mike Plume three years before through BMX.  My very first memory of him is the dude who rode the red Race Inc.  I was blown away by that bike.  Frame built from massive alloy tubes.  Thick clean welds.  It was the very first real BMX bike that I had seen that was in the magazines.  Mike was always very nice to us.  We always felt a bit intimidated by the Moncton crew.  They were city kids and we lived out in the country.  He didn’t speak French and we sometimes struggled with English. He was very cool and never made us feel like BMX outsiders. 

Mike has recently gotten into music and Luc wants to go see his electric guitar.  A beautiful instrument even if I know nothing about guitars, but there is also his GT Pro Performer BMX Freestyle bike.  Recently purchased from Mike’s Bike Shop in Shediac, pretty much the only bike shop around that still carries BMX.  Luc and I are still riding our old race bikes at the time that we have converted to Freestyle.  But Mike’s GT has been designed from the ground up for trick riding.  Pegs, platforms and a curved downtube to clear the front brake when spinning the bars.  The exact same bike that Eddie Fiola rides at the Pipeline Skatepark in California.  Hanging out, Mike also lets us know that his mom has accepted a new teaching job and that they are moving to Calgary in a few weeks.  Not that we spend much time together since he lives in Moncton and we live in Saint-Antoine, but it still feels like the end of a certain era.

Wondering if or when we’ll see Mike again, our conversation now seems different.  It has a certain sense of urgency to it, making the discussion sticky.  Before leaving, Mike tells us that he has come up with a cool name for a BMX Freestyle Trick Team that he wants to start in Alberta.  The Freewheelers.

We leave Mike’s house after saying our goodbyes.  This is before social media.  The only way to stay in touch is expensive long distance phone calls or snail mail.  We don’t exchange phone numbers or addresses.  Probably because Mike likely doesn’t even have this information at this point.  Mike moves out west, sells his GT and really gets into music, eventually making it his life career.  Without realizing it at the time, Luc and I become The Freewheelers.


No comments: