We did parks. We did trails. But the streets are so, so different. The very nature of putting rules to riding street is everything street riding is not supposed to be. So please don't construe these as mandatory. Destroy, barge, get in the way, lock spots up, yell at security, leave trash…you're free to do it all, because you're not in a house that any one built. But, there are ethics—guidelines—that will keep you in the good graces of your fellow riders…
Shout out to Dave Vanderspek for that marquee image…RIP.
Ruin The Spot
Like don't chunk the ledge, bro. Maybe some silicon pegplants will help or maybe you should just learn how to grind, but if you're fucking up the ledge, it's time to move on. And, while we're at it, if you pull out some trees or do some other random shit, please hide your damage. Leaving a spot as you found it (or better) is the goal here.
The random hero and underpaid security guard are always looming and the worst thing you can do is antagonize them to a point that they will never, ever let another rider even scope a spot without getting their phone out to call the cops. Yes, they're being a complete condescending prick to you, but you gotta kill them with kindness. I consider myself a professional pacifier of shitty situations, and my typical line of bullshit goes something like this: "Oh, I didn't know we couldn't ride this…is it okay if we get like 20 more minutes and we'll be out of here?" If they persist on being an asshole, continue to plead ignorance and stand your ground as an intelligent human being. If it really goes downhill and you feel disrespected, then put 'em their place…everyone has their limits.
The infamous Shad Johnson/Walter Pieringer security guard fiasco in Miami…
WHO CARES YOU KNOW WHERE THE SPOT IS? You don't have to call out that you know that that spot is at Redondo High School or leave some not so-subtle comment like #lboffcherryblvd…because most people aren't idiots like you and know exactly what you're talking about. And, while we're on the subject, if you're posting photos of spots, please turn geo-tagging off.
A gray area, as "already been dones" are subjective and based on the following variables: time difference, difficulty of setup, friendship with other rider, and overall intention. But here's the general consensus: If someone did that dope gap to wall two years ago, it's pretty much widely condoned and accepted feeling for you to want to do it, too. Hell, maybe you can even post the clip on Instagram with a shout out to whoever did it first and most people won't get butthurt. But, what you shouldn't do is film it for your Welcome To Twat Bikes debut edit…and you really, really shouldn't put someone else's banger as your first clip, either. That won't make anyone happy.
Sorry Demarcus, but this is too good…
If you roll up to a spot and there’s a bunch of skaters or other riders, don't just barge it—especially if they're filming. They were there first, so chill. If you really can't wait, ask if you can join in…but give them their damn time. Hell, I think it's just best to come back.
No Parking At The Spot
BMX ain't a secret these days. If a cop drives by a school yard and sees two shitty cars with bike racks on it, he knows what's up. Park around the corner. Added bonus: If shit gets weird, you can just bounce down the road and come back later when it's clear.
Legality on this one is subject and determined by overall sensitivity of the one with the spots, but it's generally bad form to go cruise a dude's spots with him one weekend and go back the next with a filmer and photographer on your back ready to check the ABD list. While there is nothing set in stone, this is a definite way to ruin any future spot gifting. If in doubt, ask…or just don't do it.
This has nothing to do with courtesy spots, but it showed up on google…
Cutting off stoppers…you're the man. Quick-creting a barrier…that's dope. Rub brick a rough ledge…you're smart. Cutting the kink off a rail…alright. Laying down a board on a curb…ehhh. The bottom line here is that street riding is not supposed to be perfect and spots are supposed to be difficult to ride. If you're making the impossible possible, then it's cool. If you're just taking the challenge out of it, then why bother?
Let's face it, one-upping is impossible to avoid. The legacy of spots like El Toro and Hollywood High are built on people determined to go one-up their forefathers. In my opinion, people only have the right to get all teary eyed about it when the groundwork they laid is poached. Whether it's some far out adventure spot that they discovered, a spot that needed a ton of work done to be rideable, or the rare situation where it's some aspect of riding that had never been considered…people just don't like other people riding their coattails. Time is often a factor, so let people have their glory before you go in and clown on 'em, but like most things, you should have tact. If you're feeling iffy about something, hit the guy up and see if it's cool.
A brief synopsis of the most legendary one-up of all time:
Josh Heino did a gap off the top of the Queen Mary into a passageway. He spotted, scoped, and conspired how to get it done…going as far as renting a room at the hotel to get his bike on board of the ship. Josh fired it out to BMX's well-recognized appreciation. Shortly after, Ben Snowden got up there and did the gap again…throwing in an extremely odd, one-upping X-up for good measure. Josh was not happy and was seen throwing a drink and attempting to fight Ben at that year's Interbike. Ahhhhh, what a good time.
It's said that the best spots are always in the ghetto, but you don't need to be in the ghetto for bad shit to happen. Just as you watch out for security/cops, you should also be looking out for people looking to do ya harm. Discuss who's keeping an eye on the bags, don't let anyone ride your bike, and if ya have a bad feeling about something, you're probably right. Basically, don't be naïve otherwise someone gonna take yo shit.