The Forgotten Icon
Midschool seems to hit a soft spot with a lot of older riders. A time where BMX still seemed separate from the crap that governs the rest of the world. It was much simpler and being a pro seemed more spiritually rewarding. I think the attitude of BMX was a lot different too. Especially for this Brian Wizmerski piece there was an attitude that every unique spot had to be mapped, found, and documented. That type of attitude seems largely gone these days. Less about the search for a new and different, more about replicating what happened at the skatepark. Not to say that this section isn’t the later cause it clearly is with how well Brian translate park over to street but most of the spots shown are true real one of a kind gems. He isn’t going to the skate plaza directly to do the local low rail thats street just for credibility. BMX still had a large sense of adventure to it and most specially this Brian Wizmerski’s iconic section. This wasn’t a three or four filming trip to do the section. It was real representation for an ongoing lifestyle.
The songs he chose, the clothes he wore, his style of riding, the dreads were all a really uniformed aesthetic that was unique to himself. I’d say the biggest reason Wiz was held back was because he was almost too good. His riding was either defined by one of kind crazy gem spots that really had to be searched for or overly technical park tricks taken to the street. To even try to replicate Wiz’s style you had to be really good rider yourself or have the time to really dedicate yourself to the spot search life. While Ed’s image still persists in some ways, I think Wiz doesn’t cause just the changing of times. Four pegs brakeless became the norm. Brake based riding didn’t. People liked the low ledge, low risk riding. Less people became about spot life cause rising gas prices or just general laziness. Wiz is almost a relic of his time. A personification of riding that was once more widespread but now scarce.
I guess that’s why midschool has a such a strong following amongst people cause an icon like Wiz wasn’t determined by likes and followers or some sort of personality facade through social media. He represented himself through his riding, through his songs, through his clothes and lifestyle choices that peeped through every clip. It didn’t seem so manufactured or force fed. Kind of like how the ever elusive Bob Dylan that plays in the background of this section is. His height of popularity maybe gone but Bob Dylan’s name will be around for generations to come, while a lot of people today will be forgotten when the next guy who does the same thing outdoes them. Wiz seemed like the last of the solid park/street rider. In the world of extremes we live in today, your either too street or parky park, Wiz was like unifier of both worlds. His park riding was really good and unique but not out of reach like 1080 bars and triple backflips. His street riding was definitely street cause of the approach regardless of the trick. Barspins maybe the de facto street cred trick but Wiz out street creds everyone doing park tricks and that speaks multitudes of his riding.
That’s the beauty of BMX. It really isn’t determined by any rules. Of course there are guidelines that the industry and culture will naturally form that help if you decide to pursue a career in it but that in itself is a choice with it’s own advantages and disadvantages. Even though personally I hold this time period, Wiz and the way of thinking then close to me and think a lot of the stuff thats happening now completely unrelateable. That’s only me and my choice. If vlogging and connecting with people all over the world through a shared unique experience is what somebody likes then they should be shameless and do it and make it themselves. People obviously like it and there is definitely merit to it… but I’ll stick to what I do and what I always did cause thats where in BMX I enjoy it the most. Honestly if everyone rode like Wiz and adopted his persona, I’d probably get sick of it too though.
Hurricane by Bob Dylan
Square One - Wide Awake Nightmare (2003)
Edited by Kris Bennett