Buddha Bmx

This was an activity I began as a youngster to pass the "time." A good amount of American children learn how to ride a bike, for some reason I wasn't content with just pedaling around. It started from racing friends to the grocery store perhaps while weaving and dodging obstacles in the process. Eventually we weren't content with the ground either and decided to see if these two wheeled machines could fly. In no time we were breaking the 2nd precept (or as we understood it the 8th commandment) by stealing plywood from local construction companies in order to make ramps.
I didn't even really know such a thing as bmx existed...I didn't know about the x games, or Matt Hoffman. I just figured this was the natural progression. When I did discover this world of Bicycle motocross it was amazing how quickly conditioned existence took over. I started reading the magazines, memorizing all the bmx arahats/bodhisattvas of the day and gladly allowed thoughts of going pro to flood my mind. When this happens bmxers tend to be obsessed with progression. One must always be developing their skills and learning more and more tricks. If you ride with friends and they learn something and you can't, epic suffering ensues.
It's interesting because a lot of people get into "alternative" sports because they like the individual aspect of not having a coach breathing down your neck for you to get better. What I discovered though is instead of a single coach that is there only because he wants to see you progress (so he his team can win and in the process gains him recognition) it's all of your friends (as well as your no-self) that are the coaches. They may not be as outright in their criticisms but often times their evaluation of your skills has a far more toxic effect. This mentality quickly deteriorated my love for bike riding with others. I would mostly ride by myself, a bmxing hermit if you would.
As I tragically attempted to survive my teenage years other interests came into my mindstream (creating/listening to music, the female gender, World of Warcraft and working namely) Bmxing took a backseat. The idea of moving from one point of the planet to the other for the sake of looking cool no longer did not appeal to me, nor did the physical toll that accumulates with it.
I have recently “rediscovered” the joy in bike riding though and I attribute most of it to my practice. The picture above is of me doing a one footed x-up. I did one of these at the skatepark the other week and these other bmxers said something along the lines of “that’s so 1995.” It’s very interesting how trends dictate what tricks people do on kids bikes. Anyway this picture was about a year ago and for me it’s a constant reminder of a lot of things. A big thing is impermanence; I am not the same person now as I was in that picture. My emotions at that instant in the air were not the same now. “I” had a totally different motivation towards life. Even that trick itself is impermanent. Every time I do it, it will always been a little different. My leg might be stretched a little less or a little more, the arms won’t ever be stretched in that exact same way. I might not be as high in the air. Not only that but one day, I will not be able to do that at all. My physical abilities (as well as my body) will one day deteriorate to the point of uselessness. That’s why for me I cherish that instant I’m in the air. I’m completely present in the moment of what I’m doing. Every time I crash it usually involves a distracted mind somehow, I’ll think about what I have to do instead of just doing what I have to do. Bmxing isn’t very difficult, it’s just scary. It’s easy to get attached to preconceived notions of how you think something will turn out. Before you try something or as you try it, you’re constantly questioning, checking, reasoning what you’re trying to do instead of merely just experiencing the event and learning from that direct experience. Sometimes it’s so bad that you end up fulfilling your own prophecy. Since I’ve begun my practice I am able to identify the useless presuppositions of the mind and work through them. I no longer care what others think or say about my riding. Even when I fall I am able to observe the pain in my body and understand that it is not “mine.” “I” no longer classify the pain as bad but merely as a response mechanism of the body. A big reason I got back into riding was because a $500,000 dollar skatepark was built in my town. There aren’t suppose to be bikes allowed there but neither is anyone unless they have a helmet and only a minority of people wear helmets most skaters are just as much in violation as me. This leads to a sometimes tense relationship between those who bike and those who skate. Everyone is all about the separation, they instantly stereotype who you are just because you ride on 2 wheels instead of 4. I thought I never had that stigma because a lot of my friends were skaters and I’d ride with them. I try as best I can to break down the barrier and be as friendly and compassionate to everyone else as I can. But just today I was trying to do a particular grind(a smith) down a ledge that next to a 5 stair set. When I landed a skater was right there and I had to jump off the bike to stop and nearly snapped my ankle. He didn’t even look at me let acknowledge what just happened eventhough had I been in his shoes I would have been chewed out. I noticed the angry rise very rapidly and even in a smart ass tone said “sorry for getting in your way.” The instant I said it I had a something of a satori moment and thought to myself “who’s way is it, that he’s/I’ve gotten into?”


nick said...

Great Post!

I truly enjoyed reading it. I have not rediscoverd an old passion through my practice, but I wont be surprised if I do,


Anonymous said...

great post.

Raymo.E-J said...

excellent post. very detailed.

it inspired me to go skating today, and to look back upon my experience with skateboarding dating back to 5th grade, and drumming dating back to 8th grade. it looks like there is a wealth of insight available. it all seemed so Zen: always in the zone. and you're right, growing older takes a toll, throws off the no-mindedness of the sport, but then it--the pain, the inspection of form-- all becomes more focused and... i dunno...then again i was never consistent over the 8 years ive been skating.

i totally agree with you on the coaching thing. but for me each the most toxic coach was myself (fears). skating with others I was more tried more different tricks instead of obsessing over one trick when i skated alone...
lol, good job handling the skatepark drama.

That picture is Beastly!