Read about the project at CLEVER°FRANKE
The Royal Dutch Cycling Federation (KNWU) wants to attract more people to the exciting, fascinating sport of Freestyle BMX.
They approach CLEVER°FRANKE with the idea to create a live visualization of their annual BMX free styling competition. Diving into the project, we determined there was an opportunity to provide more than just a visualization, but also a means for the athletes to gain better insights into their performance.
National BMX Hall of Fame just announced this year's nominees in six categories with Howie in the "Industry" category.
Howie's the first BMX-related person I spoke with before there was Generation BMX or The BMX Boys of E.T., back in 2013. I wish I had saved the voice mail he'd left after the multimedia piece published because no written word can capture the joy in someone's voice. He also let me know that he spotted a typo. Howie passed away a few months later. I wrote an "In Memoriam" post on my personal blog; I've pasted the whole entry below.
I'm glad his Everything Bicycles website is still up. I used to spend long hours looking through the galleries.
And I'm happy to see his name on the nomination. Hope a plaque with his name and picture graces the walls alongside other Hall of Famers.
IN MEMORIAM: HOWIE COHEN
July 13, 2013
July 13, 2013, 12:56 p.m.
"I was just wondering if you knew that Howie Cohen has passed"
The text message from Robert Cardoza floored me. I'd been thinking about Howie this past week. Our last conversation over the phone, a little over a month ago, was regarding the possibility of pursuing a BMX documentary, his website, and my interview with Bob Osborn. I had asked him when he'd visit New York, to which he replied, "I don't like traveling much but you're welcome to visit me any time."
I didn't know who Howie Cohen was until a few months ago. We became acquainted when my girlfriend introduced me to him. He was an expert on the history of bicycles and she was interviewing him for an article. Howie shared with her that he had built the bicycle for the movie E.T. and I was off and running to find out more details. It made Howie happy that I'd wanted to tell his story. We emailed back and forth often and talked over the phone. He asked if I wouldn't mind calling him at 7 am (MDT). Most of our conversations, including the interview that ended up in the story, were conducted during those morning hours. He meticulously catalogued his collection of bicycle images and memorabilia and so every image, art board, and E.T.-related items were emailed to me with exact captioning, labels etc.
Howie is the reason the story evolved to also include the untold story of the stunt bikers from E.T. He personally connected me with Robert Cardoza and suggested I also connect with Bob Haro and Bob Osborn.
I feel honored that Howie shared his stories with me. Bicycle stories made him happy. It made him happy that this newbie filmmaker wanted to make a BMX documentary. It didn't matter to him I couldn't tell the difference between a gyro and a BLT. It mattered the subject was bicycles.
Everything Bicycles was not just the name of Howie Cohen's distributor, it was his life. The BMX world owes a great deal to this man. I'm not alone with that thought.
Thank you, Howie.
Below is a series of photos Howie provided for the original piece, including his captions, but didn't end up in the final article.
"Growing up in the Cohen household was wonderful; I have so many warm memories about my youth. Bicycles were always a part of our family life; both at home and also in the bike shop that our parents owned. My sister, brother & I always had several trikes and/or bikes to ride at our disposal. My parents always encouraged us to participate in bicycle events and neighborhood bicycling. We went on occasional bicycle outings.
My first vehicle was a tricycle; here is a picture of me at about 18-months of age on it. My first two wheel bike was a 12 inch sidewalk bike at about 3 1/2 years of age. I've always had bicycles in my life and recently (this year) acquired a new bike from a Detroit bicycle factory (Detroit Bikes) that I am riding almost everyday (weather permitting). It's such a pleasure!"
The BMX Action founder has a new set of portraits photographed in Poplar, a town on Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana, in the Spring 2018 issue of The Montana Quarterly. The embed below is via MQ's Facebook post on the piece.
Also check out Osborn's book on Montana Cowboys published last year.
Subscribe to The Montana Quarterly here.
A taste of what it's like to be on the platform where the announcers work as a team and do their thing. In this 360 video, announcers Greg Harrison and Jim Reilly with USABMX's COO John David. Greg and Jim shared announcing duties that night with Mike Redman and Erick Cam Grindle.
Filmed on November 25, 2016.
A mini story via Generation BMX documentary footage stills.
“As long as I’m on my bike I’m a happy guy. Same reason I get to come here every year because I’d be a lousy person to be hanging out with on Thanksgiving if I wasn’t here” - Robert Cardoza
A mini story using screen grabs from Generation BMX footage shot on November 23, 2017, at Tulsa Expo Center during USABMX Grands 2017.
Connor Fields during autograph session session at 2016 USABMX Grands.
Use your headset, Google Cardboard, or just use your mobile device to look around the autograph table to see Connor and his fans.
If 360 video below isn't working on your mobile device, open this link on YouTube app.
Before the 360 cam was field tested at 2016 Tulsa Grands.
Did you know Bob Osborn's new photobook "The Cowboys of Central Montana: 50 Portraits" is now available to buy on Amazon or via his website? Bob recently sent me a signed copy. Portrait photography at its finest.
Bob talked about the project back in 2015 when I'd visited him in Livingston, MT, for a series of interviews that kicked off the Generation BMX documentary series. Below's a clip of Bob talking about the project. By the way, next to Bob is the one and only Howdy whose coolness this picture only slightly captures.
The historic Orange Y BMX Track closed its gates on August 28th, 2016 after nearly four decades of being in operation. A day earlier, hundreds of former and current riders gathered to participate in "One Last Lap," an event spearheaded by BMX Hall of Fame rider Billy Griggs.
Thought I'd share this short clip from that day's footage and invite you to subscribe to my YouTube channel, now up and riding again.
Here's to this year's BMX World Champions. Congratulations on seeing your hard work and determination pay off! You've just kickstarted the dreams of countless new riders who are headed to a bike shop today.
Here's to the future Champions. You inspire people around you by following your dreams. You may have not won medals this time, but you will always be Champions to those who look up to you.
And finally, here's to the former Champions, old school and new, whose work and love of BMX have paved the way for countless dreamers of yesterday and today. Without you ladies and gents, there would be no Champions of today to inspire the Champions of tomorrow.
Above: Alise Post (2016), Alec Bob (2015), and Corben Sharrah (2016).
June 11, 2017 is the 35th anniversary of the U.S. release of Steven Spielberg’s film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Its famed BMX chase sequence has influenced countless boys and girls around the world to take up the riding.
Howie Cohen is the man responsible for a certain brand of bicycles to be used in the movie, a story I shared in my 2013 multimedia piece The BMX Boys of E.T. and that of the young California BMX riders who did the stunts in that chase sequence. If you haven't read that story, click on the link, read it, and come back here. You can safely assume that the reaction worldwide to that story inspired me to embark on Generation BMX, the documentary series.
To celebrate the film's 35th anniversary I decided to post a set of audio clips from that story mixed in with some never before heard ones from my interview with Howie. Plus a whole set of unpublished behind the scenes photographs of the day the first batch of bicycles were delivered to the studio for Steven Spielberg, his production team (including Kathleen Kennedy and Dennis Muren), and the actors.
Stay tuned for more posts with un-published audio clips from interviews with Bob Haro and Robert Cardoza. Sign up for the newsletter.
Four years ago, on this day, my multimedia piece The BMX Boys of E.T. went live. The piece generated quite the buzz in the BMX world and I'll admit I wasn't prepared for it. My own history with BMX has always been that of an outsider looking in. I rode bikes, true, but only to get from point A to point B. Cycling as a sport never presented itself as an option.
Fast forward to 2015. With "The BMX Boys of E.T." as my passport, I decided to embark on the journey to tell the untold story of BMX – its origins, its evolution, its influences. I was moved by stories of people who live and breathe BMX - people of all ages, colors, and shapes who feel alive and free atop 20-inch wheels. I needed to tell those stories the best way I know how.
For the past two years I've been traveling around the country and filming. Shortly after my first interview with Bob 'Oz' Osborn in May, 2015, it quickly became clear to me that Generation BMX needed to be a series. That's an enormous task for a one-man band, who is also self-funding, to take on. In my mind, though, if I'm dreaming of climbing a mountain, it better be Everest.
As of May 16, 2017, the project has only scratched the surface. There will be at least another year of filming with a large set of subjects. By no means the slideshow on home page represents the full cast and scope of the documentary.
I'm still looking for great stories in Freestyle, Flatland, and any other variation of BMX. No matter what part of the world you are in, if you have a great BMX story, please connect with me at: email@example.com
The best way to receive regular updates with occasional exclusive content while I’m filming is via this email newsletter.