A couple of nights ago I was feeling all nostalgic and decided to search around and see if I could find some pics of my old stomping grounds from “back in the day”. I was pretty suprised to actually find some!
The first concrete park I ever rode was an old busted late 70’s era park that had been left to rot in Edgewood MD on Rt 40. My aunt lived in Belcamp, and I was constantly being driven to her hut for visits. One day I saw what I thought was a big concrete berm off to the side of the road, but somewhat concealed because it was down in a little valley. On the way home from that trip I made my mom pull over so I could see if it really was a skatepark…and it was! It looked freakin scary as hell.
The place was dying, but that didn’t matter. I just HAD to ride this joint. Unfortunately I was between rides at the time, so I didn’t get to ride the park til Christmas day (about 4 months later), which was spent out at my aunts. I had gotten a custom Skyway T/A for xmas, and I rode it all the way from Belcamp to the park, which had to be at least 7 or 8 miles in the freezing freakin cold.
The place consisted of two different snake runs and a big horribly designed bowl. This is the view from the top of one of the snake runs. If you went over the edge of that far transition, you dropped like 25 feet. I actually saw some guy jumping it on purpose one day. I thought he were freakin nuts. It was Brian Foster. He was at this place a lot because he lived pretty close. Wheel Power was the shop the local tough guys got sorted out by.
This photo is taken from the same spot but looking over at the rest of the park. One of the hot lines was to start at the top of the hill you can see in the distance to the top right, sweep around the berm, and then air out on the opposing wall. We would usually do this and land back on the incline we had just ridden down to get speed. One day out of the blue, Brian Blyther shows up with Spike Jonez and they are taking pics (they were in MD for a demo the day before at Rockville or something)…Brian takes the same line to start but then airs all the way across the dirt waaay down into one of the snake runs. It doesn’t sound that tough, but this pic is decieving. To get a feel for the scale, take a closer look at the picture and realize that there are actually 3 skaters standing on that far incline. It doesn’t look steep either but when you were standing up there it was no joke. Brian clipped his rear wheel on the lip trying that line and got a pinch flat, so I sorted him out with a tube. I always had tubes in my car in those days.
Here is a view of the main bowl, with someone riding around the vert edge. You can see how badly shaped this bowl was…the transition actually started to level off towards horizontal before abruptly kicking to full vert. The thing was horrible. There was no way you could do a proper air in it…no one was even stupid enough to try. You would just ride around the perimeter and sort of jump out of it right about the place the photographer is standing. You can also see the ring around where the bowl was usually filled up with water. I don’t know how many skateboards were ion that thing, but there were a lot. One of the snake runs butted right up against this bowl and if you lost your board and it went flying into air, most likely it was going in the drink never to be seen again. Yes it was as scary and as sketchy as it looked, but we loved this place. I was hardly a local, but I would get out there every chance I could. All edgewood pics are from the House of Steam blog.
Years later someone told me about Landsdowne. Landsdowne was a park that someone tried to open commercially in the middle of some neighborhood, but it never actually opened due to some sort of opposition. The thing is, the park was already completelt constructed by the time the opposition happened, so instead of dozing it, the county just let it ride..er uh, let us ride…whatever.
This is a fairly recent pic of the place. Once again it was first wave skateboard style snake runs, but this place was in way better shape than the edgewood park. In this pic, you can see two freshly planted trees on the left…that was all dirt when I rode here. Word is that the county gave the place a facelift not too long ago and tried to make it legit…enforcing helmet/pad rules etc, but eventually it just went back to the way it should be..free and underground.
Believe it or not, this park of the park rarely got used. It doesn’t really look it, but the walls are actually a little tight for riding a bike on. Mainly though, othert portions of the park were just more fun.
You can see the lighter colored cement where they paved over some sections that used to be asphalt. The main bad ass rider when we went there was a guy named Mike Forney. Man he could freakin rinse it!
I had stopped riding for a while, but then built up a Profile frame and fork with some Mongoose Pro Class wheels and green comp stadium tires, so I would have something to putt around on. I lugged that thing over to Landsdown one day because I heard there was going to be a contest there. Some dude named Hal was running the show, representing a little company he had started called 2B Homecooked or something like that. I dunno I think they ran a zine and had out some shirts…real lo-fi kinda scene. The place was swarmed with bikes (unusual for that era) and after a while he was running around trying to get people to sign up to compete. He came up to me and I was like “you’re joking right?”. I didn’t even have enough for the entry fee…but he was like “just give me a couple of bucks man and do it”, so I did. It was fun and there were some guys there doing some seriously sick stuff. To my suprise, I ended up getting the “Most soulful rider of the day” award, which was a big ugly chalice looking ornamental glass cup with a 2B sticker on it. I cherished that thing for years and I am really sad that I don’t still have it. A few months afterwards, Mike Forney gave me a copy of the Homecooked zine which the contest was featured in, and I got a photo in there busting a nice flat table over the one air-able hip…I still it somewhere among my memorabilia. I’m sure I’ll dig it out and put up a scan or something someday…
Ahhh, if I could only go back to those days. On the other hand…having had to ride parks like these, I feel like I -really- appreciate how slick places like Duncan Creek are. I guess thats why I feel like I should ride as much as I can and not take having a park that close for granted.