It is the race that requires you wear your blood type on your helmet and it's legal to bump someone out of your way. The Baja 1000 in Ensenada, Mexico.
Six weeks backpacking northbound from Southern Vietnam on motorbike, Top Gear style but with finesse. My good photographer friend from NYC Zach Gold decided to join me. This is our story.
It was 1981 and I had the misfortune of living in the Benelux area at a time where BMX bikes were becoming the only mode of transport for the off road bound and cool everywhere else in the civilized world. My only contact to this new trend was American BMX magazines and even owning the magazines made me one up the local boys who’s mother’s bought their bicycles from the supermarket. We constructed jumps in the forest that seemed more designed to deflate our thin tires than get air so one night I allowed myself to dream in the back pages catalogue section of “Bicycle Motocross Action” and found the bike I would eventually invest my hard earned Christmas money on- a REDLINE- Proline 2.
My father, curious as to why an eleven year old needed a bicycle with off road capabilities when we lived in an area that had paved streets, tried to convince me that it was a con and I would be throwing my granny scratch away. After waiting two weeks longer than the suggested six week international shipping period and losing faith with each visit from the postman- it arrived one morning.
The first day was spent constructing it and allowing the lower caste of the Belgian BMX community to oogle it from a distance. It was a day that I never wanted to end. That night I lay in bed wide eyed with chromoly mania and the only cure was to wait until my parents were asleep, go down to the garage and get my bike.
The next morning when my mother came to wake me she was surprised to find me lying under the covers with the bike between my legs. My delicate feet on the serrated bear claw pedals and my fists tightly clasping the mushroom grips.
It was the arrival of my AGV TI-Tech motorcycle helmet the other day that reminded me of this appreciation we all have for animate objects in our lives. Twenty five years on and I had forgotten what it was like to hold something that you have wanted for so long and finally allow the satisfaction of ownership to overwhelm you.
Taste is only ever subjective and pinpointing something that you find to be absolute perfection happens rarely in a lifetime. Current motorcycling trends mean that one has little choice when choosing a barrier between ones brains and the street. Choices are either single color or “I am a semi professional MMA cage fighter from the Phoenix area. There is no in- between. Until I discovered that someone at AGV in Italy has finally stood up to the forces of offensive headgear vogue and started shaping and coloring helmets to, and I don’t say this lightly, perfection.
As I removed it from the box and swapped out the clear visor for the “Iridium Gold” something inside me felt eleven years old again. Later that night as I lay in bed thrilled by this new addition to my life I considered, for a moment, going to get it.