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  1. #1
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    Old noob finding massive stoke at skatepark

    I'm a 43 year old dad who has gotten back into bikes because of my 9 year old daughter. It had been a couple of decades since I did any kind of riding.

    If you had asked me a year ago if I'd be riding BMX at the skatepark, I'd say not a chance. It's for kids. Anyways, who are we kidding - I'm too old for that.

    Well one thing leads to another, and over the past year, I've been increasingly interested in skill development. I feel like I have a couple decades of lost time to make up for. Yet I have to drive almost an hour and a half to ride trails; just not getting enough practice on real terrain. But whaddya know, there is a skatepark 10 minutes from my house.

    I had never really checked it out; I had only driven by it to see a small concrete halfpipe, and it looked like that was about it. A couple of weeks ago, I took the little one there just to suss it out, and was surprised to find a nice pool/bowl, tabletop jumps, a huge berm, and a bunch more stuff. Wow - this place is cool! There was also a ghetto element, with some delinquent kids, swearing and smoking weed.

    Well I'm a total noob at skatepark riding. Even though I rode BMX bikes as a kid, did some dirt jumps and a lot of singletrack, I've never done anything like drop into a bowl or halfpipe, or anything of the sort. Plus, this place is for kids! Right? They'll probably all laugh at this old noob with no skill!

    A couple of weeks ago I was hungry for some stoke, so I ended up taking the plunge. I rode over during school hours with my SS fat bike and started off at the bottom of the halfpipe, trying to find some pump. Ok...there it is....now we're getting some speed...hey this feels awesome! I wasn't even there 5 minutes when a grungy looking BMX kid came over and said "Lets ride!" He showed me a jump line he was working on and told me to go for it. Ok! Well, I cased it, but ok, room for improvement. Wow, that kid was friendlier that I expected!

    A few YouTube tutorials later, last week I bought my first BMX in a couple of decades. Went to the shop, rode a 24", 22", and a 20" and decided to go all in with the 20" wheels. Wow, this 21" top tube BMX bike fits my 6'0" frame surprisingly comfy! That night I headed over to the skate park and lucked out - I had the whole place to myself. Cool! I'll try the pool! Too scared to drop in, I dropped the bike to the bottom and crawled in. Within a couple of minutes, I was pumping around the pool. Wow! What an amazing feeling of flow! I totally get it now!

    Fast forward to today, I've gone to the park almost every day since I got the bike. I think it's been about 7-8 sessions. And I've got the scars to prove it! Make no mistake, this is a tough sport! But my skill is growing by leaps and bounds!

    One of the coolest things about it is that every day I'm taking steps forward - progression. You hear that work used by skaters and BMXers a lot - "progression". There is something about the skatepark that is just all about this. Every day, you naturally try to take it one step further. The skill development is rapid - or else! I'm blown away by the skills of these kids that ride there. They pull off massive airs, 360s, manuals, ride skinnies like it's nothing; just because they go there all the time. If you keep going, you will improve - period. And that's an awesome thing about the skatepark. It's a haven for people who get off on developing skills.

    Day 3, I did my first drop in - into the bowl. Let me tell you - it was scary. And it's still somewhat scary, even though I've done it every day since. Friday night, I rolled in with too much speed, landed flat on the bottom and went over the bars, slamming hard. My daughter got it on video, so that was a fun one for my friends! Well, my daughter was there so I had no chance but to dust myself off and do it again. I did, and then had my best run yet, pumping hard, turning more comfortably, getting closer and closer to the lip than before. Soon, I'll be catching air and honestly - I'll be super proud of that moment.

    Today I was able to drop into the halfpipe, air out of it to land 90 degrees on the deck, dropped back in, aired out and turned 90 onto the deck and repeated again. I was pumped! Thought it would take longer to get there! Bear in mind, when I tried this last week, I flew off the back end and tweaked my knee!

    One of the biggest things about the skatepark is that it really makes you face your fears, every single time you try something new. This happens in MTB, too, but at the skatepark it just happens pretty much all the time. If you don't commit 100%, you will probably slam - hard. If you commit, most of the stuff is really pretty easy. All my bails have been from holding back somewhat. Dropping in to the bowl, for instance - go soft and you'll probably land on your back wheel, loop out and meet the concrete; commit 100% and it's really no big deal, you just ride into it. Then when you slam trying something new, getting back on the bike and doing that trick again is a moment of truth - am I a man or a coward? If dropping in to the bowl the first time was scary, going back after I looped out and landed on my back was far worse! The skatepark builds character - no doubt!

    The pumping aspect is huge, too. The skatepark is all about the pump. The kids are all awesome at it. The feeling of flow is incredible, and I see why people get so into this. Pumping is a huge skill for trail riding with flow, and this is the place to learn it!

    The social aspect has also been a huge surprise. I am blown away by how friendly all of these BMX kids have been to this old noob. There I was thinking that they look like delinquents, and that they'd be sitting on the sidelines jeering at me. I couldn't have been further off. Let me say these BMX kids are leagues more friendly than the kitted out full suspension dweebs at the MTB parks! Pretty much every one of them asks me about my bike, tries to help me learn something new, a couple asked me to play a game of "add-on" (they were totally sandbagging just to help me enjoy it more), and have done nothing other than make me feel comfortable being there. Moreover, these kids inspire the crap out of me with their bike skills. These kids are often riding squeaky, tattered bikes, and prove that the bike has nothing to do with it. They have a connection with their bikes that most MTB guys could only dream of having. And that's what I hope to get out of this.

    One thing I'd suggest to any skatepark noob, old or young - get some protection! I'm not a worry wort and often ride without any. Well, 8 sessions in, I've managed to open some huge pedal gashes, tweaked my knee, got a couple of nice strawberries on my elbow, and sprained a finger. But I'm healing and none of this has deterred me. Last Friday I bought some knee/shin guards, and I used them on Friday and again today! They worked great. Now, I need some elbow pads. The other pro tip is to ditch the bike when things get sketchy! The BMX bikes can take it, and the sprained finger and pedal gashes I suffered were from trying to save the bike, on my first session, brakeless (that's another story...)

    Well I just wanted to share the stoke I've been getting from the skatepark. It's an amazing time were are in where we have skateparks to ride, often completely free. No doubt you will improve your skills if you go there. I can't wait to go back to the trails now, and put my new pumping, jumping, and dropping in skills to use. It feels awesome to learn skills. I'd love to hear about your experiences at the skatepark, or even better, to motivate one of you to go check out your local place and let me know how it goes!

  2. #2
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    That's awesome man! I'm 34 and just started riding my local (tiny) skate-park. It's been a blast and makes me feel like a kid again.
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  3. #3
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    Man! what a great read! i have a skate park near my house and have contemplated sneaking down there in the morning with my hardtail 29er and seeing if i can ride the drops and the tabletops. you may have given me some inspiration.....thanks!

  4. #4
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    My kid also started dragging me to skateparks some years back, and I found the same thing the OP did. Good peeps, good riders, good times.

    Some friends rented a local indoor park for a private party last weekend.
    Son was loving it, and saw plenty of old guys killing it too.

    Old noob finding massive stoke at skatepark-img_1908.jpg
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  5. #5
    The White Jeff W
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    First coffee still soaking in. I thought it said you had a massive stroke at the skate park.
    No moss...

  6. #6
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    Nice! Appreciate having a good indoor park nearby...they are far and few between. We're lucky enough to have a fantastic park where my son goes regularly.
    Stick around if you're housebroken...

  7. #7
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    thanks for sharing the stoke! An 'ok' MTB ride takes me a minimum 3 hours including driving. A 'good' ride takes 5 hours. That kind of time is hard to come by with young kids.

    There's a dirt bmx park a mile from my house and I took my 5 yo daughter there last weekend. She killed it and I was surprised to see that she could ride the pump track by herself without any help from me. So next time I bring my bike too and we both ride. It was so much fun and a crazy good workout. Now I have a place that I can ride, get a good workout, work on skills, and get my dirt fix, with a door-to-door time as little as 40 mins.

    I'm also in awe of the skills of the kids out there. 10 years olds are effortlessly catching big air and doing tricks, where I'm putting in huge effort to barely get my wheels off the ground and case every jump.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid Duffman View Post
    thanks for sharing the stoke! An 'ok' MTB ride takes me a minimum 3 hours including driving. A 'good' ride takes 5 hours. That kind of time is hard to come by with young kids.

    There's a dirt bmx park a mile from my house and I took my 5 yo daughter there last weekend. She killed it and I was surprised to see that she could ride the pump track by herself without any help from me. So next time I bring my bike too and we both ride. It was so much fun and a crazy good workout. Now I have a place that I can ride, get a good workout, work on skills, and get my dirt fix, with a door-to-door time as little as 40 mins.

    I'm also in awe of the skills of the kids out there. 10 years olds are effortlessly catching big air and doing tricks, where I'm putting in huge effort to barely get my wheels off the ground and case every jump.
    This is awesome! Your little girl is going to learn some skills, quick! And she'll have them for life!

    You know it's funny, because I didn't realize how bad I was at jumping before this. Yesterday I had my daughter film me make a run at the table top. I managed to clear it, and thought I was easily a couple feet high. Looked back at the video and it looked like a BMX race jump where I was trying to get a little air as possible, barely even leaving the ground! These kids manage to do one hard pump down the roll in and boost off that jump with ease, while I still case it more often than not. But that's what's awesome about this - seeing these kids do it lets me know it's possible, so all I need to do is just keep going and I'll get there, too. It's a timing thing!

  9. #9
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    43's old?

  10. #10
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    What an awesome thread. I used to ride my BMX bikes everywhere. As kids, our bikes were just extensions of our bodies. The fat bike got me back into mountain biking, but then I bought a commuter bike, and yesterday, I ordered a Stolen Zeke XLT. Not as pure as a 20" bike, but I wanted another chance at that "extension of existence" bike, and I plan to be out on it most days, and I will be taking it to work with me on non-commuting days so I can get out to the park near my job and play.

    I took the fat bike out to the local bike park and rode all the routes other than the advanced (black diamond) ones with big jumps. I admit to being pretty intimidated by those jumps, and I've got enough long-standing injuries to keep my fear in place; but I'm going to work on my skills, and I will take the big BMX bike out there someday soon.

    Possibly the coolest thing about this thread is the positive light it casts on the kids who are out on bikes. Yeah, they cuss, and maybe they do smoke some weed, but neither of those things really ever hurt anyone. These are not the kids we have to worry about. The ones who are a concern never come out of their house because they never stop playing XBox Live.
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  11. #11
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    Similar story here. My son started going to the skatepark about 1.5 years ago. He initially talked me into getting back on a skateboard. It was fun, but after a 25+ year gap from the last time I rode ramps was too much for me. I decided to get a BMX bike since I feel most comfortable on a bike. I was having a blast right out of the gate. I feel like my skills are progressing, and it's helping my MTB skills. On top of all that, I have met a lot of cool people, and I get to spend time with my son and his buddies.

    slapheadmofo: is that Rye? That place is fun. It must have been awesome for a private party.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain_America1976 View Post
    slapheadmofo: is that Rye? That place is fun. It must have been awesome for a private party.
    It is, and yes, private parties are sweet there.
    Somebody in my greater riding circle ends up renting it out, typically on a Sunday 9 to midnite, at least 2 or 3 times a year. Usually a mix of adultish MTBers / BMXers and their kids and maybe a couple skaters and scooterers. Price is super reasonable if you can get 20-30 people together; $400 for 3 hours. We went there a ton when my son was between 6 and 10 or so and still hit it up a few times a year; love that place; wish we lived closer to it.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    Possibly the coolest thing about this thread is the positive light it casts on the kids who are out on bikes. Yeah, they cuss, and maybe they do smoke some weed, but neither of those things really ever hurt anyone. These are not the kids we have to worry about. The ones who are a concern never come out of their house because they never stop playing XBox Live.
    100%.
    One thing that I found at skateparks was a lot of solid cameraderie.
    Yeah, sometimes things get a little rough around the edges, but my kid has always had a pretty good filter and I'm pretty tough to offend by this point. Met some really cool people, particularly younger ones, riding BMX.

    Once of the few other local 'skatepark dads' put this together. It's more skate-oriented, but gives a great positive take on park 'culture'.

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  14. #14
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    Dude, that video is beautiful. It actually made me tear up. I'm a teacher, so kids are my life. I love seeing examples of kids being kids the old fashioned way. Thanks a ton for sharing that.
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  15. #15
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    Awesome thread! I'm motivated to push myself a bit more next time my girls and I make it to the park.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    Dude, that video is beautiful. It actually made me tear up. I'm a teacher, so kids are my life. I love seeing examples of kids being kids the old fashioned way. Thanks a ton for sharing that.
    Cheers man.
    Big fan myself; the guy that put it together is a really, really good dude and his kids absolutely kill it on the boards too.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    It is, and yes, private parties are sweet there.
    Somebody in my greater riding circle ends up renting it out, typically on a Sunday 9 to midnite, at least 2 or 3 times a year. Usually a mix of adultish MTBers / BMXers and their kids and maybe a couple skaters and scooterers. Price is super reasonable if you can get 20-30 people together; $400 for 3 hours. We went there a ton when my son was between 6 and 10 or so and still hit it up a few times a year; love that place; wish we lived closer to it.
    That's awesome. I am about an hour form there now, but I am moving a bit south in the next few months. I will still be close to a bunch of outdoor parks, and a few indoor like Skaters Edge.

  18. #18
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    Never too old!

    Awesome story, never too old, injuries just take longer to heal. Riding with the kids, especially your own, is what keeps us young!Old noob finding massive stoke at skatepark-20170116_124646_1484602181273_zpslmifnmjw.jpg

    Old noob finding massive stoke at skatepark-20170116_111913_1484601994932_zpsnpiivxwy.jpg

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain_America1976 View Post
    Skaters Edge.
    Gonna get all itchy from the foam pit!
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  20. #20
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    Here's my new Zeke. Yeah, I know I have the crazy long seatpost pretty extended (it's a 300 mm, and I have it at max extension), but I'm just getting used to this thing. I am going to put gnarlier tires on it, though, because I like riding wherever I want and the street tires just don't cut it. So I ordered two CST Cheyenne 2.1's.

    Old noob finding massive stoke at skatepark-img_20180315_173632219_hdr.jpg

    I also had to replace the chain (I put on an orange KMC 510) because the one they shipped it with was too short and I couldn't adjust the back wheel so that it wouldn't hit the front of the stays.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    43's old?

    Right! In my house we donít talk about age. Since time is a concept created by humans it really has no bearing on how we should feel at a certain point in our lives. Too many variables like diet, exercise, genetics and how you just generally respect your body and embrace health to equate to a number. Numbers only create limitations. Itís funny how society equates a number with what you should or shouldnít be doing.

    Hereís a question for thought. If you didnít know how old you were, how old would you be?

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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Quote Originally Posted by ALimon View Post
    Right! In my house we donít talk about age. Since time is a concept created by humans it really has no bearing on how we should feel at a certain point in our lives. Too many variables like diet, exercise, genetics and how you just generally respect your body and embrace health to equate to a number. Numbers only create limitations. Itís funny how society equates a number with what you should or shouldnít be doing.

    Hereís a question for thought. If you didnít know how old you were, how old would you be?
    As of yesterday, I think I'd be 12.

    But wondering why the hell everything hurts so much after you get in a good ride ...
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    As of yesterday, I think I'd be 12.

    But wondering why the hell everything hurts so much after you get in a good ride ...
    Yoga and Pilates! I started that program a year ago.... You will feel 20 years younger at any age.

  24. #24
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    I do a number of yoga asanas every morning.

    Learning how to bunny hop on flats is a reminder of childhood ...

    Old noob finding massive stoke at skatepark-img_20180316_150004822.jpg
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  25. #25
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    I ride a Haro backtrail 24 at the skate parks. I can drop in, jump out , nothing major. Then I have a Chase Element BMX cruiser for the track building an Advent 20 inch bike now. Started this madness back in October, both of my little ones are having a blast at the track with me.

  26. #26
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    I LOVE this bike!

    Old noob finding massive stoke at skatepark-img_20180316_144509458.jpg
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    I do a number of yoga asanas every morning.

    Learning how to bunny hop on flats is a reminder of childhood ...
    Big fan of plastic pedals here.
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  28. #28
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    Yeah, and that was with the thermalite pedals ... Hate to think about metal ones ...
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  29. #29
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    This thread motivated us to get outside for some air.

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  30. #30
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    Awesome pics! Beautiful area.

  31. #31
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    ^^^Thanks! It should be getting green in another month.
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  32. #32
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    Green is always good. I love it when the desert blooms after a rain.

    I want to take the Zeke to the BMX park. I may do that this week.
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  33. #33
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    Bump: because my son took an awesome picture of me Friday at Rye. That place is making me love wood ramps.
    Old noob finding massive stoke at skatepark-rye.jpg
    Last edited by Captain_America1976; 04-03-2018 at 02:44 AM.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain_America1976 View Post
    Bump: because my son took an awesome picture of me Friday at Rye. That place is making me love wood ramps.
    Can't see the pic!
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  35. #35
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    Me either!
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Can't see the pic!
    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyHun View Post
    Me either!
    This is odd. I can't see it on my phone, but its there on the laptop. I'll try is again.
    Old noob finding massive stoke at skatepark-rye.jpg
    Last edited by Captain_America1976; 04-03-2018 at 02:44 AM.

  37. #37
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    Don't believe imgur works with the site.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Don't believe imgur works with the site.
    Is that a new thing? I am pretty sure I have used it in the past. Either way I fixed it.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain_America1976 View Post
    Bump: because my son took an awesome picture of me Friday at Rye. That place is making me love wood ramps.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	rye.jpg 
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    AWESOME pic!!!!
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  40. #40
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    Braaaapppp!!!!


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  41. #41
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    Finished some upgrades on the Stolen. A longer seatpost, a Cult saddle I like more, Answer 8.5" bars, ODI grips and the CST tires with ultralight tubes. Cut about a pound off the bike while adding to its comfort and dirt-ability.

    Old noob finding massive stoke at skatepark-img_20180403_181759274.jpg
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