Cop Lag is Real
What does it take to get some Bone Deth VX clips for a DVD?
26 Jun 2015
Words by Sean Burns. Photos by Andrew White
Cop lag. Low community cop lag. A major problem amongst street riding. Especially while riding deadman setups. The amount of pointless interactions with police officers during the Bone Dead Forever Tour was absurd.
It is obvious that we look strange to the norm, riding on roof tops and looking like the weirdos that we are. But sometimes it works in our favor. Because looking like a weirdo makes people and cops believe you really do this stuff on a regular basis or that you fit the bill for a lunatic launching off of stairs and houses. Then there is the side where street riding is already sticking out like a cold sore, looking totally different than the average normy sticks out like a third tit. A lot of it has to do with the lack of excitement occurring in the suburbs. The common suburban vigilante. Too scared to approach the bike riding roof top delinquents, yet bored enough to tattle tale to the authority about our strange actions. It is pretty regular for a BMXer to get out and walk all over terrain contemplating maneuvers. This actually looks completely confusing and ridiculous to the average human being.
We had one incident where Matt Mottai rode a line connecting a few different roofs together in an odd U-turn obstacle at a funeral home. Moments later our crew is seated on a side street being questioned about damaging the funeral home property. Riding roofs can be sketchy in the sense of caving through, but in the Northeast a lot of these roofs are designed to with hold up to hundreds of pounds of water and ice during the winter. So there is no question of damage, especially so since the roof had a rubber layering on it. We sat around for three hours while three to four cops were investigating the roof looking at foot prints and staring at our shoes.
The owner of the funeral home I believe was looking to collect some type of cash for his undamaged roof. He was pretty upset. And as Party Management said, "He was rolling over in his grave," and, "we put ourselves in grave danger." The officers did not think Party Management’s puns were funny. All up until he asked us what the hell we were doing on private property. Management then responded, "It seemed pretty dead over there." Some authority figures show no sense of humor whatsoever.
In our shoes, we have not performed anything that is all that disruptive. The cop lag continued. They were trying to sort out who to all give tickets to. Eventually they wanted to see the footage so we gave them a gander at the clip and they let us go. Three hours wasted by cop lag when the entire time we could have just showed them what was happening. I guess there’s a sort of a paranoia you initially have when your footage is in the hands of a cop dad.
Generations have drastically changed. A lot of the cops we dealt with on this trip were actually a lot younger and pretty understanding as to what we were doing. Ten years ago, street riding was a hell of a lot more risky. The sport as we know it was still new and foreign to people between the ages of 25 and dead. Now that there has been so much TV coverage, advertising, fail channels on youtube, Mountain Dew ads, etc... street riding is a pretty well known activity. I am also noticing police officers who are younger than me had probably once rode bmx when they were teenagers.
It is becoming a lot more acceptable. When you are confronted by an officer over the age of 45, it is more likely for them to be salty. They’re being disturbed by the new generation’s lack of respect for property and public obedience. People who were born before 1969 still have a slight upbringing to those born in the 50's and 40's. Which was a time of perfection, obedience, politeness and respect for people, things and places.
This type of mold has withered away with each decade. You would be arrested immediately in 1955 for riding off someones house and onto a handrail. This day and age, police officers are starting to respect it. Because they grew up with it, and some just straight up think it is entertaining and badass. So even with having difficulties involving vigilante's and cops, I think we do pretty good on the streets. It is part of the reason I personally don't have much respect or care for park riders who ride street. If I wanted to I could spend most of my days at a skatepark learning every grind and trick for hours on purposely built obstacles. But fucking hell that sounds like I would be going to the gym or training for an athlete association.
What I am trying to conclude is that park riders who ride street do not have to worry about a car in the way. They did not have to worry about a lunatic old woman who hucks garbage pails at your head for riding her apartment complex handrail.
Riders that only really ride street generally have more credit. And it shows in the style. A street rider does not learn his street tricks at the park. He learns park tricks at the park, or rides the park... like it is street. A park rider, no matter how many street tricks they learn always ride street like it is park and park like it is park. I am sorry to break it to the fun boys who spend more hours on tranny than they do cobble stone, but it is the truth.
The struggle of getting a session in for more than a half hour at a regular street spot is pretty unheard of. A street rider does not learn all his moves at a concrete slab skatepark in San Diego. He learns them in an alley way on some garbage ledge with cracks and bumps. If you were to watch Ralph Sinisi feeble grind a ledge, and then watch a California smooth boy feeble grind a ledge, you might understand.
To each his own and there is nothing wrong with park riders riding street. It is just not as credited as the rough looking loose cannon grinding through brick before the cops show up. The intention of words I am concluding is that street riding is hard. It is hard because of the stress. Locating the set up you want to ride and have the time without getting the boot to pull it is all one giant task. With multiple factors interrupting your focus, the spot, the cameras, and the cops.
A street rider does not learn all his moves at a concrete slab skatepark in San Diego.
There is a lot more to a clip than just the trick that people do not realize. You may have seen one of us jump a roof gap and some might think, "oh thats easy all you have to do is jump." That is where you are misguided into thinking it is a simple huck. The preparation alone is enough to turn someone away from wanting to ride things like this. A lot of times there are tree branches to be taken out, power lines to tie up higher, finding ways to get on the roof. Not every roof is nice on top either. I would say 90% of the time it is a soft squishy or bumpy nasty take off. That is similar to bunny hopping off of mulch with a rug on top.
The hardest part is that once you are up there you do not have a lot of time. Some civilian is doing their best to get you in trouble at that moment. Calling the police on you. Most likely extending the situation into thinking you are purposely doing damage or robbing the property. This goes without roof set ups as well. You might have kids or nearby jocks heckling you and advising you to do a backflip. A park rider might be used to doing back flips but a street rider does not want to hear it.
The amount of stress and factors that are put into some clips is over the top. Yet street riders can block that out and focus on the stunt. I'm not sure if too many park riders have a woman yelling at them, while they only have 30 seconds to try their trick as well have spent 5 minutes waiting for traffic to clear only to pull the trick and ride right into a cop car who wants to confiscate your camera and footage whilst giving you a ticket for malicious destruction of property and trespassing.
Street is fried, and it wouldn't be street without the cop lag. Even though this Bone Deth trip was lagged out due to Mr. Man, it wouldn't be the same if there were no cops to give a shit. Where would the thrill be and the reward of getting away with the crime that is BMX on street. Hell, the whole world would then just be a skatepark and we would all be park riders. Next time you find yourself angry with a cop who has just ruined your day of street riding, remember that is part of street riding and it wouldn't be street without it.
If I wanted to I could spend most of my days at a skatepark learning every grind and trick for hours on purposely built obstacles. But fucking hell that sounds like I would be going to the gym or training for an athlete association.
Where would the thrill be and the reward of getting away with a the crime that is BMX on street. Hell, the whole world would then just be a skatepark and we would all be park riders.
Where would the thrill be and the reward of getting away with the crime that is BMX on street?
See what Fit and Morgan Long have hatched...
"I’m not into anything kooky and nor are most trail dudes."