Our Problem With Authority

Is our problem with authority more deep-rooted than we think.

11 Dec 2016

Our Problem

Words Joey Spinoza

In light of the recent Billy Perry arrest I thought it would be interesting to explore and open up the comments (below) on why we as BMX riders tend to do things that other people don’t do and I mean normal people - like your parents or your flat mates, the other kinds that don’t ride these small bikes. It might be hard to understand at first but we take in a lot of weird and wonderful traits that stay with us for a very long time throughout our lives and one of them is that we don’t really care for laws, rules and people saying we cant go there because we may be prosecuted. It's so ingrained it's just part of who we are.

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Humans are complex creatures and our brains take in all kinds of information from the very day they are formed.  As humans we actually still seek traits that existed in us some 200,000 years ago, such as fighting when threatened or even the ability to keep a secret. Fundamentally we are hard-wired in the head, we learn something for a very long period of time and it’s extremely difficult to shake that off. As BMX riders we grow up with a somewhat blinkered view of what rules really mean and it stems simply from the desire to un-earth and explore what is out there for us to ride our bikes on (mixed with a bit of anarchistic predisposition that’s inside all of us).

That natural desire to ride something (that may have never been ridden before) is way too strong to stand in the way of what could potentially happen if you are caught by the cops. Also, just the unruly attitude of being a kid usually has a lot to do with these types of decisions; BMX is all about being a kid and most of us who ride never quite managed to grow up fully, which isn’t a bad thing. That trait is deep inside us, its not going away anytime soon even you are in your forties and still riding everyday. We just don’t see the signs basically, we just don’t seem to respect the laws and rules that have been put in place and its sort of understandable, it’s a primal instinct and a rebellious defiance that is so intertwined in our brains its hard to think of any other way - other than this way!

This excuse wont get you out of prison of course and I am pretty sure Billy Perry didn’t explain this to the cops in the interview room but it’s interesting to understand why we don’t tend to give a fuck most of the time.


I’ve had the joy of spending some time in Police stations in various different countries including my own and every time I do and every time I explain what I am doing I get the same response - the police soon realize that this isn’t even worth the paper they are writing it on. They tend to give up soon after, issue a small fine and try to do the minimal amount of paper work if possible. In most cases you don’t even end up at the station, they just realize you are not a hood rat and let you go home to your quiet suburban life. One thing the majority of police officers I’ve met do, is fail to understand why we do what we do (and believe me I’ve explained). They don’t understand that a lot of what we do is positively inspired - it’s urban exploration (albeit illegal), video creation, photography, mental creativity and not to mention physical exercise. The reward we get for jumping a fence or breaking into a building is far greater in worth than the time we would have to explain to a police officer what we are doing only to be let off with a warning. Our brains have grown up to understand that this is more or less the outcome every time and that’s why we don’t think twice about jumping a fence, where most of the population would search for a door or walk away. In most cases though and the point I am a making - the severity of the consequence is something we can all handle.

Another way to think about it is like this; the mass percent of BMXers are good honest decent people, we are not raised to be morons with no decent values, we haven’t grown up stealing and treating people like scum, that’s because of the great BMX community we are part of, the good people rub off on others, and so on, and so on, through generations. When we search and find an old abandoned factory with a perfect hand-rail set up inside we instantly know the reason we are going to force our way in, its not because we want to smash the place up, its not because we want to steal anything - its just because we want to slide our pegs down that rail and film it, that’s the honest truth. That’s why Billy Perry and his crew jumped the fence of that water park, not because they wanted to find the safe room and steal the cash box, or get access to the register, or the offices to steal some computers - but to ride a series of transitioned water slides and do some sick tricks for a video, its that simple. The problem with vlogging though is that the evidence is already on the Internet. That’s something that’s very novel in the general scope of things. 

Just as our brains are hard-wired in this nature, so are the cop’s brains in the exact opposite way. We will never truly acknowledge a sign that reads No Entrance and the vast majority of cops will never truly understand the desire we have to not even acknowledge the existence of that sign in the first place. When all is said and done, what we are doing is mostly illegal, but the lines blur as we often forget that most people out there simply just don't share our 'reasons not rules' approach. 

We live in a BMX bubble let’s face it. Everything we grew up with, everything we taught ourselves, every little street mission or weekend adventure we took on our bikes all just added to the strength of this bubble, this huge bubble that will never ever pop.