The story behind the Metal Bikes Lost tapes

Why the early 2000's were such a ground breaking classic time for BMX...

27 Feb 2015

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Jimmy at home in the Metal office. Seattle 04. Photo by Ed Docherty

Words by Sean Burns

Jimmy Levan's mini DV tape organization is beyond pizza crust and - In fact its scattered amongst probably four different cities and seven different people. Who knows which boxes of Huffy jerseys and Levan cardboard cut-outs they are mixed in between. Jimmy's life style has never been the norm; It is in fact far beyond the regular nine to fiver's imagination.

Even BMXers who travel the world and see much strangeness are baffled by Jimmy's ways. He's a non stop entertaining human being and I refer to people like him as 'cruisers' (Albie Bennett being the closest one to Jimmy I Know), cruising through life without any regard for consequence. Although Jimmy can get pretty paranoid about situations, (especially when he's creating some ridiculously obscure paranoia...) he still does not give a damn about anything, except for which blondie he can share a skin swindle with.

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Jimmy Levan, X-up sweeper, Bellingham WA 2003. Photo by Ryan Worcester

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All aboad the Metal team train. Circa 06. Photo by Sandy Carson

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Sean Burns, Seattle 2003. Photo by Seth Holton

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Burns - Dance of Death 2004. Photos by Ryan Worcester

Between Dead Bang getting done and starting on the Bone Deth DVD between 2007 and 2008, I helped Jimmy organize quite a bit of raw footage. Going through tapes he might not have ever known he still had or had even recorded. It started with me trying to organize all my Dead Bang footage, which a lot was lost due to lack of organization. One clip I strived to find through out all of Jimmy's jungle of a room was a scorpion grind crash in which I had smashed my face, hair line fracturing my eye socket. The tape was never found, but during that desperate search I came across a few videos of the J-Man eating some ass.. but that's a whole different story only to be shared by Jimmy himself. I recently logged all the tapes that had ended up in my hands and found some interesting clips. Dating from 1999 to 2006. All solid years for Metal Bikes. From classic Metal riders like Ryan Metro, to probably the first ever Metal road trip with Jimmy, Sandy Carson, Mike Lausman and Mike Griffin. A lot of these names many new-boy riders will not even recognize.

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Caleb Ruecker from DIG 38, 2004. Oppo feeble, Portland. Photo by Matt Brown

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Sean Burns - Boston 07 - DIG59. Photo by Jeff Allen

The early 2000's were such a ground breaking classic time for BMX. Bikes were starting to change drastically and guys like Bob Scerbo were riding and doing tricks nobody had ever seen. When an issue of DIG came out in those years, you sat down and read the entire thing start to finish. That's how interesting BMX was at the time. Can you even get a teenager to read an article these days without watching the newest X-Games street pro doing a million rail tricks on instagram in between the reading? Probably not... and that is part of the reason that era of mid school is so classic now. Maybe I am just getting old but that time period left a huge mark. You might be able to get a slight glimpse of it in this Metal Lost Tapes video. At least if you were born before 1990 it will bring back some of that 'classic feel' that BMX gave to you.


Metal Bikes Lost Tapes: 1999-2006

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