(This was originally posted on The Come Up on September 13th, 2014)
Let’s start with a controversial statement:
Modern street riding, the kind you see pro BMX riders doing in videos, is not just difficult, but damn near impossible in the vast majority of places on Earth. There simply aren’t that many cities that are packed with coping ledges, below bar height handrails and pristine flat bars. Sure, you can ride street anywhere. You could find a rock in a Walmart parking lot and bunnyhop over it. You could ride off the roof of your Mom’s house. Every town in America probably has a curb worth manualing. But the majority of street videos that make it onto the front page of websites like this one are full of people grinding stuff, and there isn’t much of anything to grind in the majority of places.
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area that is developed enough to house 5 or more high quality street spots within a 10 minute drive, you should consider yourself lucky. The majority of places are just too flat and under-developed for there to be much of anything worth riding. Some of you may disagree with this, but I’m sure that many more of you live in such places and know that it’s true.
Brighton isn’t totally devoid of spots but it isn’t exactly LA or Barcelona either. Why Brighton then? The first Brighton Ain’t Ready came out in 2007 and at that time, the location was a simple question of convenience. Brighton is an hour outside of Hastings, where Seventies Distro is located. London would be an obvious choice for a Hastings based BMX brand to stage a 6 month DVD project, but at the time it seemed a tad cliche and London’s general massiveness was thought to be a little overwhelming. So Brighton it was.
The resulting DVD was a classic. A 6 month video project filmed in one small city is an interesting format and Ed Allen handled it masterfully. Sean Sexton truckdrivered down stairs with an uncanny aggression, early freecoaster pioneer Karl Poynter floated around backwards on Brighton’s brick laid streets, Dakota wallrided the fuck out of things and Niki Croft capped it all off with a hooliganistic tirade of an ender section.
The lengthy 6 month time frame no doubt helped ensure the video’s worth but the video’s appeal and notoriety comes from the fact that the artists at work were able to do so much with so little. As is to be expected from what is at it’s heart is just a small town BMX video, spots were and are hard to come by. Niki Croft’s banger says it all. It’s a rail hop of epic proportions but it is also a rail hop that would go ignored in most major cities. The runway is fucked, there’s a ledge after it and the hop itself is crazy tall.
With just over half a decade separating the second Brighton Ain’t Ready and the first, I knew immediately that this would offer up a unique vantage point. Two videos, 6 years apart, in the same town, both featuring many of the top pros of the day from all over the world filming bike tricks on Brighton’s sparse street offerings.