The Union tapes is a London based BMX podcast with people who’s story we want to hear.
We believe the UK needs BMX podcasts so we threw the hat in and interviewed the riders who were actually there.
We’ll aim for one a month and see where it takes us?
Andy Preston - Episode 20
Going right back to the start with this one, the northern start that is in sunny Manchester. Back in the early 80s Andy Preston and Mike Pardon were the superstar trick team of Moorecombe based BMX magazine 'BMX Weekly news paper then BMX Bi weekly magazine', Andy grew up around the Manchester area and both him and Mike Pardon-Pike- were everywhere you looked for a couple of years and early pioneers of UK Freestyle, with barely any contest appearances they were infamous names on the Freestyle scene. We get into the early days here, the very start, the formation of the BMX weekly trick team, demo’s up and down the country, sponsors, his own clothing/protection brand AP, BMX beat, multiple TV appearances, meeting Barry Sheen on the TV show just amazing having a regular slot on the 'Wide awake club' Tv show. meeting David Icke on a kids morning TV show and getting disillusioned with how BMX was being pushed in the mid 80s and later bailing out of the spot light altogether, also doing the off with the ramps on the GT world tour UK leg.
Riders mentioned: Mike Pardon-Pike Alan Woods Andy Irwin Tim Stamp Winston Jones Jess Dyrenforth Eddie Fiola Dave Breed Ron Wilkerson John Lee Mike Chilvers Mike Buff Tim Stamp Andy Ruffell Phil Chatwood
Taj Mihelich - Episode 19
What can anyone say about this guy that hasn’t been said? I'm not even going to try, you know why you're here and this is good deep dive into some of the mystery surrounding Taj. Topics we cover on this one besides the usual stuff, are first sponsor, how he got into jumping, the sponsor line up throughout the years, multiple S&M Holmes frames, moving around the USA, the infamous UGP Face Value part, going from Standard Bykes to Hoffman Bikes to starting T-1 with Joe Rich, where the name Terrible One originated. Some of the ideals behind T-1 Airwalk shoe sponsor, Small bars, Primo signature parts, Backyard jam experiences, Etnies shoes BMX programme and signature shoes. Multiple trick inventions, his approach to riding BMX and how it should feel, injuries, riding for Giant and almost everything else you’d want to know?
Riders mentioned: Ron Kimler, Rick Moliterno, Joe Rich, Mat Hoffman, Chuck D, Brian Foster, Ian Morris, Dennis McCoy, Stuart King, Jay Miron, Dave Mirra, Pete Augustin, Chris Moeller ,Stew Johnson, Chase Hawk, Dylan Smith, Paul Buchanan, Rooftop, Chris Stauffer, James Shepherd, Barry Mcmanus, Brian Colgrove, Pete Augustin, Kip Williamson
Lee Reynolds - Episode 18
Back in the 80's Lee Reynolds was a charismatic guy on the BMX scene, and still is a charismatic guy today. Lee Reynolds was a name that blew up in the mid 80's as BMX was falling down in the UK, despite the some what lengthy distance between Milton Keynes and London, he became one of the locals of meanwhile quarter pipes crew that would feature regularly in BMX Action bike. He’s approach was full throttle fearlessness in a time where the only real reward was self satisfaction. After a year of constant coverage, Lee ended up being sponsored by Hutch, and was a regular at BFA and halfpipe events in the UK. From there he went on a trip to the USA in the summer of 88, and ended up moving to Ron Wilkerson infamous Enchanted ramp in CA. We get into some good in-depth topics here, and as always go from his beginnings in BMX to the people he met along the way, the sponsors he scored, the tours he went on, driving the 2 hip truck around the USA, sessions at the Enchanted ramp, designing a signature bike for Haro, getting back into BMX in the 90's and 2000's, and take it right up to present day. Craig Campbell, Nick Phillip, Jess Dyrenforth, Neil Ruffell, Andy Ruffell, Dave Young, Greg Guilliotte, Dave Slade, Nick Phillipl, James Hudson, Jason Ellis, Scott Macdonald, Mike Canning, Zach Shaw, Nick Howard Elkan, Joe Johnson, Dennis McCoy, Ron Wilkerson, Chad Kagy, Ryan Nyquist, Jay Mirron, Dave Mirra, Andy Brown, Chris Potts, Mat Hoffman, Krys Dauchy, Joe Grutola, Rick Moliterno, Kevin Martin, Eric Steel, Bob Haro, Dennis Langlais, Spike Jonze, Cameron Birdwell, Brian Blyther and more... Skateboarders : Phil Chapman, Wurzel, Steve Steadham
Jason Ellis - Episode 17
In the mid to late 80s in the UK the small town of Retford near Sheffield was one the main hubs of BMX riding in the UK. It got known as the Trumpton scene. And featured a long side London's Meanwhile and Chingford as the new hot spots of that era. Jason Ellis was one of the main stays of that scene along with many other infamous names that come up in this talk. We get into the start, his beginnings in BMX, meeting the Hudson brothers in school, local riding crews. Getting to ride the Hudsons legendary Trumpton half pipe and its many incarnations and how that scene was built. We get in depth on some of the other key crew members and creators Sid, Dave Slade, Shaun Allison and the Hudson brothers. We get into contest drama’s, meeting new crews, Action bike/RAD photo shoots, Meeting TLB and Nick Phillip, Holeshot contests, getting on GT, Crawley and Chingford jams, Inventing tricks and new ways of progressing riding. We follow the tale right up to Jason going to the circus with Mike Canning and up to present day to find out he has been riding pretty much the whole way through…this is a fun episode, hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Riders mentioned: Nigel Taylor, Shane Hawk, Austin Codlin, Nigel Taylor, Wozo, Jamie Fagen, Mike Dominguez, Eddie Fiola, James Hudson, Mick Hudson, John Hudson, Chris Hudson, Ged McConville, Nick Martin, Jamie Bestwick, Ross Marshall, Alan Sibley, Andy Ruffell, Dave Slade, Shaun Allison, Mitch, Sid, Stuart 'Pepi' Winder, Lee Reynolds, Greg Guillotte, Andy Brown, Scott Carroll, Mark Atkins, Mike Canning, Albert Retey, Bart De jong, Zach Shaw, John Povah, Tony Pudiffer, Nick Phillip, Nick Elkan, Dave Beveridge, Jason Hassell, Craig Campbell, Neil Ruffell, John Yull, Noel, Cowan, SAW, Skateboarders Stu Allison, Andy Wells
Tim March - Episode 16
Tim March was the other big name in 80's BMX to Andy Ruffell these guys were legitimate super stars for a couple of years in the BMX boom of the 80s, Tim goes back to the very start of UK BMX. He scored endless magazine covers, features and TV appearances. Tim moved rapidly through some of the early BMX race teams, then went on to expand his brand MRD from making handlebars, race plates, stickers and brake guards and with the help of Tran Am moved on to making UK made MRD frames with a huge team and a double decker bus to ferry 'em all around. Tim has lived it. After a hiatus from BMX he came back into it when he scored a job at 4130 publishing, home of Ride UK, and that point many other publications, the story continues on to the factory media buy out and the creation of the Albion magazine….Theres no holding back here, its another long runner, and we still need to know more!
Riders mentioned: Cav Strutt, Mike Chilvers, Andy Lomas, Alice Temple, Craig Campbell, Fraser Campbell, Andy Ruffell, Geth Shooter, Craig Schofield, Mark Watkins, Anthony Revell, Neil Stevens, Craig Strong, Daniel Benson, Steve Bancroft, Will Smyth, Troy McMurray, Joe March, Neil Ruffell, Bob Haro, Pete Middleton, Zach Shaw, Ian Morris, Stuart Dawkins, Mark Noble, Chris Noble, Mark Cornick, Alan Woods, Nicky Mathews, Andy Patterson, Greg Hill, Grotbags, Don Smith, Marco Lara, Chris Young, Billy Stupple, Mat Hoffman, John Mcinnes and skateboarder Sean Goff
Maurice Meyer - Episode 15
This is one that goes back to the creation of BMX, Maurice was there at the start when this BMX thing first started. We get into it all here, the early days pre BMX, the influential golden gate park scene and the day Bob Osbourne came to cover it for Freestylin. The infamous Curb Dogs which was the first BMX crew to get coverage in the mags as a crew. How the whole Curb dogs crew ended up riding for Skyway, How Dave Vanderspek was a total pioneer of BMX and all the antics he got up to. Skyway early tours, early AFA contests and the Curb Dogs euro tour. Early street riding adventures. BMX Action bike photo shoots, meeting the UK pro’s and visiting the remaining UK concrete skateparks. Hugo Gonzales exploits and how progressive he was. Dave Vanderspek putting on the first 2 BMX half pipe contests at Joe Lopes ramp. Working at Skyway in the office, the ins and outs of skyway, their products and how they dwindled out of BMX. Euro tour 86, transitioning out of the pro riding scene and taking it back to where he originally found the fun, riding street. Getting attention from the media again later on in the 80s with sequences in Freestylin and Go! And still riding today.
And the name Drob originated from when Maurice was a child, his older brothers used to call him the Dribble Drobble.
A glance into the lives of some UK BMX greats.
I’ve listened to the Fids and Scott Malyon episodes so far, love it. Cool hearing the riders stories straight from them, with John Dye making it happen. It’s amazing how influential the UK scene has been around the world, and continues to be. Stoked I got to ride Scott’s ramp when I was in London in 2009.