We're the problem!

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We're the problem!

Postby SMRTIC » Sun May 05, 2013 7:45 am

It's a bit harsh, but I figured the title will generate some attention. We all continue to look at the decline of our sport and speculate as to how we can breathe life back into it and we let the simplest solution escape us. GET OUT THERE AND RIDE! One of the best ways to get people interested in what we do is to do it. Be seen doing it! Attend any events that you can even if you don't agree with the politics of the sanctioning group or event organizers. The more we're out there, the stronger our voices get. But when you struggle to have 16 guys show up at a world cup event, no one is going to take notice. I even heard that the IDF was taking shots at the streetluge class during the live streaming from Newtons Nation.

Here's an observation I'm making based on my own current experiences. For 11 years now, I have been part of a group that holds an epic fun run event in southeastern Oklahoma called the Talimena Memorial Day Fun Run. It is 50 plus miles of hilly scenic byways through the mountains with little traffic, and the full support of local law enforcement and rangers. Its 3 straight days of more runs than you can get at any event in the world and you are taking them on multiple different courses all at the same location. It is the downhill equivalent of "Field of Dreams". Once we all split the costs, it usually works out to less than $100 a person for all of this. It was originally started as a streetluge event and I can remember when we thought no stand-up guys could ever bomb those hills. Now stand-up is the standard and the slow guys are running in the mid 60mph range. It is a centrally located event and there are confirmed stand-up guys coming from all over but I have thrown the invite out to every streetluger I know and no one is committing to going. I challenge you to find any streetluger that has ever attended this event that says it is not one of the best times to be had on your sled and one of the cheapest events. This isn't some event where the sanctioning bodies are running us off by not supporting us. This is an event by streetlugers for streetlugers and we can't hardly get any to show. This year will be one of the largest turnouts ever and it is predominantly stand-up. Many of the stand-up guys want to see streetlugers because they never have before and the few that have are impressed with the speed of the streetluges.

People complain about turnout and don't want to attend events because there won't be many streetlugers. WELL YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM! For every couple of guys that commit to going to an event, you will encourage a couple other guys to attend. It may not add up to much at first, but with consistency, numbers will continue to grow at future events. If you disagree, then stay at home and complain. I'm sure bitching about lack of events will draw lots of people to the sport. For the rest of you that do want to grow the sport, look around and see what events are around you. Don't worry about the size of the event, or who's organizing it, or what sanctioning body it is, just go have a good time. Avoid the politics. When we have the numbers again then we will have more say. If you are simply having fun it will show and attract more to give it a try. This sport is an amazing family and is one of the reasons I became involved. That is the image and the vibe we want to give off. Bickering and complaining does nothing for us, attendance does.



And here we go....
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Re: We're the problem!

Postby FrankW » Sun May 05, 2013 12:11 pm

You're right.

If I could have justified the expense of going to Newtons I would have. Last year there were three events back to back and I had a great time. But, to travel to Australia for one race when I have to foot the bill myself just isn't practical for me.

I will be attending as many races as I can afford to this year. Unfortunately some of my favorite races I attended last year either won't be inviting luge or won't be happening at all this year.

I will be attending more Maryhill Freerides this year to kind of help compensate for the lack of races... But I'm a racer at heart and freerides, honestly, don't often appeal to me. Maryhill is a two hour drive away and it's great practice for the upcoming race.

I wish I could go to every event out there, but I can't. I just wish more people would go to as many as they could.

Bill, I went to about 18 events last year all over the world. I still haven't met you yet. I'm hoping we'll meet soon as I understand we both also share a love for radio control aircraft (although I could've misunderstood).

-Frank
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Re: We're the problem!

Postby Big Steve » Sun May 05, 2013 2:04 pm

To add to what's been said INVITE friends to go streetluging with you. If you have the means have a loaner sled or buttboard for them to ride. Growing the sports starts with exposure and adding new blood to the group. After they see you luge at speed take time to go to a bunny slope and give them thrill of their life. From my experience most won't take the plunge and go all in, but every once in a while one will. If we all helped just 1 person join the ranks we'd swell our numbers.
Bill, your fun run always sounded incredible. We just never able to pull it off. Perhaps when Christian returns to the sport we'll make the trip out for it.

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Re: We're the problem!

Postby Nascar_Freak » Mon May 06, 2013 5:33 am

To add to what's been said INVITE friends to go streetluging with you.

I only got like 3 friends though lol. Thats why im trying to do it through the internet.
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Re: We're the problem!

Postby tiki alex » Mon May 06, 2013 6:52 am

Attend any events that you can even if you don't agree with the politics of the sanctioning group or event organizers


you going to restaurant where you were not happy with food and service and been threated bad two times a third time again?
idf was showing the highlights of standup, while lugers where riding and striker and the other australian guy on the mic made bad jokes about the lugers - and you wanna go to an event of this sanctioning body or organiser?

it's cool you running an event, i also to this since years at different levels, but most of the lugers wanna race and not freeride, thats a big difference with standup.

you building sleds, doing events and it sounds like you are the only streetluger in your aera. the same is nearly with every luger out there and most of them can't affort to travel everywhere.
i'm doing my best to help grow the sport, but without the respect of the sanctioning body to our sport it will not grow on the race side.
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Re: We're the problem!

Postby johnozman » Mon May 06, 2013 4:13 pm

Sorry to say but this is exactly how the gravity bikers were talking at the end of their sport. I hate it! I completely back streetluge and will always have streetluge at Maryhill FOS. Honestly, I don't see streetluge growing unless their is television exposure again. Unless there is a group to take a leap of faith and really drive the sport forward.
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Re: We're the problem!

Postby king » Fri May 10, 2013 11:41 pm

Nascar_Freak wrote:
I only got like 3 friends though lol. Thats why im trying to do it through the internet.


NO. You have 4 friends... unless you take me out again before finals... again. It's not a contact sport....
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Re: We're the problem!

Postby Nascar_Freak » Sat May 11, 2013 1:12 am

Sorry, im a sucky rider
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Re: We're the problem!

Postby trikesrule » Sat May 11, 2013 11:28 pm

the same is nearly with every luger out there and most of them can't afford to travel everywhere.

Wish I had a deeper wallet.
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Re: We're the problem!

Postby sk8ermatt02 » Thu May 16, 2013 9:30 am

I agree!.. with everything...well most of it.
I have been luging for around 15 years now. I love it! Always have. The whole reason i got into it was because of TV. John, Bob, Biker, Lott, and C McB, everyone of the OG's from the 90's and more. I was in middle school watching the X-games in awe of what i was watching. Instantly hooked, i got on the internet(yes i had internet back then) and constructed one from 2x4's... and yes i was running saws at 11 or twelve. Point is, if it wasn't for TV, would have never seen it!
I go luging often with the BodRodz crew here in Georgia. Doug Anderson, Ed "Fast Eddie" Bryant, and I go ride often, and it always draws a crowd. I am so jealous of the people who get to see me while i am riding, because i have never in my life, not once, seen ANY OTHER LUGE RIDER on the road that i wasn't involved with ti make that happen. Point is GO RIDE! Talk to all the people who want to know more. Answer all their dumb questions that you've heard a million times before like, "how do you stop" or "aren't you worried about cars", answer them like you've never been asked before. Try to make it appealing and safe. Preach safety and they bite right in.
I try invite people out all the time.. most say I'm crazy but the problem most people have with luge is that most people are PUSSIES!.. and misinformed. They also suffer from lack of exposure. When I tell people that i street luge, most are clueless. If i bring up the Geico commercial, they immediately perk up..."oh yeah, like that pig".
Another pitfall of street luge is the sled. I'll admit i was discouraged when i looked up the prices of luges (long time ago) and saw the prices. Ridiculous. You know what I'm talking about. I wonder how many potential riders we have lost or people who thought they wanted to street luge changed their mind when they saw how much it was going to cost.
As for events, I am 29, it wasnt until last year that i was able to afford to go to any events, I went to maryhill and had the time of my life. Im going again this year and probably the next as well.
JUST GET OUT THERE AND RIDE! If people see you, thats exposure. If you got your sled strapped to the roof rack(or a bike rack on a miata..Chris) thats exposure. If you go walking down the street buck naked with your luge above your head like a piece of game you just slayed... THAT'S EXPOSURE,..but maybe too much.

Anyways, if you can make sense of all this, good. I hope I didn't jumble my thoughts too much.
Good Day.
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Re: We're the problem!

Postby Nick-a-tron » Thu May 16, 2013 7:26 pm

It's definitely about being out and about locally. There's no way you're going to gain the exposure at events right now against skateboarding. I mean, it's so vogue right now each race has 150+ kids who are shop sponsored and paid to be there, who consider themselves pro athletes!

Ride the streets, talk to people, if you go to races, be the nicest guy there and have more fun than everyone else.
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Re: We're the problem!

Postby sk8ermatt02 » Thu May 16, 2013 8:02 pm

I think Frank had it right in another post about riding classic luge(buttboard) more. Because it is more attainable and affordable, more people would be willing to try it.
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Re: We're the problem!

Postby Big Steve » Mon May 20, 2013 2:39 am

Invite invite invite others to come out and see what it's all about. Make it easy for them, provide a buttboard, gloves and helmet. Once the newbie understands that they can control the speed and steer a luge they'll feel more confortable with it. We will all agree it takes effort on our part to grow the sport.
Luges are not inexpensive, neither are quality downhill boards. Can't get away from that fact. If a person has basic tools they can build one themselves, which is a lot of fun.

I heard the "Striker" cast of the Newton's race and frankly I was put off by his repeat call for carnage. He certainly doesn't do with with Standup. Perhaps if someone actually tried to do a professional job of announcing it would both elevate the dialog and help educate the crowd. I always appreciated what Marcus does at the Bonelli races where he announces.
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Re: We're the problem!

Postby FrankW » Mon May 20, 2013 2:09 pm

Yes, invite more people out to grow the sport. I know I could stand to do that more; but I haven't been riding much lately due to the weather. I also don't feel very comfortable riding without leathers, and providing leathers to others is a difficult task when everyone is a different size. I usually offer to let people ride my gear at the freerides, or races, to try it out; but I do need to recruit more outside of the downhill community.

I have never been a fan of Striker; I don't want to get too much in to why, but a lot of other people I know who are only spectators find him grating on the nerves as well.

Basic buttboards are easy and relatively inexpensive to make. With old race wheels, cheap bearings, inexpensive Home Depot plywood (they don't have to be race quality) and cast trucks; all of us should have a few extras in their quiver to loan out... I have an extra ready to go, just for that purpose. Maybe I'll make a few more this summer.

I went to a local stand up race this weekend, just to watch. I was elated when, as the event winded down, I saw a few riders buttboarding their longboards. I should've brought some business cards with me to hand them out; I'm sure they didn't know the world series champ was there watching them. They looked like they were having great fun and the crowd found it entertaining. Next time, if I can make it to one of the Switchback Series races, I will take a few buttboards with me to let other riders try; along with more stickers and some business cards.

-Frank
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Re: We're the problem!

Postby sk8ermatt02 » Wed May 22, 2013 8:34 pm

Ask and you shall receive.
..so I'm in a longboarding club called Longboard Atlanta. Over the weekend I went to this event in Atlanta called "streets alive". They shut down 2.7 miles of Peachtree Street, that is like shutting down Rodeo Drive in California. Anyway I found out there, from someone who drove up from Savannah Georgia, that there is race in Pensacola Florida called "Carnage on the Coast" They opened a Classic Luge class for the race this year! So of course I HAVE TO GO and DOMINATE their "no hill having asses". Which hopefully, I will. This will be a good practice race for Maryhill...NOT. There is only five turns. I asked if I could bring my luge just to ride a few times during practice. They said sure!
Also, in recent weeks I have been working with a local longboard manufacturer, Jati Longboards, to develop their own classic luge. With the know I have from luge and the all the other stuff that is out there and based on the rules of both IGSA and IDF, I think the design will be simple and effective. It will be a combination of a concave Lott design and the ever so popular Five Mile.
Things could be getting better.
So get out there and be seen.
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