BMX Basics: Squid bails out.


It feels like an appropriate time to put this one up. It’s from a 1992 issue of Bicycles Today. We find our thinly-disguised hero, Michael “Squid” Allen, dealing with an injury over the winter of 1986-1987 and learning a bit about himself in the process. It’s a sequel to Squid is Squirrelly. I don’t know whether it’s cheering or depressing that I’m still getting hurt on motocross tracks twenty-seven years later. As with other posts in the “BMX Basics” series, I’ve resisted the temptation to edit my nineteen-year-old self — jb

“Oh, man, my left leg hurts so bad I think I’m going to die. No way I’m gonna win this time. I’m just happy to make the main.” Behind Squid, two riders are engaged in conversation.

“Yeah, talk about taking it easy. In my second moto, I slipped my pedal and chewed my left shin.”

“I saw that.”

“You saw that?”

“Yeah! You were cranking along, and POW! you slipped a pedal and hit your shin. Yeah, you were behind me in that moto. I remember looking back and seeing you hit your shin and thinking ‘That must really bite, slamming your shin like that’.”

“I wasn’t in your moto.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah, I’m sure. What, you think I don’t know which moto I was in? I was in 55, you were in 57.”

“Sorry. Must have been somebody else.”

“Must have been.” A grin comes to Squid’s face as he realizes what these two guys are doing. They’re playing “I’m Too Hurt
to Ride Hard,” a really fun game played during staging in which you try to convince everybody in your moto (or, in this case, main) that you’re too messed up to even be a factor in the race. Once you’ve got them nice and complacent, you blast outta the gate and kill everybody.

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My First Car Review, Circa 2001


It seems like yesterday, but it was long ago. The year was 2001. I was the owner and operator of, a site that regularly got slightly over half a million article reads per month. It was, in real-world terms, bigger than TTAC is today, and far bigger than this site is — but I sold no ads and accepted no endorsements. Only today do I understand what a goldmine I threw away when I closed the site a few years later.

Such is life. I’ve been going through a backup of “BMX Basics” and I found this — an article I wrote for my readers some time in 2001. As I’ll explain below, I had sold two of my family’s three vehicles in the space of one day. A couple of months later, I would also sell my YZF600R to the same fellow who bought my Golf.

So I went test-driving and recorded my impressions for posterity, as you can read below. Try not to laugh too hard at me. I was twenty-nine years old, had a bit of money in my pocket, and thought I knew more than I probably did. What did I end up getting? Three cars: a 2001 BMW 330i Sport for my wife of the time, a 2002 Land Rover Freelander for me, and a Superformance S1, as seen in the picture above.

A brief note: At the time, my pen name for my website was “Jim Boswell”, which is why the “Boswell family” and “Mrs. Boswell” keep getting mentioned. Without further ado, then:

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BMX Basics: “Squid Is Squirrelly”


A few of you know that I wrote for “Bicycles Today” magazine from 1990 to 1998, and that I maintained the “BMX Basics” website from 1997 to 2004. For your amusement and mine, I’ll periodically be resurrecting some of the old columns from back in the proverbial day. This one, originally published in “Bicycles Today” in 1991, was a semi-fictional, present-tense account of a young rider’s first race. I was eighteen when I wrote it. However, I’ve resisted the temptation to edit it. Thanks, as always, for reading. And please read the note at the end, even if you skip the story — jb

The first sensation Squid is able to consciously locate is the feeling of the padded top tube of his 1985 1/2 Redline 600c precisely, and painfully, finding the space between his legs and nestling there contentedly.

Dazed, he stares for a moment into the back of his Haro Series 1-B number plate, as his knees drag perilously close to the ground. All around him, dust forms an axle-high layer of brown clouds, and everyone disappears from his field of vision, which is centered around his handlebars. The momentum of his bike carries him down the Pataskala “Phase IV” BMX track’s starting hill. Three inglorious words form in the back of his mind, waiting to be set free by some sort of…

“Yep, Allen’s doing the Top Tube Tango, and further on down the track we got…” – public announcement.

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