In 1970, BMX (Bicycle Moto-Cross) racing had just begun at Palms Park, a small community recreational hub located in a busy section of West Los Angeles, California. The semi-structured 20" bike races with dirt jumps and burm's allowed two local racers to develop extreme bike sport personalities. These were the Bank brothers.
1972, Devin and Todd became heavily influenced after seeing the extreme motorcycle jumping stunts of Evel Knievel on television. Palms, California; To emulate their hero, they built small wood and brick jumping ramps on the sidewalk of Castle Heights Avenue in front of their childhood home.
They spent many hours testing the durability of their bikes by jumping long distances, over trashcans and even each other. Pretty soon they began riding to Alexander Hamilton High School a few blocks away to convert lunch benches into giant 6' tall jumping ramps. This act of needing to "get big air" would soon change BMX riding forever.
In 1975 or 76, after hearing of neighboring Venice, California skaters (Dogtown Z-Boys) riding in abandoned swimming pools, the brothers thought to combine their favorite after school activity of BMX stunt riding with their other hobby of skateboarding. The younger brother, Todd, soon built a skateboard trick ramp out of scrap wood to simulate pool skating. After widening it to 8', Devin began doing kick-turn tricks on it with his Schwinn Scrambler BMX bike. Todd soon joined in doing kick-turns and fakie tricks. This is the birth of BMX ramp riding.
In the street, Devin began bunny-hopping his bike off the ground and rotating it completely around like a 360 skateboard trick. He soon began using driveway curbs as a ramp to jump three feet into the air, do a 360 and ride away. Here is just one instance where BMX freestyle began!
Devin Bank doing a one-handed wheelie along the sidewalk of Castle Heights Avenue in 1974.
The Sidewalk Jump"
Devin Bank attempting to jump over his brother Todd using a few bricks and a small piece of wood as a ramp.
"The Birth of BMX Ramp Riding, 1"
Devin Bank doing a kick-turn trick on their skate ramp using his BMX bike in 1976.
"The Birth of BMX Ramp Riding, 2"
Todd Bank attempting a kick-turn trick on his skate ramp using his BMX bike in 1976.
Devin practicing in one of his many attempts to complete a 360 degree turn on his BMX bike.