BMX – Randy Taylor Forever. Rest in peace. A collection of some of Randy’s best footage. Learn more:
One night circa 2009 we were all sitting around talking about BMX when somehow the conversation turned to a single, invented controversy: who was the better rider, Nathan Williams or Randy Taylor? Not the most critical or essential question I can think of, but being young, hopelessly obsessed with BMX and presumably lacking female companionship, we debated this topic for 20 minutes or so, as we often did at the time, going into absurd depth arguing about a question that we had concocted for the sake of having something to argue about. Then, without telling us, Kareem Williams called Randy and put him on speakerphone so that he could inform him of our debate. We were all embarrassed to have our nerdy conversation exposed, but the room fell silent whenever Randy spoke. Of course he was polite and humble but also audibly confused by the fact that this was a topic we saw fit to discuss at 11 pm at night.
I can admit this because it’s been so long, but I was the only person in the room on Team Nathan. Every other person in the room was vigorously defending Randy. I tried over and over to make my point, but nobody was hearing it. No matter what evidence I tried to present to the room, I was not just shut down, but laughed at. I soon realized that I had lost the argument before it even began, because Randy had that special something that neutralized the room’s ability to consider that anyone was better than him. He was more than the sum of his parts, and the people loved him not just for what he brought to the table but for the way he looked doing even the simplest of tricks. It’s not like anyone in the room had anything against Nathan, in fact I bet that had we been comparing Randy to just about anyone I would have lost the argument just as spectacularly.
Not many riders are able to form this sort of consensus, but Taj, Edwin, Mike Aitken and Eddie Cleveland all come to mind. Did Randy know how people viewed him this way? He must have had some idea, but like all the riders I just named, he never seemed to care much about what people thought of him. He just wanted to ride, and once injuries forced him off his bike for prolonged stretches of time, we were all left wondering when we would get to see him ride again.
And then one day, he was gone. I don’t know much about the circumstances that led to his untimely departure, but BMX collectively reeled when the news began to trickle out and most of Randy’s legions of fans from that era are probably still confused. There are never any easy answers in situations like this, but today we have one small consolation in the form of this video that Joe Simon put together from Mutiny’s deep archive of Randy’s footage from over the years. Check out the video above, look into Randy’s new frame re-issue and if any of this resonates with you, feel free to share your memories of Randy in the comments. Below, find some words from Walter Pieringer.
The Loosefer Reissue (http://mutinybikes.com/products-loosefer.html ) is now available and we’ll be donating all profits from sales to a suicide awareness charity.
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