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Freestyling can be traced back to 1975 when kids started riding bikes in concrete Escondido reservoir channels in San Diego, California. And, bike riders were seen in 1976 riding at Carlsbad Skatepark in Carlsbad, California. Skateboarder Magazinepublished photos of kids on bikes riding in empty swimming pools in 1975.
Bob Haro and John Swanguen rode BMX bikes at Skateboard Heaven, a concrete skatepark in San Diego, California in late 1976. Later they transformed freestyle beyond skateparks by creating new bike tricks on flat streets. In the fall of 1977 Bob Harowas hired as a staff artist at BMX Action Magazine where he befriended R.L. Osborn, son of the magazine publisher Bob Osborn. Haro and R.L. often practiced freestyle moves in their free time.
In the summer of 1978, Paramount, Lakewood, and other Southern California skateparks began reserving sessions or whole days exclusively for BMX bikes. BMX racer Tinker Juarez was innovating freestyle moves in vert bowls.
BMX Action Magazine published the first freestyle how-to article in their January/February 1979 issue which showed Bob Haro doing a “rock walk.”
BMX bike riders also performed a demonstration show in 1979 during a skate competition at Rocky Mountain Surf Skatepark in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Towards the end of 1979, Bob Haro and R.L. Osborn formed the BMX Action Trick Team and later began performing freestyle shows at BMX races and other events. After the BMXA Trick Team became known, other organized trick teams were founded and quickly gained prominence. The freestyling movement at this point was very much underground. Although several BMX manufacture-sponsored freestyle teams were touring the US, they were promoting the sport of BMX in general, not specifically freestyle.
Bob Osborn founded a slick quarterly magazine devoted solely to freestyle. In the summer of 1984, Freestylin’ Magazine made its debut. The BMX world suddenly noticed the sport’s massive potential. Manufacturers hurried to the drawing boards to develop new freestyle bikes, components, and accessories, and began searching for talented riders to sponsor. Bike shops began stocking freestyle products. The AFA began to put on organized flatland and quarter-pipe competitions.