A little rain never hurt anyone but it could have, which had organizers of Cycle Jam thinking on their feet Saturday leading them to move the party — bikes, tricks and all — indoors.
The day started out with cooperative weather, allowing children to enjoy the bounce castle provided by All Star Rentals, Elkin Rocks painting and other activities in the Kids Zone.
Although the light rain was a minor disappointment, the riders from The Freestyle Connection were able to accomplish a few feats including doing tricks inside of sponsor business Downtown Cyclery.
“I can’t say enough good things about what I see with Downtown Cyclery,” said Freestyle Connection owner Jonathan Dowker. “That’s pretty awesome to have a BMX scene in a small town. Most good riders come from small towns.”
Some of them may come from Elkin after having seen the professional stunt team Saturday.
“These guys are teaching [the kids] tricks out here. I think that’s pretty cool,” said local resident Marcie Sotelo. “I like that the kids in the neighborhood [could] come out and they can play together and learn tricks. I think it’s great.”
Although some parents may be concerned with the safety of riding, Dowker said it is safer than some sports when the right precautions are taken.
“I would say that it’s no more dangerous than playing Little League soccer or football. Football is probably a little more dangerous actually,” said Dowker, explaining with riding, “it’s up to you to challenge yourself, whereas with a game like football somebody’s out there trying to hurt you, that’s the difference.”
Another difference between riding and other sports is being able to ride whenever the urge strikes instead of waiting on someone else.
“The baseball diamond isn’t for everyone,” said Dowker. “You have to get organized and have to have a team, whereas you can go to a skate park and ride your bike or skateboard with one or two of your buddies and it doesn’t need to be organized. That’s what’s cool about it.
“There’s more kids skateboarding and riding BMX bikes than are playing football today. I don’t think that a lot of Americans realize that,” said Dowker, “so I think it’s really important that we have skateboard parks and facilities for kids to go to and just hang out and be kids.”
As a rider in his youth, local resident John Adams agreed saying parents should encourage their kids to take up biking.
“Get off the couch and get outside,” said Adams. “Get on the bicycle. Put on a helmet and some pads, but yeah, get off the couch.”
Cycle Jam definitely got kids off the couch Saturday.
“You’ve got a lot of smiling little kids out here who are excited and I think that’s a good thing,” said Capt. Scotty Vestal of the Jonesville Police Department, who was present with his family.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Vestal of the event. “It gives them something to do, something to aspire to be. I think it’s pretty cool.”
Everyone who attended Cycle Jam seemed to be impressed with the event in spite of the rain, including business owners.
“My favorite saying is ‘pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered,’” said Maureen Postle of Wanderlust Studio, who did not think the event adversely affected business at all.
“If we have to share the day for an event like this to make the downtown area prosper, I think it’s a wonderful idea. I would be supportive of doing any kind of event on Main Street.”
“I think it’s really cool [for a small town to have a BMX stunt team] especially when they do it downtown,” said Dowker. “I can’t imagine that it’s going to hurt any of the local stores. Probably bring commerce to it. I know that the bike shop will probably get some sales, of course they paid a pretty penny for us to come out.
“I think that any time a town gets together and puts on an event it’s awesome. It’s good for the community. Everyone wants to feel like they’re part of something so the more people involved the better,” said Dowker.
More people got involved as the day continued with heavy metal music inside Downtown Cyclery after several riders completed a series of street stunts for those who braved the continuous light rain that made the half-pipe outside more dangerous than usual.
Inside the bike shop danger increased after the bikes were put away as eager youth explored radical motion in an aggressively polite mosh pit.
Metal music lovers crated a safe space for dancers to fling and flail while photographers, walls and windows were carefully observed and protected.
The heavy sounds Decimated the small crowd who listened to the Mess that brought them out of their state of Dormiveglia just in time for The Worshiper to Heft the music harder.
Although these bands were not the usual fare for Elkin, they were surprisingly well received.
“We’re CBGB’ing the music and hav[ing] fun with it,” said Cycle Jam organizer and Downtown Cyclery owner Adam French, comparing the change in venue to the iconic 1970’s venue.
“Honestly I think it turned out better than we expected,” said French. “The crowd was a lot bigger. I think it something that we should do it again.”
Sotelo agreed, “[I] absolutely hope they do something like this again. Any little event, anything the community can pull together I think is great.”
“You get more people involved in the town then everybody seems like they’re part of it,” said Dowker. “Everybody wants to be part of something.”
“This is great,” said competitive BMXer Brian Fox, “getting everybody in town together and hanging out.
“It’s kind of like what we used to do,” said Fox, who shared memories of block parties from his own youth.
“It was always a good time. This kind of brings back some old memories. It probably doesn’t get any better than that.”
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.