So You Want To Find Spots?
Spot searching is a common quest that most bmx riders see themselves getting into even when they least expect it. Think about every time your friends and yourself leave the skate park to search around the city, and occasionally you’ll come across spots you’ve never seen before. This simple motion of getting out and looking around is my favorite part about riding – the exploration. The ol’ quote “The journey is better than the destination” is a great way to put it, but I ultimately enjoy both parts of the adventure.. the destination and the end goal.
Living in the 21st century, we are surrounded by technology that we use every single day of our lives – even if we hardly know we’re using it. The tools that we will be using to find our spots are very simplistic and every body has them. The first tool in your spot finding Arenal is “Yourself & The People Around You”
“Yourself & The People Around You”
First is first, if you’re unwilling to do the work then you’re likely too lazy to go to the spot. Don’t get discouraged if your not in the big city with a large crew to mob around with – if you love riding for the pure aspect of BMX then you shouldn’t have a problem with getting motivated to put in some time and effort to potentially come up on something to place your rubbers on.
The two choices are to either journey off alone or find someone to help you not only explore the spot, but ride & enjoy the reward. These are two different worlds, but I do enjoy having the homies around so we can feed off each other and you live in the moment. It’s not hard to even recall all the memorable times I’ve had doing missions with the crew, they are times I would never trade for anything.
So you may be wondering what the people around you can do in terms of finding places to ride your Bmx bikes on. Well it’s simple, people talk & they love doing it – this means in person and online. If you have a local Bmx or skate scene in your area or have a skatepark / meet up spot, this is a great opportunity to meet some new people and form a riding crew. This way you can ride around with some locals who may show you some of their spots, hell they may even give you some spots so you can ride them later. But if you ask where something is and they don’t tell you – it’s likely they don’t want it blown out or have spent a lot of time searching far and wide for it to give away so easily. Honestly this will happen more times then you may think, but this only makes finding that spot that much more rewarding.
Social media is a place where spots are either shown, given away, or both in the same place. I love seeing spots, it’s like hidden art that you can look for and find… shit, you could even say this is the equivalence of geocaching. None the less if you usually look around you can find someone giving away spots willy nilly, in all reality I don’t mind in the end – especially if I didn’t know where the spot was in the first place. Sometimes this can back fire, I remember when the Austin “Toilet Bowl” ditch was blown out I searched high and low on social media so I could find this puppy, but no luck – it was word of mouth that got this spot caught in my opinion. But the first notion way putting the spot on social media, which is something we are guilty of doing. In the end when you mix the style of this incredible spot, with how new the spot was, and technology – it never would’ve survived. Spots like this get blown out by the amount of traffic in the area, when people are parking near the spot, in front of peoples houses, doing illegal shit at the spot – it’s only amount of time till it gets the dozer. Luckily this spot got fucking shredded before it left us, the skeleton still remains but the transition is no more.
Here’s an example of an Instagram page dedicated to giving away spot information, I guarantee there’s one in or around the area you live, and if there isn’t then you will have some more work on your hands. Instagram pages where pictures and addresses are given away in the captions are very useful especially if you’re visiting a town and don’t have time to look up some spots on maps. You can even occasionally find a good drive document dedicated to spot listings in your area as well.
In the end this is the easy way of finding spots and doesn’t require much time or effort, all you have to do is find the right person who is spot snitching (which we don’t condone). We will show off some spot pictures but we will never share information in the comments or in the caption, that defeats the fun of this whole entire thing. The general rule we go by is if you want a spot you should likely trade spot for spot, and should be done via private messenger to avoid any spots getting lit up.
“Old School Exploration”
When you have no means of talking to people or looking on the computer to find spots then you resort to the classic pedal n’ search. This is probably the most effective way of spot searching but you are limited by how far you can search in the amount of time given. This means you may snoop around a 2 mile radius that could all day, BUT you’ve found a collection of spots. When you’re there in the flesh riding around your eye’s are doing all the work – you will likely scope out things different opposed to being on street view.. Grab some homies, pick a place to park, and cruise around till you come up.
This is the most powerful tool if you want to span miles & miles in only minutes. Something people dreamt of doing decades ago is easily accessible online and it doesn’t cost a penny to use. I’ve been nerding out on google maps for a few years now and I’ve learned a few things from using it, I’ll be giving you a few tips for finding ditches in your area. First is first..
1) You must use satellite, if you don’t then I have no idea how you can find spots – if you figure it out please let me know.
2) Utilize Street View, if you found a potential spot you can usually spot check it by placing a street view next to the spot!
3) Look around in densely populated areas, if you’re looking in the boonies off Dirt Road & Farmer Ranch 22 you’ll likely find an open field and no spot.
4) Remember that neighborhoods are your friends, more often then not – a closely grouped amount of houses will have a drainage parting between the two fences. Below is an example of the groupings of houses that could have drainage.
5) Always look on the edges of neignborhoods
6) Find the breaks “ridge lines” in the neighborhoods, this usually means drainage.
7) Golden Rules “Flat Area = means no spots or heavy drainage” “Hilly Areas = Large drops and run off ditches” “Stop Spot Snitching”
Well now that you have an idea of what goes on in my brain, get out there and find some shit to ride before I do!