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Today would have been Colin Winkelmann’s 37th birthday and in tribute to one of the brothers of our lifestyle that has passed on, we’re honored to show you his section from Mark Losey’s Pro Town documentary. Colin truly lived his life as a BMXer to the fullest, pushing the boundaries of what was possible on a BMX bike, and not just on your ordinary setups. As a young BMXer, I came to know Colin through legendary DK and DC shoe ads, where he could be found breaking world records, handling some of the burliest setups of the time, or creating wild contraptions just to see what was possible with a 20 inch bike and some creative engineering.
Winkelmann’s time in the eye of the BMX world started in the early 1990s. While his name came to become synonymous with the town of Greenville, North Carolina at his peak of popularity in BMX, Winkelmann got his start in another burgeoning BMX hub of the time–Fort Wayne, Indiana. A new member of Stew Johnson’s Scum Clothing company, Winkelmann was able to make it to some contests and make an even bigger name for himself by doing some of the biggest moves of the events and placing well. This move to Fort Wayne also fortified future appearances in the legendary FBM videos of the decade. By the end of the 1990s, Colin had become a well known pro rider with his own signature frame from DK, the SOB.
Moving into the 21st century, Colin set a Guiness World Record in the first year of the new millennium, jumping 116 feet and 11 inches over multiple vehicles in a raw feat that pushed the boundaries of BMX riding without doing a single trick–a simple but powerful statement, one fueled by the desire to just go big and not echoed again in BMX until Dane Searls’ Giants of Dirt project a decade later. Opening up the 2000s with a bang, Colin continued to receive respect and recognition for both his traditional and non-traditional riding achievements–while he still made waves on the contest circuit, Colin continued to make realities of his imagination and push BMX. One particularly memorable stunt involved Colin, a go kart, and a backflip, all of which was ran as a sequence in a DC Shoes ad spread.
One of Colin’s long jumps.
While the 2000s saw some of the highlights of Colin’s BMX career and legacy, it also saw the darkest moments of his life. Following a stunt gone wrong at Travis Pastrana’s house, Winkelmann was left with injuries to both of his legs and vertebrae. During recovery Colin passed on, taking his own life for reasons unknown in 2005 in a move that shocked and saddened the BMX world and all of those around him. Today, Colin’s passion is remembered and his spirit lived on within those that got to be around his energy and influence. If you haven’t already, press play on the video at the top of the page and get to know a true legend of BMX from the people who pushed him, motivated, and were motivated by him during his time in Greenville, North Carolina.