This was Mike’s first video (with the help of Stew Johnson) and is still to this day one of the best to watch before a session. Good spots, good music, good people and an over all good vibe, Mike really knew how to present riding and get you hyped. The footage of Wilbur in the intro is by far some of the best street riding ever documented. Someone get me a time machine back to the 90’s, the 21st century sucks.
The world is officially a much shittier place as of April 13th. Thanks for giving a random kid from New Jersey a chance to see the world and experience the kind of stuff most people dream of. Quitting college to attend the Mike Tag School of Traveling On A Budget was the best decision I ever made, and I know plenty of your other students feel the same. I would not have wanted to grow up any other way. There will never be another Mike Tag. R.I.P buddy
In 1992 a skatepark opened up in Newburg NY. It was a super sick underground spot in this sketchy warehouse. It was the first indoor skatepark anywhere near me and it was still almost 2 hours away. We had some other abandoned warehouses with some ramps but this spot was legit. I went to a skate contest with some friends to check it out soon after it opened. At the time there were not too many bmx riders and I mostly sessioned with skaters. The park had never had anyone even bring a bmx into the place before. A skateboard photographer told me he rode bmx and was so psyched to see me there sessioning with the skaters. This was Rob Kucharek (from American Icon who to this day does our screeenprinting). He told me he rode with this amazing rider Mike Tagliavento. I was real hyped since I had recently seen a real crazy flick in a local zine of him doing a crazy limbless jumping variation that had never been done before. I don’t remember exactly what trick it was since he had so many, but it was a crazy flick that really stood out when I saw it.
A few weeks later we met back up at the skatepark and Rob brought his bike and Tag. It was such a great day and session. Tag rode with control and power like none other. He was strong as all hell and blasted the ramps all over the place.
A few months later I went to a contest at Shimersvile, Skatepark in PA. It was pretty big one and all the big pros were there. I saw Tag outside just hangin out on the curb watching everyone else warm up on a boxjump. They brought it in special to have a separate jumpbox contest outside the park. Everyone was killing this thing with crazy tricks I had only seen in magazines. All of a sudden the contest starts and Tag gets up and jumps on his bike and starts blasting way higher then anyone else. The he started to bring out his repertoire of crazy limbless jumps still at the greatest heights and with the best style and extension. He was up against the best in the world and ended up 3rd place in Pro right after Jay Miron and Dennis McCoy who were obviously doing godlike tricks also. This was obviously a wakeup to everyone on what was about to happen and where he was going to take riding.
Tag destroyed everything, but he was the first person I met who wanted to search for street spots more then me. I was always the one throwing a bunch of bikes in the car to get people to new spots, but now he was picking me up to go on crazy missions and showing me spots I could have never imagined. He really liked to grind ledges as much as I did and it was so awesome to ride any spot with him.
I learned many things from him over the years we traveled around and rode together. He lived by his own rules and made his life how he wanted it. He was always ready to scheme against society and enjoyed the challenge. Whether it was an illegal phone dialer to make free calls (this was before cell phones), or a dollar bill on a string to steal from a vending machine, he was always up on the latest and greatest way to not deal with the rules of society.
His crew of riders that was FBM were some of the craziest toughest guys in riding. I loved to visit him and Crandall in Ithaca. It was a constant party with plenty of riding mixed in. The days at Baker’s jumps seeing how Tag and his crew burned and blew things up while riding some of the craziest jumps at the same time are some of my best memories in riding.
He liked the way I rode and put me on the FBM team also. That was such a great honor to ride on the same bike company with him and the other lunatics on the team. I was real proud to represent for them and did my best.
When I told the next generation at the time that I knew Mike Tag they were so hyped to meet him and go riding with him. Once he met the crew, he took them with him all over also. He put Bob Scerbo and George Dossantos on FBM right away. We all traveled together with the goal of riding the best spots and having as much fun as possible.
Tag was with me when I got the idea to start animal. We were on a trip to Florida and stopped to ride at a college in Georgia. Being the ledge lovers we are we both attacked this brand new marble ledge down some stairs. Then we went to an amazing kinked curved rail and started to get busy on that with Bob and George giving it some work also. Cops rolled up and before we knew it were all in county jail in orange suits for the weekend. The college pressed charges for destruction of property since we really fucked up the marble ledge that they had just put in. When we got out we all went camping and after all the stress from the weekend and still being so hyped on riding I started animal.
Tag was a huge influence on my riding and my whole life in general. I know he had profound positive effects on many peoples lives. He really stood for what I found the most important in riding which was being tough as hell. Throughout his last year of life he gave toughness a whole new meaning. He faced his life head on and fought the fight with a smirk till the end. He will be severely missed and celebrated as a person and rider forever.
Finding out the news a few minutes ago that Mike Tag has passed away has been a tough one to process. Sure, we all know Mike has been battling a terminal illness for a while now. But we’re talking about Tag. He’s always done things his own way, whether it was double pegging virtually un-grindable cement kinked ledges, or having a nonchalant attitude towards dealing with a situation that would have most people just feeling sorry for themselves. It’s hard to believe that he’s gone. Mike is an inspiration to all, and his influence will never be forgotten. Rest In Peace, Mike.
– Rob Dolecki