Ah, summer road trips! The wide-open highway. The hot wind in your unwashed hair. The maternal badgering of that GPS device you can't quite figure out. The peaceful sloshing of gasoline as another $4 gallon goes into the tank ... wait, forget about that last one. What's important, fellow East Coast riders, is that there's no better time than right this minute to pack up your gear, hop into a buddy's car (never your own!) and skip town for the BMX trip of a lifetime. Here's where to point the dashboard.
You Live In: New England
Drive To: Boston
The quarterpipe at the Boston Medical Center might a thing of the past, but this bustling metropolis has plenty of other options for crews with an eye for the creative. As you cruise through campus after campus in the world's biggest college town, don't overlook the younger demographicBMXers in the know meet up at Jackson Mann, an unassuming elementary school in Alston. A ten-minute ride from the center of town, "The Mann" has rail features and L-ledges galore. What if you hear the recess bell? Move on, sucka, but with the constant development in Boston (read: endless contruction projects like the Big Dig), you're sure to find another great spot right around the corner.
Bike Bonus: Head to MIT and see if you can carve a wallride across one of Frank Gehry's Dr. Suess-style buildings without slamming into some freshman poindexter shuffling off to Quantum Physics.
Grub on the Go: The best hot dogs this side of Fenway can be found at Spike's Junkyard Dogs. Don't be fooled by the menacing namethis place has a chill atmosphere and some vegan options as well.
You Live In: NJ, CT or PA
Drive To: New York City
Riding the big city can be intimidating without a veteran guide, so we got some direction from Jorge Jovel, the reigning King of NYC. "Begin your tour near Yankee Stadium at Mullally Skate Park," he advises. "You'll be sure to find plenty of unknown shredders who are more than happy to have visitors." Prefer the dirt experience? "Find the 181st Street Bridge and cross over to the Heights," says Jovel. "Be sure to make the first right after the bridgeyou'll have about a three-block ride. Then, right next to the basketball court, you'll find dirt jumps built by the city of New York." Looking for some old school street flavor? "Take the FDR Drive all the way downtown and get off around 23rd," suggests Jovel. "Look for the Brooklyn Bridgeright under it you'll see the Banks." The Brooklyn Banks is a historic 1970s skate haven which survived the '80s and '90s, barely made it through the last five years and is now a fully-sanctioned spot to crush on a board or bike.
Bike Bonus: On the way to the Banks, be sure to visit Riverside Park around 108th. "It isn't too bike friendly," Jovel admits, "but you can sometimes swindle the [NYC Parks and Recreation Department] workers into letting you get a little run in."
Grub on the Go: If you get hungry on the Upper West Side, stop by Koronet on the corner of 100th and Broadway for a comically large slice of pizza (BIGGEST in the whole damn city, actually). "I can almost taste the cheese stretching into my lips!" says Jovel. If you're in the Mullally area (read: The Bronx), hit up the tried-and-true McDonalds under the 4 train (this is a road trip, after all). The parking lot here is a good place to stock up on Bootleg DVDs.
You Live In: ME, VT, or Upstate NY
Drive To: Rye, NH
When your parents go biking in New England, they kick back and do the Vermont B&B thing. As for you and your dirtbag crew, the top destination is Rye Airfield, New Hampshire. With perfect ramps and a vibrant BMX atmosphere, it's no wonder so many pros (and forty thousand kids annually) drop by to rip this place apart. The local rulers at Rye are Brian Hunt, Aaron Smith and Zac Earley, so you know it's got proper bike features. In fact, almost every street obstacle and cement bowl is packed with vert.
Bike Bonus: Just down the road is the University of New Hampshire, a leafy college campus that just happens to be smattered with hit-and-run street spots like big stair drops and smooth up-rails.
Grub on the Go: An anonymous source embedded in the East Coast BMX scene has been raving about the bar snacks (and cute waitresses) at Wings Your Way.
You Live In: DC, VA or MD
Drive To: Greenville, NC
This down-home college town is a straight-up BMX mecca, but cruising around the warehouse district in search of secret ramp domains (both Dave Mirra and Alan Cooke have sick compounds here) will only get you shunned. Instead, head to Jaycee Skate Park with your bike, your helmet and five measly bucks. Constructed by the city of Greenville itself, Jaycee got a major facelift in 2006 and has since become the end-all, be-all BMX destination in the Carolinas. This park is a big reason why Greenville is known as "Pro-Town, USA," and while there aren't any dirt jumps to speak of, rumor has it BMXer-turned-Rally-enthusiast Quinn Semling is building a bunch of backyard jumps nearby.
Bike Bonus: According to Mike Mancuso, one of the many big dogs around town, Eastern Carolina University has street riding galore. "Lots of rails and cool gaps on campus," he notes. Another Mancuso-approved spot is the Pitt County Memorial hospital (and no, we're not going to make the requisite joke about the benefits of learning tricks on hospital grounds).
Grub on the Go: If you're going to splurge on just one meal, do it at Chefs 505. If somebody in your group has daddy's credit card, Mancuso suggests this plan: "Bribe a pro to show you the goods with a burger and sweet potato fries."