re-sized 2 BMXers

Is the sport of BMX restricted to the youth of today?

Just about anyone can BMX, but it helps if you start young. I mean…. just look at this bunch!


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However, it’s not a sport reserved for the very young. Racing BMX, for example, is practiced by anyone from young children to people way up there in their 50’s … after all, it was those 50+ year olds who had a hand in inventing the sport originally. Although, according to BMX-forum.com if you are over 50 you’re “really effing old to be riding a bmx, you need glasses cause this forum isnt about “BMW”!

However, back to facts and realities!!! Because of its diversity it is also a great family sport. Obviously, if you decide to race BMX as a geriatric you won’t be in there with the tinies … so never fear, your chances of winning are as good as anyone else in your age group!

I think it is probably a widely held conception that BMX is a sport for young children and those in their teens and early twenties. However, that is far from the case, apart, perhaps, from freestyle BMX which is practiced mainly by younger people, but certainly not only by younger people.

BMX’s are super-cool and therefore very attractive to young riders. However, a quick scuffle through memory reminds me that having the latest and greatest of anything has long been the case, witness for example these two colourful descriptions of the best ‘toy’ of the moment:

“can there be anything cooler than the free-turning high-rise gyroscopic handlebars and brightly-coloured stunt pegs of a freestyle BMX bike?”

compared to:

“…well hung, town built… you see; seat, trunk, sword-case, splashing board, lamps, silver moulding, all you see complete…”

This second quote was said by John Thorpe in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, first published in 1803.

We haven’t changed much have we?!

The look of the transport in question has though…

purpose built BMX bike

bmx bike

…as against a Curricle (a two-wheel carriage that was fashionable in the early 1800s. It was pulled by two horses and deemed sporty by the younger set):

curricle drawn by 2 horses and considered very trendy in the early 1800's.

Curricle

I digress. Back to the BMX – or bicycle motorcross which is where the name is derived from…

There’s something about a BMX that appeals to kids and adults and the sport of Bicycle Motocross – Freestyle BMX is now one of the staple events at the annual Summer X Games Extreme Sports competition. The popularity of the sport has increased due to its relative ease and availability of places to ride and do tricks.

BMX racing is an individual sport although teams are often formed from racers in different classifications for camaraderie and often for business exposure of a sponsoring organization or company. BMX racing rewards strength, quickness, and bike handling. Many successful BMX racers have gone on to leverage their skills in other forms of bicycle and motorcycle competitions and is raced by all age groups.

So popular is this sport today that the ABA (American Bicycle Association)/BMX roster now has more than 60,000 race members. It helped that its first inclusion in the Lypmics at Beijing was televised.

The world’s largest BMX sanctioned organization, ABA/BMX is run by Chief Executive Officer B.A. Anderson, 42, and Chief Operating Officer John David, 33, of Gilbert. Anderson himself started racing at age 6 in San Antonio. “When I first saw BMX on TV, I told my dad that’s what I wanted to do,” he said, recalling that in 1976, even the acronym “BMX” was little known outside bicycle circles.

He wasn’t the only 1970s kid enamored of the new sport who modified banana-seat bicycles to jump over dirt hills in vacant fields. It didn’t take long for the sport “created by kids for kids” to evolve, with official tracks soon following.

John David, is celebrating a decade with ABA/BMX. He started as a 7-year-old BMX racer. “Down in Louisiana at the time, our local Schwinn shop had a BMX track right next to it. As soon as I saw it, the hook was set,” said David.

Quality family time is one of the best aspects of the sport, he said. “It’s amazing to see people touched by the sport and how much it involves the family. When I played Pop Warner football, my father sat on the sidelines. When I raced, my dad was my coach. In BMX, the team is the family and they get a lot of quality time together.”

Both men say are proud that as the world’s largest national sanctioning body, ABA/BMX also claims a litany of firsts in the sport including the first national tour, first pro purse, first interactive website for members; and first and most prestigious National Amateur Championship.

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