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BMX Basics

It is commonly accepted that BMX (bicycle motocross) began with kids in California. For those with the desire to participate in motocross but not the means, BMX offered similar action at low cost.

BMX shot into popular culture in 1982 with the release of E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial which showed characters riding BMX bikes. As the popularity of BMX grew, riders were consistently testing the limits of their bikes. BMX wasn’t just about racing anymore. Riders began to merge skateboard park riding with more elaborate tricks and soon freestyle was as popular as racing.

In the 1990’s the world went extreme. Suddenly everywhere people were testing their limits. Extreme sports became recognized as legitimate pursuits and in 1995, ESPN hosted the first X Games. Being a BMX rider became a legitimate career opening the door for lucrative endorsement and television deals. Today, BMX racing and freestyle remains a popular pursuit. In addition to the thrill, the opportunity, and possibility– it’s just fun to ride.


Freestyling includes:
• Dirt jumping: approaching a ramp and doing tricks
• Trail riding: doing tricks on a series of ramps
• Street riding: does exactly what it says on the tin
• Flatland: doing tricks while on a flat piece of land
• Ramp/park riding

Ramp parks can be made of concrete (nice), wood (nice) or aluminium (eeek).
And don’t forget park etiquette: don’t hog the ramps!!!

Get Involved
The beauty of BMX’ing is that you can do it almost anywhere. If you’ve got a curb or a few steps then have a go at street riding. If you find a flat piece of land have a go at flatriding.

There are three kinds of bike: race, street, and flatland. Depending on what you want to do with your bike affects what kind you will need – they vary in weight, length and height. If you want to do tricks then you need pegs (the little bars coming out of the wheels). You can get these fitted just front, just back or just one side. Some BMX’s use a gyro which is a braking system which still allows the handle bar to spin right around. Some BMX’s abandon brakes altogether.

Pretty Tough Tip

Don’t spend more than $250 for a frame. Let’s be honest. You won’t keep your frame forever, won’t get much for it when you sell it, and may just plain break it between now and then. Given the myriad of great frames available for under $250, why spend more? To impress your friends? The fact is they’re too busy waiting for you to admire their $400 frame to notice yours.

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