The Birth of BMX
It was around the mid 70’s when BMX began to take a different shape and form from just being dirt motocross style racing. With the skateboarding movement taking a strong hold in areas like Southern California, skate parks were popping up all over the place. The guys who wanted to stick with their bikes were ready to take BMX to a whole new level. The first BMX freestyle crew to form was BMX Action Trick Team. From then on BMX teams starting forming all over the country. By the mid 80’s BMX contests were held in many different categories of BMX such as street, park, vert, trails, and flatland.
It is these different types of Freestyle BMX that will be discussed here.
Street BMX gained massive popularity in the late 80’s with the rise in BMX videos. Street style BMX makes use of the neighborhood, whether it be an urban street or a suburban neighborhood. Street riders make use of handrails, stairs, ledges, banks, and other obstacles. The filming of street BMX tends to be the most popular as it has become an art form of creativity to choose interesting areas to film and to find challenging obstacles to ride.
It was around the mid 80’s when park BMX took a stronghold. At first, skateboarders were hesitant to let the dangerous BMX bikes into their parks. As the park tricks progressed everyone soon got along and BMX park riding became a whole new category of extreme games. Making use of the quarter pipes, along with every other ramp and park jib such as rails, the creativity of BMX has progressed to amazing levels over the past 30 years.
The theatrical side of motocross has always been the huge jumps. When BMX was introduced the most fun, and most dangerous part of riding was the big air. Huge vert ramps tossed BMX riders high into the sky where they can get creative with flips, whips, and bar spins. When the half pipe was introduced into skateboarding and BMX it was like a constant dream come true for riders. Hitting back to back endless vert ramps made for greater trick creativity.
Today the half pipe is the gathering for all the glory of big airs and huge tricks at the X Games and other BMX contests.
Since we were kids we all took our bikes to the dirt trails behind our house. This is where you could build your own jumps, or just cruise trails for miles and miles until you got lost or wound up on the other side of town. BMX trail riding combines the nature of mountain biking with the style of freestyle BMX. Many prefer it for it’s continuity and speed.
It’s always a throw back to our true roots of BMX to the days we build our own jumps in the woods.
Flatland BMX is like breakdancing on a bike. It is considered the most artistic form of BMX as it does not use the extreme aspects of vert ramps, rails, or obstacles. It is just the rider and his bike on flat ground. Tricks are extremely technical as they involve a lot of spinning and maneuvering the bike into obscure positions. The bikes tend to have different specs to freestyle BMX as well.
Many BMX riders feel flatland BMX is a whole different breed of rider, but really we all started at the same place, as kids with our BMX bikes and our crew of friends.