High flying BMX

Dean Benalla gets airborne with his BMX (Photo Connectons BMX)

Dean Benalla gets airborne with his BMX (Photo Connectons BMX)

Do not conform your children to your own learning for they were born for another time -Hebrew Proverb
We see them on the street standing tall over small bike frames the whole time as rarely do they sit on the seat. The bikes are quite often absent of brakes as the riders create their own free style braking method of the shoe over the frame onto the back wheel.

These young riders are athletic and extremely agile and have an extreme sense of fun. They defy all cycling thinking of set up of seat height frame size and gearing yet in their own way it all fits the style of riding chosen but to the untrained eye it is just another BMX.

Welcome to the inside look of the Freestyle BMX and let’s not confuse these with the BMX racers that were in the Beijing Olympics for the first time this year. They can be quite scary to watch as they defy gravity and the old adages of cycling of going forward as they can go backwards fly through the air leaving the bike and somersault along with many other amazing feats.

The cycling equipment seems quite plain and uncomplicated and yet is really quite sophisticated. These young men and women are breaking barriers continually and it seems limitless what can be achieved.

Skate parks are used by BMXers as well as skateboarders, inline skaters and sometimes scooter-riders and has is origins as far back as the 1970s. Common obstacles include:

  • Quarter pipes – literally, quarter of a pipe – riders air from it and perform tricks in the air or on a platform above the ramp or drop in on it to gain speed
  • Spines – two quarter pipes back to back
  • Flat banks an angled wall for which to ride on.
  • Wall rides/vertical walls – a vertical wall above either quarter pipes or flat banks.
  • Miniramps – two small quarter pipes facing one another, like a halfpipe, but with a short flat area between.
  • Hips – essentially two quarter pipes or flat banks, each with one edge at a right angle or a more aggressive angle to the other.
  • Box jumps – a steep quarter pipe like lip with a deck extending to a landing often less steep than the lip.

Trails also referred to as “dirt jumping” are, as the name suggests, lines of jumps built from dirt (heavily compacted mud). Trails riders build their own jumps so their riding is limited only by their creativity and resourcefulness. Dirt jumping bikes are heavier than BMX racing bikes but lighter than freestyle bikes. Trails riders usually run a rear brake only as they have no use for a front brake, and usually a gyro to make it easier to do barspins as they do not have to spins the bars back the other way to untangle it, which is hard to do on trails.

In general, trail/dirt jumping bikes have longer wheelbases then other BMXs to aid with stability. With trails you do not need to pedal so much in between jumps. By pumping you gain speed to clear the jumps

Flatland or Street BMX people who ride in the above disciplines will generally take part in at least one of the others. They are often very dedicated and will spend several hours a day perfecting their technique or trick.

Street riders also differs from the others in that the terrain used is often a flat surface (e.g. an handrail, basketball courts, stairs, etc.). Some tricks are performed by spinning and balancing in a variety of body and bicycle positions. Riders can use knurled steel pegs to stand on to manipulate the bike into even stranger positions or use the pegs to grind along edges like a skate board rider.

There is a real sense of community amongst the riders or encouragement entertainment and development through their riding. Like all cycling it is very addictive and has a fashion statement of colour and style and an expression of freedom.

See you on the bike flying high soon God willing


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