Since the early 1980’s BMX racing has been the sport that doesn’t fit in, it’s the square peg in the round hole. It’s the sport that the naughty kids do, the one the daring kid down the street is obsessed with, the sport that attracted the kids your parents once disapproved of.
BMX is a culture, a movement – and not just the type of movement that inspired a generation to fall for a young Nicole Kidman when BMX Bandits made it large.
While the Olympics predicated itself on ‘traditional’ sports like track and field, swimming and gymnastics, BMX was busy making stars out of athletes who showed Olympic dedication. From racing each other down the street, to shredding in the park and fastidiously improving their skills, rebels on a BMX were never really without a cause.
It just so happens that one day, a few of those BMX campaigners took it from the street to the track. And then it grew over time into the thrilling exhibition of athleticism that created superstars, pro riders that kids idolised and would soon emulate.
The beauty of BMX is that anyone can get on a bike and ride, and that’s why it doesn’t toe the line of traditional sports. BMX has no barriers, and an inclusive culture like no other.
It’s probably why the Olympics eventually came knocking…the BMX movement drawing the affection of the Olympic movement. It seemed everyone began claiming their slice of the sport.
Even as the elite side of the sport grew exponentially, the grassroots that thrived off participation and inclusiveness held court. Irrespective of whether you clip in, rock the flat pedals, ride a cruiser, 20-inch or your dad’s retro roller from 1982 – it’s the sport for everyone.
In fact, it’s almost a crime if those who already ride, don’t entice new riders to give life behind bars a try.
In Australia, the volunteers and riders at local clubs introduce people to the sport better than anyone with ‘Come and try’ days. In recent times, a few clubs have been putting their own spin on the traditional introductory day, such is the culture of BMX to always try something new, to be creative.
In Toowoomba BMX Club in Queensland, BMX is open for business. No longer is the Come and Try day a single day, one day of the weekend every few months. They’ve thrown their gates open every Wednesday afternoon to new riders, in the hope that regular and ongoing sessions will be enough to get more new people onto a bike.
In Launceston, they’ve built a metaphoric ‘Trojan Horse’ and snuck their way into the domain of traditional sports, by teaming up with a local school. Step aside Kanga Cricket, this coming school term a few Tassie kids will have the chance to ride BMX for their school sport, and hopefully they love it.
Meanwhile in the Northern Territory, Satellite City BMX Club recently plugged the gap in between the football and cricket seasons. When the other sports went on vacation, a whole host of rather bored, and energetic kids grabbed their bikes and hit the track. Sometimes timing is everything.
As summer approaches, there is no better time to entice new members to your club, and our team are flexible and ready to assist with your Come and Try day idea. This is a sport built on being different and thinking outside the box is more than welcome.
If your club wants to try something new, send a proposal to BMXA. The team will work with you to create attendance records, welcome letters and make sure your club is covered for insurance when a new rider is on track for the first time.
It might be organising a school holiday BMX camp, a session on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day for those who want to rediscover their rebellious youth. Whatever your Come and Try day looks like, it’s always positive to bring new people to this thrilling, (sometimes) daring and inclusive sport.
Hey, if the Olympics begged for a prescription of pedal power that delivered plenty of punch, so should your neighbour. You owe it to them, get them on a BMX.