BMX racing, or bicycle motorcross racing to give it its full title, originated in the US during the 1970’s.
Despite the sport emerging in the 1970’s, Oakley sunglasses were not able to decorate the faces of BMX athletes at the Olympic Games until 2008. The 2008 Beijing Olympics were the first games to feature BMX racing.
Although Team GB dominated the cycling events at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio, Liam Phillips and Kyle Evans failed to add any medals to the already impressive Team GB medal tally. There’s no doubt that both athletes gave it their all- especially Liam Phillips who crashed out in the quarter-finals. However, the ‘quiet’ BMX races at Rio were very much pushed to one side in favour of the velodrome. Many of us were more interested in watching multiple pairs of Oakley glasses and lycra shorts whizz around the indoor track, with Team GB often the first to cross the finish line.
BMX racing is often forgotten as a sport. Despite the adrenaline and danger there’s a lot less hype about the stunt bikes. There’s many skate parks and dirt tracks all over the world that cater for BMX riders. Perhaps it is about time we start to actively encourage new riders to try this exciting sport? Bring your Oakley’s and come along for the ride.
Mellow Park, Berlin
Mellow Park covers an area of 60,000m2 making it Europe’s biggest outdoor skate park for skateboarders and BMX bikers. It covers a wide variety of activities from BMX to basketball- it even encourages graffiti. For over 10 years the park has provided a fantastic space for recreational activities. Needless to say it’s a BMX riders dream. Its skate park is impressive, boasting halfpipes, pump tracks, wall rides and mini ramps. And did I mention that they have their own BMX race track?
Ray’s MTB Indoor Park, Ohio
Opened in 2004 Ray’s MTB Indoor Park covers 92,000 sq. ft. This indoor playground offers up a warren of wooden ramps, berms, step ups and logs to keep you moving. It’s impressive, it’s fun and there’s something for all abilities. Did I mention the foam pit, wooden pump track and bowl?
Olympic BMX Track, London
Designed and built specifically for London 2012, this BMX track is now open to the public. With the longest track being 470 metres long featuring a berm jump, an S-bend transfer, a box jump and a rhythm section in the final straight- there’s certainly lots of challenges. In fact, it is frequently referred to as one of the most challenging BMX tracks to date. Why not give the 8 metre high starting ramp a go?
Travis Pastrana’s House, Maryland
Built in the back yard of motorsports competitor Travis Pastrana, this BMX track is in another league! Featuring sips, spines and quarters it also dares you to try a specially-constructed big air jump with a mega quarter pipe built into it. That should definitely get your heart racing.
Adrenaline BMX Park, Corby
Dubbed by serious riders as one of the UK’s best parks, Corby offers an unlikely destination for BMX lovers. Built exclusively of wood, it boasts many quarters and lines. You can make use of the foam pit, the bowl and even try your hand at The Great Wall of Corby- a huge vertical wall that invites riders to hand plant as high as they can.
Gorge Road, Queenstown
Just a 5 minute drive from the centre of Queenstown, this outdoor bike park is becoming renowned for the challenging jumps that it can offer. With over 40 different jumps all varying in size from 1m rollers to 7m gaps it’s a paradise for BMX bikers. The flowing design allows riders to build their own combination of features, catering for complete beginners to experienced riders.
Hopefully by the time we reach the next Olympic Games, there will be a whole new crop of BMX riders on the starting line in their Oakley glasses. It would be great if Team GB could not only own the events in the velodrome but also make a mark on the outdoor BMX tracks.
Yes BMX racing has made it to the Olympic Games, but we have not yet truly explored the achievements on offer.