Want to start getting into BMX (or any action sport for that matter)? Figuring out where to begin isn't always a simple task, so I've decided to write this blog to help give new BMX riders all the information they need to know, to get started riding BMX freestyle.
The first step when getting into any new sport, is getting all the necessary equipment you need in order to play/ride. In this case you'll want to choose your first bike. Now keep in mind you probably wont be the best BMX rider starting out, so you don't necessarily need the best BMX bike. If you're having trouble figuring out which bike to buy, take a look at my previous blog on choosing your first BMX bike. I would also recommend buying a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads (there are also shin guards, ankle braces, mouth guards, etc. for those looking to protect themselves even further).
What if I can't afford a bike? What if I'm not sure BMX is what I want to get into? Well, most skate parks offer rental bikes (and helmets/pads) so if it's just something you want to try out, or you cant afford a bike right away, call your nearest indoor skate park and see if they offer rental BMX bikes.
Now that we have our bike, (and safety equipment) we need to figure out where to ride. If you're from the Port Huron area or live within 100 miles of Alpine Cycles, check out our "Where to Ride" page to see the nearest indoor and outdoor skate parks. If you aren't from the area, you can google search "skate parks near me" or check out some of the online skate park finders such as "concrete disciples" and many others. Make sure that the park you plan to ride allows bikes.
What if I don't know anyone that rides BMX? Even when you are just starting out, it is very easy to meet people and make new friends through BMX. Just go to the skate park a few times, find another kid that's on a bike and say hi. The BMX community is a very open community, that accepts all others who ride bikes, regardless of their skill level (just try not to "fan boy" the advanced riders).
The hardest part in starting out riding BMX is the "parent approval". What if mom or dad are a little nervous or are just totally against me riding BMX? Show them this article and hopefully we can persuade them to let you ride! For all the parents with a kid wanting to get into BMX, we ask that you fully support them, and do all that you can to help get them started. The #1 concern I hear from parents, Is BMX dangerous? Simple answer, yes BMX can be dangerous, but no more than any other sport, and there are ways to prevent accidents and injuries (such as wearing a helmet, knee pads and other safety gear). As long as you know your abilities and you keep your progression within your skill level, you should not have to worry so much about injuries. BMX can do so many things you wouldn't expect. BMX has allowed me to travel the country meeting new people, learning new things along the way. You will make friends with people that you have nothing in common with other than you both own a BMX bike. BMX has also became a huge stress relief in most of our lives, it allows us to get out and have fun, forgetting about everything else except for the current session. Lastly, it is a great way to stay in shape, without feeling like you're working out. To any parent not sure if they want to allow their kid to ride BMX, DO IT!
What should I know when getting into BMX? Well first you'll want to learn bike control, and that will come with practice, but before you go to a skate park and start jumping ramps, you'll want to be comfortable on your bike. Once you have control hopping around and going fast, you'll want to take it to the next step, the skate park. This is where you will need to learn what's called "skate park etiquette ". When you first get to the skate park to ride your bike, look around, watch for about 10 minutes to see what everyone is doing, see which lines people are taking and which direction they are riding. Wait your turn, the last thing you want to do is go when it isn't your turn and collide with another rider. Don't "snake", snaking is when you cut off another person or ride in front of someone else or where they're going. If you're trying to go to another part of the skate park, look around, watch and see if anyone is dropping in. Do not ride when someone else is. Also, Do not stand on the middle ramps or ledges, while waiting for your turn be sure you are not in anyone else's way. Do not run up and down the ramps, the skate park is not a playground, so don't treat it like one. ALWAYS WATCH WHERE YOU ARE GOING! I can't stress that enough, just like crossing a road, look both ways, so that everyone can have a safe, fun, injury free session. Lastly, you may not care about the skate park but other locals do, so do not leave your trash all over the skate park, throw it away. Also do not mark the skate park with graffiti, or intentionally damage any of the property. Follow the rules on the sign so that the skate park stays open for everyone to enjoy.
Now that you know all of the "dos and don'ts" of starting out in BMX. Make sure to follow the rules, be safe, and have fun!