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Leeroy Silk made a comment on another thread and asked how many riders on this website ride BMX. I do, so does he and so does Matt Eaton but we're curious how many others do. All three of us do BMX racing and me and Leeroy will be competing at the British BMX Championships next weekend. I ride at the skatepark a bit and so does Matt (Leeroy didn't say) but racing is my main focus.

There is a strong crossover between BMX and MTB riding as well as CX, but MTB in particular and a lot of BMX racers I know also do MTB riding, downhill particularly. Some of us BMXers ride on the road (where I started all those years ago) and at the velodrome too as both can help endurance, while BMX gives riders the sort of explosive power needed for quick starts.

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farrell [1950 posts] 1 year ago
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Hi, is this the BMXers Anonymous meeting?

My name is Farrell and I am a recovering BMX rider. I've been clean for about 15 years now but I still have to take each day as it comes as the urges still remain and still require a lot of will power to resist. I'm sure you all know, some days are harder than others.

Seriously though, I've still got a knackered old BMX at my In-laws that hasn't seen the light of day in a few years but I am constantly being tempted by getting a cruiser and starting to race again.

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 1 year ago
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farrell wrote:

Hi, is this the BMXers Anonymous meeting?

My name is Farrell and I am a recovering BMX rider. I've been clean for about 15 years now but I still have to take each day as it comes as the urges still remain and still require a lot of will power to resist. I'm sure you all know, some days are harder than others.

Seriously though, I've still got a knackered old BMX at my In-laws that hasn't seen the light of day in a few years but I am constantly being tempted by getting a cruiser and starting to race again.

Racing cruiser is easier than 20" - not quite as twitchy.

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glynr36 [637 posts] 1 year ago
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I used to ride MTB's in skateparks/trails and had a blast at 4X a few times, and rode the local BMX tracks too, though the bike was closer to a BMX than MTB. Gave me decent bike handling skills I think, probably a decent kick too.

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barbarus [270 posts] 1 year ago
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My "best" bike is still a BMX. Curtis Motocross, 21" tt. I ride (smallish) trails and skatepark when my knees permit. I was a late starter, only getting into BMX in my early 20s.

I still consider the ten years my brother and I spent building trails as time well spent.

There's something odd about the "action sports" (horrible phrase but you know what I mean) world. No-one bats an eyelid at a middle aged man snowboarding or surfing but BMX is strangely unacceptable to the general public.

Where do you guys like to ride?

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 1 year ago
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Late starter? I started riding BMX in my 40s when I got bored (and cold) watching my kids training. I do find it amusing hitting the skatepark on my 20" with my son and a few years ago, he was definitely the youngest while I'd be the oldest. There are a few grey haired riders on BMX now and the numbers are increasing too.

I race in the South Region and have ridden most of the tracks.

There are quite a few older riders on cruisers and the 45+ category I compete in always has a long entry list.

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briantumma [2 posts] 1 year ago
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I'm a BMXer and I have the pleasure of riding both with Leeroy from time to time. I don't race so I can't comment on that but all these hill climbs certainly didn't help me pumping round FIlton bowl the other day - my legs were killing!

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barbarus [270 posts] 1 year ago
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Racing, eh? That would be a bit much for me... It looks like fun but the danger factor quite high? Do people clip in your races? I like to stick well within my comfort zone these days!

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 1 year ago
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barbarus wrote:

Racing, eh? That would be a bit much for me... It looks like fun but the danger factor quite high? Do people clip in your races? I like to stick well within my comfort zone these days!

It depends what you call dangerous. Some people think riding a bicycle in a city in the UK is dangerous, some don't. I've been racing a while and picked up a few injuries but nothing too serious. If you do any kind of cycle racing competitively, you're going to get hurt at some point. In BMX remember you're wearing a full face MX type helmet, plus elbow and knee pads ad least and possibly MX type body armour as well.

The more competitive riders clip in. It really depends on how serious you are.

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Matt eaton [742 posts] 1 year ago
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OldRidgeback wrote:
barbarus wrote:

Racing, eh? That would be a bit much for me... It looks like fun but the danger factor quite high? Do people clip in your races? I like to stick well within my comfort zone these days!

It depends what you call dangerous. Some people think riding a bicycle in a city in the UK is dangerous, some don't. I've been racing a while and picked up a few injuries but nothing too serious. If you do any kind of cycle racing competitively, you're going to get hurt at some point. In BMX remember you're wearing a full face MX type helmet, plus elbow and knee pads ad least and possibly MX type body armour as well.

The more competitive riders clip in. It really depends on how serious you are.

I don't feel that BMX is incredibly dangerous and I'm not sure that crashes are typically any worse than in a road peleton or velodrome tangle-up, although maybe a bit more common.

Clips are a funny thing on BMX. Honestly I wish that there was a no-clips class or that clips were illegal at all levels below regional elite. I've clipped in for a couple of races this year in an attempt to up my game a bit (you kinda get the hint when you're literally the only guy on flats) but I'd rather that everyone at 'grass-roots' level were on flats.

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Leeroy_Silk [124 posts] 1 year ago
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I've probably ridden BMX for around 30 years now, raced through the dead years of the 90's before turning to 'freestyle' and eventually back to racing. I now ride pretty much anything with two wheels. I started riding road after a last minute purchase of a hand built road frame from eBay which got built into a ramshackle single speed long distance pub bike.

Clips are always going to be contentious; personally I wouldn't trust myself in them on my BMX, I tend to move my weight around quite a bit and don't like the idea of being restricted. However, clips have made racing faster, which in turn makes jumps bigger, which attracts more spectators, which attracts sponsorship which then affords the track stars of tomorrow to get a good footing. As a grass roots sport I don't think there's much to beat it. Personally I liked the rough and tumble of no-clips but I don't think BMX would be where it is today if it wasn't for clips.

Is it dangerous? That depends on your view of danger and how prepared you are. If you've ridden for a long time you become aware of your capabilities and more importantly your comfort zone, riding within it won't guarantee you staying upright in the same way going beyond it won't guarantee a crash. In my eyes the scariest scenarios are seeing someone new to BMX arriving at a big set of trails or international standard track and expecting to 'magic' their way through by attacking it full bore! My definition of Extreme isn't a seasoned pro, it's a clipped-in newbie cranking down a 5 meter start hill towards a 30 foot step up.

Putting miles in on the road bike hasn't in anyway made me faster on the track, even riding hills doesn't generate the explosion you need off the gate, where it does help is with stamina and as Matt Eaton mentioned elsewhere, understanding nutrition.

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truffy [653 posts] 1 year ago
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Leeroy_Silk wrote:

If you've ridden for a long time you become aware of your capabilities and more importantly your comfort zone, riding within it won't guarantee you staying upright in the same way going beyond it won't guarantee a crash.

A definition of risk (assessment) that's so true on so many levels.

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 1 year ago
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Leeroy_Silk wrote:

I've probably ridden BMX for around 30 years now, raced through the dead years of the 90's before turning to 'freestyle' and eventually back to racing. I now ride pretty much anything with two wheels. I started riding road after a last minute purchase of a hand built road frame from eBay which got built into a ramshackle single speed long distance pub bike.

Clips are always going to be contentious; personally I wouldn't trust myself in them on my BMX, I tend to move my weight around quite a bit and don't like the idea of being restricted. However, clips have made racing faster, which in turn makes jumps bigger, which attracts more spectators, which attracts sponsorship which then affords the track stars of tomorrow to get a good footing. As a grass roots sport I don't think there's much to beat it. Personally I liked the rough and tumble of no-clips but I don't think BMX would be where it is today if it wasn't for clips.

Is it dangerous? That depends on your view of danger and how prepared you are. If you've ridden for a long time you become aware of your capabilities and more importantly your comfort zone, riding within it won't guarantee you staying upright in the same way going beyond it won't guarantee a crash. In my eyes the scariest scenarios are seeing someone new to BMX arriving at a big set of trails or international standard track and expecting to 'magic' their way through by attacking it full bore! My definition of Extreme isn't a seasoned pro, it's a clipped-in newbie cranking down a 5 meter start hill towards a 30 foot step up.

The big new tracks are certainly very different from the milder tracks of the 1980s. Riding the Olympic Park or Cyclopark for the first time makes you realise how far the sport has come on. I don't ride with clips because I don't really like them but a lot of my friends do and I'm aware too that sticking to flats limits my speed. I'm happy with that. I'm riding for fun and at my age, being part of the pack is enough of an achievement.

I've ridden BMX for some years and I know what I can and can't do as my style is limited by the fact I took up the sport late and didn't learn some techniques my sons can do easily. I've ridden and raced at a few international standard tracks and I know how challenging they are. I've seen some inexperienced riders hit those tracks at speed and seen what happens when it goes wrong. I've also seen more experienced (and better) riders than me make mistakes and pay the price as well.

Having read Michael Barry's book on riding with Lance Armstrong and Bradley Wiggins, I don't think riding with the TdF peloton is any safer than an elite level BMX race, possibly less so as there's less body protection.

I ride within my limits. That said, I've dropped a few times and come home with an elbow dripping blood or deep bruising on my hip or shoulder. I also fractured my wrist a couple of years back and tore some ligaments in my shoulder late last year, but if you don't push it at times then it's just not going to be so much fun.

I keep on riding BMX because it makes me feel young I suppose and what other excuse do I need?  1

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Matt eaton [742 posts] 1 year ago
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Leeroy_Silk wrote:

Clips are always going to be contentious; personally I wouldn't trust myself in them on my BMX, I tend to move my weight around quite a bit and don't like the idea of being restricted. However, clips have made racing faster, which in turn makes jumps bigger, which attracts more spectators, which attracts sponsorship which then affords the track stars of tomorrow to get a good footing. As a grass roots sport I don't think there's much to beat it. Personally I liked the rough and tumble of no-clips but I don't think BMX would be where it is today if it wasn't for clips.

I agree with you on the benefits of clips to the sport overall. I wouldn't advocate getting rid of clips altogether but I do feel like they are over-used. Personally I feel like I can be reasonably competitive on my cruiser with flats but wouldn't have any chance of keeping up in 20inch without clips. I know a few others who, like me, feel that they have to clip in in order to be keep up.

On the subject of tracks, I actually think that some regional tracks are too technical and have jumps that are too big. Sometimes in a whole day of racing only a handful of riders get their tyres off of the ground and I think it would be more exciting for both riders and spectators if there was more oportunity for more for the riders to get airbourne.

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beardyjim [46 posts] 1 year ago
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Quick question if I may!

The local village playing field have just created a mini bmx track and I don't fancy taking my mtb round it but clearly I do want to give it a bash....
I am 6'3" so was trying to decide if I should just get a 24" or 20" wheel bmx?
I'm leaning to the 24 as then my kids will have to wait a little while before they can rob me of it but opinions greatly welcomed.
Thanks
JIM

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 1 year ago
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beardyjim wrote:

Quick question if I may!

The local village playing field have just created a mini bmx track and I don't fancy taking my mtb round it but clearly I do want to give it a bash....
I am 6'3" so was trying to decide if I should just get a 24" or 20" wheel bmx?
I'm leaning to the 24 as then my kids will have to wait a little while before they can rob me of it but opinions greatly welcomed.
Thanks
JIM

If you've ridden 20" before then you might enjoy getting back on one. I wasn't into the BMX thing when I was a lad but when my sons started riding I got a 20" as well. It wasn't much good so I got a better one, though a lot of people told me I should get a cruiser. Then I got a cruiser and I do think it's a good move. If you're used to a mountain bike, you'll find a 24" less of a step than a 20". But don't kid yourself that your kids won't want to ride the cruiser, because they probably will. I still ride my 20" as well, more for fun and occasional training. I race the 24" though.

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beardyjim [46 posts] 1 year ago
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Kids are 5 and 2 so I'm safe for a little while  17
Last time I a had a bmx was ~25 years ago so it will be fairly fresh to me whatever I get!
I'm really not thinking about racing/competing at all its just a random fun thing to try and to ride around with the kids be it flat playing field or bumpy trails.

Road riding has bitten me since we moved away from the forest so it is all really just a giggle I'm looking for..

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farrell [1950 posts] 1 year ago
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Anyone fancy a bit of this?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3GribQCg6c

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Matt eaton [742 posts] 1 year ago
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Always wanted to set up a lake jump.

On 20inch vs. cruiser I find my cruiser a little annoying. I'm always sitting on the rear tyre. I do feel like I can get away with more on the cruiser (bad landings etc.). A lot of people say that they find cruisers more stable but I've never really felt like that with mine. More forgiving but not actually more stable.

For me, if I'm riding for fun it's almost always the 20inch. The cruiser is fun too though.

Edit - forgot to add that your size/hight is not necesarily a factor in 20inch vs cruiser decisions. The bike needs to be the right size for you but 20inch frames go plenty big enough for almost anyone if that's what you prefer.

Just to add to the confusion you could even think about a 26er or 29er BMX from SE just to be a bit different (as long as you don't want to race).

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farrell [1950 posts] 1 year ago
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We once rode MTBs in to the sea in Ibiza, but that was more of a drop than a ramp, nothing like the air and distance the lake jumps get.

I couldn't possibly recommend doing it in the state we were in but it was bloody good fun.

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beardyjim [46 posts] 1 year ago
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Matt eaton wrote:

Edit - forgot to add that your size/hight is not necesarily a factor in 20inch vs cruiser decisions. The bike needs to be the right size for you but 20inch frames go plenty big enough for almost anyone if that's what you prefer.

Just to add to the confusion you could even think about a 26er or 29er BMX from SE just to be a bit different (as long as you don't want to race).

Well there is a distinct hole in my knowledge then as I presumed the cruiser/20 had a standard frame size! More reading needed..
Thanks

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 1 year ago
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I know a few BMXers over 6' tall who ride 20" and they have XXL frames

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 1 year ago
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farrell wrote:

Anyone fancy a bit of this?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3GribQCg6c

Looks great fun - don't think I'd want to meet up with the bike entering the water tho.

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Leeroy_Silk [124 posts] 1 year ago
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OldRidgeback][quote=Leeroy_Silk wrote:

I keep on riding BMX because it makes me feel young I suppose and what other excuse do I need?  1

Awesome comment. Nobody should have an excuse to feel young, but if ever one were needed...

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Matt eaton [742 posts] 1 year ago
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Leeroy_Silk][quote=OldRidgeback wrote:
Leeroy_Silk wrote:

I keep on riding BMX because it makes me feel young I suppose and what other excuse do I need?  1

Awesome comment. Nobody should have an excuse to feel young, but if ever one were needed...

BMX makes you feel young? For me it feels like the opposite right now. I rode my BMX for the first time in a couple of weeks last night, just to take my daughter out on her balance bike for an hour. Made my shoulder feel a bit funny doing 360 hops (I've got a long-standing shoulder issue) and this morning my back is so stiff I can hardly move. It's my fault for not stretching when I got home/before bed but still, feeling decidedly old at this moment in time.

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 1 year ago
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See you on the gate on Saturday morning Leeroy. Are you there for the Friday night session too? Since I live not too far away I'll be driving down in the morning rather than staying over - you camping?

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Leeroy_Silk [124 posts] 1 year ago
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OldRidgeback. My preparation has been pretty poor for this weekend. Originally planned to arrive Thursday night, check into hotel and spend the weekend riding and partying. The reality is I'm having to work Friday and have family commitments Saturday night in Birmingham!
Current plan is to travel down Sunday early doors and hopefully get a couple of laps in, if not I'm just going to have to mentally figure out the 3rd straight as I've not even seen the track let alone ridden it! I'm not holding out much hope truth be told...  35

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 1 year ago
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Leeroy_Silk wrote:

OldRidgeback. My preparation has been pretty poor for this weekend. Originally planned to arrive Thursday night, check into hotel and spend the weekend riding and partying. The reality is I'm having to work Friday and have family commitments Saturday night in Birmingham!
Current plan is to travel down Sunday early doors and hopefully get a couple of laps in, if not I'm just going to have to mentally figure out the 3rd straight as I've not even seen the track let alone ridden it! I'm not holding out much hope truth be told...  35

Hmm, looks like we'll miss each other then. I'm not there on the Sunday as it's my wife's birthday and as my son isn't competing this year. Racing will be done and dusted for me on the Saturday evening. The third straight is ok, though one of the jumps at the end is a bit challenging. The really tricky part of the track is the combination of the high start hill and the big first jump, but if you ride Perry Park regularly you should be able to cope ok and might feel at home at Cyclopark. I'm off for a practice session after work today and then again tomorrow.

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beardyjim [46 posts] 1 year ago
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Would there be a secret bike shop to find cheap starter/muck about cruisers?
I've been having a google but coming up pretty empty and the published dimensions on what I do find is small pickings!
(I'm Norfolk based if there is a secret LBS I should look at as well)
Ta

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 1 year ago
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You could try www.bmxtalk.com

Bikes come and go on there. You could also try and hook up with some of the East Anglia BMX Clubs. Riders tend to upgrade and sell on bikes pretty regularly. The people in the East Anglia clubs would probably be able to put you onto something. GT did a cruiser that was sold by Halfords at rock bottom prices some years back. A few of those turn up from time to time and they are cheap. A guy in my club got one for £125.

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 1 year ago
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Hmm, that bike you're looking at looks a bit small Jim. I really think you'd be better speaking to the BMX clubs in East Anglia.

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