I raced BMX when I was a kid in the early 1980s. BMX, which stands for Bicycle Motocross, began right here in Southern California sometime around the early 1970s with a bunch of kids racing Schwinn Stingrays in dirt lots. BMX racing is now an Olympic sport.
When my sons told me that they wanted to try BMX racing, I did a little research and came up with a list of BMX tracks in and around the Inland Empire, which you can view here: BMX Tracks – Riverside and Beyond
BMX racing is an individual sport that rewards personal achievement and requires self-reliance. Once you are at the starting gate, it is just you against up to seven other riders. If you want to win or get a trophy, you have to work hard and earn it. In my opinion, this is good training for when my sons become adults and have to earn their way in the real world.
BMX is also a great family sport that promotes good sportsmanship. I like this passage from the USA BMX 2013 Official Rulebook:
Pro riders are an example for all future BMXers. As a Pro, you are in the spotlight, and a role model. Good sportsmanship, fair play, clean riding, and good conduct are very important. All Pro riders are expected to act accordingly.
If your child is interested in trying out BMX (or if you are), click here for a list of local tracks. Tracks sponsored by USA BMX offer a one-day trial membership, so you don’t have to commit to a full membership if you just want to try it out. Many tracks also have helmets that you can borrow, and the track operators are very helpful.
BMX has definitely changed since I stopped racing in the 1980s. The tracks have more jumps, knobby tires seem to be extinct, and there are quite a few people in their 30s, 40s and 50s out on the track riding 24” cruisers. I don’t remember seeing many adults out on the track when I was a kid.
Watching the other old guys race inspired me to get back out there too. After about 30 years off the bike, it has been a very humbling experience… and a lot of fun.
When my sons play baseball, soccer or other team sports, I have to watch from the sidelines. With BMX, I get to ride with my sons and race them around the track before the races begin.
BMX is fun.