Few in this business will be able to recount their early days of riding without telling stories of busting skids through piles of leaves, or seeing how far they could jump a bike from the kerb outside their home. Even today, many of us will still race top speed toward a shallow ford just because a little bit of that inner child still lives on the inside.
I read with interest this month the Charge Bikes catalogue editorial pieces on the brand’s roster of sponsored riders. Nearly every rider within stated their roots stem from jump bikes, BMX, any bike on which they could get away with grabbing a bit of air without bending the forks into a position resembling a beach cruiser. And look where they are now – cyclists of all kinds, embracing and creating styles of riding both fresh and established.
The content revived some fond memories, yet simultaneously brought about the damning reality that there will come a time when I’m simply too old to ‘grab some air’. It is then that I will have to concede that I’ve made that transition from BMX rider to cross country geek, or road cyclist. Whether I care to admit it or not, it’s happening already and I’m stuggling to know how to feel. On the one hand I’m sad that, because of creaky knees and weakened ankles, gravity seems to be pulling harder with each jump. On the flipside, cycling has a hell of a lot of alternatives to offer and in one form or another i’ll always be excited to try a new bike, test a new bit of kit and ultimately build a collection of rigs to further clog my garage.
With BMX in focus in this issue it seems fitting to promote this sector with all the energy that gets me ‘stoked’ to leave my desk bang on 6pm each day, just so I can get out there and stick my middle finger up at gravity just a few more times. Why? Because I’m biased towards it? Well, yes and no. This sector animates me for many reasons. Dig beneath the surface, past the “have you seen the triple backflip?” and debates about 20-inch heroes from eras gone by and it all comes down to the notion that BMX is a catalyst for many things.
First off, it’s a guarantee of a bloomin’ good, trouble-free childhood, tooth separating and tail bone breaking aside. But most of all, it’s a stepping stone into the vibrant world of cycling. And that’s where this article finally reaches ‘the point’. Whether or not BMX is to hit dizzying heights only to all but dissapear again is up for debate, but for the time being these customers must be embraced. They are the future of this business. Future cyclists, in one form or another.