The sport of BMX—Bicycle Motocross—exploded onto the scene in the early 1970's and hasn't stopped since. It gained popularity as a simpler, more affordable alternative to motorbike racing; it began in Southern California with kids racing their bicycles through vacant lots in imitation of their favorite motocross stars. Footage of these young enthusiasts opened the Academy-Award-nominated 1971 motorcycle documentary "On Any Sunday," and it's this exposure that has since been credited with popularizing the sport nationwide.
Travel Insurance for BMX
If you’re planning on participating in any BMX activities or events on vacation, we highly recommend that you purchase travel medical insurance to protect yourself against any injuries that might very well occur. The plans that cover BMX activity will likely do so underneath an athletic sports or hazardous activity add-on, as the risks are too great for a basic plan. Diplomat America and Diplomat Long Term both offer coverage for BMX underneath their “Low Option” and “Middle Option” Athletic Sports & Hazardous Activity Riders. The Beacon plans cover it under their Extreme Sports Rider.
The Basics of BMX
The two major disciplines of BMX are BMX Racing and Freestyle BMX. BMX Racing is an elbow-to-elbow sprint race on an off-road, single-lap racetrack featuring obstacles like bumps, jumps, and turns. The design of each track varies, but they usually include combinations of big and small jumps as well as banked turns. Bikes are lightweight and aluminum-framed, built for acceleration and speed. BMX Racing made its debut as an Olympic sport at the Beijing Games in 2008.
Freestyle BMX, on the other hand, is more about style than speed. Riders perform stunts and tricks in a variety of disciplines like park, flatland, dirt, mini-ramp, street, vert ramps (also known as half pipes), and big air. The bikes used are heavier and tougher—usually built with a chromoly frame—to be able to endure more wear and tear.
The National Bicycle League was established in 1974 as the first to regulate the sport, followed not long after by others like the National Bicycle Association, the American Bicycle Association, the International BMX Federation, and Union Cyclist International. In 2011, the National Bicycle League and the American Bicycle Association merged to form USA BMX. USA BMX hosts a 30-event national series in cities like Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix, Arizona; Atlanta, Georgia; DeSoto, Texas; and Rockford, Illinois. At the organization's lower levels, it has more than 320 operating clubs that ran almost 11,000 local BMX races in 2017 alone.
BMX is also popular in Australia. Bicycle Motocross Australia (BMXA) has been recognized as the National Sporting Organisation for the sport within the country and is the second-largest BMX organization in the world, with 112 clubs and counting located in every Australian state. Riders of all ages are welcome to compete in organized races across the country. The first four rounds of the 2020 UCI BMX Supercross World Cups will occur at the beginning of February 2020 in the cities of Shepparton, Victoria, and in Bathurst, New South Wales.
BMX boasts two fundamental draws. First, it's a family-friendly activity: If you're old enough to ride a bike, you can participate in BMX. Many races feature a division for children as young as 3–5 years old. Second, brand-new racers are immediately eligible to participate in the novice category. When you sign up to participate, you get to participate in full. There's no sitting on the bench or waiting to earn your stripes.
Risks of BMX Riding
Anyone who’s ever fallen off a bike and skinned their knee can tell you that riding a bike comes with a certain amount of risk. That risk increases substantially in BMX, whether you’re hurtling down a three-story hill at 40 mph or trying to perfect a mid-air 540° rotation. BMX bikes don’t have suspensions, so the rider becomes the shock absorber. Common injuries include cuts, bruises, broken bones, road rash, torn ligaments, blown-out knees, concussions, and more. Most injuries occur to the head, neck, back, wrists, shins, knees, and elbows. BMX definitely isn’t a sport for the faint of heart, but any enthusiast will tell you that the reward is worth the risk.