A while back while traveling around and riding my bike I met a young BMX rider from Lake Havasu, Arizona, named Duncan Webb. Later I started seeing him at more and more events around Southern California. His mother Michele eventually introduced herself and let me know that she and a group of people from their area have been working to try to get a public bike-friendly skatepark built in their county. That task is never an easy one, so I commend Michele for being a supportive BMX mom, not only because she drives her son all over the Southwest to ride, but because she is fighting the good fight for thousands of riders for years to come.
Michele asked me to write a guest editorial for a local publication called AZ Independent, so I put together a quick write-up about what a positive thing BMX is. The article was published on November 19th on the front page of the paper. Since it’s hard to read on the image, I have posted the text in this blog entry below.
If you are working towards getting a public skatepark built, please CLICK HERE to download a few documents that will help you out. You can also visit the SPAUSA (Skatepark Association Of The United States Of America) Web site for some useful information and resources.
BMX Is Positive For Our Youth
Guest Editorial by Fat Tony – Online Editor, Ride BMX Magazine
I’ve traveled all over the world documenting, experiencing, and taking part in the sport and lifestyle known as BMX. For more than a decade now I’ve seen firsthand how BMX affects people of all ages—and it is always in a positive way. I’ve witnessed high school students in a BMX phys-ed class transform from “troubled teens” into productive young adults that are an asset to their community. I’ve seen children from broken homes emerge as successful individuals and role models for others who come from the same background. And I’ve been around to see countless kids from every corner of the globe gain worldwide recognition and fame…all because they were involved in BMX.
BMX is a way for people to stay active and healthy while setting goals for themselves and challenging their creativity. And although it is often a very individual activity, it is also a bonding agent that can help nourish and grow relationships between athletes and others around the sport. Because BMX is not a team sport, it forces participants to be competitive with themselves, set and achieve goals, and always strive for more. Ideals like this start because a rider wants to learn the newest trick, which then carries over into their daily lives helping them become more self-motivated and determined to achieve more in life. Since every rider has a different outlook on things and there are no rules in BMX, each participant constantly challenges their own imagination when trying to come up with new moves and ways to express their individuality through riding. One of the biggest parts of BMX that may be invisible to the untrained eye is how it helps build connections between two people who otherwise may have never met. Two riders could have come from completely opposite backgrounds, but because of the common factor that is BMX, they will become friends and learn more about themselves, other people and cultures, and life in general. Many people get into BMX for the sport, but stick with it for the lifelong friendships it creates.
It is extremely important for communities to support BMX and other action sports by providing public parks for riders to use. Just as baseball and soccer fields pepper the U.S., public skateparks and BMX tracks should too. Action sports are rapidly growing all over the world and will not slow down anytime soon. We as communities need to recognize this and embrace this to provide for our growing youth so they can experience the wonderful possibilities that action sports hold. Progressive cities like Portland and Las Vegas have already seen the need for such facilities, and are doing a great job of keeping up with the demand. Our hope as riders, and community citizens, is that more and more cities and towns across the country will follow suit.