BMX Bike - The acronym of freedom

This is the time to discover what is more than a sport, a lifestyle: BMX. It started in the early 1970s and its acronym comes from English Bicycle (B) Moto (M) Cross (X). This acronym perfectly sums up the radical style of this practice, which consists of maneuvers of pure adrenaline on two wheels, on totally improvised race tracks and that, for the most part, are carried by a lot of land.
BMX Bike - The acronym of freedom

BMX Bike

This is the time to discover what is more than a sport, a lifestyle: BMX.

It started in the early 1970s and its acronym comes from English Bicycle (B) Moto (M) Cross (X). This acronym perfectly sums up the radical style of this practice, which consists of maneuvers of pure adrenaline on two wheels, on totally improvised race tracks and that, for the most part, are carried by a lot of land.

We are facing a movement that was driven, mainly, by the admiration of children with their idols: all this because BMX was very driven by the desire of the public, composed of teenagers, to repeat the maneuvers that passed on the television of great motorcyclists of the time . Instead of specialized motorbikes and tracks, they had bicycles and unfinished works of asphalt and concrete, which became the scene of their experiments. Children were favored by the existence of bicycles that already allowed greater flexibility of movement, such as those of the brand Sting Ray, created in the previous decade thanks to the popularity of cartoons whose characters did extravagant maneuvers on two wheels. It was as if these marks had already predicted the revolution that was about to happen at the hands of the kids.

Through the 1970s, improvised maneuvers with bikes began to increase in the American suburbs, which became more popular thanks to the 1971 documentary On Any Sunday, which was about motorcycling but whose opening showed children imitating their favorite motorcyclists with their bicycles. In 1974, the National Bicycle League, or NBL, was created, a non-profit entity designed to organize the practice in the country, being proceeded by the American Bicycle Association and the International BMX Federation, which started to coordinate the main competitions of the sport worldwide. .

Over the years, more specific bicycle brands were created in the area, with Sting-Ray gaining its updated version with the Scrambler brand in 1975, whose design proposal was heavier and more geared to the competitions that were beginning to appear. . Monareta Kross and what would become the legendary BMX Tanquinho are also from that time. In Brazil, Caloi was also very successful when launching its “Berlineta” at popular prices, in addition to the Caloicross known as “Geração 80”, thanks to the Rede Globo program that promoted BMX through its Bike, Skate and Skates on which sportsmen of the time presented their maneuvers.

In Brazil, Belo Horizonte was, for a long time, the capital of BMX, with its pioneering tracks: Anchieta (1978) and Nova Floresta (1981) work today and are known as bowl, since they have the shape of a bowl (which receives that name in English). Imitating the traditional tracks of the sport, the bowls allow versatile movements, both Vertical and Street (we will know the difference soon!).

Finally, we have the inclusion  of bmx   in the Olympics in 2008, and Märis Strombergs (for Latvia) and Anne-Caroline Chausson (for France) were the first male and female medalists, respectively.

BMX categories

BMX is divided into two parts, each with its own modalities:


compared to freestyle, it is the closest to motocross. Generally, the race tracks are 300 or 420 meters long, with corners that are wide, and in this way, contribute to maintaining the speed of the athletes.

There are two main types of bicycle for running: The first is the 20-rim, common among athletes of smaller or medium height, and therefore the most used. The second is the Cruiser, rim 20 and up, which are more popular with older practitioners, but it is becoming more and more popular, since it provides heels and larger ones, while the rim 20 provide more agility.

 the bmx   race is individual, but in many competitions teams are formed, for camaraderie or for business or sponsorship reasons. This modality is known for the flexibility of its practitioners, who in addition to racing with the bicycle, often move into the universe of motocross and other modalities with bikes.

In this modality, there are several types  of bmx   jumps, ranging from small spins to mind-boggling doubles. Doubles range from six to twelve meters, while “class” jumps have several stages, with a greater number of jumps.

We will present some components that are usually on  the bmx   race tracks:

* Starting hill

Starting Hill is one of the most common ramps for starting races. It contains a small gate that is knocked down at the beginning of the competition, and is usually the moment when the athlete will acquire the speed he will use for the rest of the race. Generally, the higher the ramp, the faster the speed involved, which explains the fact that the professionals are very different from the amateurs.

* Step-up

It is the type of race in which there is a shorter ramp on the track to be followed by a much larger one.

* Berms

They are curves that are under a certain angle so that the speed of  the bike   increases or remains, having a shape close to that of a bowl.

* Double

As the name implies, it is when we have two ramps nearby and of the same size.

* Step-down

Opposite of step-up: when the race has a ramp followed by a shorter one.

* Roller

When the race contains a group of smaller ramps.

* Panettone

A jumping modality that is usually practiced by beginners.

2 Freestyle (freestyle):

It is the style that has faced more ups and downs, but that has gained more popularity in recent decades. Freestyle has an impact due to the visual and dynamic presentations that they usually provide to their audience, with the sport reaching an almost artistic status.

There are five modalities within freestyle itself: street, park, vertical, dirt jump and Flatland.

* Flatland

Here we are talking about lightness and balance, in addition to a lot of concentration. If the other Freestyle variables have followers who also engage in other modalities, those who practice Flatland rarely use another technique, since they are very dedicated. The practice occurs on flatter and smoother terrains, such as the concrete of a parking lot or a basketball court. Bicycles are generally more reinforced since practitioners stay in the frames, with a shorter axle distance than normal, as it facilitates the bicycle to rotate or change positions. Practitioners will choose whether to use only the front brake, the rear brake, both brakes or neither, depending on their preferred style.

* Street

As the name says, we are talking about a purely urban freestyle modality, practiced on the streets or on ramps that bring this idea, with handrails, stairs, etc. It is a very free style and can move on to other categories of freestyle.

* BMX Park

It can be considered an advanced stage of the Street, since its ramps are very similar to the urban style, with a format close to Skateboarding (it is not for nothing that many installations of skakists are used by the practitioners of this variant of BMX). The ramps can be made of wood, concrete or metal, and depending on the material there will be an influence on the style: wooden ramps are more suitable for smoother and continuous movements, facing the air; and for those who prefer concrete, the style will be moved more to the floor, with several obstacles.

* Vertical (Vert Ramp)

The ramp has a “U” shape, and the maneuvers are made on its sides and outside it (the famous aerials). The intention here is to reach high degrees of difficulty in very high positions, before an electrifying return at one hundred and eighty degrees. The ramps are between two and a half meters and five meters. It has a smaller style version called the Mini Ramp.

* Dirt Jump

Dirt ramps, heights and variable distances: these are the main characteristics of this vestente, whose audacious maneuvers are evolving to others over the years, such as the double back flip and the 360º backflip. Below we show some air tricks that are very common in this modality:

  • Superman: In the air, the practitioner takes his foot off  the bike   and extends his legs into the air as if he were flying in the superhero way.
  • Superman seat grab: A variant of the previous one, since here the practitioner also takes his hands off the handlebars while executing the same position as the aforementioned movement.
  • Barspin: The practitioner turns the handlebars of the bicycle in an intense rotation while suspended in the air.
  • Tailwhip: The practitioner throws the bicycle into the air, causing it to make a quick 360 degree turn while the valet himself is suspended in the air, holding the bicycle only on the handlebars. In the air, the practitioner returns to the bicycle seat before they return to the ground.
  • Decade: The practitioner throws himself off the bike, when both are in the air, and with only his hands stuck on the handlebars, he makes a movement so that both he and  the bike   spin in the air, even though they are practically separated.
  • Backflip: Both the cyclist and  the bike   spin as if they are inside a roller coaster several times, in the air, the practitioner starting the movement with a counterclockwise twist.
  • Frontflip: The same movement as before, but this time in the opposite direction, forward (clockwise).
  • Flair: Both rider and bike do a backflip combined with a 180, to land facing back down the ramp. Usually performed on a quarter pipe.
  • 180 °: The rider and bike spin 180 ° in the air and land backwards, in what is called fakie (riding backwards).
  • 360 °: Both the rider and  the bike   rotate at a 360 ° angle.
  • 540 °: The cyclist and  the bike   rotate at an angle of 540 degrees.
  • X-up: During the jump, the practitioner rotates the bars by at least 180 degrees, so that the arms and hands, crossed, turn back.
  • Can can: At the moment of jumping, the cyclist opens his leg quickly.
  • No-footed can: The same idea as the previous movement, with the difference that the legs are suspended on the same side and forward.
  • Tire grab: During the jump, the practitioner literally grabs the front tire.
  • Toboggan: The practitioner takes one hand off the handlebars and grabs the seat he left empty because it is suspended in the air, and before  the bike   returns to the ground, he returns his hand to the handlebars while sitting down again.
  • Tuck in the Hander: The jump occurs with the whole body on the bicycle (without the feet leaving the pedal), and the practitioner takes his hands off the handlebars.
  • Crankflip: The front wheel is suspended, the practitioner quickly rotates the pedals while suspended from the seat.
  • ET: The practitioner is suspended in the air with the bicycle and moves the pedal as if he could pedal far from the ground.
  • TE: It's basically ET movement, but the pedal is turned the other way.
  • Bikeflip: For a second,  the bike   and cyclist are suspended in the air with a single hand on the handlebars, with  the bike   being turned almost 360 degrees at the moment of the jump.
  • Half cab: With extra pressure on the pedal, the cyclist moves the bicycle so that it performs small turns in a row, 180 degrees.
  • Full cab: With an extra pressure on the pedal, the cyclist moves  the bike   so that it makes small turns in a row followed by 360 degrees.
  • 540 cab: The athlete spins  the bike   in an upright position, with his feet exerting a strong pressure on forgiveness. The turn is 540 degrees, hence the name.
  • Nothing: Here the sportsman suspends the handlebars and the pedal legs in the air at the same time.
  • Suicide no-hander: In the moment of jumping, in addition to taking your hands off the handlebars, the practitioner takes his arms to the side, exerting strong pressure on his body so that he “weighs back” in the opposite direction to the bicycle's movement.
  • 720: two 360-degree movements in just one jump.

We can find some variations between the tricks themselves, such as, for example, a 360º angle accompanied by a tailwhip in situations where, apparently, only the 360 ​​angle would come out, and so on.

* Other Freestyle tricks

The tricks to be done in the Flatland style always involve a lot of swing, much more than just having one bicycle wheel on the floor:

  • Wheelie or Catwalk: The most basic trick, which is to pedal with the front wheel lifted into the air, thanks to the pressure made by the body.
  • Endo: Another basic movement in which the practitioner uses the front brake to suspend the legs and the rear wheel, moving the bicycle in this way.
  • Manual: One of the most popular BMX moves. The front wheel of the bicycle goes up into the air while the practitioner puts pressure on the hands that hold the handlebars firmly, moving the bicycle in this way. It is a difficult movement to be made due to the balance to be maintained in the front region of the bicycle, suspended, and in the rear region of the same.
  • Pogo: The bicycle is upright, while the practitioner maintains balance by making small “jumps” with the legs, which do not leave the bicycle.
  • Manual nose: It has the same idea as the manual, but the rear wheel is in the air while the front wheel is on the ground.
  • Bunny hop: One of the main movements, it is achieved when the bicycle is taken up to about the height of the practitioner's chest, with jumps performed without the legs reaching the ground.
  • Footjam: With the whole body on the bicycle, the practitioner uses pressure on the leg to jump with the bicycle without bringing the feet to the ground.
  • Hang-5: With one foot putting pressure on the floor for the initial impulse of movement (staying suspended after the bicycle starts to walk), the practitioner leaves a bicycle wheel suspended while keeping it in balance thanks to the pressure made by his body
  • Steamroller: Challenger. The practitioner stands in front of the front region of the bicycle, as opposed to the handlebars, and moves the bicycle thanks to the pressure made by one hand on the seat bench while the rest of the body swings forward.
  • Time machine: One of the most difficult and exciting tricks. The practitioner, upright, is supported on the bicycle with only one leg on one of the wheels, and then begins to swing so that  the bike   rotates while his hands change position on the handlebars and the free leg makes different movements (to lean on the free wheel or just sways in the air).
  • Indian giver (Indian Donor): This is when the practitioner voluntarily or not causes the bicycle to rotate in the opposite direction to the rotational axis of its wheels.

It is! These are just the basics of a sport that flirts with art and, therefore, is surrounded by complexities that must be explored little by little.

Frequently Asked Questions

How has BMX biking evolved as a symbol of freedom and expression, and what are its key elements that attract enthusiasts?
BMX biking has evolved as a symbol of freedom through its association with youth culture, creativity, and urban expression. Key elements include the thrill of stunts, the ability to customize bikes, and the community aspect of BMX culture.

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