( Words by Nina Mastandrea / @ninamastandrea )
More and more each day, women around the world are proving that BMX is no longer just for the boys. Sure, there have always been women in the sport of BMX, but they have been so rare that when I do see a female BMX rider, I can’t help but feel I’ve come across an amazing, badass unicorn.
I mean, all women are amazing, badass unicorns, but in a sport dominated mostly by men (either in real life or in portrayals of real life…I’m looking at you advertising departments) it only makes it that much more inspiring when I see a woman or young girl on a BMX bike.
Let me add in that I consider myself very lucky to have a partner that supports my endeavors both on and off the bike. So when my birthday rolled around several months ago, *poof!*, a beautiful (glittery purple) BMX bike appeared. I was in love. Trent has been an avid BMX rider since he was a kid, making him the perfect coach to teach me a thing or two about a thing or two. So with my new bike, I set off to learn as much as I could about this incredibly addicting sport.
Even over the last few months learning the basics, I have learned that BMX is so much more than doing cool jumps and wheelies. Here are my six reasons why you should give BMX a shot.
Comparatively, BMX is a bike sport on a budget
If you were thinking about taking up a new two-wheeled hobby without breaking the bank then BMX could be for you. Of course, I understand that everyone’s budgets are different, but compared to almost all other forms of cycling, BMX comes in as one of the easiest on the wallet. A great bike to start with will come in below $500 and much less in most cases! Check out this sweet ride that comes in at $300 in a really unique colorway. Other than that, you’ll need a helmet and perhaps some elbow and knee pads if you are a tad clumsy (read: me). Helmets, like this one, cost less than $50. Rad!
Roadie, ‘Crosser or Mountain Biker, BMX teaches you skills you can use in all areas
Sure, you don’t need to know how to do a 360 on the half-pipe to ride road or any other bike for that matter, but you do need bike handling skills. Whether it is dodging an obstacle, shifting weight, counter balancing, or jumping, BMX has it all covered. What makes it even better is that since the bike is lower to the ground, should you need to evacuate ASAP, all you need to do is let go of the bike. They are steel-framed, so don’t worry about breaking anything.
(Infomercial voice) You can learn your first skill in 30 minutes or less!
Just like your momma used to tell you: You can do anything if you just try, try again. The first skill I learned was leaning back far enough to lift my wheel over a 2x4. BMX is the type of sport that you can pick up quickly, with little risk, just as long as you are willing to put in a little time to practice. No need to fly off ramps or do backflips. Give this skill session a try: Head over to an empty parking lot (make sure you’re not breaking any rules!) and work on riding the white, painted lines. Trust me, it’s harder than you think.
The female BMX community, though small, is about as welcoming as it comes
I have been so lucky to bump into fellow lady shredders during my time at a few skate parks here in NC, and every time it has been nothing but excitement and support. It seriously melts any fears or doubts you had in your mind in seconds. Even for the male riders out there! Everyone is doing what he or she loves, so don’t be afraid to ask a question or spark a conversation when the time is right.
You don’t have to be able to do insane tricks to be a BMX rider
Runners run, walkers walk, bikers bike and BMX riders ride BMX! It can feel so easy to be intimidated when all you’ve seen are crazy flips, tricks and stunts; you may even feel like you’re not right for BMX or you have no business riding a BMX bike. I’m here to tell you that if you want to ride BMX, then ride that bike!
You can practice and ride almost anywhere
Unlike mountain bikes or even ‘cross where you’d have to find trails or a field to ride on, with BMX, you can practice your skills right in your driveway. Trust me, if it can be done on my driveway, it can be done anywhere. Like I mentioned earlier, if you need more space, you can try and ride in an empty parking lot, open playground or anywhere else it’s safe to ride! Just make sure you comply with any rules or laws before you set out.
So there you have it! Just a few reasons why you should consider taking up BMX! It’s fun, inexpensive and can teach you so much more than you ever thought possible. Shred on!