BMX racing has grown massively in popularity all around the world. Recognition as a mainstream sport came when it was included as an event at the Beijing Olympics back in 2008. The sport's roots go back to the 1960s, but it wasn't until the late 70s and early 80s that is truly began to take off and capture the imagination of a whole generation of children and teenagers. The appeal of the sport lies in the fact that kids can emulate their heroes and idols from Motocross without having to have a motorbike.
BMX racing takes place on a dirt course, packed with spectacular jumps. It's a usually a mad sprint from start to finish involving up to eight riders. After a series of qualifiers, the line up for one final race will be decided, which in turn produces an overall champion.
Riders on a BMX bike need plenty of protection. It's easy to crash and come off your bike. Crashes and spills are common. The body needs to be covered completely and protected by helmets and plenty of padding. The last thing any one wants is a head injury or broken bones.
Bikes come in different sizes to suit the rider. The most common frame size is twenty inches. However if you're a kid just starting out or an adult with long legs, you can find a bike that's the right size for you. Racing bikes are lightweight. This makes it easier for the rider to control and allows them to fly off the jumps dotted around the course.
The bikes themselves are usually made from aluminium or cromoly. This is to keep them light, but also to provide the durability they need to take the punishment dished out on the track. If you're ambitious, there is a pro racing circuit. Competition is fierce, so you need to be riding to an exceptional standard. As long as you're at least sixteen and you feel like you have what it takes, you could give it a go. Who knows, maybe we'll see you at the next Olympics.