While usually thought of as a teenagers’ domain, BMX tracks in Indiana and Kentucky welcome families looking for healthy, inexpensive activities that they can do together.
Although an offshoot from motorcycle motocross racing, BMX (bicycle motocross) welcomes riders as young as three to tracks and events, just make sure that they have the best bmx bikes for street riding.
Getting Started in BMX
Matt Nicholson, BMX competitor and owner of B2 Bikes & Boards in Seymour, Indiana, notes that the only skill requirements are being able to ride a bike without training wheels and being able to stand up on the bike’s pedals.
For equipment needs, riders require full face helmets, jeans, closed toe shoes and long-sleeved shirts. Some tracks recommend knee and elbow pads and gloves but these are not always required. If new riders aren’t ready to make a full financial commitment, they may prefer to visit the tracks that will rent helmets at nominal fees. Bicycles should not have reflectors, kickstands or chain guards, because these could be safety hazards when riders fall.
At many tracks, Nicholson says, the older riders help teach the younger riders and there are many different skill level on the same track. This camaraderie works well for families or groups of kids interested in BMX. In addition, Nicholson notes that many BMX riders gain experience that helps them if they also participate in mountain biking.
Easy Beginners’ Tricks
Part of the fun of BMX comes from the tricks on the course. Novice riders can often master the bunny hop, or gentle jump, and wheelies in which the bike’s front wheel leaves the ground.
Organizations and Competitions
As riders become more comfortable with their skills, they may find competitive racing a challenging way to broaden their interest in the sport. Fortunately, there are many national and state resources that help participants locate tracks, race schedules and follow standings of individual racers.
Since its inception in the 1970s, BMX has come into its own with world and national championships and national organizations designed to help the sport grow. Indianapolis, Indiana, held the first international BMX Race on December 30, 1978, leading to a rise in popularity that
eventually resulted in BMX as being part of extreme sports. In spite of this designation, local tracks remain welcoming to kids.
The American Bicycle Association lists races, well-known racers and other relevant information about the competitive side of BMX. The National Bicycle League highlights races throughout the Midwest.
Kentucky BMX Tracks
In Louisville, Kentucky, riders flock to Tom Sawyer State Park Derby City BMX located at 3000 Freys Hill Road. In addition to the other bike requirements, Derby City BMX also requires number plates attached to the handle bars although these can be obtained through the track.
Kentucky BMX maintains a list of other tracks and races throughout the state.
Indiana BMX Racing
Columbus, Indiana, has the Columbus BMX track near the Bartholomew Fairgrounds while Indianapolis has two. In the winter, riders flock to the indoor Crossroads BMX facility at 3602 East Michigan. During warmer weather, riders can also visit the outdoor Lake Sullivan BMX track on Coldspring Road.
For more information on BMX tracks throughout Indiana, BMX Indy maintains track information and racing schedules.
BMX Racing for All Ages
New BMX riders will find the sport encourages a supportive atmosphere while allowing riders to learn at an individual pace.