Bicycle motorcross (BMX) is an off-road racing sport that has been around for nearly 50 years. This style of racing is performed on special bikes that have been designed to handle specially made dirt tracks. These dirt tracks are designed to be single lap tracks that can allow up to eight racers to compete all at once. BMX racing is more than just a sport it is a way of life for many people.
The Beginning of BMX
Sometime around 1952 in the Netherlands a group of men would gather together to race bicycles on dirt path and roads. They would not only race their bikes they would also perform stunts, tricks and do other exciting maneuvers with their bicycles.
The bicycles that these men used were not necessarily designed for this purpose. However, a few of them modified their bikes so that they could better handle the terrain. These group of cyclists in the Netherlands helped to set the stage for what would later become the sport of BMX racing and competition.
While BMX sports might have had their origins within the Netherlands, the sport did not catch on right away. As a matter of fact, it would be nearly 20 years before it started to become popular. Sometime around 1972 a film called On Any Sunday was released and it was a big hit with young people all over the U.S. – especially in southern California.
On Any Sunday was a documentary style of film and it featured the former action actor Steve McQueen. This movie was about motorcross motorcycle riding. When many young people saw this film, they got really excited about motorcross racing. However, most of the younger generation realized that they were too young to legally ride a motorcycle or they did not have enough money to purchase one.
So, many of the kids realized that they should compete on their bikes instead of motorcycles. Keep in mind that many kids were riding their bikes behind the motorcross competitors during that time. The fact is that it was a natural progression for them to want to ride their bikes instead of motorcycles.
On Any Sunday motivated so many kids to use their bicycles to create off road racing tracks. A lot of them did and a new sport was born. Keep in mind that this movement primarily took place in southern California. Many of the off-road motorcross racing events were already being held there some of the tracks were used to allow kids to compete.
The Emergence of the Sport
The people in the Netherlands were still developing their sport. After motorcross fans saw On Any Sunday, they too started to get involved heavily with BMX racing. The sport of BMX racing had two epicenters and the primary one was in Southern California.
Eventually the sport caught on and the first BMX sanctioning organization was created in 1974. It was called the National Bicycle League. Soon, other leagues and sanctioning organizations sprang up as well. BMX competitions were held throughout the years. The 1970s was considered the golden years of this sport. By 2008 BMX motorcross racing was admitted to the Olympic games and people all over the world enjoy watching racers compete.