If you spend any time at all on the BMX racing forums you’ll notice that inevitably, before long, the subject of “How to grow BMX” will come up. Another variation of this thread is “Why isn’t racing as popular as it was in the 80s?”
People will argue that you have to one thing or another…from doing presentations at local schools to embracing the whole Supercross track phenomenon.
The trouble is, none of things is doing much to grow the sport. Yet time after time the same ideas keep getting trotted out.
The solution might be simpler than the collective BMX racing community thinks.
Get a friend hooked on BMX.
Wasn’t it Chris Moeller who said back in the early 90s that the way to make BMX grow was to build up a bike and give it to a friend? (Actually, I’m not 100% sure on this quote but the research department is out on a patio somewhere right now enjoying a pint so let’s just go with it, ok?)
Matt Shelley, from BMXActionOnline, employs a similar strategy. He chats up folks at the track, all the while with the agenda of getting them out racing.
Check out Matt’s latest success story:
I met Malcolm at the Fresno Nationals last year. His kid races 13 challenger. We got to talking and he loves bikes, but never considered BMX until he saw us gray beards having so much fun. I dropped some science on him and figured he would do what he will with the advice.
Fast forward to the start of this season… there he is with a craigslist bike, a license, turning hot laps, and getting a ton of encouragement from his son. He admits to having a long way to go (his gates are horrid, natch), but through sheer force of early (and maximum) participation–He is currently leading the state series in 50-54 cruiser!
Nice going Matt (and Malcolm)!
Could it be that easy?
I think so.
I’ve had a few instances myself where friends and friends of friends have approaching me and inquired about getting a bike. Usually it starts with, “I see how much fun you’re having…”
So if you’re concerned about “growing the sport”…talk to your friends about BMX…and build them a bike if you have spare parts lying around.
Spread the word and get your friends out riding. Once you do that, this “growing the sport” business will take care of itself.