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  1. #1
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    The Old Guy's Guide to Re-Entering BMX

    Hey folks,

    Thought I'd share a passion project that I recently completed: The Old Guy's Guide to Re-Entering BMX. Using inspiration from Sheldon Brown's legacy, I wanted to construct a guide that would help "older" guys and gals get into freestyle BMX. I base this from my experience of getting back into it, myself - the wasted money, time, effort, confusion and frustration of trying to "get it right". At the time, no such guide was available, so I thought I'd give back to the sport I love so much and do it myself.

    So far I've had some great responses from BMX industry folks - so I'm happy with that. If you're interested, please take a gander here:

    THE OLD GUY'S GUIDE TO RE-ENTERING BMX - INTRODUCTION - Rider In Black

    Thanks for looking! - Dion

    The Old Guy's Guide to Re-Entering BMX-img_5090.jpg

  2. #2
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    The Old Guy's Guide to Re-Entering BMX

    Fantastic! Thanks very much!
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

    Riding in Helena? Everything you need to know, right here.

  3. #3
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    good work! Great detailed write up! I'm only 28 but I too took a hiatus from BMX at about 19 when my bike was stolen and I am just getting back into it about 2 years ago as my interest in bikes was was sparked again about 5 years ago with a cross country ride from NY to san fran then got into cyclocross and then MTB and now back to the roots BMX!

  4. #4
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    couple questions.... so do you think riding brake-less makes you a better rider quicker?

    I will agree that the best way to get good at riding your bike is to ride your bike but you don't think strength training will make you a better more able rider?

    i try and ride all 3 wheel sizes 20, 24 and 26 but I find my self drawn to 26... I'm guessing that is because of the style of riding... i've never been much into street or flat land I love Dirt jumping and park riding! the 26 just feels so effortless and stable in the air... it is a bit harder to do tech tricks (lip, street style) and to spin but the other air tricks seems just the same or maybe even easier due to the stability it offers me... I don't really notice the weight much... you just get use to the bike you are riding... my bike probably weighs in at 27ish? eastern night train ... Good stuff though... i've shared it already with a bunch of people!

  5. #5
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    As a 45 y/o long time mtb'er who's spent the last 5 years doing my best to feed into my 9 y/0 son's passion for BMX park/trail riding, I owe you a tasty beverage or three for that article. The info and insight you put into it are priceless; I could go on and on, but suffice to say, cheers man. Great job.

    On a side note, some local old guys I've gotten to know a little while embarrassing my kid put a flick together you might enjoy. They all still kill it.

    A Wicked Ride - New England BMX Freestyle in the 80s - Release Preview - YouTube

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cglasford View Post
    couple questions.... so do you think riding brake-less makes you a better rider quicker?
    Not for everyone - but it did for me. The reason being is because I had very bad habits I got from 1991 - particularly "brake checking" on approaches - flatland or street. What brakeless riding has taught me is speed control and how to enter a trick with the proper amount of speed. What it ended up translating to was a better "flow" to my tricks. Now, when I ride a bike with brakes, I'm actually a better rider - so brakeless has helped my "brake" riding. Now, if I do use brakes, I use them for very technical tricks, like 180 icepick to abubaca to half-cab.

    Quote Originally Posted by cglasford View Post
    I will agree that the best way to get good at riding your bike is to ride your bike but you don't think strength training will make you a better more able rider?
    That part, a lot of guys mistook what I was saying - but being a gym rat for over 20 years, I can't say that weight training helped my trick riding at all. What it did do was give me the strength, endurance and flexibility to resist injury. Squatting 400lbs. won't do much for rolling hang-5's to fast plant 180's off a platform. I'm not sure why guys get so uppity about thatů I think it's because a lot of guys lift weights and they take it personal - but I still do believe time in the gym is time away from the bike. I put in 1-2 days a week in the gym - but no more than that. I'd rather spend time on my bike, where I know I will be progressing my tricks.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    Not for everyone - but it did for me. The reason being is because I had very bad habits I got from 1991 - particularly "brake checking" on approaches - flatland or street. What brakeless riding has taught me is speed control and how to enter a trick with the proper amount of speed. What it ended up translating to was a better "flow" to my tricks. Now, when I ride a bike with brakes, I'm actually a better rider - so brakeless has helped my "brake" riding. Now, if I do use brakes, I use them for very technical tricks, like 180 icepick to abubaca to half-cab.



    That part, a lot of guys mistook what I was saying - but being a gym rat for over 20 years, I can't say that weight training helped my trick riding at all. What it did do was give me the strength, endurance and flexibility to resist injury. Squatting 400lbs. won't do much for rolling hang-5's to fast plant 180's off a platform. I'm not sure why guys get so uppity about thatů I think it's because a lot of guys lift weights and they take it personal - but I still do believe time in the gym is time away from the bike. I put in 1-2 days a week in the gym - but no more than that. I'd rather spend time on my bike, where I know I will be progressing my tricks.

    Thanks for the answers... I've been debating the brakeless thing for a bit I might give it a go...

    as for the gym thing I was more of a clarification.. I don't do much gym time but live in a cold winter area, MN and only get to ride indoor every couple weeks as the closes indoor skate park that is worth a crap is about 1 hour away... I will probably do some exercises to increase strength and reduce injuries!

  8. #8
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    Dion, that was an excellent article. Thorough, well-though-out, detailed, and from the heart. I could not have done it better myself. I've been reading your posts on global flat for several years.

    I 100% agree with you on all the 20" stuff, including the value of riding brakeless to unlearn "brake checking."

    BUT . . . I have to kind of disagree with you on 24"/26". I do agree that guys shouldn't go for 24"/26" bmx just because they're old and trying to get back into bmx and think it's expected not to ride 20"s any more.

    But, I also think 24"/26" have a great value in their own right. Especially when it comes to trails/dirt. But, even, street/park/flatland. I don't think guys are making a mistake trying 24"s/26"s, but I do agree with you that trying 20"s as well is great. Conclusion: don't limit yourself ! Try multiple bike set-ups!

    riding my Hoffman TAJ circa 00/01:


    riding my Black Market MOB 26" circa '10:


    riding 24" flatland:


    on street, I've been riding better on 22"s and 24"s than on 20"s.


    If anything, older riders getting back into it should be willing to have two (or three) bikes. "One size fits all" for every body size and every terrain is not a legit concept in 2013, in my humble opinion.

    One of my best bros, he spent 10-ish years not riding, then got back into it and has been doing a ton of trail building and riding at a new level in his 30's:


    Other bros I convinced to come ride Downhill in Colorado. They were all blown away and wondered why have we not been doing this before !? Seriously, any bmx rider who is into dirt at all and has not done a Downhill trip is sevely missing out.....



    a lot of BMX'ers don't even know what has been going on in the mountains! (i say this as a bmx'er who formerly did not know either)

  9. #9
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    Very nice work. It'd be cool to see the same for the race set....

    Speaking as a long time cyclist and long time skateboarder:

    Don't ride brakeless at skateparks unless you are there by yourself or practically by yourself. Two bodies colliding at speed, especially when one is on a bike and one on a skateboard, is really bad. I've seen really good riders run into both little kids, each other, and really good skateboarders. You aren't on a fixed gear.

    Keep your pegs and pedals off any concrete or pool coping if you ride bowls.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvwmvw View Post
    Keep your pegs and pedals off any concrete or pool coping if you ride bowls.
    i don't ride pegs, its about flow for me, but what is the difference between pegs and pedals and a skate boards trucks? both metal....

    and at the skate parks where I live, I'm one of the only bike riders with brakes.... but I see your point.. I don't like to ride when it is crowded anyways...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmc4130 View Post
    BUT . . . I have to kind of disagree with you on 24"/26". I do agree that guys shouldn't go for 24"/26" bmx just because they're old and trying to get back into bmx and think it's expected not to ride 20"s any more.
    Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I was trying in my article to emphasize not to go straight to a cruiser because a re-noob may think he needs a cruiser due to size. I did write "get a cruiser because you want to ride a cruiser".

    A lot of guys getting back will go right to a cruiser just because they are afraid of the 20" being too "small". I think you and I kinda got to the same point in a roundabout way - I say have an open mind about riding a 20"! I think that section was inspired because I've known SO many guys trying to get back into it, and most all of them (except one) went right for the cruiser without even considering a 20".

    Cruisers are cool. I've owned a few of them. I just wanted to tell guys that they don't have to go straight to a cruiser because they think they need that size of a wheel.

  12. #12
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    great thread here & I really enjoyed reading, Dion's well-written OG Bmx blog & other links too. Great stuff for us old life-long bike nerd addicts like me that still enjoy lame, almost trickless BMX riding nowdays. THANKS VERY MUCH DION!!! Ride ON
    PS: I ordered some stickers!
    Ride ON!
    Just a bike geek. Rode since 4 yo & still love BMX. MTBer since '86... "Life is a Circle"

  13. #13
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    Great article. I don't normally follow blogs but I might have to start after reading yours. As an out of shape MTBer checking out park and DJ stuff your article had lots of good information.

  14. #14
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    1 of my Custom build from ~3 years ago
    2010 Sputnic Regulator - BMXmuseum.com

    PS: THOSE GLOW IN DARK PEDALS ARE LONG GONE - SORRY!
    Ride ON!
    Just a bike geek. Rode since 4 yo & still love BMX. MTBer since '86... "Life is a Circle"

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