Why choose BMX as a sport for myself or my children?
BMX, is one of the best sports you’ll ever come across. It has something for everyone and is entirely family orientated, from Toddlers to Grandparents, you can all participate. We have children as young as 4 years old racing, and even folks in their 70’s. The entire family can race, mom, dad and all the children, or if racing is not for you, Join the social side and watch as a supporter & spectator. You’re never too old to start. And it’s it is the lowest cost cycling discipline you can get into.
If you or your children enjoy riding your bikes, this is for you. If your children like to ride their bikes in the streets, get them to the track, they’ll be hooked.
Tracks are user and spectator friendly. Unlike most other forms of cycling, you are able to watch your children the entire time. Most tracks are in secure gated or fenced off areas, which is extremely important today. The skills learned in BMX will serve you well in all other cycling disciplines.
Is my child ready to do BMX?
Any rider, of any age, and any skill set is more than welcome to ride at most BMX tracks.
Balance bikes are welcomed for the smaller riders, and most tracks have separate races just for the balance bike classes. Bicycles with training wheels are not allowed, as they get stuck
on the dirt and will be unable to do the entire lap. If your child can’t ride a normal bike without training wheels, I’d suggest you buy a balance bike, as they are the perfect starter bikes for
any age child. Children can progress to the entry level size race bike (micro mini) from 4-5 years old.
Race classes start from 6 & under age group.
Which BMX Should I Buy ?
To get started use what you have. Even if it’s not a BMX, use your mountain bike or whatever you have. Go to your nearest BMX track and just try it out. Go find out who the Club Chairman is and introduce yourself. Show him/her what you have and you’ll get all the information you’ll ever need.
A word of caution.
DO NOT go out and buy a BMX bicycle without consulting your Club Chairman or another experienced rider/parent. There are many different makes, models, sizes and quality bikes and parts. You’ll definitely need some help, or you could end up buying something you’ll not be happy with.
Should I buy new or 2nd hand?
I’d suggest buying an entry level 2nd hand bike to start with. There’s no need to go spend hundreds of Rands when starting out. There are so many makes and models of new bikes available in stores and online. You must remember that by buying a complete bike online that the parts may sometimes not be the correct size for you. The parts on new complete bike are for the average size rider for that particular bike frame. Just remember that not every person who is a particular height has the same length legs or same body type, so you may end up having to replace a part or 2. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as you can always post them for sale in your local BMX community.
The local BMX Community is the best place to start looking for a bike. You can get top of the range 2nd hand bikes from people having outgrown their current bikes, for really good prices. Sometimes the parts on these bikes are worth 3 times the actual selling price. There are dedicated BMX Buy swop and Sell Facebook and WhatsApp groups. Ask your Club chairman for the group links and they can help you to get the correct bike and parts for the best prices.
What clothing and protective gear do I need for BMX?
To start off, what you have. The most important item you need is a helmet. Use a motocross helmet if you have one laying around. Some tracks will allow you to ride with a normal mountain bike helmet, but you usually won’t be allowed to race with one of those, it’ll need to be a Full Face helmet with a peak/visor. Go to your local BMX track and ask if they have a loan helmet and what they recommend you to buy.
You can start off with a helmet, long pants, long sleeve shirt/jersey, gloves and you’re ready to go. If you just starting out, try asking around for 2nd hand clothing that may be for sale, or ask to be added to the local BMX social media groups. There are great deals on 2nd hand BMX clothing, as the children grow so fast. I always say, start off without spending unnecessarily, as you’ll soon find which brand of clothing fits and feels better.
If you would like to buy new, locally we have these retailers who can supply most kit and helmets.
RBS Yamaha Pinetown – 69 St Johns Avenue, Pinetown 0317011311
Fox Store – Watercrest Mall, Inanda rd, Waterfall or online https://foxracing.co.za
Essential Kit is, Full Face helmet, Long Sleeve jersey, Long MX pants, gloves and flat soled shoes (VANS normally the best)
BMX Racing & Classes
There are boys and Girls classes, but girls can usually ask permission to race in the boys classes, should the wish to do so.
The balance bikes have their own class, and usually only race the last 2 straights of the BMX track (this varies from track to track), which is usually the first race of the day.
Classes are separated by age and Beginners Novice or Expert. If you are new to racing, you’ll start off in the Novice class. So you’ll be happy to know that when you start off racing BMX, you will be racing against other beginner riders. There are also Cruiser classes for the 24 inch bikes, as well as
Pro/Elite classes for the Professional riders.
Flat Pedals vs Clip Shoes/pedals:
Once you’re at the track you’ll notice that some riders race with flat pedals and flat soles shoes/sneakers, and others are racing with shoes that are clipped into the pedal. As a beginner/
novice racer, you may only use the flat pedals. Don’t get caught
up in the hype about Flat pedals vs clip shoes. Stay on flat pedals for as long as you can, it helps build your BMX skills.
The UCI international ruling is “No clip shoes for riders 12 and under” even for the Expert classes.
Explanation of a typical Race Day Procedure:
Once you’ve joined your local BMX club/track, ask to be added to their email or social media groups, this way you’ll be informed of practice days/evenings, coaching clinics, as well as race days. The full race calendar is also published on www.kznbmx.co.za
Clubs send out a link for online race registrations to be completed online. Clubs also allow “on the day” registrations however you will be charged additional late entry fee.
Even if you have entered Online, you should still go to the registration table and confirm that you have arrived and are ready to race.
Once all the entries have been received, the race classes are verified and worked out. If there are not enough entries in a particular class or age group, the class may be combined with
another age group to makeup a race class. (it’s no fun having just 1 or 2 riders in a race).
30 –60 minutes before racing starts, the Moto sheets will be posted digitally on https://our.sqorz.com/org/kznbmx
A moto sheet (Race Sheet) lets you know which Moto/Race you will be racing in on the day.
There are a maximum of 8 riders in a moto/race. Check which Moto you are racing in and make your way to the staging area. The stager will call out the moto, along with the names of the competitors in that moto. You then move up the back of the start hill and wait to be loaded into the start gate.
The starter controls the gate mechanism and safety of the start hill. Once satisfied that the start hill and gate are safe to start loading riders, he/she will allow the riders to start loading into their lanes. Always pay attention to the starter as he/she will let you know when it is safe to load into the gate.
If the tracks 1st turn is to the left, gate no 1 will be on the far left side of the gate, and gate 8 on the far right hand side of the gate. If the 1st turn is to the right, gate 1 will be on the right and gate 8 on the left. Gate 1 is classed as the inside gate and gate 8 the outside gate.
Usually the starter and staging officials will be wearing a bright coloured BIB.
Once everyone has settled in the gate, the starter will notify the riders that the start gate procedure or gate call is about to start. If you are not ready, let him/her know that you are not ready and he/she will usually give you a moment to get yourself ready. Once the riders are ready the starter will press the start button. The call will start: Riders ready, Watch the gate, then the light and beep sequence will start. You will notice that there are 4 lights on each side of the start hill. The beeps and lights are synchronized (flash and light up at the same time). So the 1st beep sounds at the same time as the top light flashes, 2nd beep, 2nd light, 3rd beep , 3rd light. On the fourth beep, the bottom light (green) will flash as well as having the gate drop all at the same time.
Some people watch the gate for the movement before they start racing, others watch the lights, some listen for the beeps. Your local track coach will work this all out with you to improve your gate starts.
The most important thing to remember about BMX Racing is:
The sport is run by Volunteers, and clubs are always in search of more volunteers to help out. I urge each and everyone reading this to please get involved in the sport somehow, some help at race events, some help behind the scenes with the administration, track maintenance etc.