This blog has been a long time coming....... I've got a few minutes on my hands so now's as good a time as any to smash it out!
Here's the deal, we post a scooter related post on Instagram or Facebook or wherever and sit back and wait for the negative responses to kick off.
It's okay! In fact it's quite interesting in a way, we get to look at the profile of whoever provides the scooter backlash and get to ponder their thought process, do they really hate scooters? Is it a tribal thing? Are they just bigoted? What's the deal?
Here's a few things to consider when making the anti scooter argument!
The fact is when looking at these 'haters' photos, it's clear that they definitely spend a fair amount of time at their local skateparks.
If their hometown park is anything like ours then it was set up to service the local community, and chances are the 'action group' that made it happen had scooter kids, or their parents involved.
Take into account that Scootering is a new sport.... Skateboarding and BMX are not what they once were! Every 'scooter kid' is taking part at an exciting time in their sport's development.
As a youth riding a BMX in my teens I got the shit ripped out of me regularly, it was fine as I was more than happy to not fit in with the hecklers, we didn't have the internet, we got bullied the old fashioned way face to face! Here's a 'Top Of The Pops' tune we'd get sung at us in an attempt to ruin our day!
Hear our super cheesy radio advert, it's going to be on RWSFM (103.3) real sooooon!
We're very lucky BMX is a new sport. Unlike most sports we see on TV, technology came before Bicycle Moto Cross..... We are able to watch the very roots of what we now do by slapping 'Joey Kidd On A Stingray' or 'Barrie On A Grifter' into our DVD player.... But is the very heart and soul of BMX now under threat? I would argue yes!
Firstly is BMX a sport or an art form? Maybe both?
Let's make things easy to start with and tackle BMX racing. It's a race, it has winners and losers, it's a sport. Folk like Paddy Sharrock just happen to preform art as they make their way round the 34 second track, and it's stunning!
I raced BMX through the 80's and early 90's, then made a 'Masters Comeback' when I turned 30.... In my early years the sport was governed by UKBMX & NBMXA, and later a combined group called EBMXA (or was it just EBMX?). On my return things had been handed over to BC (British Cycling) the same bunch that organise Road Races and other cycling disciplines
Lots had changed, the car boot sale feel of old school racing had gone. Contractors we're now brought in to design and build tracks.... a far cry from Dave Last in a digger at Ipswich track smashing out a triple on a Bank Holiday morning.
The changes were good and bad. Races were now much slicker, there was however no chance of a session on the track on Saturday night.
Okay that's progress, everyone still had smiles on their faces and the scene strong!
What came next was going to change everything, BMX in the Olympics! Now I'm not going to pretend I don't like it, I'll have a flutter at the bookies and I'll jump out of my seat and flail my arms in the air when Shanaze Reade wins a lap, these athletes are amazing, watching them race is a treat. But let's be clear, Olympic BMX is a by product of the real thing, truth be known Royston Spring Classic is where it's at!
10 years ago a group of riders made the indoor BMX facility in Sheffield, a small scale BMX track in an old industrial unit.... It was fantastic, somewhere rad to ride through the winter, real BMX in the hands of the BMXers! What do we have now? Manchester Indoor, a massive Supercross track that everyone apart from the Elite and top end riders hate, Great for Liam Phillips and our gold medal campaign, but is it good for BMX racing as a whole? I'd much rather of seen a number of Sheffield style facilities across the UK.!
Now BC look to be changing things so that under 12 will be unable to gain points at Nationals to achieve rankings at the end of the year, this in turn making it impossible to compete in important International events, there is a massive backlash against the proposals, the BMX community seem helpless, the powers that be look to be getting their own way! My opinion is that as 'guardians' of our sport these people have no right to change what it 'is' and what it has always been, a sport for kids, and the odd twat like me who is old enough to know better! Leave it alone!!!!!
I'm confused as to why certain people (two people to be precise, in positions of limited power, I'm not going to name names) who have given their lives to BMX Racing, who had children who raced in the early days are behind the changes, I can't understand what carrot is getting dangled in front of their faces?!?! I used to hunt these individuals out at the end of a meeting to shake their hands, I'm honestly gob smacked!
Now on to what was once called Freestyle.... I would say an art form? Can art be judged? It can.... we've got the Turner Prize right? But as the saying goes 'art is in the eye of the beholder'....make winners out of it if you feel the need, but even the riders that take part in the competitions for the most part know that the winner/loser side of things is all bullshit and just enter comps for the crack!
What's next for 'Freestyle'? Well it's being brought under the control of the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale)..... Guys, I'm not sure we fit it, and it's not theirs to take!
Are we going to see gymnast style runs? Compulsory Double Back Flips? Fuck that! (Sorry to swear, BMX is getting raped! bad language is nothing in comparison) Shimano will be all over it! Olympic Gold Medalists always run their cranks, the corporation make sure of it....... These will retail at about a zillion quid and will look rank, trust me, people will get sucked into that shit too..... Buy your cranks from a proper BMX brand y'all! A brand that has supported BMX and knows the score!
Yes BMX is what you want it to be, when you're riding your trails in the woods what happens outside the trees is for the most part irrelevant, but when you're at the pub later chatting about your day on a 20" bike to someone who thinks they know what BMX is chances are they will have no idea!
The suits are pirates, they are taking what's yours, we're seeing this 'progress' in the world around us in many ways, but BMX is special, BMX is ours, we need to fight to keep it our own!..... I'm just not sure how?
Hardcore Hobbies Team Rider Joe Embrey plays guitar in Bury St Edmunds band 'Tryal Of Witches'...... Here's tracks from their latest E.P.... Check them out live if you get the chance!