Check out our latest magazine... Read Online

As Team GB make history at the Olympics, how can you get into BMX riding?

Great Britain's Bethany Shriever on her way to winning Gold in the Cycling BMX Racing

With a smaller and lighter bike, this sport is all about speed and agility.

Great Britain hasn’t won any medals at the BMX event since it was introduced in the 2008 Olympic Games – until now.

Beth Shriever scooped up gold in the women’s race, and Kye Whyte won silver in the men’s at the Ariake Urban Sports Park in Tokyo.

Bethany Shriever and Kye Whyte celebrate their medals
Bethany Shriever and Kye Whyte celebrate their medals (Danny Lawson/PA)

“I’m more happy for her than I am for me,” Whyte said afterwards. “That girl puts in some serious serious graft.”

Shriever and Whyte have shown just how exciting BMX can be – no doubt inspiring others to get involved themselves. If you want to give it a go but have no idea where to start, here’s everything you need to know…

What is BMX riding?

‘BMX’ stands for ‘bike motocross’. It started in the 1970s in southern Californian, inspired by motocross racing and the stunts of stars such as Evel Knievel. It’s all about manoeuvring around jumps and difficult courses as quickly as possible, on a specific type of bike

BMX racing was added to the Olympics in Beijing in 2008, and this year Tokyo has added another event: BMX freestyle, where riders are scored on their tricks.

What equipment do you need?

A BMX bike is different to the road or mountain bikes you might be used to. It’s smaller – with an average 20-inch frame – and simpler, with a single gear and just a rear brake.

The frame is small and light, so the bike can be easily and quickly manoeuvred over jumps and dirt roads. You can get BMX bikes from Halfords for around £100-£200.

For safety reasons, you’ll need a few other things before starting your BMX journey. British Cycling calls long-sleeved jerseys a “necessity, to reduce the reduce the damage a tumble can cause to exposed skin”. Two other non-negotiables are full face helmets (“as crashes can occur in both competition and training”) and gloves. Knee and elbow pads are also recommended.

Where can you do it?

Kye Whyte at the Tokyo Olympic Games
Kye Whyte in action (Martin Rickett/PA)

Where you choose to practise BMX depends on where you live. Street riding or going to a skateboard park are some of the more accessible options (although the concrete means it’s a bit harder and less forgiving to ride – and fall – on) – otherwise you can try a woodland trail or local track.

British Cycling recommends joining a BMX club, as they “offer taster and skills sessions at their local track, allowing you to have a go at improve your skills. Many clubs offer bike, helmet and protective gear hire, allowing you to get a taste for the sport before making a financial commitment.” You can find a club here.

How hard is it really?

Shirever and Whyte are elite athletes and what they’ve achieved at the Olympics is mind-boggling, but you can start much smaller and tailor your riding to your abilities. BMX riding isn’t the easiest sport out there, but you can work your way up to bigger jumps and tricks with a bit of practise.

As you need to stand up on the bike and control it over the bumps in the track, you might find your leg muscles will strengthen after a few sessions – and the same goes for your arms. It’s essentially a total body workout, as your core will have to fire up to keep you as stable as possible.

More from Lifestyle

  • Five Of The Greatest Rollercoasters In The World

    Across the globe, amusement parks compete to offer the most thrilling and unforgettable coaster experiences. Let's take a thrilling ride through five of the greatest rollercoasters that stand as testaments to innovation, engineering prowess, and pure adrenaline-fueled fun:

  • Five Of The Most Unique Pastries Worldwide

    Pastries, with their delicate layers, exquisite fillings, and intricate designs, are beloved treats enjoyed across the globe. While many are familiar with classics like croissants, ├ęclairs, and baklava, the world of pastries extends far beyond these well-known delights. From the streets of Tokyo to the cafes of Paris, let's embark on a delectable journey to discover five of the most unique pastries that tantalize taste buds and ignite culinary curiosity:

  • Be Well, Move Happy: Gardening & Connecting with Nature

    Spring is a wonderful time of year to get out and enjoy our natural world. Sara Whatley looks at connecting with nature for wellness and gardening for fitness

  • Five Countryside Locations Perfect For Warmer Weather

    As the temperature rises and the sun begins to shine (just about!), there's no better time to explore the picturesque British countryside. From rolling hills to serene lakeshores, the UK boasts an abundance of natural beauty waiting to be discovered. If you're looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourself in the tranquillity of nature, here are five British countryside locations perfect for warmer weather:

  • Five Of The Most Unique Cakes Worldwide

    Cakes are more than just desserts; they are edible works of art that reflect culture, tradition, and innovation. While classic cakes like chocolate and vanilla remain timeless favourites, there exists a world of cakes that push the boundaries of creativity and taste. From intricate designs to unusual ingredients, here are five of the most unique cakes from around the globe:


Add a comment

Log in to the club or enter your details below.

Get Social