A little while ago, while assessing and re-assessing my bike shop, I made the gut wrenching realisation that I could no longer afford to stock BMX. I fought it. I ordered 25 Fit Bikes and made every effort to move them onto kids that would keep the dream alive. It failed, in some ways, I mean I eventually sold them all and 25 kids (well some might have been big, older kids) got stoked as heck! But I had to discount heavily, I had to almost give them away because it was money tied up and was preventing me having products that were selling. There’s a few reason why I couldn’t make it happen, the main one I was blaming was the fashion associated with our beloved sport and the incredible fragility that creates in our industry. So what now? And, why do I care?
I care because BMX is rad as F&*k. No two ways about it. It’s just f&*king awesome. The BMX I grew up with is what has given me my solid sense of community. It’s why I don’t focus on the money with my business, I focus on what I’m creating for those around me. BMX helped develop my confidence. It helped build my scrawny little arms into well, slightly less scrawny little arms. It created spacial-awareness like nothing else meaning I knew what it was like to ‘have eyes in the back of my head’, just like Mum, which is incredibly valuable riding bikes on the road. I care about BMX because it helped me make friends I could previously only dream of. Being that weird kid at school wasn’t exactly easy but once I found bicycles and more specifically BMX, I found my home. I found a place I fit in. Solid, life-long friendships developed and I grew in ways I never knew possible.
These friendships mean more to me than almost everything else. I remember a mate and I jumping on a boat to Tasmania with no real plans as such. It was through the BMX community that we found comfortable beds, couches and floors and had the most amazing adventures. I remember riding bikes, shooting photos and partying like it was 1999 in Sydney and even proposed to my now wife at the BMX Games one year. I am forever reminiscing of times in Canberra, filling the spa with soap which over-flowed into the pool making for a massive bubble bath. I remember travelling all the way to New Zealand, sleeping on the floor in a basement apartment, next to a strip club and never feeling more welcome and a part of a family than ever before. With BMX came freedom, friendship and some of the most amazing memories one could ever have imagined.
I could go on and on and on about why I care about BMX, why I care almost too much about BMX. So why am I not stocking BMX in my shop any more if I care so much? Well, as much as I want to be a part of building the scene, making sure the people can get the best BMX has to offer, I want to see my friends succeed more. The BMX industry is much smaller now than a few years back and a few of the friends I’ve been talking about have dedicated BMX shops around our great land. Hell On Wheels in Sydney, Backbone BMX in Canberra, Little Black Bike in Adelaide, Anchor BMX here in Melbourne, plus Rampfest where we can all ride a park built for specifically BMX, just to mention a few. One thing BMX has taught me, well, re-instilled in me, is to support your friends in whatever way you can. True BMX’rs have your back. It’s time we got theirs. While we can still help you with a special order for BMX bikes, parts and accessories, I suggest you check out the shops mentioned above first.
See, back in ‘the day’, BMX parts were hard, seemingly impossible to get here in Australia. No shops would stock it, those who did knew very little about it and often charged insane prices for the good stuff. But that changed when BMX’rs stood up and did something about it. Hard working men and women who said, “let’s do something for our scene and get the products to our country, try keep the prices down and make but a small difference to the riders of little kids bikes”. There were more jams, comps and places to hang when we’d go road-tripping. They supported us and made it easier for us to do the things we loved.
Now the Australia Dollar is struggling, BMX is thinning out and people are finding ways to buy overseas instead of here again. That’s not the BMX I know and love. The BMX I love supports our mates, gives up our couch when a rider needs somewhere to crash, and pays full price to Australian BMX shops for the knowledge, convenience and the scene-building jams, comps and hang-outs they supply.
The BMX I believe in, the little bikes we ride and the crew making it real is in need of our support. If you’re after a product, contact the stores mentioned above. Hit their websites, see what they have in stock and if you don’t see it there, call them, email them, message them on Facebook, make every effort to get your fix from local stores supporting our sport. We owe it to them to at least make the effort. We owe it to ourselves to ensure the longevity of our community’s driving forces.
Do you have any thoughts? What do you take from my article? What’s your local BMX store? Mention it in the comments below. Give them some love, too.