Getting started in BMX is easy, and, initially, inexpensive. Although rules and regulations can vary from league to league, the basics remain pretty much the same. Here’s a look at the equipment you’ll need to start:
A 20” bicycle (wheel diameter), girls or boys frame (Cruiser class bikes may be 24” or 26”), with all reflectors, mirrors, kickstands, and chain guards removed.
Handlebars cannot exceed 28.5”, and must have grips and end caps that completely cover the tips of the handlebars.
The bicycle must also have a minimum of 3 pads: one on the cross bars, one on the frame, and a third on the gooseneck (where the handlebars attach to the front fork of the bicycle).
The bike must have an operable rear brake in good condition; any front-end brakes should be disconnected.
Pedals should be hard rubber or metal, and not cracked or broken.
Any axles that stick out more than ¼” beyond the wheel nuts must be cut off, and any sharp ends must be covered.
Tires must be in good shape, and spokes must be adequately tightened (no missing spokes, please!)
The seat should be securely tightened to the frame of the bike.
All of these precautions are to ensure the safety of yourself and the other riders, and are enforced in order to reduce any unnecessary injury in the case of an on-track accident. NOTE: All participating bikes must be inspected before they are allowed on the track, so save yourself some time and grief by checking all of the above in advance of race time.
All riders are required to wear a helmet, either full face or with a mouth guard, and each helmet must have a permanent chin strap.
Riders must wear long-sleeved shirts or jerseys, as well as long pants. In some leagues (for example, NJBMX) the rider is required to have his or her shirt/jersey tucked into the top of their pants. It is recommended that pants be made of a heavy material, such as cotton denim or canvas.
No wallets with chains are allowed, nor are riders allowed to suspend anything from their handlebars.
Almost every minimally developed BMX track affiliates itself with some type of sanctioning body; this pretty much guarantees a standardized scoring system, and a basic set of safety rules that all participants are required to follow. Check with your local tracks and/or bicycle shops. They should have all of the forms or information you need to start racing for real!
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