Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
BMX (an abbreviation for bicycle motocross) is a form of cycling on bikes with 20 inch wheels. It originated in California United States in the 1970's, where teenagers imitated their motocross heroes on their pedal bicycles. The sport features races on sandy and hilly tracks as well as performances of tricks and stunts on flat ground, wooden ramps or obstacles found on the streets.
BMX bicycles have 20 inch wheels and a decreased frame size. This allows riders to achieve greater control and acceleration than on an average size bicycle. Many BMX bicycles have handlebars which can spin completely around, allowing either the bars to spin independently of the tail (in what is known as a barspin), or the tail to spin around independently of the bars (in what is known as a tailwhip). Until recently, Freestyle BMX bicycles were heavier than the ever-popular low-end mountain bike, as designers made them stronger using materials such as chromoly. However, there has recently been a trend toward lower-weight freestyle bicycles, bringing them closer in weight to traditional BMX racing bikes.
Since 1982, there have been World Championships for BMX racing, sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), and 1987 saw the first Freestyle World Championships. Freestyle BMX has been growing in popularity since it became part of the ESPN X-Games in 1998.
Bob Haro is considered by most to be the the inventor of Freestyle BMX when he started riding skateparks in 1978. But OG Dogtown skaters and BMXers John Palfreyman and Thom Lund were riding pools on BMX bikes in 1975. 
There are several different styles of Freestyle BMX:
Street Riding is performed on unimproved obstacles found on typical streets. Handrails, ledges, slanted walls, and other common features are used to perform tricks.
Dirt Jumping is similar to BMX racing in that the rider jumps mounds of dirt. It differs in that the jumps are usually much larger and designed to lift the rider high into the air. Additionally, the goal is not to complete the course with the fastest time, but rather to perform tricks with style.
Flatland is performed on smooth, flat pavement and riders test their hand-eye and foot coordination. The riders travel at low speed and stand on various parts of the bike, while spinning it around in various ways beneath them.
Vert riding is done on a halfpipe and allows riders to go higher than any other obstacles. Consequently this is the most dangerous form of BMX and is considered somewhat elite. Mat Hoffman, also known as the godfather of bmx, has taken vert to the next level with "airs" (vertical jumps) as high as 26 feet above the top of a vert ramp.
Park Riding is performed in a skate park, and BMX bikes are increasingly being allowed to ride terrain that used to be exclusive to skateboarders. This is the most versatile type of riding and the types of ramps available are unlimited, incorporating elements of all of the various types of riding.
Notable BMX racers include legends Stu Thomsen and Greg Hill. Newer racers include Robbie Miranda, Kevin Tomko and Brandon Meadows. Freestylists like Dave Mirra, Ryan Nyquist, Mat Hoffman, Vic Murphy, Chris Doyle, Troy McMurray, Mike "Rooftop" Escamilla, Colin McKay, Ronnie Chalk, Van Homan, Ruben Alcantara, Taj Mihelich, and Jay Miron.
BMX racing—not freestyle/tricks—seems to have waned in recent years, but there has been an interesting return to the sport from those who participated in it during the sport's peak. While the sport seems to be declining, or just barely staying even, there is a growing number of returning older racers (30+) and even an interest in old bikes. Well known vintage bicycles include SE Racing, Red Line, JMC Bicycles.
- www.ababmx.com - The American Bicycle Association
- www.nbl.com - The National Bicycle League
- BMX-Forum.com - Large Online BMX-Community.
- Rider-Hookup Map - find other riders from your region
- FatBmx - The biggest bmx site.
- University of BMX - Site with history about BMX
- Vintage BMX - History of BMX by Bob Osborn
- BMX Talk - UK Online BMX-Community.
- BmxDude.com - BMX Site with messageboards.
- BMX and More - One of the biggest Dutch/European racing sites
- International racing rules
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