BMX Bikes Are Not For Grown-Ups

Out There Outdoors

By Jon Snyder, founding publisher of Out There Monthly – Editorial March 2007

“How the hell do adults ride these things for transportation?” is the first thing I think when I hop on the 20-inch wheel BMX rental bike. Back in Spokane I’m always seeing 20, 30, or even 40 year-old guys hunched up riding dirt bikes like this around town. Do they all have live-in chiropractors?

My seven-year-old son, on the other hand, fits the bike just right. When I visit other towns I always like to check out their public recreation facilities. The Baton Rouge paper had a listing for a public park that had both an outdoor velodrome and a bicycle motocross track. I explain to my son that this was a place where you could ride a bike around a dirt track with hills and jumps. Unlike some activities, he needs no convincing that this would be a great thing to do.

At the track we are the only riders. I can’t believe this. It’s a great facility, bikes only cost four bucks to rent, the weather is great. People in Spokane would die for a park like this. I give my son a little spiel on safety, on not riding out of control, and we are off.

It’s more fun than I expected. I am feeling the rhythm of the track, figuring out where to pedal, where to glide. Then I start catching some air. If I plan my strokes right I can catch some serious inches coming in to the first turn.

Then it happens. Coming down a hill full-speed I am over the handle bars. You know how people say when they were in a crash that for a brief moment everything seemed to be in slow-motion? I skip that part. SLAM. My helmet hits the dirt.

An ungloved left hand absorbs the full impact of a 37-year-old slightly-overweight body. The pain is impressive. Right up their with my torn ACL of 2003. Like a whole season of soccer injuries in a single instant. I stagger off the track dragging the bike–not sure where each footfall will land.

“Hey Dad, look at me!” Slumped against the fence I give him a half-hearted wave. He smoothly clears a mogul. He doesn’t need to know about my wreck just yet. I’m so dazed that I actually think, for a minute, that I can shake this off and ride some more. But the interesting new colors on my swollen left hand offer a nice reality check,

“Dad, that was so fun! Can we go again tomorrow?”

“I’m sorry, Bud. I’m pretty sure they’re closed tomorrow.”

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