By: Patrick Cain
Publisher: Lerner Publications
Publication Date: January 2013
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: April 2013
BMX street riding is a hot, popular sport, but it isn’t a new one. Vert riders are riders who use straight up and down surfaces like half pipes. These are giant ramps that are flat in the middle and usually have a vertical rise on either side. Craig Grasso is the guy who’s widely recognized as the one who “paved the way for a new style of BMX: street riding.” He’s not your ordinary bike rider by any means. In 1987 he competed in the 2HIP King of Vert competition and rode in the nude. No, that wasn’t what he usually does, but that was just something that showed the world that street riders are rebellious and signaled that street riding was on its way.
Unlike vert riders, street riders “do smaller tricks that can be performed off everyday objects.” It wasn’t until the 1990s that the sport took off, but when it did, street riding got a lot of notice. Street riders can make their performances look easy, “but tricks take a lot of practice.” Riders have become famous through sponsored competitions such as ESPN’s X Games, but also through their own videos. If you’ve checked out BMX street riders on YouTube you’ve probably seen some rad riders. Some of them make jumping over fire hydrants look like child’s play.
Way back in the 1960s kids were riding on dirt courses meant for motorcycles. This sport became known as bicycle motocross or BMX. It wasn’t long before some “were taking their bikes off the dirt courses and into empty swimming pools and skate parks.” By the 1980s freestyle events featured stunt riders instead of races. The bikes, which took a beating, needed to be redesigned to withstand the impact. By 1983 vert ramps were in use and “in 1984 Ron Wilkerson successfully completed the first no-footed aerial.” BMX street began to soar. In this book you’ll learn about the riders, the competitions, the sport’s appearance in video games, the importance of name brand bikes, the equipment, the moves, how you can become a champion, and you’ll learn many other interesting things about the world of BMX street riding.
This is a fascinating book about the Xtreme sport of BMX street riding. The vibrant layout of the book brings the sport to life with its high-action photographs as bikers race through the pages. Numerous informative sidebars, some in the form of captions, crisscross the text. For example, the young reader will learn about things such as obstacles, The X Games, and various riders. Safety is obviously stressed, but nicely incorporated into the book. This is an excellent choice for young sports-minded readers, especially reluctant ones. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, a diagram and explanation of the BMX bike parts, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore. There are additional free, complementary educational resources that can be downloaded on the publisher’s website.
Quill says: If you have a youngster who loves street sports, the Extreme Summer Sports Zone series is one to take a look at!