Video: UCI Looks at BMX History

July 23, 2017 by  

UCI History of BMX

There has been long-standing debate in BMX historical circles over the true origins of the sport. Ahead of this week’s UCI BMX World Championships in Rock Hill, SC, the governing body is out with a “History of BMX Racing” video which presents one point of view.

The nine-minute edit gives some nice commentary about the sport, and its history around the world, not just in the US—which we like very much.

We see some long-lost footage of the LA Coliseum race in the mid-70s, and a couple of the storied downhill tracks of the early age, as well as Euro footage for their early days.

Palms Park in Los Angeles is widely-considered the first organized BMX track—having run its first race in July of 1969. The video talks about it briefly, though does so while showing footage of the 1982 Jag BMX World Championships in Las Vegas (that kind-of threw us).

The video covers some other important milestones: BMX in the movie ET, the first world championships outside the United States, and the sport’s admittance into the Olympic Games.

For someone who does not know about BMX, it’s a pretty-good primer. For an avid fan of BMX, it’s always nice to see how other people tell the story, even if you scratch your head during parts of the story.

As to the question of “where was BMX invented?” Yes, there were kids in the Netherlands in the 1950s who taped pie plates to their bicycles and wrote numbers on them, then raced them on a dirt course. Is that BMX? Some say yes.

Of course, US-based purists argue that the Southern California style of riding, which quickly had a name—Bicycle Motocross, was what ultimately took root as an organized sport, and lives on to this day. Those who started riding what we now call BMX likely had no knowledge of their in-the-dirt Dutch counterparts, a generation earlier.

Maybe both should share the credit.

Bonus: Now we know how to properly pronounce “Gerrit Does” (4:23 in the vid). Only took us 35 years to get it right, LOL.

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