Letter: Why Do We Earn District Points Outside our District?

February 9, 2017 by · Comments Off 

Letter: Why are there district points outside the district?

I just saw your article about the Gold Cup finals and noticed that those races count for QUADRUPLE district points. Earlier this morning, I saw a Facebook post shared from Tyler Brown talking about how all these big races were killing the local scene. Suddenly, it made sense, what he was talking about.

Why does USA BMX give district points for races outside the district, in the first place? We are fairly new to BMX, but it seems like the district points should be for your local races, Gold Cup points for Gold Cup races, national points for national races, etc. I would be curious how this practice got started and why they still do it.
—JK, So. Cal

This is a question we, ourselves, have talked about here at the BMX News Global Command Center, and it makes us want to give JK a golden crown, Burger King style, for asking it.

Here is the Tyler Brown post that JK was referring to:

Tyler Brown Post on Local BMX Racing

*Editor’s Note: The Facebook meme shown was not of Tyler’s creation, but he did share it with the caption:

So true! Since when did racing locals become “not cool” I grew up racing multi times a week and it’s such a bummer when race time hits my track half the crowd leaves. It’s cool to train but all the training in the world won’t make you “race ready” #RaceLocals

For the details on JK’s question, we called upon Brad Hallin at USA BMX, who gives us both the history and the present-day thinking behind the practice. Here’s what Brad said:

The foundation of BMX racing is district points and one of the fundamental principles of the American Bicycle Association was the notion that every race would offer district points to riders. Each year, the goal of those riders should be to earn a higher ranking (lower bike number) based on the district points they earned during the previous season.

Some races will offer more points as a result of being designated a double or triple point event, and racing against more riders also earns you more points – as you faced more competition.

One of the things that keep riders interested in BMX is the ability to travel and race against other competitors on different BMX tracks.

This certainly could mean traveling outside of a rider’s district, but the district points will transfer back to his/her district for ranking purposes. For the local tracks hosting these events, the district points (especially for multi-point races) offer incentives for out-of-towners to come race their track.

This benefits the grassroots programs and also benefits the riders by offering them more competition on a different racetrack – keeping them challenged. It is a win-win. This is a proven system that has stood the test of time, as USA BMX celebrates our 40th year as the leader in bicycle motocross racing.

Certainly, riders and parents enjoy being able to see how they measure up. In the über-competitive district points race, that includes all races that those riders competed in.

We understand that people might want to break that down into a smaller, bite-sized pieces and maybe look at how their rider stacks up at the local BMX track – not counting events that happen at other tracks (even within the same district). For that reason, we began last year to show track-based district points on the microsite of each sanctioned track.

With this new tool, riders can search their track-based rankings by class, age group, proficiency or any combination thereof. Some tracks are even doing track awards based on these points, as those are the riders who are clearly supporting that grassroots program the most.

Here are some screenshots showing the AZ01 BOYS rankings for 2016, followed by the BOYS class at Chandler BMX, the 6 year old BOYS class at Chandler and finally the entire Novice class at Chandler.

USA BMX District Points

You can view the Chandler BMX leaderboard for BOYS by clicking this link:

Hopefully, this answers the question and shows that we understand people want more flexibility to view the data to see how their rider measures up.

If I can be of further assistance, please feel free to reach out to me at

Thanks to both JK and Brad for helping us bring this important question (and the respective answer) to News readers. JK, we’re sending you a BMX News T-Shirt and a Burger King Crown with News sticker affixed.

—Mike Carruth

Letter: Did Felicia Stancil Quit Racing?

December 20, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Did Felicia Stancil Quit Racing?
We are big Felicia Stancil fans in our house. My daughter really looks up to her and runs to the fence when the girl pros are on the gate to see her race. We didn’t see her this year, not even at Grands. Did she quit racing?

The “B” family, Midwest

Thanks for your letter, B family! We are “big Felicia fans” ourselves, and this is a question we have been asking around the office, ourselves, the past few months, after Lake Perris, and leading up to the Grands. So, we texted her recently to ask the question “Did Felicia quit racing?”

Here’s what she said:

Definitely not! I had an issue with my thyroid not producing enough of its hormone.

I had to take medicine to get my thyroid to function normally again. The doctor told me it will take 6-9 months from when I started the medicine for my body to produce the hormone naturally, which is about now! I will race next year.

Collegiate BMX Nationals March 10-12 (With the Cajun Nationals in Monroe,LA) will most likely be my first race back.


So, there it is! Definitely looking forward to seeing #23 back in the lead, and in our viewfinder in the new year.

Photo: Felicia at Chula Vista BMX, via Facebook, photographer unknown.


Felicia Stancil on Twitter

Felicia Stancil on Instagram

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Is it Cool to Fund Grands Trip On GoFundMe?

November 14, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Donate to Grands Trip
I am coming up short on the money I need for my Grands trip. Thinking about launching a GoFundMe to close the gap. My buddy says that’s lame, but another one says “go for it.” What do you think?


Personally, I think GoFundMe should be for charitable causes like helping a family in need after an unexpected illness or death in the family. Naturally, it’s used for all kinds of things, from those mentioned above, to prom wear and plastic surgery.

I know there are a lot of people who feel the same way (that it should be for more charitable causes) and still-others who are even more harshly judgmental, saying it’s cheesy to digitally panhandle one’s way to the races.

But that’s all just opinion. If you put out a campaign and people contribute to it, well, that’s the “market” in action. Those who think it’s cheesy/shady won’t contribute, and those who want to help a bro out will chip in a tank of gas, or a Chipotle run’s worth of assistance. As for the vocal minority who puts you on social media blast…who cares what they think?

The problem a lot of people see in the GoFundMe method versus, say, selling T-Shirts, or similar fundraising sale is that, at least with a T-Shirt, the donor is getting some value out of the deal—a T-Shirt, or a brownie, or whatever you’re exchanging for this money. GoFundMe is just an ask, with no work required on the part of the person raising the funds. Some people have a philosophical objection to that.

However you decide to raise the money, best of luck in doing so, and we hope to see you in Tulsa.

—Mike Carruth

It may be a little late in the game to actually execute some of these, but here are some fundraising ideas that Bryce Betts wrote about last year.


7 Fundraising Tips For Your UCI Worlds Trip

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Letter: Advice on Starting a BMX Frame Company

August 15, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Starting a BMX Company

I have a team that is mostly “regional” in the races we hit. I love working with the kids and want to do more for them next season. I am thinking about starting a frame company after Grands to help pay for the cost of the team. Do you have any advice?

—FB, East Coast

Thanks for writing FB. It’s awesome you are looking to do more for your team riders, helping to make their BMX dreams come true. That said, starting a manufacturing company may not prove to be the fundraising opportunity you hope it to be.

At present, there are 82 BMX Racing frame brands on the market—proof positive that the market is massively saturated. That means it will be more difficult to sell your new frames, and may even cause you to LOSE money, rather than bring funds into your team’s coffers.

Here’s how it usually works:

The owner of Brand-X spends $10,000-$15,000 on frame inventory, depending on the vendor and their minimums. This is sometimes split over a few credit cards, the justification being that it will be paid off as soon as the new Brand-X frame hits the streets.

They reckon they will sell their product at the track and on Facebook, so things like advertising the product and a legitimate website are “expenses” they will get to “once the money starts rolling in.” It never does start rolling in, of course, because their whole reason for doing it is flawed.

If you want to start a business, by all means start a business. But, then go into it AS a business, which means taking the proper steps in the start-up process (setting up a legal entity, branding, marketing/advertising, product insurance, warranty service, shipping/tracking, finance and a significant investment of your own time). Back to our story:

Mr. Brand-X is stuck with 35 frames in his basement for years after the first initial flash of sales (totaling 20 frames of the 56 he bought to round out all the sizes he needed to offer. One was stolen from the pit at a national a couple years back).

Mrs. Brand-X is tired of these frames clogging up her basement, and reminds Mr. Brand X of the cash spent on this venture and the fact that the cards are still being paid off; she is reminded of this daily when doing the laundry. Mr. Brand-X finally unloads them little by little on eBay for $50, then $75, then $100 less than he paid for them.

I kid you not, this is a scenario that has played out multiple times, just in the eight short years I have been back in the sport.

So, to answer your question…

The best advice I can give on starting a frame company in the current market condition is: “Don’t do it!” Sorry if this was not the advice you were looking for, but in a couple years, when you have a clean, uncluttered basement and a smiling Mrs. Brand-X, you’ll know it was the best route to have taken.

There are many other methods to raise funds for your team that don’t involve a large, up front, cash outlay. You might start by looking at some of the fundraising articles we have run in the past (links below).

Good luck to your team for the rest of this season, and into the new year.

—Mike Carruth


7 Fundraising Tips For Your UCI Worlds Trip
(That also work every day)

15 Fundraising Ideas for BMX Tracks

Reader Letter: “Will News Be Covering Freestyle?”

May 22, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Christian van Hanja at the FISE 2016
I read your article last week on the UCI and USA BMX getting involved in Freestyle. Does this mean BMX News will be covering freestyle alongside racing now, like BMX Plus did in its day? I am not going to say which way I hope you’re leaning because I don’t want to change your answer.

— RJ, East Coast

Thanks for writing RJ. This was actually a question I was asking myself as I was writing that article. The bottom line is: BMX News covers primarily racing, and that isn’t going to change. But we also like bringing News readers a little variety in the stories we publish. This might mean an occasional technology article, travel tips, life hacks and news items that might impact the BMX industry or our sport.

We have occasionally published some freestyle stories, like the development of UCI BMX Freestyle to this point, which we have been covering since 2011. As I sit here today, I can’t imagine a time when we will be covering BMX Freestyle at even a 15% level (85% racing, 15% freestyle).

I envision periodic coverage of the big headlines happening on that side, but there is a whole universe of websites that cover freestyle in a very comprehensive way. And not so many covering the racing side. We are dedicated to continuing our mission of covering BMX Racing as completely as we possibly can.

A new version of BMX News is coming soon, and it will give us the opportunity to cover a bigger volume of BMX Racing news on a day-to-day basis than we have over the past seven-plus years. We’re stoked on racing, and it’s going to stay that way.

Thanks again for your letter, and I hope you will continue to read these pages in the months and years to come.

—Mike Carruth

Top Photo: Christian van Hanja at the FISE 2016, Montpellier, France. Thanks to Bart de Jong for the photo.

Editor’s Note: We sent the above as a reply to RJ to get his reaction to our answer. Here’s what he replied with:

“That’s great. It’s what I hoped you would say.”

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Reader Letter: Three Kits or One?

April 29, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Reader letter: Three Kits or One?

I am team manager of a new team in the Northeast, and we are thinking about what kind of uniform we want to go with. Some members of the team want a different color uniform for each race day, like many of the factory teams, and I think we should have two uniforms of the same design.

You see a lot of riders, what do you think about this question?

GB – Northeast

Thanks for writing GB, and congrats on the new team. This is a great question, and one about which I have a split-opinion. The uniform of a BMX team is one of the most important aspects of their duty to sponsors, and to their own identity as a team.

Your note did not mention who, if any, your sponsors are, so I will go on the assumption that you have some sort of support, whether a set of co-sponsors or a bike sponsor, or a local business supporting the team.

As a photographer, I love the idea of different kits for every day of racing (as shown above on #NewsTeam member, Bryce Betts at the recent Carolina Nationals). Different kits allow me the opportunity to capture two, sometimes three, different “looks” for the riders who change day-to-day.

2016 Carolina Nationals – Friday
Sam Willoughby rockin the TLD Sprint kitWhen Sam Willoughby changes up his TLD uniform for each race day, the photos I come back with have some great variety. Of course, not everyone is Sam Willoughby, who is among the most recognizable riders in the world. Fans and media go out of their way to find him in the crowd. That can’t necessarily be said for a lower profile rider or team.

2016 Carolina Nationals – Saturday Sam Willoughby rockin the TLD Sprint kitWhen a team changes colors from one day to the next, it IS tough to pick them out. Not so much for the well-known riders, but for teams that are not as well-known, it is easy to miss those riders entirely from one day to the next, so they never gain recognition with the fans, because their identity is a constantly moving target. This is the point at which the “cool factor” that riders dig, bumps up against the “business” of being sponsored.

BRANDING is about consistency and repetition. This concept of consistency and repetition dictates that riders should be rockin the same uniform any/every time they show their face in public. Fans get used to seeing it, and can visually identify riders in the gate and on the track, without benefit of an announcer’s help.

So, to answer your question, as to what is “best,” like most things, it is going to depend on your goals. If emulating the factory stars is the desired outcome, and visual recognition is less important, then the multi-kit would work out fine. If, however your goal is being instantly recognized by the racing public, media, potential new sponsors and announcers, then stick with one consistent kit, and purchase two of the same pants/jerseys.

The riders should have two complete sets of clothing–at a minimum– in case they crash and rip one set, and to ward off the stinky funk of running the same clothes on day three of a steamy national weekend. If you only order one jersey for each rider, and that one jersey gets ripped, or left hanging on the shower rod at the hotel, it could take a month or more to get a new one ordered up from your jersey vendor.

I hope this helps give you some points of discussion within the team. If you’re shopping for your uniforms online, check out the link below for the “Race Wear” page on J&R Bicycles. Use Discount code JRSPOT15 for 15% off non-sale items (orders totaling $75 or more).

Send Your Letter:
Reader letters can be sent to If we use yours, we’ll send you a BMX News T-Shirt.


Racing Apparel at J&R Bicycles

BMX Training and Coaching, Presented by Pro Gate

Reader Letter: Where’s My Photo?

February 28, 2016 by · Comments Off 

Out of focus BMX racing photo

I saw you take a photo of my son on Saturday in Louisvile, but you didn’t post it. Why? It’s true, he is not a factory rider or a well-known national rider, but you should post all the photos you take, not only the ones of the factory kids.
–LM, Michigan

Thanks for writing, LM. We came back from Louisville with about 250 usable photos, which is a bit fewer than we normally would get for a two-day race. Usually, we get 200-250 per day.

In that above statement is the key to your question–”useable” photos. Despite the amazing technological advances digital photography have brought, there are still photos in every set that are, for a variety of reasons, deleted as “rejects.” Sometimes, the primary subject of the image is out of focus (as above), sometimes, the lighting is wrong, sometimes the rider is not in the perfect position–all of those reasons, and more, can go in to deleting a photo between the camera and posting it on the website.

Apart from those “technical” reasons, we post ALL the useable photos we take. Things like who the rider’s sponsor is*, being a novice, not being a factory rider, or other reasons along those lines are not considered when deciding what photos to include in the photo gallery from a certain race. We value ALL riders, and if we get a great shot of someone, it matters-not who they are and who they are (or aren’t) sponsored by.

We added an asterisk* above on a rider’s sponsor not being a reason for us excluding them from the posted photo set. In some very-rare cases, we will hold back photos of riders sponsored by certain companies–but ONLY if those companies have used our photos without permission. There have been a few times where companies have downloaded our images, then used them in advertisements for their products, without permission. We asked them not to do it again, and they did. So, the only remedy we have is to exclude that company from our photo sets. They can’t boost photos they don’t have, afterall. That said, there are only two companies on that list at the moment, and no photos were excluded for that purpose in Louisville.

We will also exclude photos from the posted set if the rider is not running his full race kit (including number plate) in practice. No point in posting if it isn’t full-kit.

Chances are, in Louisville, it was just bad focus or maybe a sneeze, mid-shot, that suddenly mis-framed your rider. I’m sure we’ll get him next time. Thanks again for writing your letter, and being a BMX News reader.

—Mike Carruth

Send Your Letter:
BMX News reader letters can be sent to If we use yours, we’ll send you a BMX News T-Shirt.


Photo Gallery: Day One 2016 Bluegrass Nationals

Photo Gallery: Day Two 2016 Bluegrass Nationals

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Letter: I’m Hurt. And I Might Get Dropped.

November 4, 2015 by · Comments Off 

How can I help the team?

Dear News: I am (a/an age redacted) expert on a fairly well known team. I had x major injuries this year, and can’t race Grands. What could I do to be valuable to the team, even if I am not racing? (Im afraid they might drop me cause of my injuries).

Thanks for this very time-appropriate question. And it really applies to EVERYONE who is sponsored, whether injured or not, top performer or up & comer.

I will address the last part of your question first (which wasn’t really a question)…the part about “I’m afraid they might drop me…”

Don’t assume anything! Most team managers understand injuries; injuries happen all the time. If you’re feeling uneasy about your place on the team, have a frank discussion about it with the TM. Open communication is always the best way. It will do both of you a load of good, however it ends up.

The question of how to be more “valuable” is a great one for all sponsored riders to be asking–whether at the end of the season, or any time.

These tips could (and should) be used by anyone, but for your purposes, while you’re out with an injury, there’s a TON you can do between now and the Grands, and beyond, to be helpful to your team. Though we redacted your age in order to preserve anonymity, for our readers’ sake, I will say that you are old enough to have access to social media (14+).

Here are five things you can do right now to start kicking butt off the bike for your team and its sponsors.

1). Bump up your team’s public profile. If you’re not planning to travel to the Grands, you should try to go. You’re hurt, so you won’t be riding, which means you can devote all your time to being “generally useful” to the team. I’m not talking about holding water bottles or wrenching bikes. No sir, you can be the team’s social media and press liason.

Create a list of all your team riders (and parent) social media accounts. Share, retweet and riff-off-of those posts to expand your team’s social media footprint. Tag @bmxnews, @bmxnow and others in your posts.

Invite BMX media like News, Pull and BMX Mania over to the pit for an introduction and to update them on how your riders are doing going in to The Grands. For a big story like this, we need background and photos on the contenders, and pit photos are always awesome. Wednesday is the best time for such invites, before the racing action starts.

2). Share, share, share! If your team is in the news (BMX News stories tied to your sponsors, Pull Magazine photos, features about team riders, photos posted of your riders by local photographers, etc), rally everyone with a social account on your team and get them ALL to share these posts. If a team has 10 riders, but a BMX News (or any other outlet’s) post about a team sponsor has only 1 share, that’s a free-and-easy opportunity to create value for your team and its sponsors. With you as QB of that success!

3). Write a Recap. Get with every rider on your roster, and put together a Grands recap of your team’s experience in Tulsa. Speaking for BMX News, we would be happy to run a well-written team recap as part of our Grands coverage, turned in by midnight Sunday (and, by the way, we prefer HORIZONTAL photos).

Take us “behind the music” and create a recap that gives some real detail–not just what we, on the infield, can see. Then pick ONE media outlet, and submit it. Don’t blast it out to every outlet in the known universe. One outlet–whether BMX News or any another (but hopefully News!).

One big mistake teams/brands/riders make is posting race reports on their own social media, exclusively. The audience will be MUCH larger, and your post will have greater legitimacy, if you work with a media outlet, then share what we post on your own social accounts.

4). Tap Local Media. Every one of your team riders has a home town. Research and reach-out to the sports reporters, “local interest” editors and other journalists in those cities to place articles on those local heroes. Coordinate with your riders and their parents first to be sure they are up for it, but if they are, have contact info and photos ready to go (BMX News might be able to help. Contact us if you need photos).

As many riders as there are, so are the angles of the story. “She won the national title in her age class” (aka NAG 1), “he came back from an early disappointment to race in the main event among seven of the best riders of his age in the world,” you get the idea. It’s a lot easier than you think to get their attention; they need to “feed the beast” every day with new content.

5). Be the pit “Ambassador.” Sponsorship is all about selling product. How can YOU make an impact in your sponsor’s sales. Believe me when I say that a pit at the Grands can be more valuable to your sponsor’s sales than a few pegs in a local bike shop showroom–when done right. Set your pit up to display your sponsor’s products in a way that riders and parents passing by can get interested in, and start asking questions about.

When they do, be ready with a smile, and contact info for all your sponsors (a hand-out sheet with all their names and websites, team logo at the top, would be perfect). Be sure you study-up on the finer points of the products you are representing, so you can answer the questions asked. If you don’t know the answer, have a direct-path to answer the question, and maybe offer to put them in touch with a company representative who is there at the race (everyone who is anyone is in the building, ready to impress potential customers. Those consumers will very-much appreciate a team who puts them next to the person who has the correct answers).

Wear a team or lead-sponsor brand T-Shirt (or your jersey), and view this as seriously as you would getting to staging on time and racing well. These are “business hours,” so treat them as such.

PRO TIP: Have clean rags at the ready, and wipe-down the display product every couple hours so dust never settles on it–even way back at the other end of the arena.

BONUS): If you’re not able to travel to Tulsa, you can still do some of this stuff from home. Reach out to all of your team families, create a list of all their social accounts, monitor BMX News, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc for the prime share opportunities, and ask your team families to text back details from the race. Imagine yourself as “mission control” for your team’s media effort–because you are.

I hope these suggestions help. If you do even SOME these things, and do them well– and you are STILL dropped– then, my friend, there are a dozen more teams who would be lucky to have you, so worry-not!

—Mike Carruth

Top Photo by FiDalwood, via Flickr (not showing, nor representative of, the letter writer’s injury)

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Reader Letter: Why No W1 For Stefany?

August 21, 2015 by · Comments Off 

Stefany Hernandez  2015 UCI BMX Elite Women Champion

As we watched the BMX Supercross race in Angelholm, Sweden last weekend, we noticed that recently-crowned Champion of the Elite Women class, Stefany Hernandez, was not rockin the prestigious W1 number plate. We jotted it down as something to follow up on, but then the hustle to get the recap posted, and packing for Colorado took over, and we kind of passed it over.

That is, until we received a reader letter on Monday asking, specifically, why Stefany wasn’t running her W1 plate. When you’re World Champion, people notice that kind of thing.

Historically, we have been under the impression that UCI requires all Worlds main-makers to run their world number, versus their career number. But it seems there has been minor change to that rule.

We reached out to Stefany to ask why she continued to run her 469 career number, versus the prestigious W1.

My career number is very personal and important to me―moreso than a number 1 on a plate. The title and rainbow jersey, however, are the realization of a goal I have had for many years. I am honored to be able to run my 469 career number on the rainbow jersey, after the UCI made some recent changes, that allow the champion to choose their career number or #1 (Editors’ Note: World Championship main event finishers 2-8 are required to run that number for the year).

Last year, I started using the hashtag #Consistency469. To me, it represents that consistency is key to my success. After years and years of working toward this title, I was finally crowned World Champ in 2015. To me, continuing to use 469 on my bike, and now on the rainbow jersey is part of that winning consistency.”

We were honestly expecting to hear something like “oh, there was a problem getting the W1 jersey in time.” Or “I forgot it,” or some such reason/excuse we might hear closer to home.

The real reason was so much better! Congrats to Stefany on her title win, and best wishes for keeping that #consistency469 rolling for the rest of 2015, and into the 2016 Olympic year.

Top photo courtesy of Craig Dutton, for UCI BMX/GSX Events


Stefany Hernandez on Twitter

Chase BMX Website

BOX Components Website


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Letter: How Do I Promote A New BMX Company?

August 11, 2015 by · Comments Off 

10 Tips for BMX Brands

Me and my Team Manager are planning on starting a BMX frame and parts company, and launching it at grands. Do you have any tips for a starting-up BMX company to help us get the word out? Tips on free ways to get the word out would be the most helpful because we are working with a shoestring budget.

—Anonymous (don’t want to give away our plans)

Thanks for your letter, and congratulations on your first steps into the BMX Industry. It’s a very crowded market right now, with 80 (yes, eight-zero) frame brands in the racing segment alone (worldwide), and an uncertain number of BMX racers globally to purchase your products. That rider base is divided very thin, in terms of what frames are most-often purchased. Depending on the kinds of parts you plan on manufacturing, there are some powerhouse brands occupying that space as well.

I say this, not to discourage you, but to “calibrate” your expectations on what it’s truly going to take to get your new brand noticed by consumers, and picked up by retailers to sell it out in the world. If your only option is free promotion, your expectations should be much smaller than if you have a marketing war chest for your startup.

Here are 10 tips to help get you started (not in any particular order).

1). Have a website. Yes, we know, Facebook is supposed to eventually BECOME the internet, with all of us living our online lives inside of it, like some kind of stale-air biosphere. But that probably won’t happen. So an actual website for your brand is essential, for a lot of reasons. We’ll cover those specifics in another article, but suffice it to say, one of the first things you need is a domain name (.com preferred), and a basic site, with real content online (not just a bunch of “coming soon” pages) to begin rooting your search engine presence. Problem is: dot-com domains are tough to come by these days. Don’t settle for odd spellings, or domains with dashes (hyphens) in them. If you’re at an early stage, you will be better off changing the name of your new company to line up with an available dot-com domain, than trying to shoe-horn your brand identity into a name like, or similar. Afterall, how do you say that to a customer so they will remember it?

2). Add contact information to your Facebook page. If you also create a Facebook page for your brand (and you should–not in place of a website, but in addition to), it’s important you make it as easy as possible to contact your company for info on the product, or what you’re up to in general. This info is helpful for customers and media alike, who may want to contact you. Making it a mystery as to who’s in charge keeps the company’s name in total darkness, apart from their close circle of friends at the local track, and we assume they’re already buying from you.

3). Media introduction. BMX Racing has a handful of solid websites and magazines that keep the national and global racing community plugged in to new things happening. Posting only to your Facebook page, or even to your brand’s website is not enough to roll-hard on public awareness of your brand. Did you know: only a small percentage of your Facebook fans actually see your posts? We wrote about that last year. Develop a list of media contacts, and send an introductory email with information on what you have going on (ours is Of course, there’s no guarantee you’ll get published on the first try, or the second, etc…but the best way of guaranteeing you won’t get covered is to not reach out at all. Don’t do it too early, either. Wait til you have product to sell before pulling the trigger on a media rollout.

4). Create clear ways to buy your product. Some brands are great at the hype, but once a customer is interested, there is no infrastructure in place to seal the deal. If your goal is solely to set up and sell out of the back of the van at the local and state races, it’s all good. But if you want to sell product across the country, or around the world, you’re going to need a way to make those sales beyond “Facebook me.” That could mean creating your own online shopping cart as part of your website, or starting out by developing relationships with major mail order vendors, to whom you can point sales leads. Everyone wins.

5). Don’t release news on Friday. In the mainstream media, when government agencies or political campaigns want to “bury” news from the public, they release it on Friday. That’s when people are “tuned out,” and have their eyes on the weekend. This applies to the BMX community as well, and add-in the fact that many families are on the road to nationals on any-given Friday, or are heading to local races over the weekend and have other things on their minds. Release news on Monday-Wednesday for best effect. Exception: “Breaking News” that has a clock on its freshness. Picking up a new rider is not breaking news, by the way.

6). Use caution when spending big on tricking out a pit, buying a new truck and/or wrapping a trailer as marketing priority one. We understand that this is one of those “feel good” things that helps make the venture real for you. The problem is that your pit can only put-down in certain places across the country, on certain weekends. You need representation and sales 24x7x365 to build a brand and generate full-price sales.

7). Invest in professional product photography. Quality photography is key in piquing consumer interest, and giving media outlets what they need to cover your product. A shaky iPhone shot using a bed sheet, draped over the back of a couch is not the way to debut your product. Investing in professional studio shots doesn’t have to cost a lot, but it will pay for itself, and then some. Be sure the photographer also “outlines” your product shots, so you can use them on a variety of backgrounds.

8). Limit bro-deals for non-bros. It’s one thing to cut the people closest to you a hefty break on your product to put some goodwill into the universe, or to get some riders repping you out there…But for all the others, set your prices fairly, and stick to them. Bro dealing outside the bro-circle is the fastest way to devalue your product, at precisely the time you need to build up your brand. Say this with me now: “The deals are two doors down, at the flea market.” Exceptions: team riders, limited “friends and family” programs for team riders, local track volunteers,

9). Be very careful with deposits for pre-orders. A lot can happen in the manufacturing process, and things always, always, ALWAYS take longer than expected. Accepting someone’s money today for a frame or other product to be delivered in 30 or 60 days is a big risk, because it’s likely the quoted 30 or 60 days will turn in to 90 or 120 days by the time it’s all over. And by then, the kid probably grew out of the size ordered, dad is PO’d and lighting you up on every social media outlet since Friendster. There’s nothing worse than getting half-a-dozen chargebacks on your merchant account, or having people badmouthing you at your own local track. Sell what you have in stock, or can get within a week. Sounds easy, but not doing it can cause a lot of trouble.

10). Ask for the sale. In many cases, BMX company founders are more comfortable tending to the “marketing” details and creating flash and factory flav, versus SELLING the product, itself. There’s a difference between marketing and selling, and the old adage “tellin’ ain’t sellin’” should be top-of-mind. Get out there and sell some product, at full price. When someone expresses interest, be sure to ask for the sale.

11). Bonus: Advertise your product. Definitely toward the top, in terms of importance, but we didn’t include it in the main list, because we have an obvious stake in encouraging you to advertise your product. Do you own research in selecting the best outlets to place your ads, but be sure to do it. BMX News, Pull Magazine, BMX Mania, BMX Plus! are all respectable outlets you should consider (we’re obviously partial to one of those, in particular). That is the “24x7x365 salesperson” we were talking about in #6. Banner and button ads work for you while you’re asleep, around the world. Since we’re here, get with us on that by emailing “Ask for the sale,” right?

I hope these tips have answered some of your questions and helped you, and other budding BMX brands get (or keep) sales flowing.

The 2015 Grands start 108 days from today, so you have a little more than three months to get your game going, if you want to launch there. That’s 9,331,200 seconds (ok, less now), so make them all count!

—Mike Carruth

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