A Brief History of BMX

The history of BMX started fairly recently. BMX, although not considered a mainstream sport, still has a large group of followers and is building in popularity. Here is a brief history of BMX.

BMX has been around for nearly 40 years, beginning in the early 1970s. It started as more of an unorganized activity, something that kids did unofficially on their bicycles, and eventually morphed into the extreme sport it is today.

The Schwinn Stingray was the primary bicycle used during the beginning of BMX-ing. The Schwinn Stingray was invented in 1963 and was lightweight and versatile enough to allow kids to ride the way their motocross heroes did. This bicycle led the way for other bikes to become more technical and BMX-focused.

In 1974 the National Bicycle League (NBL) was created by George Edward Esser to oversee BMX-ing. This was shortly followed by the American Bicycle Association (ABA) in 1977, which was started by Merl Mennenga and Gene Roden. The ABA is known among BMX as holding a very well-run Nationals competition. Their first Nationals competition was held in 1978. Today both the NBA and the ABA share the responsibility of governing BMX, with the NBA governing most of the east coast and the ABA overseeing the west coast. International BMX is governed by the Union Cycliste Internationale, which was originally a combination including the International BMX Federation.

It took until the early 1990s for BMX to begin to gain nationwide popularity. It became a big draw in ESPN's X-Games and then joined the Beijing Olympics in 2008. BMX remains a popular extreme sport and has become advanced, involving difficult tricks and stunts. Parks are being built around the country to accommodate BMX riders (as well as skateboarders and roller bladers).

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