10 Takeaways from Interbike 2014

September 16, 2014 by · Comments Off 

Interbike 2014 Takeaways

So much of the time, a trade show like Interbike boils down to a tidy list of tips, trends and never-do-agains. Here are ours from Interbike 2014, in no particular order.

1). More than a few companies missing from the show floor this year. Redline, GT, DK, all kept their exhibits in the warehouse for Interbike 2014, opting instead for more hand-to-hand dealer experiences before the show, hosted on their terms, where the hospitality coffee was not $50 a pot.

Speaking of which, the expense of doing a booth at the show is cost-prohibitive for many BMX companies these days–upwards of $15,000 when all is said & done. With the number of dealers carrying BMX racing products always a challenge, many BMX companies have opted, instead to display product with the distributors who rep them to dealers. Household-name companies like Supercross, Speedline, Yess, Alienation, Profile and Tangent all buddied-up with either Fly/WPS or QBP. That worked out very well, as it turned out, since it was a “BMX Central” of sorts, and show-goers got to meet company representatives, then sit down to write orders with the distributor.

2). Fat tire bikes were everywhere. We have seen them growing in popularity at the past few Interbike shows, but this year, fat is where it’s at in terms of innovation. Could BMX tracks leverage the fat-tire boom by having dedicated races for them?

The Godfather of Mountain Biking, Gary Fisher, told it true to

Ssquared Strider bike
3). Lots of companies doing co-branded Strider bikes, catching the wave of getting the 5-unders on their brand early. Ssquared was one of those showing a Strider, and we expect those will be featured prominently on the new Oldsmar dedicated Strider track next year. Some companies also doing their own balance bike, such as the Staats “BBX.”

Speedline Carbon Cranks
4). Carbon BMX componments. We’ve seen a lot of carbon race frames come into the scene, but there hasn’t been much focus on carbon components. With Speedline, and RaceFace pushing carbon cranks into racing, as well as multiple companies dabbling with carbon rims, its likely we will see a lot of carbon come Rio 2016. On that same point, it was nice to see the “carbon” issue of Pull Magazine available for the taking on the magazine racks in the show lobby.

5). We are still trying to get used to the “new” show location at Madalay Bay. We definitely liked the food court adjacent to the show space, offering something other than the haut-cuisine or snack bar grub at the Sands. Still, we got lost a lot this year, ending up half-a-mile from the end of the hall where we wanted to be.

6). BMX Industry Gathering. BMX racing needs an industry-gathering at Interbike so we can all get together in one place. We missed seeing so many people in the sky-scraper-lined aisles of road bikes, fat-tire bikes and MTBs. We’ll see many of them at the Grands in just nine weeks, but the others? Just feels like a missed opportunity to catch up in person for once.

Tram to Mandalay bay
7). Stay near the Bay. If you’re not staying at Mandalay Bay, Luxor or Excalibur are the best alternatives. There’s a free tram between the three MGM properties, which really helps curb the cab fares. Still, it took 40 minutes to walk from our room to the show floor, even with the tram. The scale of these resorts is massive! Three weeks before the show, rooms at Luxor were $58. Warning: Excalibur does not have in-room Wi-Fi, but does have a wired connection, if your laptop still has a port for it.

8). Dead Tree Edition. Printed brochures at the show are going the way of the do-do bird. We usually see people toting heavy tote bags around the massive show floor. Not so much this year, as folks opted for the free-hands approach, and told exhibitors they would check out their products online. The “badge capture” system, where an exhibitor scans the attendee’s badge into their system is an essential aspect to not letting those leads get away–especially important with the amount of investment the show requires.

9). Cell while you sell. For as big as the show floor was, cell coverage was surprisingly good. We had lots of dead spots at the Sands, where even texts could not get out.

10). Tires. With Alienation pushing tubeless, Tioga working on a new tire, plus their O/S 20 format, we are seeing many more options spinning-up for BMX racing tires. Vee told News that Cisar is riding a tire that is different from those on the market today. Could “tire choice” soon become a “thing” at different tracks?

We had a great time covering the show this year, and wish to extend our thanks to Interbike show management for their hospitality, and making it easy for us to bring you the coverage. Also to the BMX Industry companies, whether exhibiting or “co-showing” with their distributors. Everyone took the time out of the busy show schedule to walk us through their latest and greatest, and we really appreciate it.

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BMX News Interbike 2014 Day One

BMX News Interbike 2014 Re-Cap

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New Twitter For Race Day Updates

August 21, 2014 by · Comments Off 

@bmxupdates is Tweeting on race day

BMX News, via our @bmxnews and @bmxnow Twitter accounts have been tweeting from the races since 2008 (first tweet was on November 17, 2008). Some races have a large volume of tweets–sometimes a hundred or more.

A few recent cycling events have caused us to mute a some of the accounts we follow, due to the massive stream of race day tweets coming through. We like to follow these accounts for day to day updates, but weren’t as interested in the moment to moment details of the disciplines they were tweeting about.

We would never want to be a nuisance to our Twitter followers, an increasing number of whom are outside the industry, and watch our feed to keep pace with what’s happening in BMX Racing.

This caused us to re-evaluate our race day Twitter game. Starting with next week’s Derby City Nationals, we will no longer be tweeting hi-volume race day tweets on @bmxnews and @bmxnow, and will be switching those Tweets to @bmxupdates. Pro main event finishes will still be Tweeted on the main accounts (and @bmxupdates).

We hope you will continue to follow our main accounts, and will use the link below to follow our race day updates.

See you in Louisville next week!

*Thanks to Amy Haines for the on-track Twitter photo.


Follow @bmxupdates on Twitter

And for daily updates…

Follow @bmxnews on Twitter

BMX Industry: Follow @bmxindustry on Twitter

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Hotpoints: Midwest Nationals – Rockford

June 26, 2014 by · Comments Off 

BMX News Hotpoints: Rockford, IL

The BMX News crew is packing up and shipping out on another national weekend trip. This time, it’s a simple 82-mile hop to the USA BMX Midwest Nationals in Rockford, IL. Rockford is one of the old favorites on the national schedule, and we are packing our sunscreen and our rain ponchos, as it is all-but-certain both will be pulled from the tripod bag throughout the weekend.

News took the liberty of preparing this “Hotpoints” list of some of the details you’ll want to have at your fingertips for the coming weekend. After you have eaten Dominos in the room enough times, some hometown flavor is definitely appreciated, so we included some of our favorite local chow-down options.

We’ll see you on Safford this Saturday!

Track Address for your GPS:
5100 Safford Rd, Rockford, IL 61101
Phone: (815) 964-8657

Parking at the Track:
$10 per day/ $25 for the weekend
Motorhome: $50 for the weekend

Practice Schedule:
“A” Schedule (Download PDF with times)

Weekend Weather:

Pre-National Clinics:
Pro Gate has two free gate clinics on Friday (must pre-register)
Register Now

Last-Minute Hotels:
A check on Thursday morning found rooms at Days Inn Rockford ($69/nt), among others. The track is not very convenient to any hotels, and the “State Street” hotel area off I-90/I-39 is probably the best call, given its proximity to other amenities. The Days Inn is a down-market property, but it has a bed, a shower and Internet, so for a last-minute choice, it’ll do.

Getting to Rockford:
Driving up to Rockford, via Chicago, I-90 is perpetually under construction, and 2014 is no exception. If you’re flying into O’Hare you may have a long ride out to Rockford, depending on the time of day.

interstate 90 construction

Use the Google Maps app to monitor traffic. If it is super bad, you can look to IL 72 or US 20 as an alternate. Route 72 eventually intersects with Interstate 39, which you can take North over to the track or hotel. US 20 will take you directly into Rockford (with some twists and turns). These are, by and large, two-lane roads, but at least you’ll be moving.

Same goes for your way out of town. Some friends the past two years reported three hour trip times to O’Hare on Sunday. The best alternate is to take I-39 to I-88 East (Chicago). If you’re going to Indiana, Michigan or points East, you can hit 294 and you’re in the clear. If you’re flying out of Midway this would be a preferred route, and for O’Hare, it’s a little out of the way, but still may be a good alternate to a three-hour stop & go (no-traffic trip time should be about 90 mins at posted speeds).

Illinois Tollway I-90 construction overview

Local Food Recommendations:
We’re all pretty tired of the same-old-same-old national chains on the road. These are some great local choices, we have tried before and are mmmm-mmmm-good!

Chinese: Chen’s Cantonese 4722 N 2nd St, Loves Park, IL 61111 (Tyler Whitfield’s grandparents’ place)

Pizza/Italian: Giuseppi’s – 950 Halsted Rd, Rockford, IL 61103 (815) 877-3029

Sushi/Teppen: Shogun – 293 Executive Pkwy, Rockford, IL 61107 (815) 394-0007

Italian: Lino’s – 5611 E. State St. Rockford, IL 61108 (815) 397-2077

Raceday Provisions:
If you want a grocery store that has better-than-commercial stuff, check out Choices Natural Market for a full selection of organic produce and good-for-you-goodies. It’s as close as Rockford gets to a Whole Foods type establishment.

Choices Natural Market
6551 E. Riverside Blvd
Rockford, IL 61114
Hours 9AM-7:30PM Thurs-Fri and 9AM-6PM Saturday

There are also a couple WalMarts in town, if you need the full selection of options (ice, rain ponchos and whatnot).

Near the “State Street” Hotels:
Walmart Supercenter
7219 Walton St
Rockford, IL 61108

Closest to the Track (2.5 miles)
Walmart Supercenter
3902 W Riverside Blvd
Rockford, IL 61101

BMX News “Essentials” (near the “State Street” hotels):

751 S Perryville Rd
Rockford, IL 61108

7474 E State St
Rockford, IL

Have a great weekend at the Midwest Nationals. For those not making the trip, don’t forget to follow @bmxnews on Twitter for as-they-happen updates from the infield and pits. Plus, check back here for story and photos!

For those sticking around in Chicago between Rockford and South Park, watch for our “Chicago Hotpoints” on Monday.


Follow @BMXNEWS on Twitter

Podcast: John Sawyer on Oldsmar SX Facility

June 6, 2014 by · Comments Off 

Footprint on new Oldsmar BMX SX Facility

John Sawyer and the crew at Oldsmar BMX have distinguished themselves in hosting the Gator Nationals the past several years. That event has become one of the marquee events of the USA BMX National Series, and has been recognized by regional media and sports officials alike.

Four years ago, as it started to become clear that BMX Supercross was here to stay, and would be an important part of any facility where “progression” was one of the goals, John and the Oldsmar BMX board began putting plans in place to add a BMX SX track to their facility.

Such a move would require expanding the footprint of the existing facility, which would either require moving the whole shebang somewhere else, or annexing an adjacent ball field for the new track (which was the ultimate solution).

As the project inched its way through the governmental approval and funding process, seeing setbacks, and leaps forward, the plan was refined to keep pace with the current needs of riders and teams who will use the facility for training.

This week, the project received funding approval by Florida officials in Tallahassee, which will now make it possible for the earth movers and ground shakers to start making it happen.

For the full details on what they have planned, now that they have the funding to make the vision a reality, we invited John Sawyer to join us on this week’s episode of the Announcers Tower Podcast.

Listen Now
iPhone users - paste this URL into your device's browser:

The image above is from an aerial video shot after the 2013 Gator Nationals. The green outline represents approximately the new footprint for the facility.


Oldsmar By Air – BMX News March 16, 2013

Top image: Screen capture from a video posted by Rick Hayes and John Nicholson, via Vimeo

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“Growth” AND “Progression” in BMX Racing

May 14, 2014 by · Comments Off 

Growth vs. Progression in BMX Racing

In the world of BMX, we spend a lot of time talking about “Growing the Sport” (well some of us do, anyway). We also talk a lot about “progression.”

Growing the sport generally means recruiting new people, who are not currently racing, to come to the track, experience BMX racing for themselves, and hopefully like it enough to buy a membership and come back next week, and the next, and the next, etc.

Progression usually means pushing the limits of what our current crop of riders can do on a BMX track–which usually means more technical tracks with bigger, lippier (if that’s a word) jumps and deeper rhythm sections.

In our interview with Arielle Martin and Jonas Harmon last week, Arielle talked about how insane the track looked to the riders at the 2008 Olympic test event in China. By contrast, today’s Beijing track at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista is considered the “Beginner” Supercross track. Only after you have that one mastered should you think about moving over to the London track. Riders have progressed to that point since China, thanks to a deliberate march forward. “Progression,” as part of the BMX racing culture has worked well.

Our local track operators are in a very tough position–desperately needing new riders to balance out the high percentage who do not come back next year, but trying to provide a place where the best riders in the area can ride and “progress” (notice I said “ride” and not “race,” as there is often not enough riders to make a proper expert class for these top riders, in many locations).

New tracks, opening in a location where BMX Racing has not previously had a presence, feel pressure from local hotshoes to build a “national caliber” track, complete with pro section and all the other hallmarks of “progression.” Meanwhile the day-one beginners who are absolutely essential to the success of that new local track roll up to the newly-built showplace of BMX progression, and the “curb appeal” (how the place looks from the parking lot) causes beginner mom & dad to say “no way!” Or they try it once and, when it’s time to pony up $60 bucks, then they say “no way.” It’s not FUN for that beginner, you see–it tends to be terrifying.

The season at our example new track shuffles along with 5 or 6 motos, maybe 10 sometimes, and everyone says “I don’t understand it, we passed out flyers at Wal Mart, and got flyers in the schools. . . we have a National Caliber facility here, which is what everyone said they wanted…where is everyone?” They’re too close to it to really see where the problem lies. We call that condition The “BMX Goggles.”

Wearing the BMX Goggles, even the most extreme track is “totally rollable,” and we tend to say things like “we have to keep it interesting for the Experts,” and “(those novices) just need to ‘man up’, then they’ll get the hang of it.”

We do have to keep the local tracks interesting for the experts–but not at the expense of recruiting and retaining new riders. Obviously, the beginners don’t have a “lobby” inside the sport; it’s hard to ask someone what they think before you have met them.

As progression takes us further from the early days of the sport–and, by extension, from tracks that were more approachable by beginners, we are approaching a time when BMX Racing may be ripe to split into three distinct disciplines.

We already have the tippy-top-of-the-pyramid elite level covered, via BMX Supercross, complete with all the well-thought-out infrastructure that gets 48 people (out of 7.1 billon) to the Olympics every four years. In the US, we have a very successful national and regional series, which brings riders up from the local level to want more (hopefully progressing to that elite level someday).

What we do not have in BMX Racing, yet, is a “recreational” level of the sport, where people who just want to race against other people their age–maybe even get mom & dad to join in–can do so on a track, and in an environment that supports the idea of “fun competition.” That is the component we have been missing for the past 40+ years.

Today’s novice BMXer is no beginner. More likely than not, s/he is a veteran of at least a few nationals, a bunch of state races, double pointers and rider clinics. He may have a $1500 bike and a full racing kit. All this makes him Sam Willoughby to the day one beginner who timidly rolls into the gate. A slim percentage of kids will fight through that, and prevail. The rest we’ll never hear from again.

Some industry leaders (with limited involvement in what I like to call “Classic BMX Racing”) advocate for pump tracks as the bottom-of-the-pyramid gateway to BMX Racing. The problem with pump tracks is that, while fun to ride, they are not BMX Racing. A pump track may get people riding, but they do not necessarily start people on that path to the next level (our current local and national program). No sir, we need a starting gate, and a wide enough course for six or eight people to fit.

A recreational BMX track would be a mellowed-down version of the tracks we see today. Shallower rhythm section, spaced farther apart, and jumps that don’t have quite as much “kick” to them.

BMX tracks used to be a much more common feature in the city parks of America. In the Chicago suburbs, we had 10 tracks or more within an hour’s drive. I would love to see a time when those tracks returned–as smaller footprint, recreational BMX tracks. These tracks would ultimately feed more than half of their riders each year into the mainstream program. The riders who don’t want more of a challenge can stay in the recreational program–but they STAY IN BMX, is the most important point. And, yes, some will drop off the radar and lose interest, or get a car and a girlfriend and drive to Burning Man, never to be heard from until they return with their own kids in 10 or 15 years.

BMXers have no problem driving two hours to race, in another state, on a Wednesday night. But “normal people” don’t usually do such things. We need more smaller, recreational tracks to create ease-of-access–then everyone gets in a bus and goes to the “big track” (otherwise known as our current local tracks) an hour or more away. It elevates the current local program to a more “special” level, with groups coming from the “feeder” tracks to compete on the more challenging track.

When it all boils down to gravy–when all the points and plates and titles and jackets, and trophies, and plane tickets, and MEQ ribbons, and clavicle surgeries are stripped out–we’re left with four ingredients that make BMX racing so awesome. Kids. Bikes. Dirt. Fun. Recreational BMX Racing should be just that–only adding in other elements as support mechanisms to those four bedrock principles.

As you progress in the sport, of course it’s still fun. But it’s a new kind of fun–there’s more on the line, with bigger rewards. It’s a more “mature” form of fun, even if it’s a nine year old we’re talking about.

Progression is a good thing, and it needs to be preserved. I am not proposing one over another–it must be both growth AND progression, but sometimes people think that because the highest level is progressing, we must also be growing.

The bottom-tier must be attended to if BMX Racing has any chance of breaking out of its current participation ceiling–which, some say, has been about the same for a decade. Others say we’re at a post-9/11 high right now, which is a great sign.

While not specifically addressing such a program, current USA BMX rules seemingly do not prohibit a recreational program–it’s us, here in the field, that have to finally embrace the idea that the bottom of the pyramid is not as broad as it needs to be. Talk to your parks people about getting a recreational track going in your town. Let’s take off the BMX Goggles for a little while, and let’s see how it works out.

Why I wrote this article…Today.

As noted above, this is an on-going discussion on places like and Facebook. But what prompted me to write this article for BMX News today, of all days, was a chance meeting I had with an old business associate on Monday. He and his family live in an affluent suburb of Chicago, and are in to “all kinds of sports” (his words). He has a road bike, mountain bikes for he and his wife. His two sons, 9 and 11, have bikes and scooters and blades–all of which they have taken to the local skate park.

We got in to the “what have you been up to the past X years” discussion, and I started talking about my involvement in BMX Racing, and how I was heading out on Wednesday to Albuquerque for a national race.

“I took the kids to the Dew Tour a few years ago. Are any of those guys going to be there?” That led in to a 10 minute discussion on how BMX Freestyle is not BMX Racing, and they are two separate disciplines, like Downhill versus Cross-Country Skiing.

Bottom line was that this active, sports-minded family had never heard of BMX Racing–didn’t even know it existed. How is that possible? He said “My boys would probably love to give that a try.”

There are millions of families who would likely say the same thing–if they knew about our sport. But knowing about it, and even taking action to go try it will only be an opportunity lost if what they find when they get there is designed and intended for the most vocal top experts.

As we head out to the USA Cycling BMX National Championships this weekend, the gateway to the World Championships, I thought it would be fitting to start off the weekend of coverage with a few thoughts on how we might open up the sport to more people–people who have never even heard of BMX Racing before. As far as I’m concerned, it’s always a perfect time to have that discussion.

—Mike Carruth


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Heather Parker Joins BMX News

March 2, 2014 by · Comments Off 

Heather Parker Joins BMX News

Over the past few years, I have enjoyed keeping up with Heather Parker’s “Adventures of a BMX Mom” blog. She has an easy, conversational writing style, and I always find myself saying “that was a really good post” after reading. That gave me the idea to invite Heather to write a regular column for us here on BMX News. She enthusiastically accepted, and we’re stoked to bring you her first column this week.

Heather just became a USA BMX Certified Coach, partly so her son William could continue teaching his popular clinics around the Florida Panhandle. Her first column will be about her experience in that process.

But first, we wanted to make a proper introduction. Below, Heather tells us a little about how they got into BMX Racing, and what the sport has meant to their family. I am proud to welcome her to the BMX News team!

—Mike Carruth

HELLO, my name is Heather Parker. My husband Vann and I have two boys, William (12x) and Wyatt (10x) who ride for Factory BlackCrown Products. Twenty years ago, as a graduating Art History major, I wonder what I would have said if someone had told me I’d one day be a BMX mom writing articles for BMX News. It’s funny how things happen. I imagine we all fell into this sport in a similar fashion. For my family, it began with our first born, William.

William was a stoic baby. I would cherish every brief smile and giggle which would quickly dissipate into a judge-like demeanor. In those days, his laughter was the measure of my success.

Heather Parker Joins BMX News Team
On Christmas morning 2002, a chubby, 19-month old William toddled out to discover what Santa had left him — a Radio Flyer tricycle. Suddenly the days of stoicism came to a halt. The grins and laughter coming from that child brought tears to my eyes. Even with his sumo wrestler physique, he had no trouble operating the tiny trike, and could soon travel up and down the side walk.

During this time, another racer was “in development.” By spring, I was hugely pregnant. That didn’t stop William from needing his forays on the sidewalk with his trusty trike. Thinking I could easily keep up with what was basically an overgrown infant, I’d set out with William. Before I’d know it, he’d rev up those legs and be halfway up the street. My hollering only fueled his engines. I’d have no choice but to grab my contracting belly and run after William, who was already torturing his unborn brother.

By age three, William had moved on to two wheels. I didn’t think much of it when he would ride his Schwinn Stingray up the ramp and down the stairs over and over again at the local park where I would stroll his brother. I assumed all preschoolers did that.

A year later, a friend invited William to the once thriving Tallahassee BMX track. Something happened that day as we watched William fall, slide down jumps, and drag his bike back up with all his might. William found happiness, and I became a BMX Mom.

William and Wyatt Parker in 2006
Our first event weekend, the NBL Fall Classic in 2006, changed the course of our lives. Ever since, our weekends have been filled with training, racing, and making new friends in the BMX community. (Above: William and Wyatt after William swept the wins at the Fall Classic in the 5 rookie class)

It wasn’t long before I realized I wanted to remember these experiences, and have stories for my boys to read and remember too. It was then I began my blog, “Adventures of a BMX Mom”. At first I shared it only with our family, in an effort to help them understand the sport my kids were so passionate about. Eventually I gathered a faithful following, and the feedback I received always echoed the same sentiment: “I get it.” “I can relate.” “You said exactly what I feel.”

When approached about writing a column for BMX News I could hardly believe it. I didn’t even pretend to play it cool. I was totally excited for the opportunity. There’s so much more to BMX than race results and sponsorships. For us it’s about family experiences and good times shared with great friends. I want to shed a new light on BMX and make it accessible to grandparents, aunts, uncles and anyone who doesn’t quite get it. I want to make BMX something that everyone can understand and relate to. I hope the stories I share will do that.

So now you’ll see me at races, pen and notebook in hand, recording stories and memories to share with you, my readers.


“Adventures of a BMX Mom” Blog

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Announcing The “Promax Top Story”

February 6, 2014 by · Comments Off 

Announcing BMX News Promax Top Story

One of the things we strive to do at BMX news is bring you original stories you won’t see elsewhere–or a deeper-dive version of the stories you may have seen on other outlets.

Sometimes its an in-depth interview with the stars or industry movers, other times, its features that bring you inside the headlines, or breaking news on any number of issues important to the BMX racing community. We have worked hard to make BMX News the place to find out what actually happened–not what someone’s teammate’s-cousin’s-friend’s-coach said about it.

The hottest news of the day always breaks in our “Top Story” section, and we are proud to welcome Promax Components today as the new sponsor of the “Promax Top Story.”

With their support, we will be able to bring you more sizzlin-hot Top Story content, and we are stoked to keep rockin out the stories that will define BMX racing in 2014.

A big BMX News thank you to Toby Henderson and Michael Gamstetter for their help in getting this in motion.

—Mike Carruth


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Reader Letter: Gate Crashers

October 28, 2013 by · Comments Off 

Gate Crashers - BMX News letter on parents on the hill

In today’s BMX News Reader question/photo/letter, the subject of parents standing on the hill, blocking riders from getting in the gate is on the table for discussion.

We just got back from the Disney Cup, and I wanted to write-in about something that has become a growing problem at nationals.

When my son or daughter has to shove their way around dads to get into the gate, there’s a problem. And it’s one that’s getting worse at each race. The photo above is of a 9x qtr from Sunday (nobody in our family is on the gate, but it demonstrates the problem, with seven parents behind the gate, five of whom are videoing the moto on the track).

—LM, Midwest

At any decent-sized national, the gates are dropping pretty quick, sometimes by the time the pack hits the second turn–which doesn’t give a lot of time for the riders getting in the gate next to set up and focus on the next task at hand.

The focus of some of the moms/dads on the hill is often laser-like on their little guy, and all the rest of the universe needs to hit the pause button and take a chill pill until they hit the middle of the second straight. Three seconds is plenty of time to set ‘em up, after all.

Of course it’s understandable that the dad wants to see/video his kid’s lap. It’s just that it goes beyond the brink sometime, and interferes with another riders’ chance to ride his best race.

We asked “LM” what they’d like to see done about it:

Honestly, I don’t mind dads/moms walking their kids up. I understand the nerves. However, they shouldn’t be able to linger behind while the gate drops, and then stand there with a video camera, like a defensive line blocking the next moto from getting in the gate. More allowance for 7 and unders, but once the gate’s down, the “support” factor is over.

Honestly, I’d like to see no parents on the hill in the 8 and over classes. I feel that is reasonable. I thought there was already a rule about that. It’s really distracting to the kids getting in the gate when there are parents crowding the hill, and especially access to the gate, itself.

We asked a few dads in our address book about whether it is, in fact, a growing problem. Here’s what we got:

Yes (blocking) is a problem. The dads are not doing it on purpose though. They should be allowed to bring their kid up there, but then move to the side a gate or two before. All dads watching should be watching from the sides.

It’s annoying, but maybe not a “problem” yet. It’s hard to say if some of these guys are clueless, rude or a combo of the two. Either they don’t understand the obstruction they’re causing to the next moto, or they don’t care because “they paid their entry fee,” which gives them rights to stand-or-be anywhere.

BMX News reached out to USA BMX for a comment on this. Senior Track Director, Brad Hallin sent us the following reply:

The rule that covers this is Section XII – Racing Rules (Page 24, rule #13):

“Parents of any rider 6 years of age and older may accompany their rider through the staging area. However, these parents are NOT ALLOWED to assist their rider at or on the starting gate.”

I get phone calls and emails all year and store them in a folder to take into our “Rules Meeting.” We listen to the riders & parents and discuss suggestions to make the sport better.

The meeting is this week, and this is a topic for discussion heading into that meeting.

So, now that you have heard a few opinions on the topic, come on over to Vintage and join the discussion with your take on “Gate Crashers.”

Note: We are not calling out any individuals in particular via this article, and felt a bit sorry for the poor guys who happened to be on the hill when this shot was taken. We have obscured their identities as a result.

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Speedco Top Story, Presented by Speedco Bicycles

Speedco Top Story, Presented by Speedco Bicycles

Letter: Why So Uptight About Photo Credits?

October 11, 2013 by · Comments Off 

BMX News - Photo Credit Etiquette

We have been receiving more and more reader email lately, and finally decided to start publishing some of them. This one hits close to home, as the topic of photo credit etiquette is addressed.

Send your questions, comments, etc. to If we use yours, we’ll send you a BMX News T-Shirt.


I always hear that photographers are super sensitive about having a photo credit on their photos, even on someplace like Facebook. What’s up with that?

—Steve, New Jersey

Hey Steve,

Thanks for writing, and asking the question that lots of folks don’t ask before re-posting someone else’s photos.

Historically, a photographer credit next to an image is akin to a byline that runs over a story or other written work–it’s the way the world knows who created a particular work.

We have seen similar credits across the ages in the arts–from an artist signing a masterpiece painting during the renaissance, to an actor receiving “top billing” on a performance playbill, to a photojournalist getting a side-by-side credit with the author of an important piece of editorial work.

Whether you are a painter, or a writer, or photographer, etc, the work being created is often deeply personal to the artist. Giving the creator of the work, credit for it when you use it is considered the least someone can do (in addition to paying him, of course).

When you capture an image, or create other kinds of work that fall under copyright, you, as the creator of that work, have certain rights to limit how that work is copied. We retain those rights until expressly released or assigned to a third party.

In my case, I allow BMXers to post my images freely–with two restrictions. “Free *Online* use permitted *if BMX News logo is preserved in full.*” That means, you can’t use it in print without obtaining further permission, and please respect “the code” by leaving the logo in the shot.

I am not going to ugly-up my photo by putting a huge watermark across it–I WANT people to enjoy it. But, at the same time, I want credit for the time and expense that went in to creating the work.

Sometimes, people will take a photo OF a photo with their iPhone to get it onto social media more efficiently. I do it too. Most of the time, they lose the logo in that process, which is a real bummer to me. Then, they tend to tag-up the description with things like #10sponsors #BMX #livinthedream #wayhigh #goinfast, etc. But no #mikecarruth #bmxnews, or Photo: Mike Carruth,

To me, that is worse than sitting down to a four-hour meal, and not leaving the waitress a tip. You’d never do that, would you? Credit for the image doesn’t cost you any money, so why not give it generously?

Cropping out someone’s tastefully-placed corner watermark is impolite. Cropping it out, then not mentioning them at all is down-right rude. Some photographers get very hot & hostile when someone uses a photo without authorization, payment or credit. Who can blame them?

Some of us take a more future-facing approach, and just stop photographing those people–no more work left to pilfer. Not trying to be passive-aggressive about it, but if folks can’t observe a bit of manners in using the free photography they have been given access to, then what’s left?

As I said above, I want my photos to be seen and enjoyed by the BMX community–as much as possible. I make them available for personal use on social media freely, and expressly–as long as the BMX News logo remains in the shot. If you are using my work without permission for commercial purposes–in a print ad, packaging, etc without permission…well, now you got a problem. But that’s a different topic.

Bottom line

Photographers: If you are posting your work online, don’t get bent out of shape when someone uses it on their Facebook or personal site–when proper crediting is observed. If you are that tweaked by it, don’t post the images. Or put a full-frame watermark on it, if you must (though I don’t recommend that, as you are only diminishing the work).

Everyone Else: If you want to use a photo you didn’t shoot, here are some tips:

A). Ask the photographer if it’s OK to use it (unless it states “free to use” or is made available under a “Creative Commons” license)

B). Put a “Photo by:” credit with the photo. If using it online, a link back to their website is good form.

C). If there is a watermark or logo on the image you are using, observe that, or ask the photog for a fresh placement of the logo in the cropping you want to use. I do it all the time for people who ask, no sweat.

D). As long as you are tagging #heavymetal and #yourthirdgradeteacher in the photo, it’d be nice for you to tag us as well.

I’m sure that, for every 10 photographers you’d interview on this topic, you’d get 25 opinions about how it should go. Some are “uptight” about people even using their work at all. Others are cool with personal use, but want the credit for creating it.

Thanks again for writing in.

—Mike Carruth

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

Speedco Top Story, Presented by Speedco Bicycles

Announcers Tower Live Tonight – 9PM Eastern

August 6, 2013 by · Comments Off 

BMX News Announcers Tower Live

Tonight on our weekly Internet Radio show, Announcers Tower Live, we will be joined by several guests. Mike Rodrigues, president of Crit Plate talks about the unusual studio environment that helps him crank out jerseys and plates for clients.

Yess BMX A-Pro Nick Fox is visiting America from New Zealand, and has been on the road with Ron Jones in the USA BMX rig for the past few moths. We’ll be talking to him about some stories from the road.

A panel of industry types will be taking your calls, and talking about a variety of topics from the BMX headlines.

And Matt McEvoy from Time 2 Shine will be calling in to tell us what’s flying off the shelves, product wise lately.

Time: 9PM-10PM Eastern (6PM-7PM Pacific).

Click the link below to listen.

Call in live at (347) 850-1024


Announcers Tower Live – August 6, 2013

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