What Is BMX?

BMX is short for Bicycle Motocross. The sport of bicycle motocross began in the early 1970's in Southern California. A small group of thrill seekers started riding their stingray type bikes off road on vacant lots and fields. It was a lot of fun with only minimal competition. Bicycle riders were performing jumps and 'getting air' on their bicycles like MX motorcycle riders(Motocross). The riders started to build neighborhood tracks and began to compete more seriously against one another.

Now there are two sanctioning bodies for BMX. They are the ABA(American Bicycle Association) and the NBL(National Bicycle League). Each focuses on BMX as a sport and on fair competition by member riders. Sooner Pearl BMX Raceway located in Oklahoma City is a sanctioned ABA track and abides by all ABA rules. Today the sport of BMX is sweeping the country and the world. There are over a 150,000 riders of all ages in organized races at permanent tracks across America.


The American Bicycle Association (ABA) was formed to provide organized racing and give national prominence to the sport of BMX. Under ABA rules of sanction, and to give all members an equal and fair opportunity, riders may accumulate district points at any ABA sanctioned track in the United States. Additionally, a national level points program is offered for riders who seek a higher level of competition.

The ABA represents the largest sanctioning body of BMX riders in the world. There are currently over 70,000 members and over 250 tracks in North America with these numbers growing daily. BMX racing is clean, exciting fun that the whole family can enjoy, whether as a racer, spectator, pit crew or track volunteer. BMX has something to offer everyone. Races are organized according to age groups and skill levels, so everyone can have the opportunity to compete on a fair and competitive level. Even beginner riders have the chance to race safely with other beginner riders.

Children created  BMX and it is dominated by children in numbers but there are mature riders also. It is a sport which promotes individual achievement, builds character, social skills, self motivation, self esteem, discipline, determination and to top it off, it's healthy exercise. BMX involves the whole family and allows families time together having fun in a drug-free environment. Races are free to watch and everyone is welcome.


ABA membership is required to race at ABA BMX. Every rider practicing or competing on any ABA sanctioned track must attain prior ABA membership. The following memberships are available.

One Day Free Membership- This membership is intended only for the new rider to have a chance to experience the sport prior to joining one of the memberships below. This membership is for one practice or one race only and is not transferable or re-useable.

Temporary- The ABA offers a trial membership for $25. This membership is intended only for new riders to the sport and is valid for 30 days. A rider may hold a temporary membership only one time in their BMX career. This membership allows riders to compete at single point races only, yet no ABA points will be awarded and provides you with no medical insurance coverage. If within the 30 day period the rider wishes to become a full (annual) member, there will be a $25 temporary conversion fee, with the initial $25 temporary fee also being applied toward the full membership fee, with presentation of the temporary membership receipt.

Full (annual)- A full membership costs only $45 and is valid for 1 full year at any ABA sanctioned event in the United States. Points will be awarded to all riders competing in any ABA sanctioned race with those points returning to each rider's home district. Full membership riders will receive the monthly publication of the BMXer magazine and all pertinent information mailings. Also, each rider will receive a current rulebook and official membership card.

Who can race? Races are organized into separate girl and boy categories, then subdivided into age groups and skill levels. The age groups range from 5 and under to 51 and over. Within these age groups are three skill levels; the novice, intermediate and expert.

How much does it cost to race? Once you become an ABA member, the only other cost will be the race entry fee. The entry fee entitles you to be a participant in the days BMX activities. A typical BMX race includes 3 qualifying motos along with a main event. In the main event, you race for awards determined by your finish along with the precious ABA points.

What kind of bike do I need? BMX racing does not require a lot of expensive equipment. Most racers start with their 20" street bike and make the following required modifications:

  • Make sure all bolts are tight, especially your axle bolts and stem bolts.
  • Remove any freestyle type axle pegs.
  • All reflectors must be removed for safety purposes.
  • If your bike has a kickstand, it must be taken off.
  • Your bike needs padded coverings on the crossbar of your handlebars, the handlebar stem (or goose-neck), and the top tube of your frame.
  • You'll also need a number plate. Most ABA tracks will supply you with a plate when you sign up. If not, a simple paper plate will do.
  • Shop for BMX Bikes at Amazon.

How can I get started? Simply visit your local track during the practice or racing times and ask for a membership application or information. You can watch the races, talk to other BMX families, or give it a try yourself.

What equipment do I need?

  • Long sleeved shirt.
  • Long pants or jeans.
  • Enclosed shoes. Skateboard style shoes are suggested.
  • Also, a helmet is required.
The ABA and Desert Sunset BMX highly recommend helmets with full-face protection. Most ABA tracks have "loaner" helmets for beginners to use. Many tracks offer equipment on a nightly loan basis. A lot of times, a good inexpensive helmet can be found at a garage sale or in the pit area of your local BMX track. You can also buy BMX Helmets on Amazon or look for BMX Helmets on eBay.

Shorts, cut-offs, tank tops or short sleeved shirts are not permitted at anytime while racing or practicing at a sanctioned event.

Where can I race? 

The ABA has over 200 tracks nationwide! Chances are there is one near you. Contact Desert Sunset BMX at (520) 444-7113 or call the ABA at (480) 961-1903 and ask for the track nearest you, or just click here to find a track.

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