Kids Guide to BMX Racing and Free Style

If you’ve been enjoying watching all the cycle racing from Tokyo, then hold onto your saddle!  Things are about to get fast and furious as we head over to the BMX! 

Don’t forget to download our FREE Tokyo Cycling I-Spy – how many things can you spot whilst you’re watching the BMX? 

Kids Guide to BMX in Tokyo

There’s two different BMX disciplines taking place in Toyko – BMX Race and BMX Freestyle. They are two completely different types of event, and here’s our child friendly guide to understanding the BMX. 

What is BMX Race?

BMX riders race head-to-head over a highly technical course with jumps and banked corners called berms. The riders sprint up to speed and do huge jumps as they race to be the first over the line!

BMX Race

The racing has quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals over two days.

The Quarterfinals have 6 racers and they race each other three times and get points for each place they finish in, so 1st place gets one point, 2nd place gets 2 points and so on.

The lowest number of points after the 3 races is the winner, and the top 4 riders go through to the semi-finals.

In the BMX Race Semi-finals, there are 8 racers on the track and they do 3 races again and the top 4 riders from each semi-final go through to the final.

The BMX Race Final has 8 racers, but this time only one race to decide the winner and the medals.

How long is it?

300-400 metres depending on the track.

Where does the BMX take place?

BMX Race takes place on a specially designed track. 

In Tokyo this is housed at the Ariake Urban Sports Park, which also hosts the BMX Freestyle and the Skateboarding.

What bike is ridden for BMX race?

A BMX bike with 20inch wheels designed for super-fast acceleration

What are the rules of BMX Race?

First over the finish wins!

How do you win?

Qualify for the finals in the heats, then win the final.

Who are the best in the world?

The reigning Olympic champion is Connor Fields of the United States.
The reigning (2019) World Champion is Twan van Gendt of the Netherlands.
The reigning Olympic champion is Mariana Pajón of Colombia,
The reigning (2019) World Champion is Alise Willoughby of the United States.

What to look out for during BMX Race?

Big jumps
False Starts

Kids guide to BMX Freestyle

After the excitement of the BMX Race, comes the Freestyle.  This isn’t a traditional bike race – instead it’s a judged event (like the gymnastics or skateboarding) where the rider has to impress a panel of judges. 

Don’t forget to download our FREE Tokyo Cycling I-Spy – you’ll also get some activity sheets to help you get outside on your own bike this summer

What is BMX Freestyle?

Riders do a routine of various impressive tricks on their bikes.

Each rider completes two 1-minute runs, both of which count towards their final score.

There are many different BMX disciplines that are all classed as “freestyle”.  There’s Park, Street, Dirt, Vert and Flatland.

Currently, Park is the only BMX freestyle discipline that’s classed as an Olympic sport.

How do you win BMX Freestyle?

Riders are given an overall score between 0 and 100.  Judges are looking for difficulty, originality, style and execution.

What are the rules?

There are limited rules – which is why it’s called “freestyle”!

 Kids guide to BMX racing and freestyle

What does BMX stand for?

BMX is short for Bicycle Moto-X (cross)

Did you know: 

BMX has its roots in racing on a track. It originally started as a cheap alternative to riding Moto-X (motor bikes).

As BMX bikes gained huge popularity in the 1980s people started using these small bikes to do tricks and stunts.

Where does it take place?

BMX Freestyle can take place indoors or outdoors on a selection of ramps and features such as box jumps, quarter pipes, flat banks, spines, sub-boxes, rails, wedges. 

In Tokyo the BMX Freestyle is being hosted at the Ariake Urban Sports Park

What bike is ridden?

Freestyle BMX’ers obviously ride a BMX bike! Sometimes it will have pegs on the axles, sometimes without, sometimes with brakes, sometimes without brakes. It’s dependant on the rider’s style. 

BMX freestyle

What to watch out for:

  • Combination tricks, where tricks are done into and out of other tricks
  • Riders taking their hands or feet off their bike (or both!)
  • Crashes
  • Wheelies
  • Endos (where the bike is on the front wheel only)

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