BMX bicycles were the rage in the 80s and 90s. BMX stunt riding, better known as “freestyle BMX”, was extremely popular with teenagers and produced legends like Dave Mirra, whose name is almost synonymous with the extreme sport.
Another BMX stunt popular at that time was the motocross BMX, which in turn, produced legends like T.J Levin.
But in those days, many failed to see the huge potential in BMX sports, particularly the motocross BMX, in producing young talents in the cycling arena.
Fortunately, today, the situation has changed.
National Cycling Head Coach John Beasely is hoping to ride on that wave by inculcating the passion for motocross BMX among today’s youth.
He believes it will help produce many cycling legends for the country in the future.
Developing cycling as a sport
Beasley, who is a household name in Malaysia for his efforts in producing cycling champs like Azizulhasni Awang, appeared passionate while speaking on the subject.
On why he thought BMX sports was the best medium in honing the skill of young cyclists, Beasley said it was because the sport was hugely popular among the younger generation.
BMX sports builds and develops muscles, stamina and reflex in the cyclists from a young age. Such a strong foundation would make it easier for them to develop their ability in any form of cycling, he told Bernama in an interview recently.
Freestyle BMX appears to be more popular than motocross BMX in the country and has the potential to attract more young blood to take up cycling as a sport.
Beasley said as BMX sports gain popularity, a mechanism would be needed to spot young talents immediately.
I’d like to stress that when producing and developing young talents, we cannot measure success on how shiny their medals are. We also need to look at how fast abilities develop and the number of quality talent we produce, he
Introducing BMX in schools
Beasley said one of the early steps to be taken in producing and developing young cyclists is to get the schools to endorse and actively participate in motocross BMX.
“To date, the cooperation between the ministries involved in realising this effort is encouraging. I hope we can form a module to further develop BMX sports in schools,” he noted.
He said many youngsters in the country were very much into the sport, as can be seen when they spend their free time engaging in their favourite BMX stunts at recreational facilities and shopping centres.
Producing national cycling champs
Beasley said once they reach a certain age or performance level, a young cyclist whose talent is developed through BMX sports would need to choose a cycling sport suitable to their style.
They can choose to go into track cycling, highway cycling or even mountain bike riding. Alternatively, they can choose to remain in BMX sports.
He said there were many cyclists with as good a potential as Azizulhasni. Beasely called Rizal Tisin, a track cyclist who has crossed over to BMX sports, as his “secret weapon”.
He also commended Mohammed Adiq Husainie Othman, whose talent in the sport is developing fast. The national coach also expressed his admiration for the progress made by women cyclists like Fateha Mustapa and Jupha Somnet.