- One of the world’s best BMX riders came to discover what Gauteng had to offer.
- And for Courage Adams, the journey was worth it. As he experienced some excellent urban riding.
- Some of the best local BMX riders played the role of guides, and showed what they could do.
BMX is the edgy counterculture within cycling.
Although BMX racing is part of the Olympics, the street version remains a freestyle riding activity. No helmets. No brakes. And lots of talent.
South Africa has produced some excellent street BMX riders. Some have even found their way to the United States, as pro riders. But for many in the realm of urban freeriding and street BMX, it will always be an underground activity. Where the rules are written by riders – instead of the UCI.
Making nearly everything - rideable
Street BMX is all about interpreting the built environment. Sidewalks. Stairs. Monuments. Urban amphitheatres. These are the construction features that provide BMX riders with their challenge.
Where mountain bikers seek rocky descents and off-camber corners, street BMX riders want to flow onto and across anything that lines a parking area. Or kerb. Flying down stairs is also very much, part of the BMX street riding theme.
Having the courage to ride
One of the world’s best BMX riders, is Nigerian born Courage Adams.
The Iberian peninsula has a terrific street BMX scene, and Courage is a Spanish citizen, having moved there as a child. But he constantly yearns for that African riding connection, which recently brought him to Johannesburg.
The city has a growing street BMX movement, which is unsurprising when considering the diversity and abundance of its urban riding terrain.
Locals know best
Courage was guided on his Gauteng BMX adventure by celebrated local riders, Nkosinathi Nkosi and Leroy Mlenze.
For Courage, Johannesburg delivered all the kerb cruising and rail grinding he could have imagined. And some huge jumps, too.
BMX riders are rarely equalled by other cyclists in terms of pure bike skill. Full commitment is required, as these bikes don’t have brakes.
Riders visualize and execute their lines and tricks with astonishing skill and precision – and when it goes wrong, they literally have to 'run it out' by jumping off their bikes.
A cycling sport - on the rise
The riding attire might be informal. And the absence of helmets, worrying. But street BMX can rightfully claim to be perhaps the purest expression of bike handling skills.
With rugged bikes that require minimal maintenance, street BMX is more accessible than other forms of competitive cycling.
And with Courage having shone the spotlight on Johannesburg’s riding scene, the local BMX movement will no doubt keep growing.