Imagine soaring more than 20 feet above the ground, distorting your lanky frame—your head below your feet, lights flashing all around you—while wearing just a handful of plastic guards and a helmet. Now try to block out those thoughts so you can regain a sense of gravity and land your bike safely—before taking flight again just a few seconds later.
BMX riders take risks that only true adrenaline junkies can understand. “The adrenaline is the main thing for bike riding,” says competitive BMXer Ricky Moseley. “If you don’t have adrenaline, you are not going to be able to ride well.”
Moseley has that adrenaline addiction, but he understands the importance of safety, too. Before attempting his most difficult trick [a Windshield Wiper], he took time to practice and understand the mechanics of the trick.
For beginners who want to start ripping tricks, Moseley takes precaution to another level, offering this stern warning: “Don’t do any. I seriously went two years without doing any.” Before taking flight, he worked on learning the basics—how to jump, getting his balance, learning how to control the bike. “If you don’t have control of your bike and if you’re just jumping and trying all this crazy stuff you see on TV, you’re going to kill yourself,” Moseley says. And when you do start working on tricks, practice first by jumping into a foam pit and then advancing to a ramp with padding underneath. “Just stick with the basic stuff and know your limitations,” he advises.
And needless to say, whether you’re a first-time rider or a 20-year veteran, make sure you are properly padded. “If you are going to be doing anything bigger than a two-foot ramp, then definitely have a helmet on, because you can seriously hurt yourself,” Moseley says. “I have been knocked out four times—and I had a helmet on.”