Following in the tracks of ‘middle aged men in Lycra’ (Mamil), trick obsessed BMXers are set to become the next driving force behind the UK’s continued love affair with two wheels.
Data shows sales of BMX have grown more than any other cycling category this year. BMX now accounts for 16% of the total cycle market and looks set to overhaul traditional City bikes, currently 17%.
Retailer Halfords said demand is being driven by freewheeling youngsters looking for cycles with more edgy designs and better styling, from X-Rated to Apollo to the top-end, cool looking, US designed VooDoo range.
Widely available YouTube videos showing amazing bike tricks and the spread of a BMXers language through social networks has helped to drive the revival in BMX. They are becoming a fashion and lifestyle choice of cycles for both boys and girls alike.
The BMX almost disappeared during the 1990s but now analysts GFK say figures show that one in five bike sales are BMX and 94% of BMX’s sold in Great Britain are purchased by 6-15 year olds. There’s also a trend to customise BMX bikes. Halfords says the sales of accessories like skull and dice decorated valve caps and special stunt pegs have risen, along with skater helmets and fingerless mitts.
The growing popularity of BMX has developed against a backdrop of the rise of the ‘Mamils’, who have been at the forefront of the popularity of cycling in recent years and have driven the ownership of cycles in the UK to top over 4 million.
Now Dads in their thirties who remember the fun they had on BMX bikes are encouraging the revival, according to analysts Allegra Strategies in its Project Velo report on the cycle industry.
Halfords BMX expert Peter Hunt said: “BMX is becoming mainstream once again. It was always there with the cult pros but has filtered down to a new generation. GFK reported 1 in 5 kids are choosing fashion over form, with a BMX and our sales trends support this. BMX is already well established with boys, but we are now noticing a marked increase from girls too.
“We stock an extensive range of models to ensure our customers can find their perfect bike. Our VooDoo range is particularly exciting, offering cutting edge premium bikes at great prices.
Industry Cycling magazine BikeBiz said the popularity of BMX products were now exceeding peaks seen in the 1980s when speciality bikes became all the rage among youngsters.
Success of UK riders such as BMX World Champion woman rider Shanaze Reade has done much to boost the sport’s popularity and new facilities for BMX riders are emerging all the time to cope with renewed demand for specialist facilities.
Stephen Rooke, Director of Redditch Skatepark and BMX Track, the largest outdoor supervised charity skatepark in the UK, said: We are seeing whole families taking part in racing and involved in the club. BMX has grown to become the dominant discipline at our venue.
“BMX riding is a way of life to many young people, where they gain amazing riding skills and develop a high level of fitness, agility and strength by doing something they enjoy. It is a great way to tackle youth boredom that has been linked to antisocial behaviour.”
Construction is shortly to begin on a 43-hectare ‘Cyclopark’ facility in Kent, where world-class facilities will include a 340 metre dedicated BMX circuit.
The Olympics and construction of London’s new cycling Velodrome and BMX track will further drive the popularity of the BMX, with 2012 Olympic cycling events including a BMX discipline after it was Introduced in Beijing 2008.
The Group is the UK’s leading retailer of automotive, leisure and cycling products and through Nationwide Autocentres is also the UK’s leading independent car servicing and repair operator.