How to get started in BMX Racing - FAQs
Q - When can I ride the track?
A - Every day! The track is open to the public from sunrise to sunset every day. Anyone can come ride, just as it is any other feature in a public park, free of charge. We are closed to public riding during sanctioned events listed in the schedule section of this website.
Q - Do I need a BMX bike to ride or special equipment?
A - For public riding, any bike will do. We strongly suggest helmet, long pants and long sleeve shirt but during public access it is ride at your own risk so there is no mandated requirements. For sanctioned events, a BMX bike is recommended but not required as long as the bike is safe, not motorized, and does not have any protruding parts. We also mandate helmet, long pants and long sleeve shirts during sanctioned events.
Q – Who can race?
A – Anyone. And we mean anyone. If you can ride a bike you can race one. Boys, girls, men and women all race BMX. From 5 and under to 61 Over there is age classes for everyone! And races are made by age and skill level so you are racing others around your age and skill level.
Q – How do I get started racing BMX?
A – First step is to obtain a USABMX membership CLICK HERE and select Join Now for a full or trail membership. If the full membership is too big of a leap, you can complete a One Day Membership Application CLICK HERE good for one Thursday gate practice session (Mid-March - October). Once you have the membership covered, come out Thursday evening for our gate practice (5:00pm - 7:30pm $4 per rider). During practice, we can answer questions about starting racing, instruction and everything else you need to know but are not answered here. ALL RIDERS ARE REQUIRED TO HAVE ALL REQUIRED SAFETY GEAR (Helmet, long pants, long sleeve shirt and closed toe shoes).
Q - What if its November-March, how do I get started?
A - From the first week in November thru first weekend in March, we are off for the winter. You can always ride the track any day of the year but to get started racing, you can find VMP BMX or Hampton BMX racing on weekend days. The membership will still be required, but you can get stated racing right away. Once we start racing on Sunday in March, the membership is still needed as described above, just signup for a Sunday race event instead of a Thursday practice.
Q – Does the rider need to practice before they are allowed to race?
A – While it is a really good way to get started by attending a practice session or two first, there is no such requirement. BMX Racing is an “at will” sport, so riders can complete as frequent or infrequent as they like. There is no required skills assessment or training to be cleared to race, with the exception that we do expect that all riders can successfully ride a full lap with no assistance.
Q – Is there instruction available?
A – We have started a new program for new riders! Every Thursday, during our gate practice sessions, we will offer New Rider Orientation and Assessments for all first time riders. The assessment is necessary to help us slot riders into skill level specific instructional classes on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Once the assessment is completed riders can sign up for sessions based on their starting skill level. We will cover the details during the orientation.
Q - What about teams?
A - Teams have always been a part of BMX Racing, but they are not required in any way for competition at any level. There are local mostly social types of teams to factory sponsored national teams and much in between. Generally riders start "independent" and once they get anywhere from a few races to a few seasons under their belt, they find a team to join. Again, mostly for social and race day support and friendship, but at the highest end of competition, teams help riders travel to national events around the country.
Q – Ok, I tried riding the track and even went to a practice or race and really like it but I need a more appropriate racing bike, where can I find one?
A – Great question, while there are not many, if any at all, stores in the greater Richmond area that carry BMX Racing specific bikes we have LOTS of other options.
1 – Start right here Powers BMX Shop, a BMX exclusive bike shop is just 2 miles from the track. He has everything from entry level complete bikes, to full blown custom bikes and all the gear: helmets, pants, jersey, gloves, etc. If you need it for BMX, Chad at Powers Bike Shop has it and he and the staff can ensure you get whats best for you and your rider.
2 – Rocket BMX is a local race team and online/mobile bike shop. They carry a selection of new and used bikes, parts and safety gear. Contact Bud Higgins [email protected] for more details or see him at the track.
3 - We at Richmond BMX carry a wide range of loaner bikes for people to borrow, we do also sell these bikes if someone is interested. They all range from $175-$200.
4 – There is also a large selection of online retailers for BMX Racing products. www.powersbikeshop.com has a full service website if you cant get to the store. Additionally www.jrbicycles.com and www.danscomp.com are online retailers who have large selection of bike parts and complete race bikes.
5 – Lastly you can look for used bikes online. eBay and Craigslist are popular but your best bet is the large number of used BMX bikes and parts groups on Facebook. Gary, our track operator, can help you connect with these groups and even help you look for and give you professional opinions on the products for sale. Most of our track loaner bikes come from these Facebook groups so they can be an excellent way to get a really great bike without breaking the bank!!
Q - OK, I know where to find a bike, but what size bike do should I look for?
A - The short, talk to Gary at the track or Chad and Powers Bike Shop. We could type for days about this, or just explain it in person in 5 minutes.
Q – Is there a racing series we can or are required to compete?
A – First and foremost, BMX Racing is an “at will” sport. This means as a rider you can compete as much or as little as you like. You can also compete at any level event you like. Local races which we host each Sunday are the most basic level, there is no point series but your finish does earn district points which are accumulated throughout the entire racing season and are earned at every type of race in the US. State Series is a series of 5 qualifier races at each track in Virginia (Richmond BMX, VMP BMX, Hampton BMX, NOVA BMX and Winchester BMX). Riders must compete in at least 3 of the 5 qualifiers and the State Championship to qualify for a state ranking that is awarded based on age and skill level. Gold Cup Regional Championship is a regional series (East, Central and West) where riders compete in at least 2 of more than 30 in the Eastern US and the Gold Cup Championship. Based on overall results the top 3 in each class (age and skill level) are recognized. Then lastly there is the National series. One event each weekend somewhere in the US, the best 6 results along with the Grand Nationals Final determine the best riders in the whole country.
Riders can compete in any one of these series and can race one event or as many as they can possibly attend, it is up to the rider and their families to decide.
Even more detail regarding these topics and more can be found here on USABMX.com https://www.usabmx.com/site/sections/3