Back to BMX

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 April, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 April, 2004, 12:00am

It's 11pm in the Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront Park. Under the dim street lights, a group of BMX

bikers do some impressive tricks and stunts - from spinning on one wheel to switching across handlebars and balancing on one wheel peg.

They seem to be announcing that it is time for street BMX activity and extreme sports to make a comeback after keeping a low profile for more than a decade.

Among them is BMX veteran Rex Lau. 'With a BMX, you can play tricks in the park and the city whenever you want. You don't have to travel a long distance to the countryside to enjoy the pleasure of riding.

'There are loads of possibilities with a BMX,' he said.

To help give the sport a boost, Lau recently established a BMX equipment store in Yau Ma Tei with two other avid BMX riders, allowing more people to gain access to the activity.

BMX, which stands for bicycle motocross, was developed in the 1960s by a group of Californian teenagers who imitated their motocross heroes with their bicycles.

The sport then gained massive popularity in America and spread throughout the world.

During the 80s, the sport reached a peak with Steven Spielberg's classic movie E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, in which a boy on a BMX rescues a friendly alien. In the 90s, its popularity in Hong Kong and elsewhere declined drastically.

However, with a skate park in Mei Foo opening this year and the release of a Jackie Chan film which will feature BMX riding scenes, Lau believes the sport will get more attention from the public, especially teenagers.

'With the right facilities, the scene will start to take off,' he said.

Japan has the biggest BMX scene in Asia, with about 2,000 riders, while there are estimated to be only 100 BMX riders in Hong Kong.

To help promote the sport, Japanese BMX riders Yosuke Uno, aka York Uno, and Yoho Azuma recently visited Hong Kong as part of their Asia tour.

Uno, 28, the BMX flatland champion of the Asian X-games last year and famous for high-speed spinning action and brake-free riding, thinks BMX is about creativity.

'I'm not really into competitions. I enjoy riding my bike and communicate with people through my bike,' Uno said. 'Everyone can develop their own distinct style because everyone has a different mind.'

Uno started riding BMX at the age of 18.

To professional riders, BMX is more than just a sport - it is a language.

Azuma, who has been a professional BMX rider for six years, said: 'BMX is like my language.

'People from different places, speaking different languages, will come together because

of BMX.'