Chimps on Push Bikes

by David G. Thorne

I hate BMX bikes and the people who ride them. Really, truly loathe them. Bicycle motocross? My arse! How can it be a motocross when it does not have an engine? It is not even a proper bicycle. The BMX was designed as a toy for children too young for proper motocross, who fancied hopping over a few jumps.

Somehow this prepubescents plaything has become the preserve of teenage show-offs and street urchins. The ragamuffins who congregate in gangs around shopping precincts, doing 180 barspins and annoying decent people. You know, underclass scumbags who think they are cool. They are too stupid to realise that when you reach your late teens and are pushing six feet, you do not look cool on a cycle designed for a six year old. You look precisely what you are – a lanky chimp on a push bike.

The BMX is not designed to be ridden. No one goes out for a ride on a BMX. They pootle about, do tricks and jumps. Trash it down some steps or clatter off a park bench. But nobody uses it to get from A to B. 

Yesterday I spoke with two kids on a train who were dragging their two wheeled pieces of junk along for the ride. They were only travelling one stop and the journey was less than two miles, so I asked them why they did not simply cycle. The reason given, (and delivered entirely without irony) was that the bikes only have one gear which would make it too difficult to climb the big hill they would encounter on the way home. 

Aside from a damning indictment of the fitness of the modern youth, this proved what I have always believed. These things are no good for anything other than performing circus tricks and crashing off curbstones. Because the wheels are so stupidly small, it takes ten times the effort to pedal the damned thing the same distance as a proper bike. 

This is why snot nosed punks are forever pleading with train conductors to be allowed to take their BMXs on busy commuter trains. One of my favourite sights is seeing their faces as he tells them the train only carries two bicycles. They argue feverishly over who gets to travel, then six or seven are left on the platform looking sick as chips while the train pulls away. They should get themselves proper bicycles. The exercise would do them good.

Later the same afternoon I watched a man board a train with his BMX. He must have been about 40 and weighed as many stone. Union Jack t-shirt and Burberry flat cap. Visualise Dom Deluise in denim Bermuda shorts. Rakishly unshaven and studious round glasses. The type of guy who thinks he’s still one of the kids. Typical BMX bandit. Possibly the most tragic looking loser I have ever seen. 

If you are older than 12 you really should not be riding a BMX. It’s not big. It’s not clever.

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