Want to learn how to ride BMX? Check out our beginner tips to help you get started and use the checklist to track your progress.
Safety first: Before you even think about getting on a BMX bike to go ride, you need your safety gear. Most important is the helmet; you have to protect your melon, so find a helmet that fits snugly and is well padded. It’s also a really good idea to wear knee pads, elbow pads and shin guards, and if you don’t like calluses you should wear some gloves. You might feel like a dork, but this isn’t a fashion show. Safety first!
It’s in the fit: You should find a bike that fits you well. Some frames are longer then others and that can make a huge difference in how you ride. Adjust the handlebars so they feel comfortable. If they’re too far forward, you’ll be going OTB (Over The Bars) and if they’re too far back you’ll have them in your lap. Adjust the seat to a comfortable level, and just generally make the bike fit you.
Put on the brakes: If your bike has front and rear brakes (some come with only rear brakes) figure out which is which. Always learn to ride with at least one finger on the brake lever (preferably your pointing finger), and use two if it makes you feel more comfortable.
Start slow: Ride in an open area and get comfortable with the bike. Taking off is the first step. Start off with one foot on the forward pedal (whichever foot you feel more comfortable with) and your back foot on the ground, and then push off in one fluid motion. Once you get some momentum, place your back foot on the available pedal. Always look forward, not down, and you’re off!
Practice the basics: Once you get rolling you should practice pedaling as smoothly as possible. When you’re able to cruise at a decent speed, practice coasting without pedaling because that will lead to stopping. Next you should try pedaling while standing up on the bike. This tends to be a lot harder for people then just sitting and riding. Try to get comfortable with speed pedaling and quickly braking before you try to take your bike on any ramps. Knowing how to stop your bike puts you in control of what happens.
Learn basic BMX skills: Basic BMX skills you’ll need to learn include bunny hopping, roll backs and manuals on flat ground. These three skills are what make up most of the tricks in BMX.
BMX Progress Checklist
Get the gear (helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, shin guards and gloves)
Make sure your bike fits you properly (adjust the handlebars and seat)
Learn the bike controls: pedaling, balancing, braking and stopping
Learn how to take off (pushing off and starting pedaling)
Learn how to turn left and right
Learn how to pedal while standing up
Learn how to bunny hop on flat ground
Learn how to do roll backs on flat ground
Learn how to manual on flat ground
How Did You Start?
Are you just learning to ride BMX? Tell us about it! Let us know why you started, if these tips helped you, or whatever is on your mind. Have you been riding for awhile? Let us know how you got started, what helped you learn and if you have any tips you’d like to give girls who are just starting out.
Download a Copy
Click on the image below to download a PDF version of the BMX Beginner Tips so you can save a copy, print it out or e-mail it to your friends.
BMX Beginner Tips (1.1 MB PDF)