The BMX Daredevils of the 70s and 80s: Flying High and Jumping Low

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Ah, the good old days when kids were kids, and danger was just another word for fun. The 1970s and 1980s were the golden age of BMX riding, where the biggest thrills came from launching oneself off makeshift ramps, pulling gravity-defying stunts, and risking life and limb for the ultimate adrenaline rush.


There were two types of kids back then – those who were on the bike doing a jump and those who were lying on the ground being jumped over. The former were the daredevils, the wild ones, the ones who didn’t give a flying banana seat about safety. The latter were the guinea pigs, the sacrificial lambs, the ones who were either too chicken to jump or too small to be taken seriously.

But let’s focus on the heroes, the ones who lived for the thrill of the ride. These kids didn’t need fancy helmets, knee pads, or safety nets – they had something better: guts. They’d pedal their rusted, secondhand bikes up a ramp made of cinder blocks and plywood, take a deep breath, and launch themselves into the air like a human missile. And if they were lucky, they’d land without breaking any bones or losing any teeth.

But that wasn’t enough for some of these crazies. They wanted more. They wanted to jump over something. And what better thing to jump over than a friend or relative lying on the ground? It was a win-win situation: the jumper got to show off their mad skills, and the jumper-over got to feel like a part of the action. Of course, the jumper-over also got a face full of dirt and a bruised ego if things didn’t go as planned, but that’s the risk you take when you’re a human speed bump.

And if jumping over people got boring, there were always other options. Like jumping through a bonfire. Because why not? It’s not like fire is dangerous or anything. Or how about jumping off a pier into the ocean, with no hope of ever reaching dry land? It was like a mini Evel Knievel stunt, minus the motorcycle, the helmet, and the talent.

Looking back, it’s a wonder any of us survived those days. We were like a pack of feral animals, hungry for danger and thirsty for excitement. But we didn’t care about the risks – we just wanted to fly. And fly we did, with our BMX bikes as our wings, our hearts as our engines, and our stupidity as our co-pilots.

So here’s to the BMX daredevils of the 70s and 80s – the ones who lived fast, rode hard, and occasionally jumped over their friends’ faces. You may have been reckless, you may have been foolish, but damn it, you were cool. And in a world where safety comes first and fun comes second, that’s something worth celebrating. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go put on a helmet and ride my stationary bike. The nostalgia is killing me.


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