“The wonderful thing about BMX is it's outside, you throw a little dirt in there. It just can’t be better than that and it’s the best cardiovascular that you can do.”
Nothing gets you going quite like two wheels and a track.
Debbie Kelley has been riding this wave of bicycle mania for more than forty years, back when her boys were growing up and BMX became all the rage.
Her course, Black Mountain BMX, has been a big part of making this sport so popular here in the Valley.
Once you put on a helmet and jersey, your problems seem to disappear and you’re free to focus on the finish line. This is especially true for foster kids in Arizona.
“This allows them to dream,” Kelley told me.
But those dreams don’t come easily if they don’t have a bike. So the good people of Black Mountain BMX are making racing a reality through “Recycle Your Bicycle.”
And they’re making it a reality for me by throwing me out onto the course.
“How many of you guys here think that you can race better than me,” I asked as all hands shot into the air.
And rightly so as I haven’t ridden on a BMX course in the course of my entire life.
“I'll see you guys at the finish line in a half-hour.”
These kids had obviously never heard the old adage ‘slow and steady wins the race’!
Just a few minutes on the course and the thrill of riding a bicycle for the first time came flooding back.
When kids in foster care are given this simple pleasure, it allows for a sense of normalcy that doesn’t always accompany their individual situations.
BMX appears in the X-Games and now the Olympic games, but there’s nothing extreme about the goal for these BMXers: Give a bike and you give the gift of freedom.
“Every child should have a bike and if there’s anything that we can do to help that happen, we're on it,” Kelley told me.
You can drop a gently used bike off at any Earnhardt Auto Center and at Black Mountain BMX through the end of the month of September.