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  1. #1
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    Profiling BMX riders

    Hi all. Something that has really bothered me about the mentality of where I live is how I am excessively profiled in a negative way while riding around on my BMX bike. I do a lot of street riding - I find bike trails that go on-and-on in a straight line to be quite boring. This means that I do pass through many different areas and neighborhoods with people out and about.

    For one straight year I had a typical 21speed bike (a Trek) that I rode around various places. Nobody bothered me, passerbys would smile or say hi. I started to miss the days when I had a Hoffman bike, so I decided to purchase a nice United BMX bike. I gave my 21speed away to a friend since I rarely ever rode it.

    Really quick: I am 27, but I could easily pass for an 18 year old, I have a feeling this hurts more than helps.

    So anyways, it has been a good 10 months I've had the BMX bike. I can honestly say I am very shocked at how I am treated while riding the bike. I've had people yell at me for no reason, getting stared down, scoffing at me when I pass them, security guards on power trips, cars honking. And I have no idea why. I have never seen a group of BMX kids acting roudy or disrupting people. So why am I being profiled?

    I was on my usual bike route that winds through a neighborhood one day. A mid 40s gentleman was standing outside in his yard. Once I got near his house I saw that he was glaring at me, watching me the entire time I passed by his house. I looked over my shoulder after I passed and he was still staring me down. WTF? Once I was biking down a sidewalk and a woman (older, 50s) was holding a toddlers hand and walking with her husband (I assume). I slowed down to a crawl and passed around them through the grass. As I passed she blurted "thanks for calling it out". Another time I was biking to my car that was parked at my workplace in a garage attached to the office building. No sooner than entering the garage did a security guard run up to me and yell at me to get out of there. Really dude? Just tonight I was on a shorter path I take at nights. I heard loud dance music coming from somehwere so I slowly biked up to the establishment to check it out. Immediately a security guard yelled "Off the bike now!" I tried to explain that I was just checking it out but he kept saying "Get off the bike! You can't enter".

    Anybody else have this happen to them while riding their BMX bike? It's unbelievable. I am regularly stunned at the stupidity of the general public, but this was sobering. I should probably get a custom made bright yellow shirt that says "I mean no harm, I love you!" with a smiley face on it, perhaps that would calm these imbeciles down?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Nick Bain's Avatar
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    ha I hope to be in your shoes soon, I have a schwinn pro stock se yellow that needs to be built up. I am 26 and road bike race but I love to ride mountain, cruiser, bmx. Also do some questionable manuvers in the downtown area, on road and mountain, but I've never been hassled, people up here too reserved and easy going. Once I get the schwinn built I'll find out.

    What you should do is ride the same route later on a road bike and chat with all the same people that flipped their attitude on you. Or just carry some mase.

  3. #3
    Senior Member michaelscycles's Avatar
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    I have a BMX shop, but don't ride. I do hear stories from all my customers. There is one town nearby that they get hassled by the cops all the time. Even for just riding down the street. They rode at a school all the time. Then someone did some vandalism and you know they got the blame. Some of the people that come in the shop may look a little scary sometimes, but they are all great people. I don't think there is any way to change what people think. Movies like Jackass sure don't help.

  4. #4
    Senior Member tyler11's Avatar
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    yea i know what your talking about.
    im just about tired of cops hasseling me and my friends.
    seems they invent new laws every day to rectrict biking, and they are only enforced to kids on bmx bikes.
    like a few weeks ago me and 3-4 friends where behind a building doing tricks and stuff. the cop gives my friend a ticket for no lights when its not even dark out, and i gess its illegal to do tricks also.
    i was also pleased to learn of like 10 differnt stupid violations, no tricks, lights even at like sunset, having to have your bike regestered with the city... its crazy

  5. #5
    Ridin dirty riva's Avatar
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    Yep "respectable folk" ride road bikes or MTB's.. lolz

    I think the same type of encounters would happen with a 27-37 year old cruising around on a skateboard. Or maybe its even similar to an adult cruising around in a hot rodded 1990 civic reliving his youth. You just look unrespectable to the ignorant.
    Last edited by riva; 05-10-11 at 09:50 AM.
    bikes: r700, 1200, topcross, elite12, duosport

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelscycles View Post
    I have a BMX shop, but don't ride. I do hear stories from all my customers. There is one town nearby that they get hassled by the cops all the time. Even for just riding down the street. They rode at a school all the time. Then someone did some vandalism and you know they got the blame. Some of the people that come in the shop may look a little scary sometimes, but they are all great people. I don't think there is any way to change what people think. Movies like Jackass sure don't help.
    Grew up in Carnegie years ago...many years ago and it sounds like things haven't changed in the greater pittsburgh area. lol I'm 47 yo now and get funny looks regardless of what bike I'm riding. My feeling is everyone can suck me if they don't like it.
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  7. #7
    Your imaginary friend. fuzzbox's Avatar
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    Welcome to the club. There is very few places where this doesnt happen if such place exists. The other day a normal looking person was standing outside of the store and right when he saw me riding over he started barking. It was really weird just because how he looked but whatever. Something you will get used too and ignore.

    Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.

  8. #8
    Yeah. I Race. minichamp31's Avatar
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    Definitely something that happens everywhere no matter how old you are. There's kids out there who give the good ones bad names, and causes people to think all BMXers are disrespectful and rebels or druggies or whatever they think. I've noticed if you just try to avoid people and you're just a respectful person and don't cause problems, people are more apt to tolerate you. There's always going to be those ignorant people who don't give any kid or any person on a bike/skateboard/etc a chance. Something you gotta live with I guess.

  9. #9
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    Whiny thread is whiny.

  10. #10
    Senior Member CharleyGnarly's Avatar
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    I find this whole thing funny in a disgusted sort of way.
    When I was racing BMX in the early- mid '80s, I could ride all over town without ever getting a second glance. Keep in mind I graduated high school in '82 and was 6' 1" 180 lubs, so it wasn't the typical little kid on a bike rolling around the neighborhood. No hassles... ever.
    I also liked to ride skateboards. That was a different story. People giving me grief all the time. Cops pulling me over for no reason, etc.
    We had two BMX tracks in town and it seemed like everybody had a bike.
    The city counsel got together with some high profile residents and banned ramps in a person's own backyard. When concerned parents approached the city counsel about getting a place to ride skateboards for the community, it was a no-go. Liability issues are what they claimed. Too many safety issues.
    Fast forward to the present and we still have two BMX tracks, but we also have a couple of nifty skateparks in two of the city parks here. Helmets are not required (what happened to liability?) No age limits. Supervision not required. But, no bicycles allowed. BMXers and parents hit up the city counsel about a place to ride for the BMXers. Sorry. No can do. Can we ride on certain days at the skateparks that are already there? Nope. Too dangerous.
    Go figure. It is all in the current state of things. Whatever is perceived as the "thug" activity at the time, is the one that gets the shaft.
    I guess that's what we get for Tony Hawk being a successful business man...
    "I have no objection to appeal. I even favor abolition of the death penalty,provided that there is a certainty of punishment, whatever that punishment may be, for in the uncertainty of punishment following crime lies the weakness of our halting justice."
    Isaac Charles Parker, The "Hanging Judge," 1889.

  11. #11
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    Same exact type of things happen to me when i ride a bmx bike. i'm only 14, and i used to ride my dads scott mountain bike. ever since i pruchased a bmx bike, its been downhill. yesterday i rode to a local park, on the paths used to get there. i ride by a guy in his mid 50's and he was walking his dog. he started walking on the other side of the path so that i could pass him. i even rode on the grass on the opposite side, just to give him enough room to keep walking. as i pass by he yells, "this is not a bike lane!" that seriously made me mad. i even took my time to move to another side and i went slowly as i passed him. its not like i looked like a punk or anything. i was even wearing a helmet. its just crazy that people treat you differently just because of the type of bike that you have.
    Last edited by maxbakerman; 07-25-11 at 01:35 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharleyGnarly View Post
    but we also have a couple of nifty skateparks in two of the city parks here. Helmets are not required (what happened to liability?) No age limits. Supervision not required. But, no bicycles allowed. BMXers and parents hit up the city counsel about a place to ride for the BMXers. Sorry. No can do. Can we ride on certain days at the skateparks that are already there? Nope. Too dangerous.
    Go figure. It is all in the current state of things. Whatever is perceived as the "thug" activity at the time, is the one that gets the shaft.
    I guess that's what we get for Tony Hawk being a successful business man...
    same thing for me, personally i do not bmx at a skatepark, but i do have a local skatepark that does not allow bikes. it is just a public skatepark that is owned by the city. a few weeks ago, i even saw a few kids getting tickets for riding a bike. its crazy! biking is no more of a hazard than skateboarding or scootering.

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