In Gaborone, BMX freestyle stunt biking has slowly been making its way into the recreational scene.
As we’ve seen on the X-games on DSTV’s ESPN channel, freestyle BMX stunt riding has its own different disciplines.
BMX bicycles are meant for Bicycle Motor Crossing, which is quite an extreme sport. BMX Free style stunt riding literally involves performing tricks, doing manoeuvres and going through obstacles using a custom bicycle.
Some of us may still recall scraping our knees and chins, falling off bicycles. Or, peeling our heels and breaking our limbs whilst trying to brake for u-turns.
Block 3 and Phase 2 residential areas of Gaborone have become home to some of the most young and gifted bikers.
When it comes to BMX stunt bicycles, some youths spend hours of each day, perfecting their art of riding.
Unlike the stunts you see on ESPN, these local stuntmen have got their own local indigenous flavour.
Tshepho, a stunt rider from Block 3, says many small boys look up to him. He says he can do 360 degree turns, which still amaze a lot of people.
“We usually hook up with other BMX enthusiasts from Phase 2 and compete to see which location has the best stuntmen,” he said.
Gabriel is one of the best BMX freestylers who reside in Phase 2. He says he used to spend most of his time practicing skills that he would later show off to his friends.
“My mom restricts my time nowadays, since I’m doing home school.”
In Gaborone, most of the stunt bikers are more like street performers and flat ground masters as compared to other disciplines.
During weekends, if you look whilst driving along the western by pass, you’ll notice the freestyle stunt riders.
They ride along standing on the saddles on one foot whilst controlling the bicycle horns with the other. Some risk limb-breaking injury in the name of victory, performing stunts like wheelies.
“A wheelie is basically when the stunt man rides the bike, only on the back wheel whilst paddling,” says Kopano, who is one of the most daring stunt bikers.
A BMX bicycle is generally designed to be smaller. Its custom made frame is meant to be lighter as compared to other bigger sports bicycles.
Just like any other challenging sport, freestyle BMX stunt riders go through seemingly impossible obstacles.
Local stunt bikers, who mostly hail from Block 3 and Phase 2, use the skate park at Molapo Crossing to go through half pipes.
Biker Jozi says he rides his bicycle all the way to Molapo Crossing from Block 3 to meet the other crew from phase two.
“We use bike riding as an activity to stay away from unhealthy habits like drinking and smoking,” he said.
Other surfaces like ramps, dirt jumps and vertical cases are found around Molapo Crossing shopping mall.
BMX freestyle stunt biking has undoubtedly been popularized mostly amongst teenagers by PS 3 and X-Box stunt video games.
Television shows like Barriot 19 on MTV networks have also got their fair share of influence.
On the internet the trend is being literally taught on video-clip websites such as YouTube.
Due to this excessive exposure and influence, many young enthusiasts now wear BMX clothing and shoes like Billabong, DC, Element and Quicksilver.
Gaborone Garage and Cycles is a bicycle shop at the bus rank. Tuelo, a sales representative there, says, “We sell BMX stunt bikes to mostly young people, they cost around P2800 minimum,” she said. “We stock other parts and customizing accessories like horns, forks, shiny pedals and cranks which stylishly stick out at the ends of the pedal wheels.”
BMX freestyle stunt bikers of the big city are slowly being unearthed from their underground territories.
Compliments must be passed to cellular giant, Orange Botswana. They’ve been the biggest encouragers of extreme sport, during the past two to three years.
The cell phone service provider has focused its attention on the youth, who desperately need activities to keep them away from substance and alcohol abuse. That is definitely something to ride home about.
Catch the Orange ultimate games live at the Consumer Fair from the 23rd to the 28th of August. Extreme gaming activities will include skateboarding, stunt biking, gladiator joust, basket ball hoops, sumo wrestling, bungee running, bouncy boxing ring and many more.
See you there!