BMX biking soars to new heights

The sport first took off in the late 1970s.
HUBBARD -- By now, those little BMX bikes are commonplace.
Kids all over the neighborhood are building ramps and jumps, doing tricks and riding rails.
The sport has been around for years, says Steve Luckett, co-owner of the Section 8 Skatepark in Hubbard.
"In the 80s, the BMX thing was super big," Luckett said. "Then in about 1994 -- when the X-Games started being televised -- kids started seeing [BMX biking] on TV, and they wanted to participate in it. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger."
According to web sites devoted to the sport, BMX (which stands for Bicycle Motocross) began in California in the mid- to late-70s. It has since taken two forms: Racing and freestyle.
Expensive: To properly prepare for either form of BMX biking, you'll need equipment - and bucks.
Basics include safety gear like knee and elbow pads, shin guards, gloves, and, of course, a helmet.
And let's not forget the bike.
According to Section 8 co-owner Joe Cupp, just the frame of the 20-inch bike can cost anywhere from $800 to $2,000. They're made of a blend of chromium and platinum, which means the bike can take a lot of abuse. Everything in the frame is sealed, Cupp said, and everything you add to it is sealed, too. This, though expensive, also adds strenth to the bike.
"You want to pay the money rather than have the frame snap halfway across a box jump," Cupp said.
To the frame, you need to add wheel hubs ($300), rims ($50), spokes ($20),a handlebar stem ($120), along with other parts. All prices are approximates, and vary depending on quality.
Still, most of the kids involved in this sport don't seem to mind the cost.
"It's addictive," said Chris "Blammo" Anthony, 20, of Girard. "It's really addictive. You can't stop once you've started riding."
Others really enjoy putting their bikes together.
"It's fun to buy parts," said Travis Alexander, 13, of Canfield. "You treat your bike like a Harley -- you show it off, and the work you've done on it."
Adam Volinchak of Canfield just laughed.
"Every time I break a part, and have to replace it, my dad groans," the 13-year-old said. "He says 'I can't afford this -- it'll run me into the poor house.' But he always does."
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