In less than five years, the Squamish BMX Racing Club has grown to include hundreds of members, with pro-level facilities that hosted the nationals in 2011.
Pemberton BMX successfully obtained tenure to a piece of land adjacent to the recreation centre last year, and after a fundraising campaign they've started construction on a new start hill and expanded track that will meet requirements to host sanctioned events.
The missing piece of the puzzle in creating a regional series is Whistler, but with the creation of a Whistler BMX Club last summer there could soon be three tracks connecting Sea to Sky's growing BMX community.
Brian Finestone, one of the founders of the club, said people in Whistler are aware something is happening but now is the time to officially get the word out. If all goes well the club will have a track and start gate in place this summer — everything needed to start hosting races.
"Right now we have a few kids that travel from Whistler down to Squamish, or to Pemberton a few times last year, to race, and just seeing what BMX does for people's bike skills, and how bike crazy this community is, it just seems like a perfect fit," said Finestone, who is currently the track director for Whistler BMX.
Cycling Canada and other organizations say BMX — hugely popular in the 1970s and 1980s — is once again one of the fastest growing cycling sports in the country. New clubs and tracks are popping up at the local level, while on the international stage the sport obtained Olympic status for the first time in 2008.
Finestone explains the appeal for families and kids:
"Getting little kids onto mountain bikes and onto trails is sometimes difficult, but with BMX kids can develop the kills they need to mountain bike with mom and dad at a faster rate and have fun at the same time," he said. "They can pull up to the track and start riding and having fun right away. The learning curve is fast."
Most kids also know that a lot of top mountain bike downhillers and freeriders got their start riding BMX, said Finestone, and riders of all ages see BMX as a way to improve their skills on every type of bike. In Squamish, it's become a family sport with both parents and children taking part in weekly races and club events.
He also said that tracks are built in such a way that they provide a challenge to pro level riders, but can also be ridden by kids as young as three and four on run bikes.
"When it comes to BMX people have a mental picture of a big guy on a small bike, but most club tracks are small and everyone can ride them, both little kids on run bikes and pros," said Finestone. "The kids like that they get to ride on the same track as the pros do, watching and learning as they get faster and faster."
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