Mumbai BMX basics
Back in the shaggy-haired 1970s, some crazy kid got bored riding his bicycle in the usual way and thought, 'Why not take this thing off the road and off the ground?' That rebel impulse has gone on to inspire an entire sport called Bicycle Motorcross (BMX).
It wasn't until 1987 that a group of similarly wild local boys wheeled BMX into Mumbai. Two of those original biker boys eventually launched Gear India, a company dedicated in part to supporting India's growing BMX obsession by providing all the equipment and support both rookies and veteran shredders needed to get off the road.
“It’s a great sport, it is creative expression on a bike," says Rahul A. Mulani, biker and co-founder of Gear India and its sister company, The Bike Shop. "There are no rules to follow like in cricket and football, except for one and that is your foot can’t touch the ground during the trick.”
Check out Gear: The Bike Shop
Rahul A. Mulani and Darryn Van Drine started Gear: The Bike Shop to equip and support fellow bikers in Mumbai. (When not on their bikes Rahul and Darryn run their own sound studio.) Also a part of the team is Deepak Panchal, their shop manager and bike wizard who can fix even the most hopelessly mangled bike. The Gear team can hook you up with everything from bikes to helmets and answer any question you might have.
Gear: The Bike Shop, Fatima Villa, 29th Road, Pali Naka, Bandra West, tel +91 (0) 22 26409139/26403565
Earlier this month, Gear India hosted Hang-Five, the Gear: BMX Free-Style Ground Tricks contest in Bandra. Thirty-five contestants participated across three categories: Flatland, Bunny Hop and Launch Ramp. Gear India is working on the details of their next competition in December.
Stunts: Flatland, Bunny Hop, Launch Ramp
These are three of many categories of BMX stunts. Flatland involves ground tricks -- a whole lot of spinning, rolling and balancing. Bunny Hop is similar to an Olympic high jump -- but with a bike. As its name suggests, Launch Ramp involves using a ramp to launch as high into the air as possible.
"Riding a bike is not dangerous," says Mulani. "If you have all the padding and, of course, a well-fastened helmet you can do all your tricks safely in a clear open space. If, however, you decide you want to jump off the first floor of your apartment hoping to land perfectly on a moving car, then you are better off sticking to your PlayStation."