Abby Faulkner gears up to race (Photo by Dave McCord)

 

TO THE EXTREME…

 

 

The WJON News Team is running a news summer series on extreme driving experiences in Central Minnesota. Listen as WJON's Abby Faulkner gets a crash course (pun intended) in BMX biking.


 

I don't think many of us would automatically associate the word "extreme" with bicycles. Like most people, I have a bike. I like to ride it slowly on trails and quiet streets. But there's another side to biking, and I got the chance to experience it first hand by attempting to race a kids' sized BMX bike on a dirt track right here in St. Cloud.

Pineview Park BMX is tucked away, off of Saukview Drive in the Westwood area. Basically, if you have 10 bucks and a small, BMX style bike to ride, you can take a run at a professionally-designed dirt race track.

While Pineview has official races on Mondays and Thursday nights, I opted to try it out for the first time on a practice night with other beginners.

Cheryl Post, one of the owners of the Pineview, was kind enough to set me up with a bike, a helmet and a few well wishes before letting me loose on the course.

After my first, slightly wobbly practice loop,  I was surprised to find myself completely exhausted. Not only are you pedaling, but you're using your arms and shoulders to lift the bike as you hit large hills, jumps and loops.Post says BMX is easily one of the best full-body activities for people of any age.

Absolute best form of exercise ever....It's great for all ages, from 3 years old to our oldest rider at 69. And you will be hot and sweaty at the end of the day.

After my second, slightly faster spin on the track, I managed to improve my form and rip around corners with a little more finesse. Post reminded me - the most important part of racing and balance is to keep up your speed. Even so, the possibility of a crash always looms large in BMX...

You're gonna fall down at some point, that's just the nature of the sport. We actually celebrate someone's first BMX crash, because that usually means they're trying something new, they're going a little bit faster  and taking a new risk.

Cheryl Post and her husband Mark are very involved with BMX in more ways than one. Their daughter, Alise, will be representing the US on the BMX Olympic team in London this summer. Post says, even though Alise is now far away, traveling and competing, she wants to keep BMX thriving here in St. Cloud.

This is the most family-oriented sport we've ever been involved with. We've been involved for 15 years, and that's definitely what attracted me to the sport. that's why I got involved 15 years ago, and that's why I'm still doing it now.

Well, at the end of the evening, I realized I'm no Alise Post. I wasn't especially speedy, but hey, I didn't crash onto my head and had a great time!

I definitely intend to try BMX again. The course offers all kinds of practice sessions as well as nights where you can try racing against other people of your own skill level.

If you're looking for a new, fun way to spend some time on a bike, get some exercise and test your limits, I recommend checking out Pineview Park BMX. Give Cheryl and Mark Post a call at 320-260-6702.