First you need a bike. You don't need an expensive bike to race. When you get better at racing you might decide
later you want/need a better bike. Check with your local bike shop for information on upgrading your bike for a better one.
The basic requirements for bikes to race is that the reflectors, kickstand, chainguard and pegs be removed. You need
pads covering the handlebar crossbar, the stem, and the top tube of your bike. Your handlebars cannot be sticking through
the end of your grips. If this happens, you need to buy end caps at your local bike shop. You should make sure your bike
is tuned up - check your tires for wear and tear, and make sure everything is good and tight. It is recommened that you can
use rear hand brakes instead of the coaster brakes that the smaller bikes usually come with.
You will need a helmet
to race, which can normally be borrowed at your local track if you don't have one yet. It is highly recommended that you use
a full face helmet, but an open face one will work fine as well. If you are using an open face helmet, you will probably need
a mouthguard. It is also required that you wear a long sleeve shirt and long pants.
Getting on the Track
Next, you need to find your local track. The easiest way to do this is by calling the ABA at (800)886-1BMX or the NBL at (800)886-BMX1.
You can also call a local bike shop and ask them where a track is. If you are on the web, you can find out where your local
track is by visiting the ABA's or NBL's track directory. (check my linx page for their web address)
When you find
a track, you can get a 30 day trial membership (to see if you like it first), and pay a small entry fee. The track operator
will help you out with anything you need. They should be able to provide you with a temporary numberplate if you need one.
When you get on the track for the first time, go slow and be careful. Watch the other riders to see how they balance
at the starting gate, ride the jumps and handle the turns. Don't worry if you can't clear the jumps or handle the track very
well at first - it takes time and practice. Don't get discouraged if you end up racing people who have been racing longer
than you, or who are older than you. Sometimes at small, local tracks riding in your age group and skill level isn't possible.
After you have raced locally for a while, you can go statewide and even national for more competition and fun.