When people encounter the idea of BMX culture and the community that surrounds it, many assume that the sport is full of crazy scumbags and bike riders who have nothing better to do. Cristian Valle, a 16-year-old sophomore at M-A, began assimilating himself into the BMX culture when he was eight years old, with his crew of friends in East Palo Alto.
Valle refuted the misconception from the outside world towards BMX culture by claiming, “I feel like the world has an idea about what a BMX rider should look like and act, you know… My friends and I are not white kids doing whatever; we are some kids from EPA putting our dreams into BMX and having fun while doing it. The people that say we have nothing better to do just don’t understand it. ”
Everyday, Valle and his friends meet up at their local spot in East Palo Alto and commute to school with their bikes. Throughout the years, Valle realized the benefits BMX has brought into his life. He shared, “Through BMX is where I met my best friends that I hang out with almost everyday. These are the same dudes I share the best times with and the ones that are there to pick me up from bad times.” Growing up, Valle had a great influence from his surroundings. His brother, Miguel Valle, a professional skateboard film maker, and his cousin, Joey Geuvera, a professional skateboarder, introduced him to the BMX culture. Valle stated, “My brother and cousin were always skating around and I always liked how they did it all by themselves. I was never good at skating but its aesthetic and DIY attitude always stuck with me.”
Sophomore Damian Young has also been raised around the BMX culture and sees BMX riding as a form of art. Young added, “I think it’s like art because nobody understands what you are doing or what the meaning is but the rider plans everything out and acts to create all these cool moves.” When asked how BMX has impacted his life so far, he answered, “BMX riding gives you this idea of always going for the crazy move and testing yourself and mostly losing your fear. I’ve also learned a lot of things like never giving up and I’ve applied that to life outside too.”