It’s pretty crazy to think about how much BMX has grown over the years and how many places around the world that have scenes that are growing incredibly fast with new talented riders popping up left and right. At the same time, there are still places in this world that BMX just isn’t a thing to them. It might come as a shock to you, but a country with an estimated population of 1.27 billion doesn’t have much for BMX going on.
The other day we had a video sent in by Shubham Nevi and Prateek Bhasin with riding from some of their local spots and it got us thinking about the country and how we really haven’t seen much from the place in the past. We got thinking it would be a good idea to talk to these guys about the place and their movement to bring BMX to the country. Let’s see what they had to say!
Names: Shubham Negi and Prateek “Go Green” Bhasin
Location: Chandigarh, India
Years riding: 5 years together.
So let’s start this out… Obviously there isn’t a lot of BMX in India yet. How did you guys first find out about BMX and get involved with it?
Here in India, there are a lot of action sports TV channels like ESPN, AXN and Neo Sports. We just caught part of a documentary and the riding from the X-Games. We really didn’t know what it was at first, actually. However, it attracted our attention because of the cool bikes. After that, the whole story of us becoming BMX riders began and it took us away. We get involved when we saw MTB tricks and some beginner BMX stuff that wasn’t actually on a BMX, but it looked a lot like BMX.
Do you think you would be riding today if it wasn’t for the internet or TV to keep you motivated?
Yes, we ride because we completely enjoy and cherish riding and we always will.
It’s kind of crazy to think about how populated India is and have so few people that ride there. How many riders do you think there actually are out of the estimated 1.27 billion population?
Our estimated guess would be around 100 BMX riders total.
Why do you think BMX isn’t really a thing in India? Do you feel like it’s just that the people have never been exposed to it?
First off, India is a developing country and the secondary people are illiterate, poor and they do not really appreciate sports. They are scared and afraid to try it because it’s something that could hurt your back really badly. They survive with the basic essential needs, so the idea of riding BMX here is crazy.
You guys are behind the Facebook page, Ride BMX India, which has picked up 11,000 fans so far. How has the support been beneficial to the scene over there?
Kink helped us out a ton by sharing our page. We also requested our circle of friends to support BMX here and they have invited their friends to like the page as well. We also printed our cards to hand out during every BMX show we have performed. It’s been a huge help in spreading the word about the page and the sport.
So you guys have been doing demos and some other things to expose the people to BMX there. How have people taken to that so far?
There hasn’t been that good response yet, but some of the riders have really appreciated our tutorials to help them learn some basic tricks.
Do you guys have any more demos planned?
Yeah, we are really looking forward to doing more demos! We visit every sports complex, marketing brands, corporations and bike shops to promote BMX every where we can. We earn very little which is not efficient and the demos aren’t regular, but they are going to keep happening.
Obviously with so few people riding, I’d imagine it’s hard to get new parts and everything, right? Do shops carry BMX parts over there or not really?
There is only one shop in India that we know carries BMX and it’s in Mumbai. We are situated far away from it so that makes it hard. We try to work out deals for the professional quality parts and we do order product from their often. There are other bike shops that have normal bike products that are some what similar to BMX, but obviously not build for doing tricks and break really easily and you even up severely damaging yourself.
What does it usually take to get some new parts for your bike when it breaks?
Our first priority is getting our parents to help if they have any savings. Some times they can help us, otherwise we just have to wait for the monthly income so they could help us. Normally they disagree with it though. We also ask from fellow friends if they could help us and we will do demo’s to try and earn some extra money to buy parts as well.
How supportive is your family about you riding BMX? It sounds like they aren’t really too enthused about it.
They tell us to quit this thing we do and get a job to stand on our own, be independent and become reliable for ourselves.
What are your plans to help BMX grow in India in the future there? Have you ever thought about starting a BMX shop of your own or anything to help supply the riders with parts and get new kids into BMX?
We formed the Ride BMX India team so that people can easily understand our intention and sportsmanship towards the younger kids. We have been filming and editing edits out there hoping people out there watch it and have a positive response from it. We really do want to run our own BMX shop here, but we are students pursuing graduation so the funds are a fundamental problem for this. The idea of opening a BMX shop is still hard to imagine for a little while. We’re just trying our best right now to get kids involved in BMX, but people can’t afford bikes so it has been hard to get them to get into it!
It seems like only a handful of pro riders have actually visited India like the Etnies
team that made a trip there 2 years back. Why should riders or brands consider taking a team trip there?
There is a guy trying to get a handful of BMX brands like Odyssey and Deco to send foreign riders here. They are attracted here because they want to witness what it is like to be here versus what they have seen on TV or just to have the experience of visiting here and seeing what the shops and riders are link in a unique, developing country. Plus, our traditions here are very eye catching.
Where do you see things going in the next 5 years as far as BMX in India goes?
We really don’t have any assumptions as regards to where things will go in the future, but we know things are going to change at a very slow pace for BMX here.
Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
Yeah, thanks to you and Kink BMX for the support and no shout out to anyone here that doesn’t support BMX.
Anything else you want to say?
We already said a lot about how to help grow the BMX industry here. We just had this thing in our minds that we only want to live the BMX dream as a professional riders. As far as going pro we need parts and funds for the maintenance of our bikes. We want some good quality products to help us go as high as we can so we can furnish our skills. It great having sports like this in our country and it has become something in life that we are proud of and have dignity for. All we wish we had are some sponsors to help out with parts and that is it. Thank you so much!