Wheelie into the world of BMX riding

Student Ethan Dorer navigates BMX riding alongside his sponsorships


Anna Bea Heise

ZERO GRAVITY: Dorer launches himself into the air off of the raised course. Dorer enjoys riding during the weekends at House Park. “My favorite memory with my BMX bike was definitely the first time I got free bike parts,” Dorer said. “That was a really cool feeling because I knew my riding was getting more recognition.”

Anna Bea Heise, Photo Essay Editor

BMX riding is a lesser known sport where riders race on tracks with rollers, jumps, and turns to challenge their skills. Senior Ethan Dorer has been a competitor in this sport since his early childhood.

“I have been riding since I was four years old,” Dorer said. “My dad got me into it because he used to ride when he was my age.”

Equipment for this sport include the typical riding protection of helmets and knee and elbow pads. BMX bikes are specific to this sport as they are smaller since riders are never sitting down and need to be nimble on the bike.

“I can usually make do with most pairs of shoes for riding, but I don’t really wear any protection other than a helmet since I’ve hit my head a bunch of times,” Dorer said. “You do need a lot of money for the bike and its parts.”

Like other sports, BMX riders can be sponsored by companies for their riding. Dorer has two sponsors from bike part companies.

“I think I began to take riding more seriously when the company Sunday Bikes reached out to me,” Dorer said. “They asked me if I wanted to stay on their bike parts and support their company.”

Dorer gets free parts delivered from companies Sunday Bikes and Odyssey BMX. However, the only way for riders to make money from this sponsorship is to have signature bike parts with them through a collab.

“I promote myself as a rider by posting clips of me riding on social media as much as I can,” Dorer said. “I also try to promote clips that go into bigger projects that are actually filmed on real cameras. They can be sold as full video parts rather than a clip of me riding with no editing.”

While some ride for the fun of it, there are a variety of competitions that riders can participate in. These can be showcases for a rider’s speed or for their skills as they perform tricks.

“I have competed in a contest for Rockstar, Hot Wheels, The Border, and more,” Dorer said. “Before I started riding freestyle, I was racing with a team which was definitely completely different.”

Freestyle BMX riding demonstrates a rider’s skills and is competed individually. Team racing is different because it is based off of your team’s speed as a whole.

“I like freestyle riding more because I feel like it’s more of an art form,” Dorer said. “You can’t really express yourself in any other way than showing how fast you can go unless you’re riding freestyle.”