Pro-BMX Rider visits Iowa City


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Sitting on his bike’s handlebars as the frame stood in a perfect vertical, professional BMX rider Terry Adams attracted small crowds of spectators through Iowa City over the weekend.

Adams spent Sept. 12 and 13 traveling around Iowa City to locations such as the Waterfront Hy-Vee and Brothers Bar and Grill, doing impromptu demonstrations to help promote Red Bull, one of his sponsors.

Adams specializes in a style of riding known as flatland BMX.

Unlike racing and park BMX, flatland focuses on the steady execution of tricks, often designed by the rider, on smooth, flat surfaces without ramps, jumps, or grind rails. Adams said it is most popular in Asia, though there are competitions that take place across the globe.

“It’s more of the artistic side of BMX riding,” he said. “It’s basically taking your mind and your bike and being as creative as you can be as you create the tricks in your head.”

The precocious Louisiana native discovered flatland BMX at the age of 12 and was entering competitions at the professional level by the age of 16.

“There was a period in there where it was nothing but bike riding for five or 10 hours a day,” Adams said.

In 2005 he won the gold medal for flatland BMX in the X Games held in Seoul, South Korea. He also received Ride BMX Magazine’s Number One Ride Award, one of the sport’s most prestigious distinctions, in both 2005 and 2008.

Adams is preparing for the finals of the flatland BMX world circuit, which are held in Japan in mid-October.

This visit to Iowa City is the final stop of a two-week promotional tour, organized by Red Bull, through several Midwestern college towns.

Instead of promoting show times, Red Bull takes a less invasive approach to product promotion, Adams said.

“I just kind of pedal around campus,” he said. “Find some flat spots that I would normally ride and authentically do my thing, and if students want to stop by and check it out, then they do.”

Iowa State senior Matthew Bogenschultz, who watched the performance at Brothers, said he didn’t understand why Adams had to do the demonstration on the cramped dance floor.

He said it probably contributed to the occasionally underwhelming nature of the performance.

“I thought that given the area he had to work with he put on a good show, “ Bogenschultz said.

University of Iowa senior John Zanussi enjoyed the performance and venue, and he said he assumed the location was chosen to reach as many people as possible.

“It looked like pretty tight conditions for him; he’s probably used to riding to more open spaces where he can move around,” Zanussi said.

UI senior Denzel Bingaman, a freelance photographer hired to take photos of Adams for Red Bull, said the subsequent pavement-bound performances on Saturday did prove to be a more exciting experience.

“It was wildly impressive,” Bingaman said. “That level of creativity on a bike was something I’d never really imagined before.”

Although Adams said flatland BMX is his passion, the ongoing feeling of pressure to perform at a high-level in a high-scrutiny environment is sometimes difficult. However, he said, it is never debilitating.

“The second everyone knows who you are is the moment you start to get criticized and the pressure is on you to progress and stay on top of your game,” he said.

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