- Flatland BMX
Flatland is a
freestyle BMXriding style performed on smooth flat surfaces that do not include any ramps, jumps, or grindrails. It is sometimes described as a form of artistic cyclingwith a blend of breakdancing, ballet, or figure skating.
Flatland occupies a position somewhat removed from the rest of freestyle BMX. People who ride in the above disciplines will generally take part in at least one of the others, but flatlanders tend to only ride flatland. They are often very dedicated, and will spend several hours a day perfecting their techniques.
Flatland also differs from the others in that the terrain used is nothing but a smooth, flat surface. Tricks are performed by spinning and balancing on the bike in a variety of unexpected positions. Riders almost always use knurled aluminum pegs to stand on to manipulate the bike into even stranger positions.
Flatland bikes typically have a shorter wheelbase than other freestyle bikes. This shorter wheelbase requires less effort to make the bike spin or to position the bike on one wheel. One of the primary reasons flatlanders often ride only flatland is the decreased stability of using their shorter bikes on ramps, dirt and street.
A variety of options is commonly found on flatland bikes. The most unifying feature of flatland bikes is the use of four pegs, one on the end of each wheel axle. Flatlanders will choose to run a front brake, front and rear brakes, or no brakes at all, depending on stylistic preference.
Although the flatland bicycle is similar to most other BMX bicycles, flatland is often performed with specially designed frames with geometry (head tube angle, top tube length, etc.) suited to the needs of flatlanders. Front and rear bolt-on pegs, a hollow compression bolt on the forks for the front brake cable, and a rear brake cable detangler or "Gyro" to allow the bars to rotate endlessly without tangling the brake cables. Also invented specifically for flatland riding is the rear hub mechanism known as a "freecoaster", which allows the rear wheel to roll backwards without engaging the hub to make the cranks rotate backwards as they would on a normal freewheel or cassette style hub. Other technical bicycle setup specifics can include zero offset forks, narrow handlebars, very high pressure tires, and a very small front sprocket. But in theory, any BMX bike with axle pegs could be used for flatland riding, although a good bike makes a big difference to the rider.
In competition, talent and skill are judged by the ability to maintain coordination, and balance while performing a variety of difficult and elegant moves. There are usually several categories for judging purposes which can include:
*number of touches: the number of times a trick is not completed and/or the number of touches of the foot to the ground
*number of tricks completed in the allotted time
*difficulty of the tricks, which can be very subjective, as flatland techniques have in many ways become as refined as those in
figure skatingor breakdancing
*originality of the tricks performed, which again can be somewhat subjective
*style and flow, or how smoothly and/or stylishly moves are performed during the contest run
Flatland is an involving, time-consuming discipline in which the rider learns different balance/counter-balance points and center-of-gravity in motion techniques through repetition and trial-and-error. Some tricks can be learned in hours, while others may take years to master.
Various riders emphasize different aspects of the discipline: the
artisticnature of flatland and the originality of tricks, the number and difficulty of tricks, or the simple enjoyment of the activity. Only contest riders need to be concerned with the competitive side of the discipline, as there are many riders who prefer doing shows, taking parts in videos, or simply riding with their friends and enjoying themselves.
Riders usually pedal a few times for speed, and then perform various stunts often involving difficult and/or awkward stances on pegs, mounted to the axles of their front or back wheels. Pegs are hollow metal tubes, which are bolted onto both sides of the front and back axles. When flatland riding first began, most riders would do one trick and then return to the pedals. However, by combining different body and bicycle positions into "combos" and "linking" them together, riders began to do several tricks in a row without stopping between each move. Flatland riding is now usually a combination of many different kinds of moves, often linked together non-stop as the rider goes through as many as 10-12 consecutive moves, and position/direction changes, before returning to the pedals.
Notable flatlanders include
Bob Haro, Kevin Jones, Chase Gouin, Pete Brandt, Jesse Puente, Chad Degroot, Trevor Meyer, Simon O'Brien, Martti Kuoppa, Michael Steingräber, Chad Johnston, Matt Wilhelm, Phil Dolan, Cory Fester, Art Thomason, York Uno, Hiro Morizaki, Stephen Cerra, Terry Adams, Viki Gomez, Matthias Dandois, Raphael Chiquet, Justin Miller, Adam Kun, Effraim Catlow, Alex Jumelin, Sam Foakes, Nathan Penonzek, Chris Böhm, Bram Verhallen, Wolfgang Sauter, and Kotaro Tanaka.
Flatland has went through many stylistic changes since its beginnings in the late 70s. Riders once wore full protective gear and full face helmets, starred in feature length films such as
Rad (film), and performed in large scale events such as NBA halftimes. Following the decline in popularity and subsequent recession in most action sports at the end of the 80s, Flatland went " underground". It resurfaced in the late 90s with the return of media attention in the form of events such as the X Games. Flatland was dropped from the X Games and other large scale events in the early 2000s, forcing the sport/artform to become more independently run and owned. Most flatland companies and events now exist outside of other BMX circles, although there is still, somewhat limited, coverage in mainstream BMX magazines and videos.
The "modern" flatlander looks and rides very differently than the original kids goofing around the outside of a racetack.
Flatland tricks are given names, usually by the first person to perform it. For example, the first flatland "bunnyhop tailwhip" was landed in a Burger King parkinglot, and there named a "whopper".
The name may be modified (referencing whether it is rolled, scuffed, g-turned, stationary, etc.) or included in a list of other tricks, with "links" such as "bar-flip into" or "jump to", to indicate a combination, often shortformed to "combo".
These names generally apply to popular positions, or combinations of tricks:
*Fork Glide:The rider stands on the front peg/s and spins 180 degrees. From here the rider can use their foot on the tyre to move along. This trick is commonly used as a starting point to other tricks.uses the front brake to swing the bike completely around while keeping feet on pegs. foot may be used as a brake.
*Steamroller - Forward fork glide on the back wheel holding the seat, usually rode into with a half lash.
*Tailwhip - The rider uses the front brake to swing the bike completely around while keeping feet on pegs. foot may be used as a brake.
*Fire Hydrant:The rider Performs a basic fork glide and then swings the back of the back round towards them.
*G-Turn:Whipping the back frame into a spinning backwards rolling endo with feet on the pedals
*Decade:Lifting the front wheel up and jumping over the top tube and landing on the petals to ride out.
*Rolaid or Rollaid:Rolling Decade. Brakeless. The Decade and Rollaid can be done in multiples up to 4.
*Whiplash:Rolling Tailwhip. can be done without brakes. Can be done in multiples. The Film Dorkin in York captured Kevin Jones doing 100.F
*Cliffhanger:A rolling endo with one foot on each front peg and the torso behind the seat for a balance point
*Hang five:Placing one foot on one of the front pegs and pulling the frame up until seat meets contact and a balance point is established; a rolling endo. The foot not on the peg hangs down and is used as a counter balance.
*Hang ten:Similar to the Hang-5, but with a foot on either peg.
*Hang nothing:Similar to the Hang-5 but without either foot on the peg. Both feet are used as a counterbalance.
*Elbow glide:Placing one foot on one of the front pegs with one side of the body and the opposite elbow tucked with the seat to control the balance point
*Hitchhiker:Tilting the bike completely forward on the front wheel while rolling, standing both feet on the front pegs; holding the bike in front of you, by the underside of the backwheel or holding an axle peg.
*Backpacker:Related to the Hitchhiker, but with the body positioned forward with the bike behind the body.
*Cow maneuver:Placing the frame up and tucking a rotation on the pegs backwards into the pedals; this trick has many variants and can be performed without brakes (Chase Gouin)
*Surfer:Placing one foot on the seat and one foot on the handlebars while rolling; popular in some videos and commercials
*Scurfer:Same as the Surfer, but with only one foot on the handlebars
*Death truck:Rolling a back peg wheelie and pulling the body over the handlebars; one of the most feared tricks in Flatland BMX not because of its difficulty, but because of the potential tangled bail
*Bar ride:Placing both feet on the grips of the bars and using only the torso and hands for a balance point while rolling
*Backyard:A scuffing trick performed by a foot push and control on the tires, while facing away from the frame on the back pegs
*Gerator (also "lardyard"):Similar to the backyard, but holding on to one handlegrip while and scuffing more off the side and back while scuffing in a circle
*Megaspin:Spinning on the back tire in a circular motion
*NOTE: These tricks mentioned are a few within the art/sport of Flatland BMX. These tricks and many others have variants and depend on the style of the rider performing them. Also, these tricks can be linked or combined into sequences that could not otherwise be titled.
* [http://www.bykeforum.com/ Bykeforum.com - Flatland BMX Community]
* [http://www.forum.flipbykes.com/ Flipbykes.com - Pinas BMX Community]
* [http://www.urbanfreestyler.com Urban Freestyler - Flatland Crew]
* [http://www.twentystyle.com.ar Flat in Argentina - South America - Spanish website]
* [http://www.bikeflat.com English website]
* [http://www.agoride.com French website]
* [http://www.nzflatland.co.nz New Zealand website]
* [http://www.chainlinkz.com Houston Flatland website]
* [http://www.colombiaflat.com COLOMBIA Flatland website]
* [http://www.kgbflat.com kgb website]
* [http://www.creamofbmx.fr cream magazine]
* [http://www.wathbmx.com videos website]
* [http://www.23mag.com/tricks/flat.htm tricks website]
* [http://www.BMXFreestyler.com BMXFreestyler Flatland Website]
* [http://www.newsCOOLflatland.de BMX Flatland Shows/ Chris Böhm]
* [http://www.Flatmonkeybmx.com Flatmonkey Bmx/Stunt Team Website]
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