Don't Mess With BMXas
Don't Mess With BMXas
Aaron Ross makes quite a first impression- And it isn't just the day-glow bikes that make you do a double take. Let your eyes wander and you might miss a glimpse at the next big thing in BMX street.
"I've been pretty lucky," he says of injuries. "But this?!"
Ross, originally from Corpus Christie, lives in Austin. But at the moment he's in Las Vegas, against his wishes. "Worst place ever," he grumbles. "I've been sitting in the hotel room, just wanting to go back to Austin, home. But I literally could not take it. So I went to the hospital."
Earache and medications aside, Ross isn't known for being a complainer. It's just that he would prefer to be on his bike in his preferred habitatthe urban streetscape. Here, obstacles like stairs, terraces and curbs are just places to punctuate his famed two-wheeled traverses. Documentation of Ross' skill and creativity is ubiquitous on YouTube, but street ridersuntil nowhave remained largely underground. Now, with a pure street event on deck for the first time at this summer's X Games in L.A., things are beginning to change.
"Bike riding started in the street, years ago," says Ross. "And then it went to the ramps and vertwhat you always see on TV. But it's always stayed core on the street. The video parts you see are some of the most insane bicycle stunts you can do, and we'll meet vert guys who'll say, 'I don't know how you guys do this stuff.' It's always been like that, and it's nice to see that it's finally come to the same place."
Since September, Ross has competed in street at three international X Games events: Dubai, Mexico City, and, most recently, Brazil. He also collected three podium finishes (two silvers and a bronze). A native of Corpus Christi, Ross grew up riding bikes. At age 11, "I really got into BMX," he says. "And from that point on, I was into it. Never quit. Never."
Every Sunday, when he's home in Austin, Ross races at a local BMX track, and he's a regular trail rider as well. "For some of us, it never gets old. You go outside and you ride a kid's bike," he says. "Street riding was just the most interesting to me in terms of progression. When I ride street, my mind is always going crazy. I want to do this. I want to try that. My favorites? Bunny hop 360s and jumping down big sets of stairs and riding big technical lines; long, long lines that revolve around different technical things. That's what I've always been really into."
A year-and-a-half ago, Ross moved to Austin lured by the burgeoning bike scene there. "Hundreds of bike riders here, a really good scene," he says. He shares a big house with five other young guysfellow BMX riders Chase Hawk, Dennis Dombrow and Tony Cardona, photographer Devon Hutchins and designer Adam Roye. "Everyone rides bikes, so there's always something to do and there's always someone to ride with," says Ross.
And that's what Ross does every day. He gets up and rides his fluorescent colored bikes. It is, after all, his job. "Street is the biggest trend in BMX at the momentmore kids get into it now because they see the freedom of it. You're not paying to go into parks, you're just going out, riding around the city and doing tricks. You're just a group of friends and maybe you hit your favorite restaurant on the way. You just go, and it's fun," he says.
That, and the residual effects of the earache. But at the moment, with Ross heading back home finally, the prognosis is good, very good.