Video by: CTV Anchor, Madison Sloan
The Intramural Fields basketball courts became a flatland playground for pro BMX athlete Terry Adams Thursday afternoon.
Adams, who has won a variety of awards and competitions including a gold medal in BMX Flatland from the 2005 X Games, gave a demo and hosted a skills clinic for an audience of students and passersby around 2 p.m. With Adams performing a vast mixture of technical tricks, there was no shortage of exclamations of “awe” and “holy sh*t” and applause from the crowd.
“I prefer doing (demos on campus) over a typical demo because it’s fun and more organic than organized events,” Adams said. “It’s more authentic than what I usually do for events with set times, you know? I can just come find a flat spot and do a session the same way I would practice at home or anywhere.”
As Adams describes it, flatland BMX is “straight-up breakdancing on a bike” — it requires no ramps, rails or jumps, but rather a bike, a flat surface and some creativity. And according to him, flatland is more of an art comparable to painting rather than a sport.
“The main thing that separates (flatland) from the other disciplines of BMX is that it’s the more artistic style of riding,” Adams said. “BMX racing is about who’s gonna win, BMX air is about who can go the highest or do the biggest trick, but flatland is more about what kind of stuff you can come up with in your head, then executing it.”
Adams has been doing flatland BMX for the past 20 years and has a variety of sponsorships from big-name companies, such as Red Bull, Deco, Torque, Profile Racing and even Raising Cain’s. Aside from competing in big competitions around the world — most recently, he took 1st place at the Trans Jam in Athens last April — Adams travels across the United States and around the world filming videos for his sponsors and doing demos for a plethora of different audiences, both formal and informal.
In his opinion, the informal demonstrations of his skills and talent are preferable to the more formal ones.
Among the group of people watching was landscape architecture sophomore Michael Wellnits, BMX rider and long-time fan of Terry Adams. According to Wellnitz, his day went from mundane to awesome when he saw Adams working his wheels on the basketball courts.
“I did not expect to see Terry Adams on a Thursday on my way back from class,” Wellnitz said. “I’m a huge fan. The guy makes whips and everything look so easy. It’s one of the coolest things — tricks that are super intense and super difficult to do, he makes them look just perfect and easy.”
Even for people in different disciplines of cycling, what Adams is able to do is impressive. Not only that, but doing it in the casual spaces he does it in also gets the relatively unknown world of flatland BMX more exposure and helps attract a wider audience.
“It’s cool seeing someone out here exposing BMX a little more, showing people what it’s all about,” said senior finance and real estate major Brett Donohue. “I ride more dirt and park, and I race, but I definitely admire flatland. It’s super technical and everything has to be super precise.”
Adams said one of the main reasons that he enjoys doing demos at universities is the energy they emit. Since flatland simply requires a flat surface, he could just go to any area fitting the description, but the vibe he gets from a college environment helps him perform.
“Going to a college campus to do demos and speaking with the students is more fulfilling than going to a random basketball court to ride because the people around wanna go somewhere in life, and I feel that energy,” Adams said.
Collegian Print Managing Editor Rick Cookson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @RickCookson1.