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Cycling: BMX giving Japan’s freestyling families a way to bond

Cycling: BMX giving Japan's freestyling families a way to bond

Satoshi Deguchi competes in the over-30s category at a BMX freestyle park competition held in Kyoto Prefecture on Nov. 13, 2021. (Kyodo) TOKYO (Kyodo) —…

Wednesday, Nov 24

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Satoshi Deguchi competes in the over-30s category at a BMX freestyle park competition held in Kyoto Prefecture on Nov. 13, 2021. (Kyodo) TOKYO (Kyodo) — The addition of BMX freestyle to the Olympic program at the Tokyo Games opened a lot of eyes to the sport in Japan, and a subsequent boom in interest from people of all ages is bringing families closer.

Even if it is not the most accessible sport due to the inherent risks involved in taking on jumps, ramps and quarterpipes, the head of the Japan Freestyle BMX Federation said he could not pass up the chance to get both young people and their parents involved.

"If (parents are) visiting the venue anyway I thought they might as well ride and have fun," federation head Satoshi Deguchi said of his idea to encourage family participation and allow parents to compete alongside their children.

With a new and very challenging activity to share, many of the family units are finding the sport is a perfect vehicle for improved communication and stronger emotional bonds.

To encourage parents to roll into the park with their kids, the federation reintroduced a category for riders aged 30 and over for the first time in three years at a recent event held in Kyoto Prefecture.

Now, parents whose role had been little more than cheerleading chauffeurs have a chance to show their offspring what they can do on a bike other than a mamachari — the standard family transport that most Japanese use in their neighborhoods […]

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