Arriving at Jams and Comps is always cool… You get to see all your friends old and new, check out the venue, catch up with the news, and see who’s got a new bike! There’s a great sense of community, family even, within Flatland, and that’s reinforced at events like this. (Mind you, if you believe Salvador, it’s a very dysfunctional family!)
Once you got past the glass-like surface in Moulsecoomb Community Leisure Centre, and seeing your reflection in it, the riding commenced. I must admit, it’s probably the best surface I’ve ridden on personally… it certainly makes a difference from my local car park!
The hall seemed to break itself up into four sections, with riders from various parts of our Fair Isle grouping together to ride. The great thing was the way in which everyone moved from group to group as more riders arrived, or familiar faces appeared. I tended to stick in one corner to ride, but roamed the whole hall to chat and photograph the fun.
There was definitely a laid back vibe at the jam, which organiser Chris Carter backed up for me… Chris wanted everyone to feel welcome and not intimidated, as comps can often do that. It’s better to have a jam and really enjoy it, rather than feel under pressure to perform and compete. Also, you can speak to the pros and get support and advice without feeling that they are unapproachable…
Saying that, there were some competitions, though Chris still wanted to keep the fun going… is was SO funny to see about twenty riders line up on the opposite side of the hall, then set off at the same time, trying to hold the longest Hang Five, Hang Nothing, Hitchhiker and Peg Wheelie. I was in stitches watching the ‘comps’, it was probably the funniest thing I’ve seen in BMX for ages… the photos don’t do it justice.
Personally speaking, I have to agree with Chris… Jams are the way forwards for Flatland, if we want to get more people riding and involved. The amount of support and motivation I got throughout the day was amazing and inspirational. I’m still learning the basics, but the advice and support I got from fellow riders helped me take my own riding up a huge notch. And I could see this going on all over the hall, faces old and new, jamming together, learning and growing.
This is what flatland needs more of… here’s to the next jam!