About this blog
Hello, my fellow 2 wheel enthusiasts, adrenaline junkies, and all you other happy folks out there! My name is John Marian, and I have been a dedicated practitioner of the sport/art/craft of BMX or bicycle motocross for the past 13 years!
Up until a year ago, I never had any official sponsorship, which proved to be increasingly problematic as I progressed, pushing my limits and breaking more and more bike parts. Then spring of 2017, my good friend Calin Onye put me in contact with Mutzi, the owner of BMXSHOP.ro located in Oradea, Bihor. It seemed he was looking for someone to be the “image” of his shop, as well as someone he could help grow and progress as a BMX rider in Romania. Soon after the BMXSHOP family grew with the addition of Nicolas Betiuc, an up and coming shredder from Campulung Moldovenesc, who’s talent and tenacity on a bike, along with his strong online presence made his addition to the team a no-brainer!
As of what you can expect from BMXSHOP.ro, we are looking forward to:
-Providing more options as far as bmx parts and accessories
-Organizing contests with prizes from your favorite bmx brands
-last but not least A brand new blog for YOU the Romanian BMX riders
Our brand new blog is where my colleagues and I will be writing various bmx related (of course) articles, reviews, posting videos and interviewing the most skilled riders from throughout the country! Anyone who is passionate about bmx, rides well, and is a cool person, will be featured on our blog, so get out there and ride, progress, film videos, and try and have fun while you’re at it!
When Stefan asked me (John) if I wanted to be one of the people to run the blog, that would go along with the online store, I jumped at the chance! I would have the chance to write about something I’ve been passionate about for a long time, and interview friends whom I’ve ridden with for years. There was one condition though, the first article would be about me, and I would have to write it. But how do I start? What is there to say? I’ve never written an article before, let alone about myself. I needed some inspiration, so I called my dad and told him what was going on. So he gave me the first phrase as a starting point, and I took off from there. So a big thanks to him! I hope all of you who read this find something of value, that you can take from my experience, as I saw it. This is how it all started…
My BMX Obsession
I was 13,small for my age and up until then I had always done poorly at sports, especially sports involving any kind of team effort. Being a hyper-energetic kid though, I never shied away from physical activities. From horseback riding, to soccer, basketball, skiing and archery, I dabbled in many different areas and enjoyed them all more or less. My passion at the time, was basketball, even though I sucked at it and ran around most of the time like a wild child, goofing around. As the weeks went by, I began to make progress and to take things a bit more seriously. I’ve always been competitive but had a strong distaste for discipline and authority (my coach) which only grew with each passing day, both at home and at practice, and I longed for freedom.
On certain days, whether it was nice outside, or my folks couldn’t drive me to the gym, I rode my bike, a chrome Matrix Freestyle 1 that my dad had bought for 400 lei (aprox 100 USD) earlier that year. I couldn’t do any tricks, bunnyhop, or even jump a curb, I just pedaled in my wobbly chaotic way to and from practice. One day, as I leaving, I noticed across the street there were some older guys riding bikes, doing maneuvers I couldn’t comprehend. Some rode Bmxs like mine, others had Mtbs. They had baggy jeans with chains hanging out of their pockets, sock hats and tattoos, studded belts and a lot of them smoked cigarettes. What a crowd, I thought, not knowing whether to go home and forget about it or go have a closer look. Eventually, after several days of just following them around observing from a distance, I mustered the courage to go and interact and to my surprise most of them were pretty nice people.
I was fascinated to no end, asking tons of questions, about their bikes, how long they’d been riding for, how they did all those amazing tricks, annoying the hell out of them on a daily basis. Quitting basketball was an easy decision and I quickly became part of Sibiu’s “Bike crew” spending all my free time either roaming town with the guys trying to replicate the moves I saw them doing, or surfing the web, looking at bike parts. I had finally found my niche! Back then I rode around with a few kids that were my age, and although we tried tricks together and all looked up to the older guys and aspired to be like them, often times our focus was on other, more trivial things. Instead of paying closer attention and focusing more on what we were doing, pushing each other to progress and encouraging each other to do so more often, we mostly talked about who was riding what frame or bars, how wide they were and so on. As things turned out, some of ‘us’ were more naturally drawn to the image than to the sport itself, and many of the kids I started riding with quit for different reasons, while I continued to ride, building momentum, slowly becoming more and more confident.
As the months passed, I made lots of friends, fell countless times, losing skin and breaking bike parts. I was a regular at the local spots and rode as often as I could. On one particular day I went to our local bike shop, and there on the tv was a guy called Morgan Wade doing the most mind boggling tricks and transfers I had ever seen. I was star struck! I sat there and watched the rest of the video dumbfounded, unable to comprehend how someone could pull off such dangerous stunts and why. Why would they even try? Every guy in this video was risking his life, crashing, getting back up, and crashing again. There was blood and pain, and trips to the hospital, all the while this guy is laughing as the doctor stitches the inside of his mouth. He didn’t seem to mind though, he was doing what he loved and it was worth the pain and the risk.
This inspired me greatly, and I felt a desire to pursue this, to attain that level of mastery. This was the definitive moment, when I decided I wanted to pursue a career in the sport, and that one day, I too would become a pro bmx rider ! But how do you start such an endeavor? There were no pro riders in Romania, and there was nobody to guide my efforts. The guys I rode with rarely ever gave tips or advice, and there wasn’t even a skatepark in Sibiu at the time. But all that didn’t matter, because this dream, born on that day grew into an obsession. I faced many setbacks, and was almost constantly injured in some way or another, much to my parents dismay. I was often discouraged and ridiculed for my obsession, not only by my peers but also by close family and relatives, for having an unrealistic dream that didn’t involve going to college and getting a degree. But my parents supported me a fair amount, even if they didn’t entirely understand or agree with this ‘vice’ of mine. Thanks to them my bike was in working order most of the time, and I am so grateful, because without their support I could not have stayed in this game for so long!
Along the way, I made my fair share of bad decisions, paying dearly for every one of them, even losing my way many times. But I always remembered my dream, returning to my single-minded pursuit of the thing I loved most dearly: BMX, in all of its forms. I could never seem to get bored or tired of riding, there was always so much to learn so many areas and facets to improve upon, and most importantly, I had freedom! The freedom to direct my efforts exactly as I saw fit, to express myself unencumbered through this craft that had no limits! The freedom to be obsessed!
Years passed by, and to this day I continue on my path, learning, growing, striving. Even though my dream has not been yet fulfilled, I am not at all discouraged, because the journey itself, like that first summer all those years ago has been transformative and the memories I made with the people I encountered are priceless. Unlike a professional career, or sponsorship deal that can end at any moment, due to carelessness, or old age and injuries or just bad luck, the experiences I’ve had and relationships I’ve made that have consequently enriched my life greatly, will remain with me forever!
So I invite you to find your obsession, and follow it regardless of what anyone says or thinks. It will transform your life! And if that happens to be Bmx, then I’ll see you out there in the streets!