Cycling BC has proposed and the BMX commission has approved the setting the age at which riders are permitted to race with clipless pedals at 10 (born in 2002 or earlier), until this age all riders must race on pedals with no foot retention system. It is felt that the introduction of this rule will help all young riders develop proper riding skills and make racing in the younger classes more competitive. Riders that start using clips too early, in order to be competitive with other clipped in riders, often do not develop correct technique for executing skills fundamental to racing. By establishing a minimum age for clipping in, no riders in the younger classes will be compelled to move to clipping in by competitive pressures and the overall level of competition should be improved.
All skills can be learned, executed and practiced on flat pedals. Keep in mind children concerned that they will no longer be able to jump or manual, or feel that their feet will slip off the pedals unless clipped are merely providing evidence that they have an issue with their technique that is being masked by being attached to their bike. They should be able to execute these skills regardless of pedal choice.
For the past three seasons our youth and junior development camps have been run with athletes on flat pedals. The main goal behind this is to have athletes learn the fundamental skills on flat pedals first. “The implementation of flat pedals at the development camps has definitely been a success. It took the kids about all of half an hour to get used to it and after that there wasn’t a complaint all year. Also, from a coaching standpoint it enables me to teach the athletes proper skills and techniques that are the foundation of becoming a successful rider, not just at their current age and ability but for the rest of their career as an athlete in BMX” – Mischa Partridge, Youth Development Coach.
Currently Alberta (U9) and Quebec (U12) have similar age restrictions. Several other countries including most of Europe have a similar age restriction of U12 or higher.
Our goal is assist athletes in developing skills properly, thus making them better and more complete athletes in the future. We understand that will be a learning curve involved with the changes and will be flexible to accommodate everyone in the changes.