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Behind the wheels of a professional BMX rider

photoBy Jana Kaplan Features Editor

Terry Adams was just 16 years old when he became a professional BMX rider. Since then, he has gone on to win the X Games and receive the ultimate honor, Ride BMX Magazine’s “Number One Ride” award twice. At just 18, he began to travel abroad and has since then traveled the world doing what he loves. If you look at Terry Adams, you see a down-to-earth guy who just wants to ride. If you know Terry Adams, you see a true athlete filled with passion. I was fortunate enough to meet with him on Hofstra campus on Saturday and see, as his peers call him, “the ambassador for flatland,” a reference to the freestyle BMX sport that uses smooth, flat terrains. Adams does not credit himself for the nickname he has been given. In fact, he sees himself as “someone who promotes myself as a BMX rider and not really a flatland rider… I kind of promoted myself in a way to [the point where I’m] standing up for flatland in a way. If it’s not in the magazines a lot, I’m the one who’s going to the media [to] tell them why it should be. If a photographer thinks a photo isn’t gonna be too exciting, I’m the guy who takes them out to the desert or puts flatland in the middle of a lake or something to make it look really cool.”

All children have dreams – to be a doctor, or be in the Peace Corps – but most dreams change and fade away. When Terry Adams was 12 years old watching professionals ride bikes, “it just looked impossible so it was… intriguing to me to do something that I didn’t really understand.” He didn’t want it for the money or the fame. In fact, he never even realized that existed. “I was just a young kid. My walls were covered with dudes who rode bikes, so I just wanted to be in the magazines,” he said. Well, now he is. Adams has been featured in every major BMX magazine in the world and is sponsored by companies and products such as Flatware, Raising Cane’s chicken fingers and Red Bull. When his popularity skyrocketed and he began attaining these amazing opportunities, Adams realized, “Oh, you know sponsors come along and money and… I shouldn’t take this for granted. There’s a way of doing this and [doing] what I love.”

When asked about the future, Adams says that right now, he just wants to maintain what he has. “It’s hard for me to think of [the future,] because when I was 12, 13 years old, the guys I looked up to, they’re still riding… I think I’m at a point where I’m just really stoked that I have gotten [this] far and I have so many companies and people that are kind of behind what I do and support me in what I do. So I think [the plan is] just maintaining that and making sure I keep my sponsors happy and staying true to myself.” Adams is currently on a weeklong tour with his sponsor Red Bull, where he is stopping at college campuses “pedaling around campus finding a spot that I… would normally ride at home.” The tour, he says, isn’t meant to get students to stop what they’re doing and watch him ride. He said, “If they want to watch, they watch. If not, I’m kind of just doing my thing. It’s… unannounced… I kind of just do my own thing in my element.”

So what is next for Terry Adams? At only 30 years old he has accomplished so much, but he continues believing that the sky is the limit. Always looking for new sponsors and adventures to partake in, Adams is the perfect example of someone living the dream.

Be sure to follow Terry Adams on Instagram at TerryAdamsBMX.

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