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The Daily Wildcat

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The bicycle breakdancer

	Renowned BMX biker Terry Adams stops by the U of A campus to show off some sweet flatland biking moves.

Renowned BMX biker Terry Adams stops by the U of A campus to show off some sweet flatland biking moves.

Professional BMX breakdancing. As farfetched as it may sound, that is essentially what Red Bull athlete and BMX star Terry Adams does for a living. But his version of breakdancing involves a bicycle and falls under the freestyle BMX category of flatland riding.

It’s hard to call anything involving a bicycle dancing, but for those who don’t really know what flatland BMX is, that’s the best way to describe it.

“Flatland is basically like dancing on a bike,” said Adams, who visited the UA campus. “It’s a very artistic form of BMX.”

In more direct terms, flatland is a freestyle form of BMX performed on planed surfaces. The art doesn’t involve ramps or grindrails and is far more artistic than the other competitive forms of BMX.

Adams is considered by many in the industry to be one of the best and most creative stars of flatland BMX. Red Bull brought him the UA campus this week where he put his talents on display. On Wednesday, after performing a few tricks by the McKale Center he relocated to the Meinel Optical Sciences building, and had great things to say about the UA and its campus.

“I could go to 100 campuses, and I wouldn’t find something like this,” said Adams, glowing about the perfection of the concrete on which he was performing.

But Adams didn’t make the trip to Tucson to test out the pavement. He came to Tucson because, as a premiere athlete in the flatland craft, he is trying to do whatever he can to spread the word about the sport.

Over the last 50 days, starting in Atlanta, he has been traveling around the country and visiting college campuses nationwide, spreading the word. Clearly, it’s something that Adams truly believes in and is passionate for. The question is, why should anyone else care about it?

“Because it’s tight. It looks dope and even though it’s not like going in the air and doing all this crazy dangerous stuff, it definitely takes a lot of practice and athletic ability,” Adams said.

“These guys are spinning like five, sometimes eight times a day to perfect what they’re doing,” he added. “It deserves to be out there. It deserves to be on TV.”

As he speaks about his sport, the passion and respect Adams has is obvious. Adams is traveling nation-wide, from college-to-college, promoting himself and the sport. Life in transit might wear most people down, but Adams loves every minute of it.

“I would be really dumb to complain. It’s just riding a bike so it’s all awesome,” Adams said.

“The college stuff for Red Bull is cool because even though I didn’t go college I’m kind of experiencing it in a way and riding around on campus and talking to students. I kind of know what it’s like even though I didn’t go,” he added.

The publicity he is gathering for flatland is not purely through his college campus tour. In the past few years, he has made an appearance on the Super Bowl episode of “Glee” and in commercials for Disney Channel, Tiger Electronics and Fuel TV. But, the national TV appearance for which he is most proud might surprise.

“The Ellen [DeGeneres] Show,” he said. “I just really wanted to be on Ellen. It’s kind of a weird show to want to be on, but I just tried to get on it for five years. I sent in videotapes and they kept calling and I kept pushing for it then I ended up there dancing with Ellen.”

Adams has also used film titled “Dreams” to promote the sport.

The “Dreams” DVD first consisted of a 34-minute film that was “based on talking to industry professionals and other riders about how I made my thing happen,” he said.

Later, Adams added more material to the film to bring it up to a 52-minute run time, which became a TV version that went more in-depth into Adams’ life.

“I was talking to teachers and principals and doctors,” he said. “It’s like a biography of me.”

Right now, “Dreams” is playing in a few countries on TV, including Poland and Australia, Adams said.

While Adams’ skills on his bicycle are amazing, his upbringing and back-story are what make his story so special. Growing up in Hammond, La., Adams suffered from severe cases of asthma and dyslexia, forcing him to be home-schooled. Instead of knocking him down and deterring him from a pursuit of a BMX career, it actually proved to be a blessing in disguise.

“Another reason why I didn’t go to school was because I wanted to ride,” he said. “Obviously asthma and dyslexia played into that a little bit, but it helped me out because I didn’t have to go to school so I was done with school at 10 (a.m.), then would just start riding after that.”

Many younger athletes in pursuit of an athletic career might find themselves worried about their potential futures as an athlete, but Adams has a message for them.

If those athletes pursued flatland BMX as their athletic path, it would all come full circle for Adams, who has devoted his life to his sport. He turned down several contests to do this college tour.

As Adams displayed his creativity and talent on the UA campus, there were some gasping “Oh my god” and quite a few others asking“How the f**k did he do that?”

Going forward, Adams is satisfied with where he is in his career. Now, he only hopes to continue his lifestyle his sport into the mainstream.

“Really (I want) just to keep this life going, and make sure I do everything I can to make sure that it doesn’t stop.”

Click here to see a gallery of Terry Adams tearing up the UA campus.

What Terry has to say…

On achievement he is most proud of: I won the NORA cup award in 2005 and 2008. Award where other bmx pros vote for who they think did the best that year. So. I don’t care if I win it again but it was cool to just win it.

On when he realized he had a future in BMX: I guess for a while I thought being a professional rider was like being in the magazines or being in the videos. After I accomplished that at a pretty young age then soon after I realized I could get sponsors. Soon after the sponsors I realized well if I stay on top of my game and market myself really well I can actually make a living from this and get some sponsors that will really support me to where I don’t have to have a job and that’s when I started taking it pretty serious and pursuing what I wanted.

On why he chose to do flatland BMX: Just looking at riders on the screen it just kind of looked like they were floating or flying. Just pretty much everything looked impossible. As a kid you know what you see on TV you wanna do that and be that so I just kind of kept following that dream and wanted to be as good as those guys I seen in that magazines and on videos and here I am

On his Glee appearance: It was the opening scene for the Super Bowl episode it was a really quick scene but it took a long time to film it, It was cool to be a part of that if you’re a Glee fan. I just wanted to meet Heather (Morris, who plays Brittany on the show) on there really bad.

On throwing out a first pitch for the White Sox: There was like no one in the crowd (laughs) It’s not that big of a deal. (Did he reach home plate?) I did because I practiced throwing the baseball at a tree because I had no one to play with me. I threw the ball at a tree for an hour just to make sure I could get it and I got it. If I wouldn’t have made it I don’t think anyone would have cared. Not really no. (Is he a baseball fan?) Not really, it was something my agent hooked up for me so I was like why not.

On how much Red Bull he has drank: [Been with Red Bull] since the end of 2003. Quite a while. I drank like two a day so if you can figure out those numbers, it’s a couple.

On doing demos at nightclubs: It’s just another thing I do for Red Bull, we go to a night club and push the dance scene off the floor and sort of just start riding. If it’s a dance club, people don’t mind getting off the floor for ten minutes to watch a goofy kid on a bike.

On the Voodoo Jam Contest: It’s a contest that happens in my hometown. Prob like, not to be bias, but the best contest in the world I think. Two years ago was the finals of the world circuit. Next year it might not be part of the world circuit but it is a very big heavy hitting contest where all the riders from around the world come and compete and we’ve been doing that since 2004

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