Ramped Up

Photo by Bouke Salverda

This past weekend the dandyhorse team dropped in on the Toronto International Bicycle Show which features the Toronto BMX Jam organized by Mike Heaton. Read about our bike show visit on the dandyBLOG here.

The following article originally appeared in dandyhorse Issue #1, get it here.

All-wood is good

by Tammy Thorne

“I’d like to build an action sports centre,” says Michael Heaton. “It would be just like any other recreation centre in the city, except instead of a swimming pool and basketball court it would have a skatepark, bmx park, maybe a small dirt race track, and a media centre where videos could be made.”

Heaton has the right idea according to the dozens of kids who ride every day at the newest park he helped create in Toronto’s downtown west end. The ramps at the new park are from the privately run Toronto bmx Jam, and this is the second summer they were moved to Wallace Emerson Park at Dupont and Dufferin.

Jamie Harris Burke is one of the riders who applauds Heaton’s efforts. “It is important to have bmx parks because there are so many bmx riders in the city and we need somewhere to ride rather then being discriminated against and forced out of skateparks.”

Burke is devoted to bmx despite having sustained many injuries doing it. “It’s very creative and social, yet it’s not competitive or a team sport. It is a very independent sport and so it is up to you to push yourself and learn new things. It is a great stress relief and it is a huge self-motivator. It’s literally an addictive rush of adrenaline. There are so many positives and only one negative I can think of – it pays a high toll on your body.”

The tattoo that covers the right side of his torso says “Pain for Pleasure” and features a tree made of bicycles. “To me it means life. There’s always going to be good times and bad and there will always be something hard or annoying or negative in the way of achieving something positive,” he explains. “It’s an incredible feeling to land a trick you’ve tried for years, or that you’ve had a serious injury trying, where you had to fight the mental side of overcoming the fear of falling again.”

He started riding bmx six years ago at Cummer Park near Leslie and Finch in North York. Now 19, Burke runs bmx day camps as part of the City’s Fun summer camps for kids at Wallace Emerson. The park will also host an end of summer event on September 2 and 3. The ramps will likely go back into storage sometime after that, but that won’t stop Burke from getting his bmx fix.


Read about our 2012 visit to the Toronto International Bike Show, which features the Toronto BMX jam here.

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