March 21, 2023
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BMX is good clean dirty fun

The Other Side

Image Credit: Jonathan Cohen.

​When Margaret Decker is at the top of the hill, astride her bike and poised to burst away from the starting gate, she isn’t thinking about how fast she’ll ride or how tight she can take the turns.

“What I enjoy is looking at the dirt,” she says, laughing. “There is nothing better than riding around your track and realizing this is pristine dirt, with smooth corners and nice berms.”

Perfect for making your mark, which is what Decker and her family are doing in the sport of BMX.

Decker is a clinical assistant professor and doctoral student in the Decker School of Nursing. Her husband, Rick, is a Binghamton firefighter and EMT. When one son began riding BMX in 2009, it wasn’t long before both parents and all four children were riding and racing. The Deckers now own RevolutionS BMX LLC, manage a team and are operating Champion Speedway BMX track in Owego, N.Y.

One heat — or moto — can involve up to eight riders navigating the course. “There’s a starting gate and starting hill, and some bumps and berms and turns,” Decker says. Racing the entire course takes about 45 seconds. As a coach, Decker focuses on helping riders develop confidence. “They’re going over a jump or a hill, and they back off because they’re afraid they’re going to hit their bars or be cut off in a corner. We simulate the scenarios. We also do a lot of time drills to help them get faster.”

Coaching is sometimes a two-way street.

“After we’re done with a clinic or a coaching session, they’ll say, ‘Mrs. Decker, get your bike, you haven’t ridden yet.’ And I’ll get up on the gate and they’ll ask, ‘Are you fast?’” Decker says.

“They’ll beat me, but then they’ll come back around and say, ‘C’mon, we’ll ride with you.’

“It’s the neatest thing.”

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