James Jones

James Jones

Professional BMX rider

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Swansea. ‘Do you speak Welsh’ is the most common question I get when travelling the world with my work, but unfortunately no, I do not speak Welsh. I wish I did.


How did you get into BMX riding? 

Randomly, I got into BMX from playing football next to a skatepark! I used to ride my BMX to go to play football, so just used it to travel about really. When I was around 14, I slowly started dabbling on the ramps after football. Then sort of stopped bringing my football boots and spending more time on the ramps and didn’t look back really. 


When did you start competing?

My first contests where local council jams. Competing at a professional level isn’t just doing the tricks like people think, it’s about maintaining a jam packed 1 minute run for the judges, that’s hard work and which of course means you need to be healthy and fit to do so, it takes a lot of dedication really. 


So, you started out quite ‘late’ then?

Yes, to be fair I was late into the BMX & pro scene. A lot of people are pros by 17, I was around 20 years old when I was getting funded by sponsors and competing at the highest level. It goes to show though, it’s never too late to start and to think of it as a career.


What are your highlights so far?

I have two main highlights. Reaching the Olympics is number one. 

Number two is a weird one, it’s from a bad crash. I broke my back in two places during a contest, the highlight is getting back on the bike after it, that’s one to be proud of, I guess.


I’m guessing there’s a lot of training involved?

I train around 4/5 times a week, riding 2-4 hours a day at the skatepark, using foam pits and resi ramps (resi ramps is basically a softer ramp to wood). I also go to the gym around 3/4 times a week maintaining my fitness. Like with all jobs, it’s a lot of work, but I love it.


Being in the BMX world has given you lots of opportunites to travel too

The opportunity’s I have had through my BMX career is incredible! Travelling all over the world to places like Tokyo, Dubai… to shows at the Formula 1, pantomimes with Bradley Walsh, lots of TV adverts, and some crazy sponsorships! 


What tips do you have for anyone thinking about getting into the sport?

The biggest tip I can give to a kid that wants to be a professional like me, is make sure being a professional doesn’t take the fun out of BMX riding. Always remember you started riding because you enjoyed riding the BMX. The more you enjoy it, the more you will progress and wear a helmet, always!


On to the Urdd’s Urban Games, how do you feel about it?

I think that having the Urdd organising this in Wales, in the heart of Cardiff is incredible, it’s fantastic for the sport. BMX is an incredibly difficult sport, so many athletes dedicate their life to it. This is an amazing opportunity to show the people of Wales and beyond that we have some amazing action sports athletes in Wales, beyond rugby and football. 


You’ll be judging the BMX competitions at the Urban Games too, what will you be looking for?

I’ve judged a few contests in my time. There are normally 4-5 judges in the world cups I go to who specialise is different departments such as execution, height, technicality etc. 

I’m going to be looking for a full pulled run, no slip ups. 


You’re also doing demos and taster sessions, can anyone have a go?

You don’t need any experience to come and have a go. I can teach you how to ride a BMX bike from the start, or if you wanted to try a 360, I will try my best to get that 360 done in a day!

The demos will be incredible to watch from the crowd, we have some of the world’s best athletes coming down to showboat on this freshly built park from team extreme. 


How important is it to use this event to inspire the younger generation?

It’s mandatory to inspire the next generation, it would be selfish not to, let’s not to forget to inspire them now, this is our opportunity. 

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