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A peek into Portland’s BMX flatland scene

Posted by on January 17th, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Portland Winter Flatland Jam-1

Group shot
Slideshow below
(Photos © J. Maus)

On Saturday, I got a glimpse into another vibrant part of our local bike scene at the Portland Winter Classic Flatland Jam. The annual event was held inside a non-descript warehouse in inner Northeast, just north of E. Burnside. There was a two-sided vert ramp for the jumpers and a large open space where the trick riders could do their thing. Fans and friends stood around the edges of the action, erupting into cheers whenever someone landed a tough trick.

Portland Winter Flatland Jam-17 Portland Winter Flatland Jam-7 Portland Winter Flatland Jam-20 Portland Winter Flatland Jam-14

The Jam was put together by a few guys who just love the sport and want to see it thrive. Justin Hoey is one of them. In between tricks of his own, I asked him what type of people had shown up. “It’s a mix of local street kids, to established pros, to the “gurus” who started riding back in the ’80s.” Hoey says BMX was at its peak in the 1980s, but by the mid-1990s it had “died out.”

Portland Winter Flatland Jam-13

Portland Winter Flatland Jam-16

Blake Hicks.

Today, the sport looks to be alive and well. The warehouse was buzzing with energy. Local professional photographer Jared Souney was snapping photos for ESPN (check out his amazing shots), event organizer Joe Loumena was passing out prizes and keeping everyone happy, and there was a steady stream of jumpers and trick riders.

Other faces in the crowd included local pro flatlander Blake Hicks, X-Games street riding champ Bruce Crisman, and Bret Hadly (one of the “gurus” according to Hoey).

Check out more photos from the event in the slideshow below…

For more, check out these local BMX links:

  • Goods BMX BlogThe local BMX shop. See their blog for more photos of the Flatland Jam and other updates on the local scene.
  • Enjoy The Trick – Website for local group who puts on the Flatland James (stay tuned for a larger event this summer).
  • Everyday Paradise – The online home for Justin Hoey’s action sports media projects which includes the monthly BMX/flatland/freestyle web TV show, FlatwebTV.
  • – Portlander Gary Sansom’s world-renowned site with classifieds, forums, and much more.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Brad RossRWL1776Bret HadleyJonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)Brian Johnson Recent comment authors
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Nice story and all, but what about the fact that only TWO of the riders were wearing a helmet? Excellent example for young kids who may check out this story.

And yes, I am a survivor of a wicked crash on my BMX bike, 1981, and I wish I had been smart enough to be wearing my helmet that day. It was a painful lesson.

Justin Hoey

Your right we should all follow the rules of the road and where a helmet. As we were learning these tricks we had our helmets on, and have participated in bike safety events for kids. Were your helmets kids!


Thank you Jonathan for going outside the cycling norm and covering the nearly underground activity of flatland BMX. It has developed into something that is just amazing to watch.

And on to the helmet zealot….This is Flatland BMX, it does not involve getting air. It’s a bunch of rolling balance tricks, unless you wore the helmet on your buttocks it would be very unlikely that you would use it. Whatever you do, don’t go to Vimeo, almost all the BMX vids have helmetless riders, and they are going big, way bigger than we did back in the 80’s.


A warehouse full of flatland champs were in town and we didn’t know about it beforehand? !!!! Devastating. NO, really: devastating. My whole saturday was wasted.


Joe Loumina and Brett “The Groundhog” Hadley are the real deal. I rode with those guys back in the mid 80’s!

Brian Johnson

This was a cool feature. However, I’d like to point out that BMX is NOT freestyle riding. BMX is much more than just that. BMX encompasses several disciplines, including BMX racing. BMX racing is alive and well in this area– from spring to fall, races are held weekly at Salem, Molalla, and Newberg tracks. There’s an indoor track down in Eugene. You’re missing out on a sizable segment of cycling. BMX racing introduces kids at a young age to REAL racing– not “kiddie races”. My son discovered BMX racing last summer and now we’re both big fans (I’ve already learned a lot from BMX racing that I can apply to other types.)

Start here:

Brad Ross

I am bummed to have missed this event. I got my start on BMX bikes way back in the late ’70’s and am now getting interested in it again.