'Way back in summer of 2021 we connected with the powers that be in Glasgow City (DIG’s adopted hometown since 2005) to see if they wanted to get on board with our planned 2023 ’30 years of DIG’ project. By chance it coincided with Glasgow’s support of the 2023 World Cycling Championships, so they were instantly down and keen to get involved.
Obviously DIG isn’t a comfortable fit with an event of that nature, but rather than sit back and complain about it, we figured that if lots of people are going to be looking at BMX, then we better take this opportunity to show them what BMX really is… as far as we’re concerned at least.
As a lot of eyes would be on the UCI version of the ‘BMX World Championships’ in the city, our goal was to share, with the general public, what we considered to be a more engaging/realistic version of BMX - the version that has kept some of us hooked for over 4 decades and the version that has been at the heart of DIG for the past 30 years. We weren’t interested in what was going on with the mainstream version of the Worlds (the UCI aren’t our thing and broadly speaking we’re not fans of their approach - aside of course from the new opportunities afforded to female rider worldwide) but we did want to show people how much better BMX can be, and how it’s much more accessible (and fun - to us at least) than a regimented ‘sport’ held behind a fence. Now if that’s your thing then fill your boots, but we’ll continue to be motivated by the side of BMX that’s led by riders, and not the side that’s driven solely by committees and corporate sponsors.
Glasgow City were right behind our approach too, even though they knew it wouldn’t be promoting the main BMX events that the city was hosting. It was all about getting people on bikes as far as they were concerned and their understating that BMX isn’t just a sport, and their appreciation of DIG’s approach didn’t go unnoticed. In our view they had a better understanding of BMX than the UCI itself.
So our original anniversary event plans grew from being a DIG 30 year photo show / book launch to something that would reach way more people. The city was keen to get BSD involved too, along with the local Loading Bay skatepark (run by BMXers), so that we could create a wider celebration of Glasgow and its rich BMX culture.
Firstly we produced a 32 page newspaper that was given out free on our opening night, and to thousands of people around the city over the course of the 10 day event. DIG BMX ’A Love Letter to Glasgow’ featured the ‘real’ riders who have pushed BMX in the city and beyond for over 4 decades.
Alongside this we produced a video short (directed by Peter Adam) called ‘SHOTS FIRED’ featuring DIG’s own Fred Murray. The video, which focused on a week in the life of a modern day BMX photographer, was shown on big screens thought the city during the championships. Containing a little bit of DIG history along with some epic Reed Stark action shot in Glasgow by Fred, the aim of the video was again to show the general public that there was a hell of lot more to BMX than what was being fed to them via the championships.
For those that came the night went down a treat. Although it was bizarre to think the there were hundreds of UCI riders/officials in Glasgow and only very small handful of them made to the Loading Bay that night. Maybe they weren’t allowed to come, or maybe they weren’t interested, but either way it shows a sad divide in what BMX culture, local crew videos, and art and photography, means to people who share our love of bike riding. Even taking DIG out of the equation it shows zero respect for the local BMX scene in their host city.
A huge thanks to the everyone that did come including various DIG family members (new and old) from around the world. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Hold tight to this thing we love and let’s continue to keep BMX in the hands of the people who care.'
- DIG BMX
Video by Trent Lutzke
BTS photo galleries by David Leep and Sandy Carson here >
THE DIG 30 YEAR BOOK 'THIS BIKE COULD BE YOUR LIFE' is available for pre-order here >