Gary Sansom From BMXmuseum.com Has 600 Bikes In His Basement

 

Gary Sansom is running BMXmuseum.com where you can check out more than 50,000 classic BMX bikes. On top of that, he has hundreds of classic BMX bikes in his basement – and he used to be expert rider himself in the early 80’s.

That’s not bad at all, so I arranged an interview with Gary:

Gary Sansom

How did you get into BMX in the beginning?

I have been riding bikes since 1969, I started racing with my friends in 1978. I have always enjoyed the freedom that comes from riding.

Riding with friends was a way to get around, fight boredom and go where we wanted. We rode soo much, we decided to check out the local track, and the fun began..

I grew up in many place, I raced in Boise, and later went to northern California and raced several tracks. Aptos, Watsonville and Gilroy to name a few.

Racing was run by the ABA at that time. I raced beginner, novice and then expert. It was a great time to race as the bikes kept getting better and lighter during the early 80’s.

I was one of the top 200 experts way back in 82. It was a points system, so the riders that could get to the most races, and/or nationals would get more points and a higher national number at the end of the year. I was fast enough to get a co-sponsorship, but did not go to all the big racers.

Gary racing in the 80's

Compared with today, how was BMX different when you were a top rider 30 years ago?

30 years ago was a golden age of bmx, the bikes then were very light and fast, I rode a Mongoose, Redline, Panda Pro AM and GT Pro.

I liked how parts were interchangeable back then, and the bike became an extension of your personality. Seems most bikes these days are sold complete.

I know you live in Portland, so how is the BMX scene there?

The bmx scene in portland is fun and varied. I know racers, park riders, street riders and flatlanders.

We all come together for a show at least once a year. I attend events of each type also and I still do ride BMX most everyday, mostly street and some skatepark. There are a few tracks around that I ride sometimes, although I haven’t raced in a few years. Mollollala, Newburg and Salem to name a few. There are also lots of single track trails and pump tracks that are really fun.

Garys BMX basement

How did you end up with 300 classic bikes in your basement?

I have approx 600 bikes actually, 400 frame sets and 200 complete bikes. I do ride them sometimes. Part of the quest has been for me to find the best all around bike. I also collect to preserve the history of bmx.

I do occasionally give tours of my collection/basement, by appointment only.

In the future I hope to have more bikes on display, and keep the dream alive by cataloguing every bmx on the planet. I still enjoy getting new bikes and have helped to develop a few retro series bikes, with more on the way.

There are SOO MANY FANTASTIC BIKES, lots of one of a kinds now.. The only Phil wood frame, Neal Wood’s bike from a cover shot where he jumped through a ring of fire, Neal Woods prototype, a 24kt Gold Hutch Trickstar, a Johnny Chopper JMC 26 replica and even my own custom commisioned 24 Hutch Judge.

The collection is priceless to me and many bikes are one of a kind or very rare.

Gary Sansom with 2 BMX bikes

What bikes do your ride yourself these days?

I have a couple riders, and often build up the newest ones I have. One of my main bikes is a 2012 SE Racing OM Flyer, I also have a couple of newer 24″s, Skyway, Haro and Tribute. I also have a S&M 22″ that is really fun to ride.

My favorite bike really depends on the situation. Lately I have been riding my 2012 OM Flyer the most, but the new Sunday 24″ is quite fun too.

All the bikes I have mentioned are in this list.

What do you consider the best BMX bike brands and the best BMX bikes ever made?

I like bikes that are built by riders for riders, a couple of the best these days are S&M and Standard, which are both made in the USA. These companies value rider input and are constantly innovating.

Hate is a strong word, but I strongly dislike Mongoose and other cheap bikes sold at Walmart and other dept stores. They often break and/or somehow end up injuring children. I wish every kid could start on a decent quality bike.

S&M frame at the BMX Museum

How did BMX Museum become so popular?

I think the museum is popular because it is a labor of love, more than a profit driven business. Also the fact that we accept all bikes in the museum database helps. The forums have really helped the site grow as well.

The forums started in 2006 when I hired a web master to develop the site. We also started a memberships system in that time.

Today there are usually over 200 people on the site at all times.

What were the highs and lows of building the museum?

Hmm, the highs are the constant growth, helping people rebuild bikes from the past, and helping people make their bike dreams come true. Some low points have been staff issues, and dealing with scammers.

Staff issues were just difference of opinion on direction and running of the site. Scammers come in many flavors, outright liars, cheats and thiefs. The staff is excellent in helping people get refunds or the items that actually ordered. The feedback system helps with that too.

How do you feel about flippers and collectors?

I understand some people have limited budgets, so they need to sell stuff to buy more. That is ok, I just don’t like people who lie and say they will keep the bike forever and then sell it on Ebay less than 1 week after buying it.

The economic crisis have slowed things down on the site in some ways, but other areas have grown. More discussion and less sales lately.

Gary Sansom outside with BMX bike

What are your plans for the BMX Museum?

My plans are to have an actual space to display the bikes, and to keep on doing what I love: Riding bikes and talking about them with other riders/collectors.

There are bikes on display at Goods BMX, the Lumberyard Indoor Skatepark and soon Velo Cult. I also take the bikes to shows around the north west.

16 replies on “Gary Sansom From BMXmuseum.com Has 600 Bikes In His Basement

  • Cliff Sullivan

    Gary has been a good friend of mine since before the Museum even started and I can honestly say he is one of those rare individuals that have taken a vision and made it a successful reality and he’s done it in the most original and easy going way possible.

    His honesty, dedication and sportsmanship along with his good nature and “lets go for a ride!” attitude have kept him on top where he belongs!

    Many cheers Gary!

    Reply
  • Devin Grayson

    I love bmxmuseum.com! Although I never rode professionally, as a youth building & riding bikes was a getaway for my friends and I. We had a dirt track in the woods called Ponny Pon, with a good sized jump, switch backs and humpty humps . That was our spot. When freestyle and quarter pipe riding hit the scene, we thrived on it. The tricks were captivating, and as GAry mentioned the interchangeable parts really allowed us to feel like we had something special that represented us. bmxmuseum.com has been a staple in rekindling that passion for the hobby I loved so much as a child. It’s very nostalgic for many in the community. Thank you Gary Sansom for your vision and dedication that helped make this possible!

    Reply
  • Simon

    Great article .. wish there were some more pics of the bikes themselves. Maybe in a follow up article? I am a member on BMXMuseum and have a collection of my bikes in the bike section. Until reading this article, I was unaware who was behind it. Congratulations Gary – its people like you who keep this sport and hobby going.

    Reply
  • GAry Sansom

    HMM, YES THERE ARE MANY ONE OF A KIND AND RARE BIKES IN MY COLLECTION..
    here is a few of the more special ones..:
    canadian made Challenger 24 dual top and down tube
    Phil Wood bmx frame, only one ever
    Scwhing frame, 1 of 10 or so.
    Neal Wood Prototpye frame
    Neal Wood S&M built DK looking frame.
    24kt gold Trickstar.
    Johnny Chopper JMC 26
    Johnny Chopper Quad 24
    Johnny Chopper retro Proline, 1 of 2.
    JMC Adny patterson frame fork and bar AP10
    JMC DY frame fork bars..complete actually.
    Billy griggs personal frame
    Billy Griggs personal BG with 135mm space and derauiier hanger
    Billy Griggs personal BG frame
    Kappa 26 twin tube
    Auburn with Brass forks and rear
    Auburm 1 of the first 10 made
    S&M 24 pre widowmaker
    S&M Heavy as frank
    S&M mad dog standard
    S&M mad dog XL
    Menstrual Cycle
    kos re-issue raw in box
    Kos re-issue chrome in box
    Kos re-issue chrome with gold hubs and stem, (in the mail)
    Kuwahara ET 30th anniv edition
    Kuwahar retro 24″ white NOS
    Profile rocket aluminum frame and fork.
    Standard custom tri-bar thruster tribute
    Standard custom Titan tribute
    Boss 24 frame with patterson dropouts

    Reply
  • Rob jackson

    Brilliant article,
    I too have a small growing collection on the museum site.
    It’s nice to see the enthusiast behind the site,

    Long may it reign
    God bless her and all who sail in her

    STAY RAD ?

    Reply
  • Dennis Webb

    Ernie Alexander started the National Bicycle Association (NBA) prior to the birth of ABA with Merl Menneger in Arizona. I believe NBA started it all. The only difference was how you transferred to semi’s or mains. They were rivals for years until the NBA folded. My son and daughter were on the first JMC bike shop team and later my son was on the factory GT team as a double A Pro. He has some of his old bikes but wish he had kept more. Awesome collection you have there. Glad to hear your helping to preserve the past in BMX.

    Reply
  • Jody B. Aka Trailerparkpimp

    Love the BMX museum. Gary has sold me some cool stuff. He actually Sold me a stem pad I had been looking for over a year. He didn’t have to, plus he could of named his price but the dude did what a stand up Man would do and sold it to me at a fair market value.
    Good dude!

    Reply
  • David Piro

    I started riding and building BMX bikes Mongoose frames in 1981 in So.Plfd. N.J. at 14 yrs old . We raced on the road and on dirt tracks . Your museum is a wealth of knowledge and good memories for me. I recently built eight bikes including my original mongoose from pictures as a kid. Thanks to guys like you that keep my kid memories alive!!

    Reply
  • Jay Petry

    I have an original Swhinn Sting serial number 2520. It is all original including tires with some wear but still holds air. The only thing it doesn’t have is the complete brake assembly. It was built in Chicago with 4130 chrome moly frame and Brooks.. B18 seat made in England which came with bike at time of purchase. Bike was purchased new by me in very early 1980’s. I do believe this bike was manufactured in 1980. Just wondering value of this unit. Thanks Jay

    Reply

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