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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
26 thoughts on “Gary Sansom From BMXmuseum.com Has 600 Bikes In His Basement”
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!
Cliff said it perfectly, so he must know Gary as I do. Thanks for representing him in such a nice article.
Good article amoungst all the internet trash out there. BMX museum is a good site by good people. I se it for referencing having 20+ bike myself it keeps me as a collector, happy. You have purist to dads mom kids building bikes instead gaming. Gets them in the garage or at the kitchen table. Like me Kudos to this man to have a vision.
600 is not a bad number. LOL There’s still room for more.
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!
What a cool article, its so true….A Bmx candy store online ,it feeds the addiction of bmx, keep on riding..
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.
Great idea. I’m sure there are lots of people who want to see more pictures from the basement (myself included!)
A wealth of “BMX” cycles. What would be the monetary value of Gary.Sansom’s cycle collection akin to owning a vintage cat or motorcycle collection ?
Depends on the people. For the right BMX enthusiasts, the collection will probably be priceless.
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
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
way RAD collection Iam 51 years young and still ride a RL PL 24 IT rocKS
GARY , I VERY STRONGLY BELIEVE I HAVE A STU THOMSON PROTOTYPE FRAME FROM 1978.
I KNOW I HAVE A RED LINE PROTOTYPE FROM 1978. MXII ? PLEASE ADVISE. MAY I SEND PICTURES?
THANK YOU FOR ANY INFO. OR DIRECTION YOU MIGHT HAVE,
ARCHIE ALLISON IN VENTURA, CA
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 ?
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.
I have a 1978 G-Boy BMX, what can you tell me about it and or it’s value?
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.
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!!
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
Hello Gary, I appreciate the time and dedication to create a gathering place for all of us. The BMX Family is world wide, it has grown to amazing levels. I started in 1972 at age 8 with my first Schwinn sting-ray from the goodwill. I have most of friends because of riding and racing BMX bikes. My first business after my paper route was a bike shop at age 15. I’ve owned just a few bike less than you. I’ve learned so many life lessons from the competition at race tracks and the time spent training to be my best. It lives on today in who I am. Some may still say we are too old to ride that small bike…I say, we’re not old, because we do!
I got a cw phaze 1 and a otasco super bmx.
gary, still not able to log in again. my wife and I both have tried multiple times, to no avail. my wife is very computer literate. I would like to post my factory ghp issued sst race lace wheels on your site. any words of wisdom would help. thanks!
hallo gary i found a bmx hutch tim judge to buy yuo know same peaple have this….sorry for my english
I would like to purchase a gold stem.cond. Doesn’t matter too much meaning gold can be damaged and scratches don’t matter
Hi, I’m looking for an 81/82 era Team Murray (blue & yellow) and wondered if you had any ideas where I could find one. I live in England and had one in the 80’s when I was at school. I can’t find anything over here regards Ad
Love bmx Gary , great collection I’m trying to learn more about the value of my 80’s chicago cyclry i made when i was a kid. It has gt bars and tange forks and it is a one of a kind. The problem im having is ,i cant find anything out about this particular frame. Or chicago cyclry . Can you help me brother ?
I have a Thruster VP, that appears to have had a head tube badge. i have a picture of a very poor photo that shows one on a frame, but i cant find what year or any details around this as all the one i find have a decal?
Any knowledge to Share