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Tom Dugan

Tom Dugan

Every sport has its athletes who are like square peggs who neatly seem to fit into round holes. BMX is no different, there a number of riders known for their offbeat nature, charismatic personality and outlandish BMX skills. Its not just a case of being incredibly eccentric, these original individuals love to ride their bikes and really express themselves when they get on their bike saddles.

They have a string of entertaining life stories and interesting backgrounds which really show how diverse and dynamic the sport really is. Have a look at our top ten list off the wall characters in BMX to get more insight to these innovative pro BMX riders, who show that you don't need to be like everyone else to find success.

[part title="Kurt Yaeger"]

Kurt Yaeger

Kurt Yaeger

Back in 2006, BMX pro Kurt Yaeger was exiting a freeway on his motorcycle when a car two lanes over blindly swerved to exit at the last minute. "I was in hospital missing a leg, but my back was broken, my ribs were broken, my ACL and MCL in my good leg weren’t working… I was just stuck there," Yaeger said afterwards.

His response was inspirational. He signed up for the skeleton for the Paralympics, he started acting, including a role in U.S. drama 'Sons of Anarchy' (as Greg the Peg in series 5) and he is still riding high-level BMX, blowing peoples' minds with an artificial leg that he has customised himself. His latest goal? "I really want to flip the MegaRamp."

With Yaeger, you just know he will pull it off.

Kurt Yaeger Video:

[part title="Aaron Ross"]

Aaron Ross

Aaron Ross

Aaron Ross is pretty out there, carving a different niche in BMX both with radical riding, but also his crazy looking Sunday Set-ups. Some have looked sweet, others have looked like an explosion in the Dulux factory.

Be it neon rims and Day-Glo orange frames, nothing is too wild, no colour combo too out there. The Orange Soda was our favourite, a bike that looked as amazing as its rider’s style.There are very few people in BMX that would have the balls and talent to ride the Orange Soda. Aaron Ross is one such rider.

Aaron Ross Video:

[part title="Jeremy Reiss"]

Jeremy Reiss

Jeremy Reiss

"Gilly Smalls", "Magilla Cruddy", or simply "Magilla" is an outlaw by simply being one of the true underrated heroes of the BMX world. He choses his own path, runs his own race — always under the radar. Trail guru and dial master, he has been active outside the media for years, building jumps and breathing life into the BMX scene since the late ‘80s.

He has built dirt jumps for almost every major contest for the last 15 years, and many of the more famous trails as well. It is estimated he has moved 85,000 cubic metres of dirt and clay, with a shovel, and 1.6 million with heavy equipment, none for himself, and all for BMX.

Jeremy Reiss Video:

[part title="Edward Lynn 'Eddie' Fiola"]

Eddie Fiola

Eddie Fiola

The forerunner of all BMX freestylers, at the height of his career in the mid '80s, Eddie Fiola was earning huge bucks and featured on the cover of countless magazines. He won the King of the Skateparks competitions in the USA five times, then the most prestigious event in BMX, and was the Freestyle NORA award winner four times.

Post BMX he also went on to become a successful stuntman, working on 'The Dukes of Hazard' and 'The Italian Job' among others, and even had a film called 'Rad', that is loosely based on his life. He basically invented freestyle BMX and did it with class, style and more importantly – without leathers.

Edward Lynn Fiola Video:

[part title="Gabe Brooks"]

Gabe Brooks

Gabe Brooks

Gabe Brooks, one of the most talented BMX riders of his generation, grew up in one of its toughest hoods, South Central Los Angeles. "I started gang banging when I was 11 years old and I fired my first pistol that same year," he said in an interview. "I witnessed so much shit happen; murders, stabbing, gang beatings, drugs, and what sticks with me until this day—which is hustling."

He ended up in jail, but after kept riding BMX, eventually ditching the gang life altogether and today he fires out gaps and rails instead. A pro BMXer with an outlaw background and inspirational story.

Gabe Brooks Video:

[part title="Tony Hoffman"]

Tony Hoffman

Tony Hoffman

In May 2009, Tony Hoffman raced his first ever BMX race as a professional, making both his mains at the U.S. Nationals in Bakersfield, California. That October, he won his very first A pro main event in Lancaster and by 2010, he had turned AA pro.

Not bad for a guy who was living on the streets shooting up heroin a few years back and who hadn’t even touched a bike for seven years due to an extended stint in prison. Hoffman’s outlaw days are behind him, now his Project Freewheel helps kids avoid the mistakes he made through the positive force of BMX.

Tony Hoffman Video:

[part title="Aaron "Wheelz" Fotheringham"]

Ryan Wheelz

Ryan Wheelz

Aaron "Wheelz" Fotheringham has won a few BMX freestyle competitions, including the 2005 Vegas AmJam BMX finals. Impressive enough without the knowledge he was born with Spina Bifida, a birth defect of the spinal cord, which resulted in him having no usage of his legs. All his life he has pushed the boundaries of what is possible in a wheelchair.

In 2005, he perfected a mid-air 180-degree turn. Then on July 13th, 2006, he landed the first wheelchair back flip. Four years later, he nailed the first ever double back flip. In 2011, he added the first front flip in New Zealand, and in 2012, he shocked the Brazilians by jumping and successfully landing a 50-ft gap off of the Mega Ramp in his chair.

Aaron Fortheringham Video:

[part title="Tom Dugan"]

Tom Dugan

Tom Dugan

"I'm Tom Dugan. I don't care what I'm doing, I just want to have a lot of fun and talk some shit while I'm doing it. I like the term 'bat-shit crazy'." And so, Tom Dugan introduces himself on the Etnies site. If there’s one rider that really can constantly blow my mind these days, it’s Tom Dugan.

His riding is about as wild as his personality and he might just be the funniest guy in the BMX world. He was recently put into a coma after a spill during the Red Bull Metro Pipe contest, but even that won’t slow him down.

Tom Dugan Video:

[part title="Danny MacAskill"]

Danny MacAskill

Danny MacAskill

Okay, so the ginger Scot is a street-trials rider, but he gets outlaw status for becoming the best known bike rider on the planet, on his own, with no help from anyone. In 2009, he released his own his five-and-a-half-minute street trials video on YouTube which has been watched over 33 million times and featured bike stunts on a never-before-performed level. No wonder that he gave up his day job as mechanic in a bike shop in Edinburgh.

His subsequent efforts have only raised the bar, and it’s safe to say that MacAskill, since nominated for the Category "Action Sportsperson of the Year" at the Laureus World Sports Awards, has revolutionised what is possible on two wheels.

Danny MacAskill Video: