Dave Mirra, the BMX legend, died today at the age of 41. The cause of death was an apparent suicide. Sadly, he leaves behind a wife, two children and a host of loyal fans.
Mirra, the most decorated X Games contestant in the history of the sports event, was born in Central New York April 4, 1974. He grew up in the small town of Chittenango, New York, population 4,855. It was here in the heart of the Empire State, that he got his start jumping ramps in dirt lots and hopping curbs on his bike.
Mirra was the quintessential latchkey kid and a poster child for bicycle motocross — BMX. Like many Gen Xers growing up in the 1970s, he was a child of divorce. His folks split when he was four-years-old — the same year he started riding bikes. As a latchkey, he lived with his father, a VCR repairman. He had little supervision and rode the streets of his neighborhood until dark. He was, however, always careful to honor the strict boundaries his father set so not to lose the privilege of riding.
BMX and Generation X
BMXing was the perfect sport for kids like Mirra — young Gen-Xers from broken homes free to roam the streets alone. They perfected their craft in the rough, glass strewn alleys of urban and rural America. Their homes were headed by single-parents, which meant access to team sports was often severely limited or non-existent.
Nobody to take Justin to practice. Nobody to pick Heather up from her game.
It was within the halls of these disadvantages that Mirra found the freedom to ride.
RIP Dave Mirra.
Click here to view Classic Mirra BMX footage.