Though he's one of the most successful men in action sports, Adam Grandmaison doesn't roll up for our interview in a BMW -- he still rolls up on his BMX bike. Now, if you even had to Google "BMX" or if it made you think of the X Games, get ready to start re-thinking. Grandmaison's working to change your thought process real soon.
Conjure up an image of action sports, and it's probably skateboarding or surfing that comes to mind. BMX, shorthand for the severely antiquated label of "bicycle motocross," has often been the industry's dark horse. The sport, which involves doing tricks on specialized bicycles in either urban or off-road settings, began in Southern California in the 1970s.
For Grandmaison, arguably the seminal BMX entrepreneur, it's anything but obscure. The Nashua, N.H. native and recent Long Beach transplant is the owner of The Come Up BMX , the BMX industry's most popular source for news and web content.
In 2006, Grandmaison created The Come Up to fill a gap he noticed while perusing BMX message boards in his downtime from playing online poker and BMXing through New York City. "There was all this content going up, that none of the major sites were covering, so I started a little blog as a joke, and it just ballooned from there," Grandmaison says.
Aside from six-figure annual ad revenue and a corner on exclusive BMX content from the largest companies around, The Come Up's alternative goal is to push the BMX market into the mainstream. "That's one of the biggest goals, is to be able to work with non-endemic brands and present them in a light that's authentic," he says.
That presentation is a challenge within itself. "Extreme" marketing and mainstream contests, such as the X Games, bring BMX to the masses. The Come Up, however, adds a genuine yet accessible element to the sport by showcasing the street side of BMX. "All that matters is that kids know about BMX, then as an industry we can show them what BMX is really like," says Grandmaison.
While The Come Up does feature some contest coverage, it places real street riding in an equally important context, giving BMX content outside of the contest realm a place to shine. It's an approach that exposes Grandmaison's readers to all facets of the sport, regardless of their initial views of BMX.
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For a 28-year-old, doing what you love for a living is a glorious prospect, even aside from his push to evolve a sport. The massive traffic that The Come Up receives has resulted in Grandmaison employing a staff of bloggers, letting him step back to focus on bettering BMX. And he moved to Long Beach to set up The Come Up's headquarters closer to the geographical heart of the BMX industry.
Authenticity is often a touchy subject for enthusiasts of any action sport, but Grandmaison knows the subject well, and from a grassroots level. Though he pulls in corporate sponsorship, his inspiration truly lies within the machine that got him to where he is, literally and figuratively. "My bike was a vehicle to get out of what was going on when I was a kid," he says, alluding to his less-than stellar home life.
His story matches his site's name -- Grandmaison done came up, and BMX is going to be better for it. "I like that the site's image is that you can elevate your position and better yourself," he says.