Pedaling Along With Aaron Ross

By Kat Barclay – October 1, 2019
Brian Fitzsimmons

Sporting white pants, vintage Nike shoes, a colorful 70s-esque-style polo and a gold trucker hat that says, “Hey Darlin,” pro BMX rider Aaron Ross’ personality is almost perfectly manifested through his style of clothing.

Vibrant and lively, while also laid-back and even a little bit old school.

He still frequently listens to 90s country music such as Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet, as well as 90s hip hop music. He also loves taking cruises around town in his vintage 1971 Volkswagen Bug and 1985 Porsche.

“I attempt to fix them up. I attempt to fix a lot of things up,” he says. “The Porsche has no AC. I’ve driven it across the country with some friends who also have old Porsches. I just love the feeling of driving old cars with no AC around.”

Originally from Corpus Christi, Ross’s interest in bike riding came at a young age, and he was heavily influenced by his dad who rode motocross. By his third birthday, he was riding a bike with no training wheels, and that continued all the way through high school.

“I basically grew up on two wheels,” Ross says. “I was into riding all types of bikes.”

His interest in BMX started by watching the tricks done on motorcycles and copying them. By the end of high school, he was traveling for different BMX competitions, even admitting to missing his high school graduation for a competition.

Shortly after that, Ross moved to Austin to further his professional BMX career.

“Austin is a big BMX city,” Ross says. “It’s a big cycling city in general, but Austin is kind of the BMX Mecca of the world. The winters here are perfect. Outside of California, a lot of people come to Austin for BMX. It’s also close to home for me, so it just made sense.”

His love for being on a bike isn’t limited to nailing awesome tricks in the air and jumping over objects or even people. He also loves mountain biking, motocross or simply taking a cruise along the street. He also made it a goal to pedal everyday this year.

“I love the feeling of being on two wheels,” Ross says. “I made it my goal to pedal everyday for a year. It’s something I wanted to hold myself accountable to — to force myself to just get on the bike. I think I’m at around day 200 and something.”

Ross’s Instagram page is flooded with photos of him landing bike tricks in front of different colorful walls that he has scoped out all over Austin.

Although he admits he doesn’t love social media, he knows it’s a tool for his line of work. He said part of his idea with forcing himself to pedal everyday was also an opportunity for him to come out of his shell on social media.

“I’ve always used social media to show what we were doing,” he says. “I love talking to people and talking to kids and kids who are interested in BMX, and I do love that social media gives me that opportunity. If I were 14 and I could follow my favorite athlete, I would have loved that. I’m in that position right now, so I love that I can do that.”

Ross’s career in BMX has taken him across the world, opened up opportunities for being an influencer and business. It’s also taken a toll on his body.

“I’ve been fortunate to not have had too many bad injuries — well, I say that, but all of my front teeth are fake and I’ve obviously had a couple concussions,” Ross says.

He says he’s also broken both of his ankles about 20 or 25 times, and he’s also separated both his shoulders several times.

“Probably my worst injury was when I did a backflip with a bike on a trampoline,” Ross says. “It basically stabbed me in the knee, and I ended up having to have my knee drained three days in the hospital.”

About four years later during a different surgery, a doctor realized he had broken his leg at the same time as his knee was stabbed — he just never realized it.

“I wake up in the morning and I’m just sore and need to shower immediately,” Ross says. “I’m a lot more just beat up than anything. Like any athlete, sometimes you just work through those issues. I always pushed through my pain and injuries because I never wanted to miss an opportunity that I may never have again in my life.”

Outside of riding bikes, Ross has plenty of other things that occupy his time.

He co-owns the grilled cheese food truck, Burro Cheese Kitchen, with his friend Justin Burro and is also the co-host for the 365 Things Austin podcast with Kristy Owen. He’s also fixing up an old house with his wife, Bethany.

What else?

“I also love to golf — it doesn’t hurt as much as bike riding,” Ross says.

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