Jack Dumper - "If I can inspire just one person to grab a bike and ride then that's great..."
Seeking out fun no matter what
29 Jan 2020
Photos by Scott Summerhayes / CRUCIAL BMX
There's nothing much purer in BMX than a young talent thriving on the joys of bike riding, and that is only topped by determined minds such as Bristol, UK's Jack Dumper. Jack was born with one arm but has been determined to never let that impede him having fun. After dipping his toe into various sports he bought a bike and was completely hooked from there on, and since then we've seen Jack ride in person a handful of times and were blown away by his abilities. In the meantime he recently got hooked up on United via Crucial BMX, so we thought he was well overdue an interview. We've got a feeling we'll be seeing a lot more from Jack in 2020.
How did you first get into BMX? Was it a long process to realising you could ride with your sleeve tied to the bars?
I first got into BMX when I was around 10. I got my first bike from a local bike shop and went straight out on it with my friends, and back then I didn't have any idea I could tie my sleeve to the bars so I was just cruising around with one hand. We built ramps in the lane that everyone would jump off and I would constantly eat it trying to jump off this sketchy ramp made out of scrap bits of wood, but I kept trying until I finally landed it. One day a few years later someone was letting people try his trails bike down the local park and he asked me if I wanted a go and said why don't I tie my sleeve to the bars, so Idid. Ever since then I would use my sleeve when riding. For the first few years I could only manual and then one day someone taught me how to hop on a bike and from there I have never wanted to put it down.
ONE ARMED (BMX) BANDIT - JACK DUMPER - CRUCIAL X UNITED
Overcoming All Odds - More Info
Have you tried many prosthetics before?
I have had a few before but didn't really get along with them for everyday life as I can do more without one than I can with one. I did once try a prosthetic for riding before I could use the jumper sleeve properly, however the one that they made me at the hospital only went half way up my arm and didn't attach in any way so when I pulled up to do a manual it would just come off and i'd fall off the back of the bike. I am working on a riding prosthetic currently with my buddy Max Newberry. The idea is that it will prolong how much longer I will be able to ride, as using the hoodie is damaging my back and shoulders and if i continue to use the hoodie we don't know how much longer I will be able to ride for. it will hopefully also give me more control over the bike and the ability to jump off the bike without being attached which would be crazy.
What were the first tricks you managed to learn? Your barspins are incredible!
The first tricks that I learnt were probably spinning tricks like 180s and 360s as I just had to get the right amount of rotation. Things like grinds and barspins were more tricky as I would have to figure out the technique that would work with the sleeve, funnily enough though grinds and barspins are my favourite tricks to do.
What reaction do you get from people when they see you ride?
The usual reaction that I get from people is usually shock or confusion at first. I often get people ask if I have a broken arm or something and then I explain about me riding with one arm and then they understand - I think that it's really cool. I also get a lot of people who are amazed at how I can ride with one arm. Lots of people giving me respect for what I do and for not letting having one arm stop me doing what I love.
Where do you want to take things from here? Do you have any plans with BMX?
From here I want to continue to take things as far as I can. I really enjoy pushing my riding to the limit and the travelling side of things and meeting loads of amazing people really keeps me inspired to do as much as I can within riding. If I can inspire just one person to grab a bike and ride then that's great in my eyes. I have been working on an edit with Crucial Bmx for a while now and there is also another one I have started quite recently that I am very excited to work on so I can't wait for what the rest of the future in riding BMX holds!
Do you do any sports?
I used to do lots of sports back before I started riding, such as Rollerblading, Skateboarding, freerunning, karate. I've always enjoyed adrenaline, but once I got into BMX properly I stopped doing the other sports to focus on BMX as its what I enjoy most - although it is fun to get the skateboard out every now and again.
You seem to ride a lot of street. How long did it you go about learning grinds? Have you done handrails?
After the first few years of riding and joining the Crucial Gang, my style of riding started heading more towards the street style, it did take me a while to get to grips with doing grinds, when I very first started I would lift my front end onto the ledge and then use my stump leaning on the bars to lift up the back end onto the ledge, this was probably the funniest way I'd learnt to do a trick. After I mastered the simple double peg, feebles came easily and then smiths. The hardest grinds that i have learned were switch grinds because the weight difference from my right side to my left affects my balance when in a switch grind. I have done a few handrails in the streets and I am definitely looking to hit some more in the future.
Do you get many messages from other riders facing physical challenges?
I have had quite a few messages from other people who may be physically challenged, not just BMX riders but people from other sports as well. I have made friends with some amazing people across the world who also inspire me with how they ride - for example, Julian Molina, the rider with one leg. He really inspires me with his riding and I can't wait to see his Real BMX X Games piece that's coming out this year, aswell as people like Lily Rice who is doing some amazing stuff within her sport. Another one is Dan Butler the BMXer with one hip, he has so much determination and I swear that he literally has no fear.
One new bike sponsor, one shoulder-height hopper...
Are you prepared?