BMX rider reveals tough life story at Aye Write! Glasgow
A BMX bike provided the unexpected tool for transforming the life of Glasgow boy John Buultjens. This month, John will speak at the city’s Aye Write! Festival and reveal how he left behind a childhood of abuse and became an admired and respected sports person.
In brief: The story of BMX rider John
Born John Craig in Whiteinch, Glasgow, the youngster endured a torrid childhood being beaten and abused by his father.
An incident at home led to John being taken in by police before he was put into a care home, where, tragically, he suffered sexual abuse. John found himself taking on a gang mentality and describes himself during that period as a racist and a thug.
Luck did come John’s way several years later when a loving couple, Eldridge and Marianna Buultjens, fostered him. They then formally adopted him.
Things were still tough as John had a hard time letting go off his old habits, until his new parents took him to see E.T. The famous BMX scene captured his imagination.
John’s first bike, which he rode every night until darkness forced him indoors, came from Dales Cycles. Through the sport, he met Scottish BMX pro Scott Carroll, who became his idol.
John’s skills saw him turn professional before a move to Melbourne in Australia where he quickly earned a reputation in the BMX world as a talented and charismatic figure.
Another big break came when the acclaimed brand, Haro, which was founded by BMX godfather Bob Haro, called on John to revitalise the company.
John took on the job, based in San Diego in the US, and he now travels the globe designing bikes and picking the riders for their team.
John’s life told in a movie and book
John’s rollercoaster story, from harrowing beginnings and the tough life lessons he learned to becoming a top name in BMX riding, forms the basis for a Hollywood movie, which is set for release later in the year. Screen legend Steven Spielberg even gave it his blessing by allowing a clip of ET to appear in the film.
John has also written an autobiography called Ride: BMX Glory. He will be at the AyeWrite Festival in Glasgow on March 16 to talk about his life. Tickets are on sale now.