Wake Up. Kick Ass. Repeat.

Thursday, March 20, 2014
Photo and written by Rebecca Pergentile

Beginning flatland or starting to learn any new trick starts with a desire to learn and grow usually met with the back hand of reality and a sprinkle of frustration.  Lets face it, those of us that have put our time in know that no one picks up a bike and riding flatland comes easy.  I've been doing this for years and I consider myself to have a generally realistic perception on how long it may take for myself to learn a trick.  There are certain moments it takes a heck of a lot longer then I first anticipated and it is F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-N-G, discouraging, maddening…the list of pessimistic words can go on and on.  However the worst you can do is quit.  The second worst thing you can do is let it bring you down.  The other-other worst thing you can do is compare yourself, your pace at learning and your tricks/style to other riders.

Never, ever, EVER, ever, ever, never give up learning a trick.  If you want to take a break from learning a trick because it's frustrating you or bringing you down, I'm all for that but never throw the towel in.  I choose to ride by this because, even though it may take me months, or years to dial that trick, even if it is the biggest pain in my ass and feels like I'm getting no where or going backwards.  The moment I finally pull that trick I know there is nothing on my bike that I cannot do.  Every rider should experience this and when you do you know that there's is no going back on any trick. 

Having said that, if you can't continue doing something while keeping your self in a positive state of mind take a break on that trick.  Flatland and BMX is about having fun, finding your own personal expression and cool people.  Come back to it when you have a genuine desire to hit it.  Learn something else for a while, that's easier and will motivate you that you are moving forwards and can keep learning those harder things on the side.  The worst feeling is feeling like you are working so hard and going no where.  Make time to ride hard and focus on what you want to learn, but also set aside time to just ride and have fun and work on stupid little tricks you think are funny or get out and ride with friends.  Sometimes other people will notice how fast you are progressing even though you don't feel like you've learned one thing.  

Us girls especially come in different shapes and sizes.  The worst thing we can mentally do to ourselves is compare ourselves to other riders.  Everyone learns differently.  For one of us a certain trick may come quickly and to someone else it may be their pain in the ass "I'm going to hit this trick if it's the death of me" experience.  This doesn't make one person "better" then the other.  It's reality and there's probably another trick you can do much easier then the person who does the trick that you can't do.  Or maybe that person has just been riding a lot longer then you.  

There are so few female riders in the scene and there is a lot of comparison between riders which really gets old after a while to me.  Personally…I think we should stop comparing and start encouraging each other.  Of course girls who are just starting out don't ride as well as the other girl that has been riding 10 or more years longer then her.  Thanks though for pointing out the obvious…I think?  Any girl that simply loves flatland and it's obvious just looking at her or her riding - whether she does 10 tricks 1 trick or none - is an inspiration and motivation to me.  She's not in it because of what other people do or don't think of her, she's in it because of what flatland is to her, and doesn't need to be the 'best' to find validation for herself. 

After all if it's about being the "best"  quit now, because you are never going to be it.  There will always be someone better than you, or some one who thinks some one else is better then you.  There are girls who are going to come after you and shred your most difficult riding apart as they take it to the next level.  

Our most destructive pattern of behaviour may be being hard on ourselves and comparing ourselves to each other.  You are not the girl next to you.  If we all did the same tricks and did them in the same way, flatland would be really boring.  Pride yourself in what makes you, you.  When you are true to yourself, your riding will reflect that and people will notice, respect and admire you for being you!  

When you are comfortable and happy in and with who you are, you have no need to bring anyone else down because that will only taint who you are.  You will actually discover a genuine desire to build other people up because you want them to be happy and comfortable in them selves too and succeed in their riding or life.  Other riders riding has nothing to do with you and says nothing about you!  

Flatland is easily one of the most difficult things you can get yourself into.  It's not really something you can do half-heartedly because it takes commitment and is time consuming.  On the flip side it is also really fun, freeing and rewarding.  A lot of people come into flatland or start learning a new trick expecting one thing only to face another.  The fact that it is h-a-r-d.  To a lot of riders flatland is not just a habit or hobby it is a life style.  Is choice to be committed and consistent.  Also to stay healthy and positive, mentally and physically.  It is also a network and/or community of awesome people that you connect with instantly.  

As a rider it's your individual choice to make your flatland experience what you want it to be.  Only you can define what tricks you want to learn, what pace will you progress, who do you want to be represented as.  When you have a goal or a dream the only person who has the power to take it away from you is yourself.  Don't let your dreams remain as dreams!  Rising above the average is waking up and working hard even on days you don't want to and staying true to yourself.  Ride daily, do what makes you, you.  If other people are insecure in themselves and need to focus on judging you instead of being focused on their own path in life, take it as a compliment and move on. 

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