Spotlight: Emma Finnegan

Thursday, May 16, 2019
Photo: @fizzel_castro
I had the pleasure of meeting Emma Finnegan in person back in March, at the Toronto International Bike Show. 21-year-old Emma Finnegan is from Liverpool, UK and has been busy traveling the world competing and riding. So far, based on some intense research (Google), Emma has been in Rochester, Toronto, The Netherlands, somewhere in Germany, Madrid and of course recently Hiroshima, Japan just in this year so far. To learn more about Emma, keep reading!

How were you introduced to BMX?

I had a BMX as a kid, but I didn’t know you could do tricks on them or ride them at the skatepark. I just used it to ride to my friend's house. I started skateboarding at 15 and I would see BMX riders at the skatepark, then two years later I got really interested in riding BMX myself and started saving money to buy my first custom.

@Lukekingtyrer_ wants to know how long you’ve been riding BMX? 
4 years

Who influenced your riding growing up?

My friends at the skatepark were my biggest influencers, we had a little crew and we would always make riding fun and get the train home together at the end of the session. Harry Main was a local pro rider who was a big influence on the scene and would ride with us sometimes too, he helped me learn my first barspin.

@J.Doyle97 wants to know what your favorite place (to ride) in Liverpool is?
Rampworx for sure!

What was the beginning of your BMX journey like, were there any girls you could sesh with?

Once I got started with BMX it became my whole life and all I would think about, but there were never any girls to ride with. I only started meeting and riding with girls who rode BMX once I started competing.

Photo: @arphoto09

@Terrell_Life wants to know, to be one of the few female riders, what difficulties did you face in the beginning that someone might not know about? 
I don’t think I faced many difficulties thankfully, although I had to learn quickly to become more dominant when I ride if I wanted to get some runs in as when I first started sometimes guys wouldn’t see I was trying to drop in.

What was the moment where you decided to compete internationally?

My first thought was never to compete but to travel to new places and meet new people. My good friend Mike Hullock told me about a contest called FISE that was happening in Montpellier, France. Apparently, it was going to be a big event and was meant to be pretty cool, so we decided to go and check it out.

How did it go?

FISE Montpellier became my first international contest and that’s where I won my first amateur competition and came home with my first gold medal.

@sarahbmxdinel wants to know if you had any dream tricks you’re hoping to land this year and how you deal with the pressure of training and competing.
I’m hoping to have wall rides on lock as they make me nervous, but I’m building my confidence with them. The pressure keeps me motivated and although it can feel intense sometimes it also feels really rewarding after competing.

Photo: @55naoking
@beecam loves your fun style, and wants to know why does she (you) choose the tricks she learns? 
That's awesome to hear thank you! I pick tricks that look and feel fun, as well as pushing my boundaries now and again when I try tricks that are a little different than what I normally do.

What was the story behind your reason to go plant-based?

I’d never thought about changing my diet but a couple of my friends at the skatepark were vegetarian and I wanted to see what life was like without meat so I became pescatarian which meant I still ate fish. I stuck to it for a year and then I heard about vegans. Initially I thought it extreme but I started to read more about it and watched some documentaries (Two of my favorites are ‘What the health’ and ‘Cowspiracy’ both on Netflix) I became super interested in living this life and becoming the best version of myself as well as reducing my impact on the environment so I dove in head first and I’m still going strong 4 years later.

How do you find eating plant-based when on the road?

I love food and never miss a meal so I’ve always been able to find something to eat. It definitely requires a little bit more thought than when you eat meat and dairy but so many restaurants and supermarkets have tons of vegan options now that it’s getting so much easier.

Photo: @camerasloth
What was the worst city to find vegan food and how did you survive?

Surprisingly it was kinda difficult to find good vegan food in Hiroshima, Japan. They use a lot of egg and fish so when I ordered food I would just ask them to make it without the egg and fish and substitute it for tofu if that was available. Thankfully you can use the google translate app even without wifi so this made communicating my food requests much easier. I’m sure there is good vegan food everywhere, you just need a good tour guide!

What’s your post-training meal usually like?

I love vegetable curries, stir-fries, and soups. But if I could pick a favorite meal it would be a burrito, with extra guacamole!

Do you bring any vegan snacks when you’re on the road, if so what’s your go-to?

I often take breakfast with me when I’m traveling, usually, Wheatabix which is an English cereal with Alpro Oat milk. Snacks in between meals are usually dried mango or these fruit and nut bars by a company called Nākd they make an amazing blueberry muffin flavored one and as far as I know most of them are vegan and just made from pure fruit and nuts no additives.

@kkaochao wants to know how you managed study life, working life and BMX life? 
My study life is on hold at the moment as I am riding full time but I’m hoping to return to it in a few years. As for working life, I’m fortunate enough to get my income from riding bikes so BMX life is 24/7 right now.

Photo: @adamlievesleybmx
British Cycling has had a pretty controversial history when it comes to athlete support - what’s your experience been like with them?

I don’t know about any controversy in the past but so far my experience has been really good with British Cycling, they have catered to all of my needs as an athlete, we also have a physio called Rachel who comes with us to world cup events, she’s awesome and always finds time for us in between contests if we have any aches or pains.

Are you getting any support, if so is it enough?

British Cycling are able to financially support me, help me attend all of the contests that I need to and is able to cover entry fees, etc so they really are the reason I get to where I need to go.

Hows the scene in the UK, is it growing for the ladies?

It’s been a while since I rode in a UK competition so I’ve yet to see any fresh faces but we have the National Championships coming up soon so it will be interesting to see who comes out for that.

Who’s someone to watch for 2024?

There are some really talented girls out in Columbia, I haven’t met them yet but I have been following them on Instagram for a while. They haven’t come out to any world cups yet this year but if not this year then I'm sure we will be seeing more from them coming into 2024. Instagrams @bmx_queensaray and @lizsurley_bmx_18

Photo: @jonathan.ogsto
What’s your story for wearing a full face instead of an open face helmet?

After about a year or two of riding BMX I started doing wall rides and this one time I cased my back wheel when coming back into the ramp and fell face first to the concrete and chipped my front tooth. After that, I just feel way more confident when I have a full face helmet on.

What’s the model you’re wearing and why that particular helmet?

I’m currently wearing a Giro Disciple 2017. I had the 2016 version for over a year and loved it! They’re super light and I love the clean design. Also, the new editions have MIPS inside which is a small bit of plastic technology that moves inside the helmet to reduce and distribute impact shock. Anything to keep my head safe sounds good to me!

Who are your sponsors and what’s one awesome thing about each that we should know about?

I have two sponsors currently, Hobson Cycles which is my local bike shop, the guys who run it are awesome, have always supported me and my riding and are super knowledgable about BMX, they have taught me a lot over the years. They also have the best wheel builds in the northwest so check them out!

Then there’s British Cycling who have made traveling the world possible and allowed me to live the best life with my BMX, we have a really rad group of people involved in the team. Our coach Jamie is always keeping us on our toes and our team manager Rich handles all of our logistics and makes sure every one of us is taken care of.

Lastly, what’s the year going to be like for you, like what competitions are you hitting up + where can the fans go to follow you?


It's going to be a busy year for sure, I’m heading to FISE Montpellier next and then I’ll be at Woodward East in Pennsylvania in the summer. I usually keep my Instagram updated so I can be found at @emmafinneganbmx for all the latest!

Photo: @55naoking

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