In a short amount of time, British rider Charlotte Worthington has propelled in the freestyle world. In just 2019 alone, Charlotte finished 3rd in the world in points, became the 2019 European Continental champ, British National Champ and countless other accomplishments. We sat down with Charlotte for a deep dive into her BMX career so far.
For those who don’t know you, how were you introduced to BMX?
So I’ve always been into extreme sports and anything with wheels, from watching my brother on a skateboard when I was young, to seeing someone doing tricks on a scooter for the first time – I was hooked. I rode scooters for about 7 years so I was always surrounded by BMX, and did get a BMX bike for my 16th birthday to mess around on. I picked things up pretty quickly but stuck to scooters for a long time. When I was 20 I decided I wanted a fresh start and to learn new tricks again, I was over riding scooters and BMX was new and made even simple tricks really exciting and fun again! So I was ready for a new challenge.
What was growing up in the UK like for you, did you have a supportive group of riders to turn to or was it pretty separated?
I was always a massive tomboy growing up, and in high school, there weren’t many girls like me, people probably thought I was pretty weird. I had a small group of friends and none of them were into sports, I didn’t know many people in my school who did anything at a skatepark either. So during those years, I was spending most of the time after school and every weekend on the bus to Stockport to ride Bones Skatepark with a few scooter riders I knew; I don’t think I was that popular with those guys but were the main crew around at the time haha! As time goes on people come and go but the past few years I feel I’ve had a great crew around me!
From scooters to BMX, do you believe that your time on a scooter helped you with your list of tricks today? Could you list some similarities or skills that made it easy to transition?
Totally!!! I found when I first rode a BMX from the first drop in and a few airs I just felt like ‘I can already do this!’, you’re riding the same ramps in a very similar way, pumping your legs and pulling your arms. As for the tricks, with some, it’s minor differences like leaning over a little more for a no hander, or backflips, I found almost exactly the same just going a little higher. Others can be quite different though. Tail whips, for example, there’s a lot more to them on a BMX, you’re not just spinning a little bit of metal around with your wrists, it’s a whole frame with a back wheel, you’re in a totally different body position and your landing areas are little pedals, I found stuff like that hard.
Say you were a BMX travel agent, of all the places you’ve been in the UK, where should we go ride or check out?
Number 1 on the list is definitely Adrenaline Alley, this place is the ultimate training ground with something for everyone and is full of pro riders! Other spots include The Asylum Skatepark for a fun bowl with a resi, a trip up to Scotland is awesome with Unit 23 and Rampworx is pretty legendary with the likes of Harry Main too. I haven’t explored the south with my BMX too much, but there are lots of little outdoors dotted around, but we have more indoor facilities due to the weather haha.
Who are your sponsors today, and one awesome product you’d recommend for each?
So today my sponsors are Hyper & Snafu and Alan’s BMX shop, I have something else in the pipeline but I won’t say anything just yet haha… Hyper produce really top quality frames which are super light and strong, I’d recommend the one I’m currently riding which is the Logan Martin signature frame the Indy for its sizing being an all-round great frame. My favorite Snafu product is the Jet Fuel stem, it looks amazing! As do the rest of their products. Alan’s BMX stocks everything you can think of from parts to clothes.
So congrats on being picked up by Hyper and Snafu, could you give us a little insight on the decision and how the opportunity came up?
Thank you! I was out in the USA training with our coach Jamie Bestwick, and one of my old friends in the industry called me to ask if I was happy with my sponsorship position, at the time I was riding for Tall Order. So we got talking and Hyper wanted to get together a girls team going into 2020 and also relaunch their products in the UK! They wanted a UK female athlete. I knew straight away I wanted to be involved, only days before I’d been talking to my British Cycling teammate Declan Brooks that if there was any dream company, I’d want to ride for it was Hyper & Snafu!
Seems like Hyper and Snafu are making a big statement for 2020 eh?
Definitely. They have some incredible riders male and female, some of the best in the world!
In a recent interview with the BBC… actually, let’s talk about that. You’ve been interviewed by numerous news outlets. How’s the attention been for you and your training? Are there any cool moments you could share with us?
British Cycling is great at getting the media on board and has really done well at exposing freestyle BMX to the British public, still not that many people know it’s now an Olympic sport. It’s picking up momentum with bigger news corporations doing pieces on us, it was nice to get an unexpected mention in The Guardian from the English Institute Of Sport as one of the Olympic hopefuls! I think another highlight was being on the BBC Breakfast show alongside other Olympians. I always manage to fit these around my training, but on a freezing morning at Adrenaline Alley, the reporters sometimes forget you might need a little time to warm up haha, we don’t have heaters in parks over here.
You’re clearly a hard-working girl, from working full time in the kitchen to now being a full-time athlete, how has British Cycling helped you? We’re curious about what your support structure looks like!
British Cycling has helped me and the team massively in the transition, we know BMX freestyle but they know fitness. Our physio Rachel Carter is like the team mum on trips now, we’ve got Jamie Bestwick as our rider coach and Dan McPartlan as our gym coach. There’s a bunch of other people behind the scenes helping with nutrition and lifestyle etc too, there’s a great support network behind us. It was a big change from a full-time job, changing my diet and exercise learning a lot about myself in this whole process. I’d only competed twice locally before going to my first Fise in 2018! I was kinda thrown in the deep end haha but I love that, it’s great for learning.
I assume your life is a little more regiment now, as you are training as an athlete. Could you break down what your normal week during competition season is like?
Yes totally, you have to watch everything you do when you’re an athlete, what you’re doing and when you’re doing it. Mornings generally are for the gym, cardio or other activities and afternoons are for riding. Since moving to Corby, I try and ride a lot with Alex cold born and Declan brooks and whoever else is in town because we all push each other with a common goal. It’s a little different to chilling a Sunday session, but I do have the odd ‘totally fun’ session with everyone for the atmosphere and socializing, you gotta keep it fun.
I suppose you’re in the “off-season” right now, how have you been keeping busy and when’s the next competition for you?
Well, I find the off-season to be pretty busy! Now is the time to sew some seeds to grow through the year and get some new tricks going along with some hard fitness. I find in the season you don’t want to get hurt or too fatigue so it’s pretty balanced.
@Steezyrach wants to know, what new tricks are on your list to learn?
Other than everything haha… there’s a bunch of tricks I’ve made a good start on this summer that weren’t ready for contests yet so definitely some of them, I’m sorry I don’t want to reveal too much Rach but I think there are some female firsts in there once they’re done to wood!
With the Olympics just around the corner, is it on top of mind daily for you? What’s going on in that brain of yours right now?
It’s on my mind like it’s a reminder and motivation to be the best version of myself, I’m just staying super focussed on working towards that goal.
On a normal day of competition, how do you start your day and are you the type to freak out if you don’t have a routine going?
After a good few learning experiences shall we say, I’m probably still figuring out my perfect contest day. I’ve got some good habits going and have learned you’ve got to be flexible, plans change and you don’t need anything throwing you off your mental game!
Quick Questions – Don’t think too hard!
– All-time Favourite Course: Fise China 2019 was pretty fun!
– All-time Favorite City: MANCHESTER!
– If I didn’t ride BMX I would be: stuck in a dead-end job
– How many GB shirts you own:10 maybe?
– Coolest male and female rider: Logan Martin and Nikita Ducarroz
– The worst thing about traveling: Phone internet usage
– The person you look forward to seeing the most when you go to a world cup stop: Don’t think I can pick one person! Anyone that makes me laugh
– Cheat meal if calories weren’t an issue: Lasagne, garlic bread, and about three deserts
– When I’m riding, I have to: Feel like I’ve done a good job (as well as have fun)
Any final words: (you can think hard on this one if you want haha) Just that you can achieve anything if you have a vision and are willing to work hard AF to get there! And thanks for this awesome interview!