Girl, you need to start a fire before you can see a flame. If you’re hungry for warmth but haven’t quite got your gears rolling, here are some tips and reminders for your journey.
1. START RIDING
How do I start? What do I do? Well, how did you learn how to walk, to talk, or to read? Okay, you may not remember that far back. Picture day 1 on your snowboard, on the soccer field, in art class, or in whatever passion you fearless babes have grown to love. Unless you are wonder woman, it probably wasn’t pretty, and a little frustrating, but a whole lot of fun. That’s what it’s all about. You learned to kick before you could shoot, scribble before you could sketch, summersault before you could cartwheel. The good thing about riding BMX, is that as long as you know how to ride a bike, you already have the fundamentals down.
So hop on your bike, start pedaling, keep smiling. Ride on a white line, rip down the side streets, turn up the music, and hold on. Find a balance and cruise. That’s all you need to begin. Welcome to the beautiful world of BMX. It’s a new language, but with practice and patience, you will become fluent.
2. KEEP RIDING
Just ride. Anywhere, anytime. Hell, ride everywhere, all the time. Get comfortable before you decide to leave the comfort zone. Practice makes perfect. It will be frustrating. When you fall, get back up again. The feeling you get when you land the trick will be worth a thousand falls.
Create the habit of riding your bike every day even if it’s for 20 minutes, even if it’s a trip around the block. It takes 21 consecutive days for an activity to become a habit. Day 22 you’ll be itching to get onto your bike and that is a beautiful feeling. Commit to getting out there every day for a month even if you don’t see improvement. Then see what happens.
A year later this habit you dedicated those hours to will show the progress you may not have even been focusing on. And then all of a sudden once 365 days pass yet again, you are where you are because that habit became a part of you, a passion, an identity, and a purpose.
3. YOUR BIGGER GOALS NEED A LADDER
What happens to a fire when you add too much too fast? The light burns out and the flames need to be rekindled. Now what happens when you wait, you add, wait, add, and wait some more? The whole damn forest is on fire and she’s burning hot. When we love something so much, it’s important to enjoy the process, and not obsess over the product. Repeat to yourself, progress over perfection.
Start with balance. See how long you can ride on a curb, or stay on the pedals when your bike comes to a stop. Bring your front wheel off the ground 2 inches, 6, and then a foot. Watch Youtube tutorials. Film your progressions, it will make it easier to see where you’re going wrong. Give yourself a timeline. You don’t have to be hucking a 360 in your second week, month or even year of riding your bike. I wanted to learn how to bunny hop, barspin, fakie, and manual in a month. I learned a bunny hop. I changed my plans and gave myself the 6 remaining months of the summer to learn the rest. More practice means more skills, more skills means more control, and more control means more progression. It takes time.
4. COMPARISON IS THE THEIF OF JOY
We learn at different stages. I have a friend who can flair flip but can’t hold a manual, and vice versa. I know someone who learned a 180 in a day but a 360 in a year, and again vice versa. Focus on yourself, take it one step at a time, and don’t look at the clock. There will always be somebody better and there will always be somebody you’re better than. Typically the better than is also a “longer than” because nobody gets where they are without the hard work. However, those long-term riders are usually more than stoked to give you tips and support on your journey. What I’m saying is, don’t feel intimidated by somebody else’s success. Use it as motivation toward your goal. A challenge instead of a threat. Find people that will support you instead of pressure you. Find people that will help you bloom. The female BMX community is a small one, and with that, it is a welcoming one. We are fierce, we are loving, and we are one.
5. CONFIDENCE IS KEY
Do it for you. I run because I want to sweat off the stress, I hike because I love the view, and I bike because I feel like a badass chick who can conquer the world. I bike because “it’s a boys sport.” I ride for the girls, with the girls.
If it makes you feel good, keep feeling good. Don’t let anyone’s opinion get in the way of that. Concentrate on you and your bike wherever you are. Forget about distractions. Except for cars, watch out for those. Sometimes it helps to listen to music. Don’t worry about the people walking by or observing you on the street. Don’t worry about the group of skaters at the skatepark. If you feel secure in your own head, if you focus on the sport wholeheartedly, the feeling on your bike will be much more enjoyable, and progressive too. Fake it till you make it, honey. Give it your all. Push for confidence in and out of your comfort zone. If you can’t beat the fear, do it scared. It’s better than not doing it at all. Give yourself a challenge and then defeat your goals loud and proud. Pick up your bike and own the day.
Written by Guest Writer Ashleigh Johnston
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