Name: Nina Buitrago
Current Age: 41
Hometown: Port Washington, NY
Sponsors: Terrible One, Burn Slow, Empire BMX, Onnit, Etnies.
How did you get into BMX? Circa 1999-2000, My friend Darren Meenan rode BMX and had dirt jumps in my hometown, Port Washington, NY. All it took was one trip to the trails with him to get my attention and spark my immediate interest in BMX. I revelled at this oasis in the middle of the woods, the fact that this group of friends had committed to building their own fun, putting in work for years and the way they were pushing each other to ride them. I knew after seeing them ride in person, I wanted to ride like them. Before I had my own bike, I would show up and shoot photos. I had acquired several after-school jobs in order to save up to buy a friend’s old frame/fork and piece together a bike of my own. I refused to believe that at the time there weren’t many/any females who rode dirt jumps or skateparks and went for it anyway. I don’t think to this day that the guys took me that seriously, but after seeing me battle with learning and eventually conquering some fundamentals I began to make new friends and stick with it. Mind you, this was also during a time when the internet was VERY young, social media did not exist and we mostly communicated via landline phones. The latest happenings in BMX were in a number of print magazines and Props BMX Video Magazine. The only women in the mags back then were not riding bikes instead they were modelling BMX teeshirts, or once in a while there would be a BMX racing pic you’d have to read the caption to figure out if the name who was behind the full face if it was a female shredder or not. As the internet became a thing I found a website called Women of Freestyle, started by a flatlander named Kim Klisiak, who made the site in hopes to connect with other female riders across the world. However, it wasn’t until a year or so into riding I met another girl rider in real life, NJ, Stacey Wiedrich (formerly Mulligan). We eventually met Kim from WOF BMX and decided to plan the first-ever WOFBMX jam in 2001 in Lakewood, NJ. It was awesome and at that point when around 12 of us got together including Cory Coffey (who had just thrown a backflip in competition) and Erin Donato (pro flatland legend) that I realized we were making some kind of history. I was so inspired seeing everyone’s different bike setups, skills, and what was possible really, it made me want to try to get more women to get into riding. 22+ years later, here I still am, loving my time and the journey BMX has allowed me to enjoy so far.
What languages do you speak? English, Spanish
What are your top three parks?
- Skatepark of Malaga
- Chenga (Original RIP)
- Ray’s Indoor MTB Bike Park
Top three songs to get you pumped?
- Bad Brains – Don’t Bother Me
- Slayer – Raining Blood
- Stiff Little Fingers – Alternative Ulster
Three people who inspire you and why.
- Stacey Wiedrich – Always pushing her own limits on and off the bike, (both BMX and MTB!) Intelligent well-spoken hero of mine who was always showing us what’s possible for women from our earliest days of riding BMX together and even up until now so many years later crushing endurance races for fun at our age.
- Carley Young – It takes a special type of human to be blessed with the level of extreme patience and gift of magic she brings to learning how to ride that coach Carley gives at all of her clinics. She is a great friend, mentor and plant mother. I’m lucky to call her a friend, as we move through this life together trying to surf the waves of life and give back to bikes, we help remind each other to have fun!
- Nikita Ducarroz – From meeting her as “@Nikitabmxgirl” a young shredder from NorCal who got her mom to ride, and was brave enough to share her story early on in riding that BMX helped her battle her severe anxiety, it really helped me to see even more how bikes can have a positive impact in more ways than I thought. After seeing her conquer so many fears to even just begin travelling on a plane in the beginning, was so inspiring and impressive and the support and love her family gave not only her but all of us fellow riders and friends is just so beautiful. To see her with Hannah and Chaz in Tokyo on the Olympic podium for freestyle, and as the founder of Mind Tricks, and living her dream to become a professional BMX rider, makes my heart so full of the new paths she had paved. Lots of love to ya Nikita!
What is a trend in BMX you want to stop seeing? Limiting riding to one “style”
How do you spend your days off your bike? Hanging with my dog Brisket, cooking food, and being outside.
Favourite person to ride or train with? Brisky
Favourite shoes to ride in? Etnies Vulc Mids
Most inspirational quote? “Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” -A.Einstein
Best advice given to you? Invest in your health, raise your vibe, and pass it on.
Your biggest fear? Not being able to show up for friends or family
Your proudest accomplishment? Not really my own accomplishment but getting to see the first-ever Olympic podium for women’s BMX Freestyle in Tokyo will forever be at the top of my list.
Three guilty pleasures?
- Food pages I follow on Instagram
- Yellowbird Hot Sauce
Your worst habit? Coffee too late in the day, not drinking enough water, and generally overthinking things.
If you could hire someone to help you in some sort of aspect of your life, what would it be? If there was someone I could “hire” to take away any financial responsibilities and bills so I could just ride off into the sunset with brisket and still have a place to live that would be tight Haha. Realistically, Maybe a personal trainer to help further my personal fitness journey after years of BMX injuries and constant go go go.
What is an amazing experience you had that couldn’t have happened without BMX? Too many to pick one but getting to stunt double as Captain Marvel in an episode of Ms.Marvel definitely wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for BMX.
Your top three future goals you want to achieve?