What do you like best about BMX/your sport?
"Landing tricks you never thought you would ever be able to do. Plus making the guys think: "Did she just really do that?!”. Meeting and befriending other riders from over the world at international contests. And love the fact that it totally takes my mind off the daily rut. When I ride it’s just me and my bike."
Would you like to be involved in other cycling sports too?
"BMX racing or MTB mountainbike looks like so much fun, but I've never done it. I would love to though! Guess the week would need at least one extra day so I’d have enough time for that.."
Photo by Mickael Dessalles
Cycling is a growing sport and more and more women are getting involved worldwide. Is Womens' BMX growing as well?
"More girls are getting into BMX for sure, and start off motivated. But it is hard for them to keep going and to keep learning new tricks. You need a lot of patience in the start, to learn new things. Get used to get bruised! But it will pay off if you keep up, really And... Being part of the guys is a big thing: they will always learn faster then you. Which is ok. Follow you own tempo and enjoy riding."
Any training tips? Any "don’t do’s” (for beginners)?
"Don't just go for a trick, but try to visualise the trick first. Imagine what it feels like, try it once and then adapt your technique bit by bit with every try."
Photo's by Joyce de Vries
How long does it take to learn a new trick?
"For an intermediate or pro rider this can take a day up to three months, depending on how much you want it and how much efford (time!) you put in it. For beginners it can go much faster. Sometimes you can even learn a new trick within 3 hours up to a day."
What is your favourite training food?
"Fruit! Apples are good. And homemade couscous salad. Nothing too heavy on the stomach..."
How & where do you train yourself?
Photo by Mickael Dessalles
What is the perfect place to be or live for a (female) BMX rider?
"Travelling from contest to contest is when I am at my best and when I learn most. That is what I would love to do more: To travel and ride more international contests."
How easy or hard is it to get sponsorship or support in comparison to ladies that ride well in other countries?
"The Netherlands is small, there are not that many contests. In countries like the UK, France and Germany there are way more (girls) contests. Girls riding BMX are also more respected, they get their own contests and are welcomed to join contests or have more trainingpossibilities (girls nights at the BMX park). These things create more possibilities for girls to get in to BMX, to grow, to get in the picture and to get a the chance at sponsorship."
Does your (rather severe) dyslexia bother you a lot?
"Digital communication (mail, whatsapp, texting, social media) takes me way longer, because I always need someone to 'translate’ and check my messages. I can never directly send a mail to a company by myself or answer to a message instantly: my spelling and grammar always need to get checked first! This means I need a friend to help out every now and then.
Not mastering my own language also makes it harder to get hold of a job and to learn other languages. So yes, it is a pretty big obstacle, or handicap in other words. It makes me more shy to speak English too. But it doesn't mean I'm a dummy!"
360 tailwhip by Shanice
Photo by Jocki de Groot
What tricks do you use to communicate?
"Dyslexia sometimes makes travelling a bit more interesting too, because signs are hard to read. I’ve learned to just go and ask people for directions. Which has also helped me get better at English and be a bit less shy in general.
Google Translate helps a lot too: if someone messages me I can paste it into Google Translate and hit the button to have the app read it out loud to me (awesome feature!). With Whatsapp I read the messages and use Dictate / Voice recorder to send my messages to friends. And as for mails: I really need someone to rewrite my text or translate it to understandable English. My own writings are phonetic, and are readable for friends, but are hard to understand for others.
Example of my own writing: - Im so happy dat the sister sesie is agen dis yeer. I wil rooc it hoop dis jeer. -
Revised version: - I’m so happy that Sister Session will happen again this year. I hope to rock it this year. - "
Which international contests outside Europe would you like to attend?
"All of the FISE worldtour contests, some of which are in Asia, and the Toronto jam too."
You've been riding BMX for quite some years now, and have been winning more contests in Europe over the last year. Is there still room to grow?
"There is loads more I want to learn and do, but combining work and sports is sometimes hard. Work will keep me from training and vice versa. Keeping the balance is important."
Any future goals?
"For me personally I’d wish for a future and life slightly less stressfull and worrisome. And as far as BMX goes: I really want women’s BMX to get bigger and help lift it to a higher level. To all the girls out there: Come and join the ride, BMX is awesome!"
Keep riding! Be #Strongher
About Saskia Haex
Most of the times you will see her on a fixed bike and although most people think she rides her bike all the time they are wrong and she wishes she could do so. Next to all her activities around women cycling and fixed racing Saskia is a designer. If she could do only one thing more in life she would gather her best friends and party all night long.
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