When I was first asked to write this article, I long considered what the best approach would be. That is, how I could best discuss fixed freestyle from the female rider’s perspective. Surely I could easily write a great deal on my own opinions and from my personal experiences, but would that really serve my intended purpose? Perhaps a few readers would take something substantial from it, but even so, the most to be gained would be the admittedly biased opinion of just one female rider. The realization that many of these opinions are universal among female riders is far more persuasive than the expression of one individual’s opinions. My aim here is to simply give an expressive outlet to the females in the sport and shed some light on their perspective. Hopefully, you can take something away from it and perhaps gain a better understanding of where female riders stand.
The female riders featured in this article each draw from a variety of perspectives and personal experiences from going to fixed freestyle events and competitions, to riding with a regularly meeting group, to participating on TrickTrack.org and other online communities. Nevertheless, when looking at the responses, we can see several key points that consistently come up. In particular, two themes are touched upon by each of the riders; that is, the incredibly positive effect support from other riders has had on them and their riding, as well as the call to be viewed and respected as riders.
Speaking from my personal experience, I can relate to both of these issues. I have attended a number of events and have experienced both the positive and negative from other riders. The positive reactions have been invaluable. In a sport so dominated by the opposite sex, it can be intimi-
Fixed gear freestyle is addicting, therapeutic, challenging, exciting, and frustrating at times but it’s just what I like to do. There’s something about it.
Fortunately, I try not to pay attention to all that [negativity at events, on the internet, and in general]. For the most part at trick events I get treated pretty fairly. It’s such a new sport that primarily it is dominated by males, and being integrated and compared to them is just part of it. Being a female rider I try not to focus on the competitiveness because I don’t think it should be primarily about that. As the sport grows and more women are riding in competitions I think there could be a female category. I don’t want to get treated special for my gender, but at the same time women riders are different. Personally, what I look forward to at a trick comp is seeing other people’s riding styles and trying something new at a new space.
The Internet is another story; I don’t get involved in that shit. In some aspects, the inter-web press is nice because it gets you out there and also brings you together with other riders who you may never have known existed. It has built this community in a lot of ways. The inter-web also creates a space where shallow people have nothing better to do but talk shit because they are faceless. People will always run their mouth, and I don’t have time to get involved in it.
A lot of men I have been riding with have been pretty respectful. Sometimes there is this tension that I have to prove myself in order for them to take me seriously or see me as equal, but that’s just part of it. I can only speak for myself, but I believe that women who are riding fixed gear freestyle are not taken as seriously as men unless proven otherwise. I think the sport is in for a big emergence of female fixed gear freestyle riders and just like anything else that tension will change in time. I think what’s most important is that we as female riders continue to support each other and not let egos get in the way. I think community is a big aspect of this sport, and we female riders need to utilize it and make the sport grow and learn from each other.