Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Women Involved Series: Beatrice Trang

I’m from Canada and I’ve had Magnolia BMX since I was 15 (I'm now 26).



It started out as a clothing company, but because I was 15 and didn’t have any money, I started interviewing professional female riders on the blog, with questions I had for my own self purpose. What I realized later was that my questions were also someone’s else questions. 
Whether it be about learning a trick or dealing with haters.

I have a solid team of female bmx riders that represent each discipline in the sport and now we’re primarily a news site. 

When did you first start riding a bike?
I always had an interest in bikes, but it wasn’t until I was fourteen that I decided to use my savings to buy a $300 complete Haro BMX bike. I live near a very small skatepark and skateboarding wasn’t working out too well, so it was a natural progression.

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
Making life-long friends in the BMX community helped a lot, but I actually fell out of love with riding during my career years after college. In April of 2013, I decided to quit my corporate job of four years. I was unhappy, I had no life outside of my job and I had stopped riding BMX. After quitting, I spent a lot of time reacquainting myself with my bike. I had forgotten how much I loved riding. As scary as it was to quit a well paying job, I don’t regret any of it. If it wasn’t for taking a risk, I would have never found out about how amazing racing is.

What would be your favorite competitive biking event and why do you enjoy competing?
I like any sort of time trial or track racing; even downhill is awesome to watch. With racing, it’s about getting from point A to B. There are no tricks or opinions. It’s just about getting to the end first.

How did you originally get started with BMX and why did it suit you?
When I started riding BMX, I rode park for about seven years until I fell out of love with it. It wasn’t until I decided to go to the track one day that I realized my calling was to race BMX. I spent so many years trying to learn tricks but it just didn’t suit me. I knew I liked going fast, so I gave racing a try, and it was a perfect fit right off the bat. Seven years of riding park did help me a lot though. Because my home track is a lot more on the technical side, it made the transition into racing easier.

What do you enjoy about BMX? 
BMX is a whole culture of its own. It has some ups and downs with awesome and shitty people, but if you can find a good group of people to ride with, it’s the best thing in the world. BMX has introduced me to some long-lasting friends and has brought me to places that I would have never imagined I’d go.  

Have you had any accidents or situations that were challenging for you on a physical/mental/emotional level? What did you do to heal and overcome?
In terms of being in a cast or being off my bike due to an injury, I’ve had more incidents due to badminton than because of my bike. To date, I’ve had some pretty bad crashes on my downhill bike: taking a corner way too fast; a few tumbles on the track. When it comes to physical pain, I brush it off pretty easily. Emotionally—well, that’s a whole different story.
I take races very seriously. I spend a lot of time training for races and take time off work in order to compete. When I don’t do well, I can beat myself up pretty hard. I don’t think I’m the best person to ask on how to get over an emotional breakdown after a bad race, but sometimes the best thing to do is reflect, accept and move onto the next one.

When you started out riding, what were handling skills that challenged you? Do you have any suggestions for what helped you grasp them?
When I started racing, I had developed skills from riding park, so the pumps and rhythms came quite easy to me (though there is still lots of room for improvement). Learning how to gate took me a couple of months but one day, out of the blue, it just worked. Putting time on the bike and practicing a lot is the best advice anyone could really give.  

Are there still handling or technical riding aspects that you find tricky? How do you not let that drag you down when riding?
There are days where things don’t work, where gates feel crappy or I forget how to pump. It’s hard to not get frustrated, but there’s always a reason. Like, your bike could be loose somewhere, or maybe it’s simply time for a break. When you push yourself too hard, you’re bound to hit a wall. It’s ok to step back for a little bit.

What do you love about riding your bike?
I love biking in general. If there’s a perma-smile on my face, it’s a good day.

Why should people be open to BMX and the kind of riding it involves?I think regardless of what type of riding you want to do, if you want to try something that’s a little more challenging, BMX is the answer. The bikes are a lot twitchier than say, a mountain bike. It also opens you up to a lot of different disciplines like racing, flatland or park.

Do you have any suggestions/tips for new riders?
It doesn’t really matter what type of BMX you have when you start out. Get any BMX complete from your local bike store and go from there. Whether or not you change disciplines halfway through, you don’t need a specialized bike when you start.

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
I was lucky to receive a BMX frame from Amelia Walsh over at Yess BMX. She custom-painted it red for me and when I found out, I cried pretty hard. I had just gone through something traumatic in my life, so needless to say, I was really touched.
I also have a Norco that I use for downhill. It’s taken me on some pretty awesome adventures and tumbles this summer. With the Norco, I connected with a buyer on Pink Bike through my friend and drove two hours each way to get it.

What clothing/bike accessories do you love? What would you recommend to your friends?
I don’t wear anything too fancy when I’m racing or downhilling. I always sport the same black tights from Wal-mart, and I wear my custom jersey or something from my Magnolia BMX clothing line. Obviously, I always recommend my stuff to any of my biking friends. :)

Tell us about Magnolia BMX and how it got started? What inspired your interviews? How has Magnolia BMX evolved? And what are some of the challenges you’ve faced?
I got a lot of my entrepreneurial spirit from my parents. Because of that, when I was fifteen, I decided that I wanted my own clothing company for girls. It didn’t start out too well. I remember one of my “friends,” Jim, saying that he wanted to buy a shirt so he could wipe his ass with it. I’ve had a lot of doubters.
Being fifteen and not having a lot of contacts, I didn’t put out many shirts. Then, I started emailing professional riders with interview questions. It started out being more self-serving because I wanted questions answered for myself, like, how to do a trick. Soon enough, I learned that I wasn’t alone in my struggles, so I started asking more universal questions that applied to a lot of other girls out there as well.
For a while, Magnolia BMX struggled with its identity. Some called it a clothing company, but I never felt that was right. Recently, I’ve dedicated the company more to providing news. The site started out focusing on park, then gradually—with the help of our Flatland Manager, Rebecca Pergentile—we incorporated flatland news. Naturally, we’ve also incorporated racing not too long ago.
Keeping the flow of news hasn’t been easy; we rely a lot on people to send in videos or when it comes to interviews, sensing who’s in right now. I base a lot of my interview choices on the content that girls put out, edits, photos, stories, etc.

Do you have an interview that was one of your personal favorites and why?
It’s hard to choose, but I think my most significant posts are “How to get sponsored in BMX” and “So you’re sponsored now?”
Both articles speak on sponsorship in BMX, what companies look for and what is expected. I got to be in touch with a bunch of great companies for the interview and some awesome riders as well.

How would you like to see females evolve in the world of BMX?
I think we’re on our way already. There are so many ladies putting out quality edits year after year. There’s not much more I could ask for.

Why is it important for you to have a space dedicated to female BMX riders?
I wanted a space where I could have news about female riders only and not have it be a novelty. Some sites, when they post an update about a girl, the fucking circus comes out and then there’s a shit storm of sexist comments. So, by having a website dedicated to female riders, I’m ditching the novelty and focusing more on the individual and the riding.

What do you feel deters women from getting involved with cycling?
I think as humans, we naturally do things based on the people around us. How many people do you know actually ride on a daily basis versus people who go out to bars every night? Anyone can pick up a bike, but it takes a special kind of woman to make it into a career or a lifestyle.

I think there are a lot of reasons why some may deter from cycling. Most of the time, I think it’s about being out of shape. I hear a lot of excuses like, “I want to get into shape first before I go on a mile bike ride.” When I hear that, I think, “Wouldn’t it make more sense to ride to get into shape while riding?” We spend so much of our lives sitting or working in an office with minimal physical activity so I can understand how hard it is to do something out of the norm, but sometimes, you have to just dive in for that start.

What do you feel could happen to make changes and/or encourage more women to ride?
Like I mentioned earlier, we’re a product of our own environment, so until we see a significant increase in female cycling role models, there won’t be much of a change. However, I’ve seen a huge increase in female BMXers, and simultaneously, an increase in paid professional female riders. So, it is developing. Just not enough to catch up to our male counterparts.

What inspires you to encourage women to ride?
I try not to push biking too much with people I know. It takes a special person to be able to enjoy the adrenaline that it brings. But, I always encourage finding something that you like doing. 
I spent a lot of years waking up to go to a desk job and I was miserable. One of my favorite quotes from Steve Jobs is, “I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been "no" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Tell us a random fact about yourself!
I started a Youtube channel (youtube/beabmx) documentation my racing journey and life basically.

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