Women on Bikes Series: Carley Young

Meet Carley Young, BMX racer, coach, and the woman behind Ride Like A Girl! She is extremely passionate about getting more females involved with two wheels.

You can find more on Carley with these links:

Ride Like A Girl:
Ride Like A Girl Facebook Ride Like A Girl on Instagram

Videos posted on Carley’s YouTube page!

When did you first start riding a bike?
I always remember riding a bike as a kid. My brother and I would go out and ride in the neighborhood when he could stand to be around his baby sister. Ha! I started racing BMX when I was 6 years old and a day doesn't go by when I’m not on my bike now.  

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
It is my escape from life and the one thing that never gets old putting a smile on my face. I also love to better myself so I can coach and inspire others to be better riders as well. 

What would be your favorite competitive biking event and why do you enjoy competing?
I love racing and my favorite event was competing for team USA in the World Championship. It’s awesome being on that big hill with the stands packed and racing the best Women in BMX in a foreign country. I did my first Downhill MTB race last Fall and that was exciting to try something new.

How did you originally get started with BMX and why did it suit you?
I started racing in 1990 and won my first race battling with the boys and I have been hooked ever since. BMX Racing really took off for me when I learned it was the first real sport that allowed me to do whatever I wanted and the more I put into it the more I got in return. I am a very independent person and like to do things on my own and with this being an individual sport, I don't have to rely on others to succeed, just the heart I put into it.  

What do you enjoy about BMX?
The unique thing about BMX racing is that the 5 and Under Novice gets to race on the same track on the same weekend and race as the Pros. We have Olympians at our National events you can walk up to and talk to. Always fun to have kids come up to you at races telling you how much meeting me means to them when I remember being that kid walking up to pros when I first started. 

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 2006 I fell at the Louisville outdoor skatepark and shattered my right arm and face. Broken nose, busted teeth, snapped my forearm and shattered my elbow just 2 days prior to the biggest race of the year where I sat tied for the #1 plate in both bikes. Devastated about this accident I refused to sit in the hospital and weep. I was released and was taken to the track where I cheered on the rest of my friends and brother. It took me a while to get my confidence back on my bike but once I overcame some fears about getting hurt I was back to racing full time in less than 3 months. Now I use that story to help girls when I coach because I understand fear and what it takes to put it aside when you want be the best at your sport. 

When you started out riding, what were handling skills that challenged you? Do you have any suggestions for what helped you grasp them?
I was always that fearless rider who had a brother who pushed me to try new things, so I didn't have a hard time with skills as I loved to ramp jumps even when I had no business jumping them. One issue I had was I was given a stuck of luck when I started and would win often. My weakness was having poor sportsmanship or a bad attitude about getting anything but first. This didn't come from my parents as they were happy as long as I did my best, but it was my overachiever in me that wasn't happy unless I was winning. This later in life helped me when my competition got harder to be a more aggressive rider and keep my win but I learned to have a better attitude before and after the race to my competitors.  

Are there still handling or technical riding aspects that you find tricky? How do you not let that drag you down when riding?
My biggest battle right now is supercross. Racing on the 8 Meter starting hill and jumping a 40' jump on the first straight. I entered in my first supercross race this past October in Rock Hill, SC. I have moved to NC to get used to the hill but unfortunately the track was not rideable until the weekend of the race. The hill was scary and the jump made me second guess my riding abilities. Having never experienced anxiety like this before I could not control my emotions or keep my body from trembling. With everyone around me supporting me and telling me I could do it, I could not understand why my mind didn’t want to do what my body was capable of riding. I was then able to drop in and jump the first jump twice in practice but I messed up my first lap and took a crash that was more embarrassing then hurtful. It was a huge milestone for me as I was 7 years older than all the other girls in the gate. I still gave it my all even when it was something I had been wishing to try for years. 

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
I ride a 24Seven frame they have sponsored me for a few years now. My bike is an aluminum frame that has a 20'' top tube and 15" rear end. I also have an S&M Park/Trail bike that I ride when I am not racing. 

What clothing/bike accessories do you love? What would you recommend to your friends?
I race in the Women's Specific Uniform thanks to Fly Racing; when I ride park I’m normally in cut off jeans and t-shirt with my G Form Knee and Elbow pads. 

What do you love about riding your bike?
When I am on my bike nothing else matters, no worries no drama. I am able to rest my mind and just pedal and not really have to think about anything. Riding comes so naturally to me so when I am at the track it's nothing but smiles.