|ESPN.com: BMX||[Print without images]|
Hailing from Brisbane, Australia, Peta Shepherd is one of the top female BMX Park riders in the world. This past year, Shepherd started traveling throughout the U.S., Europe and Canada, and now has her sights set on traveling throughout 2013. In fact, she's plotting a move to Toronto, Canada to explore more contest opportunities with occasional visits to the U.S. Following the Colony team's California trip earlier this year, we caught up with Shepherd to discuss her rise in the Park ranks and what the future holds.
ESPN.com: How'd you get into riding?
Shepherd: I started riding in 2004. A friend told me to buy a bike, so I did. I just rode around a racetrack that was close to my house, and then when my mate Renee moved up to Brisbane from Adelaide, I got into riding skateparks more. She's the one that taught me to drop in a quarter.
Describe the scene where you grew up riding and what it's like there today.
It was (and is) great! Lots of parks, riders, and some street. Within an hour drive I think there are 1,000 parks or something -- some amazing and some you wouldn't even bother with. All the riders are real cool, and heaps of new ones starting all the time.
You recently spent a lot of time in the Toronto, Canada area and have plans to move back there semi-permanently, right?
Yeah, I spent the summer over there trying to get away from the Aussie winter. I just got a holiday working visa for Canada, so I'm going to try and live over there for two years just to experience something different and hopefully be able to travel a bit more.
|Downside whip to disaster.|
What is it about Toronto that drew you there? Why not somewhere like Austin, Texas or Southern California?
I went to Toronto for the 2012 Toronto Jam back in February and I loved it. I met so many rad people and loved a lot of the parks, especially Joyride150. Because Canada and Australia are part of the commonwealth, it means it's easier for me to get a holiday working visa for there, as opposed to the U.S. However, when I'm there I want to travel into the states a bit.
What are your plans for after you move to Toronto?
Get a job. Nothing set in stone yet, but hoping to do a few more of the comps in Europe for the girls and maybe a few road trips, too.
After going to the Toronto Jam and BMX Worlds in 2012, do you have plans to hit more contests next year?
Yes, I would really like to. I want to do the Toronto Jam and the Worlds again, and hopefully also make it to Simple Session and FISE.
Why is it important for you to hit up contests?
It isn't important necessarily, I just love going and having fun with everyone. I think it's amazing that some contests are good enough to hold a girl's class, and that girls turn up for them. I know some girls can't go to them because of money or whatnot, but the Toronto Jam was my first international contest, and now I'm hooked and I want to try to go to heaps more. The vibe is just amazing.
You are one of the few female riders out there that has a frame/parts sponsors that you're real involved with. What's it like traveling around with and filming with the Colony crew?
So rad! Clint Millar is a champ - just a real good guy. The whole team is a bunch of amazing riders and friends. The Cali trip we did in June was one of the best times I've ever had on my bike.
|Stretched no-handed vader footjam.|
Do you typically like to ride with other females as opposed to guys?
Nope. I like to ride with anyone and everyone that wants to ride and have fun on a bike.
What's the most annoying question you get asked on a regular basis?
Can you backflip? Are you sponsored? What's your best trick? The normal ones I think everyone gets asked. But I really hate being told "You're pretty good for a girl." I never tell people they are pretty good for a boy. I don't see why my gender has to be in that statement.
What advice would you give other female riders who are just starting out or thinking about getting into BMX?
To have fun and give it a go. Everyone started with the basics. Also, I have never had a problem with guys giving me a hard time or anything, but if you do get that, just ignore them. They are low-lifes and not worth the bother.
Any last words, thanks, or shout-outs?
Big thanks to Clint Millar for all the support from Colony, Beatrice Trang from Magnolia BMX, JC BMX, Miklav, Joyride150 for the awesome summer, and all my friends. Love you guys!