A Girl In A World Of Grown Men On Little Kid Bikes
With a title so compelling, your brain might venture in different directions. For some, “WTF does that mean…little kids bikes? Like handlebar streamers and green flame chain guards?” Others might recall flashbacks to the small plastic Walmart kicker ramps which successfully removed yours or a friend’s front teeth—heckin’ good clean family fun!
If you’re still not tracking, I’m talking about small, fast, and sometimes sketchy BMX bikes! Smaller than a mountain bike, bigger than a tricycle, no gears, no shocks, no problem.
I’m Joce Camarra, and if you’re not curious about the full-stoke gnar party that comes out of BMX (and being a chick involved), stop here. You don’t want any of this noise.
What’s This Whole BMX Deal?
It’s both exactly what you’d picture and nothing like it at the same time. While there are athletes who’ve made a serious living and won’t laugh at the light heckling, most of us get a good chuckle out of the lifestyle we’ve formed with these little bikes.
I guess we giggle that some of us ladies find a hard love in such a strange and dangerous sport. Because while BMX bikes are smaller than your average bicycle, the carnage can be 10x.
Okay, Go On About Being a Chick Doing Gnar Things
As a lady rider, bicycles paint the scene for equally awesome and quizzical situations. For example, I constantly get the “ARE YOU OK?” wide-eyed glance while doing normal-people things, like shopping or getting burritos. This is because we’re often covered…and I mean covered in bruises, strawberries and road-rash.
This drives many “normal adults” to confusion, you can almost hear their questions:
Are you in trouble? Did someone do this to you? Did this happen at the vineyard? Were you at your pilates class and lost your balance? Or are you the party-girl type, in which case I’m silently judging you.
Because No Female Should Look Like This
You know, “act like a lady.” Most people won’t actually say anything, but observing these glances I’m crafting my response:
“No, lady…I throw myself over the handlebars of my bike for fun. You should try, it’s exhilarating! And I do it for free!”
Also, I’ve never been to a vineyard, not the pilates type, nor can I imagine catching road-rash from a pilates accident. I’m also not the reckless party-girl who gets injured falling from an elevated surface.
Gimme a dirt jump on the other hand—we can talk reckless.
I appreciate the concern from people, but I promise I single-handedly earned these trophy bruises, scabs and scars…and I’m proud of ‘em.
The Jaws Hit The Floor
Being a chick in a predominantly dude’s sport is actually full of lovely and unexpected things, like watching everyone go ballistic when you try something scary.
As far as being “less than shy” in the company of mostly men…it helps that I’ve always been a tomboy, drawn to activities most women don’t flock towards. I'm comfortable here, and I’ve been welcomed.
With a lot of surprise to see a chick going for it in BMX, there is plenty of stoke to go along with it, and I’m wildly grateful for the massive imaginary hug everyone wrapped me up into when I pushed my way into the BMX bike world. **Don’t get sappy Joce—be cool**
Mostly Spice, But Is There Anything Nice?
I’m still a girl who enjoys normal girl things. I get my eyelashes done so I can look nice while I’m eating complete shit. I’m a sucker for sparkly things. I can get down with some Ugg boots, and I’m full of the normal girl emotions, which is rad but sucks all in the same breath.
Example: Joce throwing a fit and turning moody at Swampfest because she didn’t think she could ride anything, only to have those persistent girl vibes of chasing what she wanted—and somehow nailing something she never thought she could do.
All in all it’s a fair trade-off.
Dirt In My Teeth For The Right Reasons
I’m an all-in or all-out kinda kid, and this sport caught me like a mosquito to a bug zapper. I may still be considered a rookie, but damn, BMX is rad and I’m definitely all-in.
While I’ve never been pressured to “earn my place,” I’ve made a point of being present and loud. I refuse to let anyone think I don’t love it like they do, or even worse: that I do it for attention. Nope, that’s not me. From the beginning I have wanted to earn my place in BMX not for anyone else, but for me.
Wait What? The Dudes Actually Support You?
It’s a killer treat when I get to ride with other women, but that’s a rare occasion. When I can’t, I’m stoked to ride with the guys and appreciate all the learns. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them, even though I’m still learning the ropes.
While most think it’s scary to be in the minority, I’m proud of our BMX dudes for adapting and welcoming us in. As the ladies get more excited and daring, the guys get more hyped. They really don’t get enough credit for that, and I’m especially grateful for the riders who have made this adventure feel both comfy and terrifyingly worth it.
Unfortunately in the competition world, the fight for equal prize money, getting recognition, and even the chance to compete is still an uphill battle. Kudos to our top ladies who have been working their asses off to push for equality.
How Can A Noob Get Involved?
My advice to future lady BMXers is the same for guys who want long hair: just go for it. Full speed ahead. You have every right to give it a go and love it just as hard as anyone.
A little confidence and a lot of stoke will carry you a long way, and there’s a whole community ready to welcome you. It’s a killer and worthwhile adventure, just promise you’ll do it for you.
Meet Joce “Rad BMX Chick”
A self-described BMX chick in a world of full-grown dudes on little kid bikes, Joce is all-in on the small bike life and all that comes with it—including bruises, road rash and eating shit on big scary jumps. Join the full-stoke gnar party and follow Joce as she helps pave the way for rad women in historically male-dominated sports.
Rip It Up With Joce