This Is Me: Holly Bendall

Interview by Sam Haddad, photo by Stephen Frapwell

We interviewed the BMXer and schoolgirl

My dad tells me I was three when I learnt to ride a bike without stabilisers. Apparently we cycled nine miles in Scotland a couple of weeks after. I’ve always been into riding bikes.

I used to skateboard, mainly cruising along. Then I went on one of my friend’s bikes one day and thought, “Yeah I’d rather BMX.” I had a really crappy BMX when I was 10. I only got a proper one two years ago, before that I had a mountain bike. I did dirt jumping on that but just for fun not in competitions. I get a tiny bit scared but you need a bit of fear. Mostly I just enjoy it.

I first went to Dorchester, my local skate park, on my own. It was full of like 20 boy BMXers and skaters and I was quite intimidated at first, but I met people from my class at school there and everyone was really encouraging.

The first time I had a go I promptly fell off. I didn’t hurt myself badly. Dropping in was alright but I was trying really stupid tricks. I’d been watching people do stuff so I just went right in the deep end. I went back the next day though, I was hooked early on.

I was the only girl there. There weren’t even any girlfriends of BMXers or skaters there. Six months into it there was one girl who was a couple of years older than me and she skateboarded occasionally.

Was I surprised that the guys were patient and happy to teach me tricks? Yeah. When new people come to the park they don’t believe it at first. But I’ve had loads of positive feedback, especially from the video clip I did.

I don’t know why more girls don’t BMX. Maybe it’s because there aren’t any girl role models out there. I tried looking on the internet but could only find one girl who did the first BMX back flip or something in Australia. I do some street stuff outside my house, 360s and that kind of thing, but it’s more fun at the park as that’s where my friends are.

I don’t really see them as boys and think I can’t do it. There’s quite lot of competition there. There’s two BMXers who are the best, then another guy about the same as me, then 10 other people who are nearly as good. There’s no reason why a girl can’t be as good as a guy at BMX I don’t think, the bike set up is exactly the same.

My parents are really behind me. They think it’s good that I’m into sports as my sister isn’t. Though she’s really supportive too, always giving me lifts down the park and stuff. My friends at school like it too and then sometimes come down the park and say hello.

I’ve researched girls BMX comps but not found any in the UK. There’s one in Belgium but that’s quite far to go but I’d like to in the future. I’ve checked for videos on youtube to see what the competition is like and I think I’d be alright. I’m not good enough for guys’ comps though, that’s too bigger step.

My best moves are tuck no handers, where you fly out and tuck the bars by your stomach and take your hands off out to the side and180 backwards manuals, where you come out of the ramp and then do a 180 and keep the bars up and then revert out at the end. I also like tyre taps, where you come out the quarter pipe land on your back wheel and then hop back in.

I got kitesurfing lessons for my sixteenth birthday. It’s so much fun when you get up and go along. It’s the best feeling ever. I’ve done some surfing in Newquay and been snowboarding the Alps for the last three years, which is pretty fun, especially in the snowpark. I’d like to try those BMXs which go on snow, they look really good.

After school I’m definitely going to have a gap year. I’ve got a friend in Andorra and he says he can get me a bar job over winter. I’ll spent the summer at the beach.

I don’t think girls need a massive grounding in bikes to be good at BMX. I wasn’t that good a mountain biker really. Just get a BMX and go to a skate park. It’s slightly scary at first then everyone gets used to you and it’s really fun.

If you want the help Holly to get the chance to maybe compete at the X Games at one point, sign the petition to stop excluding girls from comps such as this!!


Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.