Real Life Shred Girls stick together: meet Sarah Dinel, who you may remember me mentioning when we shared Desi Smith’s story a couple weeks ago. Sarah is Desi’s roommate, and they’re both not just rad BMXers, they’re great friends: seriously, when I emailed both of them about doing the interviews, they each asked if I’d talked to the other one already (and if I hadn’t, what was I waiting for!). And that’s why I love cycling so much: not just for the love of pedaling, though that’s a huge part, but because of the people you meet and friends you make. (Even if you’re more like Lindsay and me and you’re super shy!)
Anyway, Sarah has a rad story and a SERIOUS commitment to BMX that started when she was 14 years old. Now, she lives close to Joyride 150—the park that helped inspire Lindsay’s Joy Ride—and works and trains there most days.
When did you start riding? What got you into Joyride?
I started riding when I was 14, so just over 4 years ago. I am from Quebec City and we don’t really have any good skatepark for freestyle BMX there and of course no indoor park. I heard of Joyride 150 in my first year of riding and always wanted to visit. The year after, I finally did and I’ve kept traveling to come every month for the 2 following years. I now moved to Ontario over a year ago so I can keep training and progressing on my BMX.
When did you decide you wanted to start Freestyle BMX?
One of my friend had a blue BMX bike from Walmart. She taught me how to ride bikes on it and soon after I was taking laps around the skatepark on it. That summer, we shared her bike to both learn our first trick, a fakie. I will always remember that summer! After that, I got my own bike and got more into biking!
Favorite part about riding?
My favorite part about riding is definitely traveling and meeting new people who share the same passion as me for BMX riding.
Least favorite part about riding?
Of course, my least favorite part about biking is injuries, as small (sore body) or as serious (broken bones, concussions ,etc) they can be. Being off the bike for a couple months after an injury definitely sucks!
Have you made friends through riding?
I definitely made a ton of friends through BMX riding. In fact, I’ve met most of the people I know in Ontario through BMX. I even met my boyfriend through riding! My tip for talking to new people is to not over think it. Everyone is at the skatepark for the same reasons and for the most part, everyone likes to have a good chat with a fellow BMX rider. Also, I find it easier for me to start a conversation with other BMX girls and it seems to be the same for all the other girls i met through this sport. We are such a small community so we are always happy to meet other girls sharing the same passion!
Coolest trick or accomplishment you’ve had with riding?
The coolest trick I have done so far was also my greatest accomplishment. It is a 540 air, which is a spin of 540° on a quarter pipe. I have been dreaming of landing that trick for at least 3 years and I finally pulled it off during my trip at the Nowear Compound (Nebraska) in June!
What does a week of training/riding look like for you?
A week of riding for me is very busy. I work as a BMX instructor for the City of Toronto 3 days a week teaching for BMX summer camps and advanced skills private lessons. I also work 3 nights a week at Joyride 150 and I also get to do biking lessons there as well as bike maintenance. I always try to show up a couple hours before my shifts to get some personnal riding time first to train and get better. I am planning to train a lot more in the fall since the busiest time of the year for me is summer and I have less time to ride for myself.
Best tip for someone your age or younger who’d love to get started riding but doesn’t know anyone else to ride with?
Just get out there! Don’t worry about your age either, some people start very early in life, others start in their 20’s but in the end we all share the same passion. Just go out to the park and you’ll meet new people and make some friends that love biking just as much as you do!
Best tip for tackling a scary section in a bike park, i.e the pump track for someone super new to riding?
If something scares, just go easy at first. You can take a walk through the section first to see what to expect. Then on your first run, go slow to build confidence. As you practice you’ll get better and better at it!
Absolute favorite piece of gear? (Can be your bike, helmet, shoes, a really cool shirt, whatever!)
My favorite piece of gear is definitely my bike because how could you have a good session without your bike? I built it part by part to my liking so it fits my riding style. I love my bike!