07 December 2022

Head to head: BMX stars Abbie Taylor and Shanaze Reade

April 16, 2013

Ahead of this weekends UCI BMX Supercross World Cup at the new Manchester track, Sportsister caught up with rising star Abbie Taylor and Olympic veteran Shanaze Reade to hear all about the new facility, plus a little bit of insider info into the two riders.

Above left to right: Abbie Taylor and Shanaze Reade

What age were you when you got into BMX and how long have you been riding?

Abbie: I started when I was six years old. I am 19 now, so I’ve been riding for 13 years. My dad used to ride when he was a teenager so he took me to the track to have a go and I just loved it and nagged him to keep taking me along. My brother used to ride and my sister still does, so it’s quite a family affair!
Shanaze: I started when I was 10, so I’ve been riding 14 years. That’s not that young really, there are loads of little kids coming down and using the new facility, even as young as two and three years old. We have strider events here, that’s when there are no pedals and the kids are just pushing themselves along – we get over 100 of them all having a great time.

Have you seen much growth in the number of women and girls getting into BMX?

Shanaze: Yes, definitely. If you take a look at the national champs for example, the numbers are just going up and up. British cycling is experiencing great growth generally and it’s great seeing so many different people from so many different backgrounds using the facility.
Abbie: Yes loads more – so many more girls are coming here to the centre, but also when I am at outdoor tracks there are lots more girls. I just hope they don’t get too intimidated by the boys, they shouldn’t be, they should just give it a go. Most boys will be really impressed by anyone having a go. Then once they get over the embarrassment of the girls being better than them they tend to quite like them!

Above: Abbie Taylor

Tell us a little bit about the new facility in Manchester

Shanaze: This is the best track in the world and we have it here in Manchester. It’s pretty special because it’s a permanent track and it’s indoors – people from all around the world are desperate to come and get on our track! It’s a massive benefit to our elite riders and the academy riders too because we can train really effectively without all the variations that bad weather can bring.

BMX injury can be caused  by all manner of mistakes, but also because of the weather. Like rain making the track slippery or windy weather can knocking you about. So to have this weather free facility is definitely helping reduce those sorts of accidents.

How many bikes do you own?

Abbie: About six, but I don’t use them all.
Shanaze: Just one! I used to have more, I used to have a road bike, but I just don’t use them now.

Describe your dream bike

Abbie: It’s the one I use now – a Haro bike, it’s just plain black with blue and green spokes. I chose those colours because I thought they would clash, but actually it looks quite cool! Other than that it’s just plain black and my helmet matches.
Shanaze: It’s the one I am riding now – it’s a high-end specification carbon fibre bike. It’s relatively new to have this construction on a BMX bike, but it’s following on from what’s happening with track and road bikes. There are only really two companies doing the carbon bikes – by bike is Prophesy and I love it!

Above: Shanaze Reade

Heels or trainers?

Shanaze: Trainers – I can’t walk in heels
Abbie: Trainers, without a doubt!

Gig or cinema?

Shanaze: I would probably just go to the cinema, I am pretty lazy so I would prefer to do something that didn’t involve much activity!
Abbie: Normally I would say cinema, but I am going to see One Direction at the weekend, so I guess I have to say gig.

What was the last music that you bought?

Shanaze: Kanye wests new album
Abbie: One Direction, my sister got it for me and I actually really like it!

Shanaze and Abbie will be racing at the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup 2013 at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester for 19-20 April 2013.

Danielle Sellwood, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine


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