INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY - #1O MEET FRAGGLE

Yesterday was the International Women's Day, a celebration of women's achievements and a call for greater equality around the world. So we celebrated this by asking female riders a few questions about their world with bikes, what drives them and to get their views on the women's scene as it stands, and where it's heading. Over the next couple of days we will be introducing you to some awesome female shredders who inspire other women daily by just being themselves. So we saved the worst till last....

SOPHIE CARTER

Name: Sophie Carter (Fraggle)

Where do you live: Yorkshire Dales

Age: 27 (Just - whaaaaaaaa)

Instagram Name: soph_carter89

What do you do for a living? I am lucky enough to work for my family business – Pace Cycles and our bike shop, Sutton Bank Bikes. I help with the design of clothes/mtb products and marketing.

What type of riding is it you do? My background is very much XC, I used to compete in XC racing Nationally when I was younger and I was entered for the ‘Girls for Gold’ Olympic programme team but after lots of testing they said my body was better suited to Pentathlon (Not sure how they worked that out since I have never been on a horse before or done archery haha) 

SOPHIE CARTER

I decided not to go down that route, since then I dabbled in a bit of enduro racing including a couple of Ard Rock’s, PMBA series and Gravity Enduro. I fell out of love of racing, now I much rather like to spend my time with my friends, venturing up big old mountains with my bike slung on my back and blasting down the other side on natural singletrack. Nowt beats those views!

What is it about riding your bike your love the most? How good it makes you feel, no matter how much I have on my mind, jumping on my bike clears my head instantly and makes me think logically. After riding I feel like a different person and much happier!

Where is the best place you have ridden? Without doubt Moab in America. We rode one of the World’s greatest trails, ‘The Whole Enchilada’ – 34 miles of singletrack with 8000ft of descending from the high alpine zone to redrock desert. I couldn’t stop grinning for a good week after experiencing that. Bloody awesome!

Where is the next place on your adventure list? Few of us are heading out to Canada later this year, I haven never ridden there before, seems Canada is a must visit for any keen'o. We are going to travel around a bit but start off in Whistler and then ill let Flange plan the rest…Oh no wait I mean i'll plan it all (Independent woman and all that jazz...).

Who do you like to ride with? My number one riding buddy's are my Papa Carter and my Mama - riding with them just feels like home. Right behind him is me Flange (gobshite) along with Aimee (My sister) Morsey (My non blood related sister also referred to as Monkey) and these rad kids; Callie, Rozza, Nadia, FiFi, The Gibbz, Wes, Kris, Joe…I could go on, there are some bloody grand shredders I have the pleasure of riding with – Reet lucky!

How did you meet your riding pals? Apart from those who I have grown up with, Flange introduced to me the Lakes guys and girls. He works away a bit and a few years ago I moved over to this side of the country and I didn’t know anyone, so he set me up on a blind date with some blonde burds in Grizedale carpark which turned out to be Callie and Rozza - Best thing he has ever done!

Apart from riding, what do you like to do in your free time? Snowboarding & walking our little 9 month old border collie Daisy Doodle. Oh yeah and apparently I forgot to mention drinking gin. Just Occasionally though...Ahem. 

Any words of inspiration for people wanting to start riding or to meet people to go riding with? Just go for it, don’t be scared of riding with strangers, what level rider they may be or getting left behind, no one minds at all. We all just love riding with like minded people - it is the best feeling in the world, you won't regret it. 

What scares you the most about riding? Apart from washing my kit, injuring myself. As my background is XC I am a bit of a pansy when it comes to big drops and doubles. Flange will always tell me to not ride something if he thinks it’s too technical, but that just spurs me on so I can prove a point because I always want to better myself and I am a bit stubborn...but then 9/10 he's right and i'll end up falling off haha. 

Do you have any female role models? My Mama, Cathy Carter – She drives me to chase my dreams, supports me with everything I do, and inspires me daily with her positive attitude towards life. She's the best boss and a best friend a girl could ask for which makes her a total babe and a legend in her own right. Also Hadley Hammer, she isn’t a biker but she’s a bloody rad skier and adventurist, looking at her daily Instagram feeds is reet inspiring…And of course it wouldn’t be fair of me to not mention Emily Batty. She’s a talented rider and a lovely person, not to mention she’s hot! Apart from that my girl friends who ride, it’s so cool that I am surrounded by so many female riders who like doing the same thing as me.

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Does the bike industry need to do more for greater equality or do you think its great as it is? Grande as it is, I think the bike world is forever changing and evolving and I love however it naturally falls.

Do you think the bike industry needs more ‘Women’s only” products/races/groups or do you think it should be all unisex? I really don't believe in segregation! Everyone is equal and by excluding men from things it just makes everything blurred. Don’t get me wrong, I think its great there are things out there to help spur women on who are new to cycling, however men and women work well together, its natural and there should be the fair chances for both sexes. Women do just fine without been put into a separate bracket, we don’t need to be separated from the men! My riding friends are a mixture of men and women, I don’t see them any different, their all amazing people and we inspire one another as we all have the same drive.

As a female rider is there anything you would like to see change? Tying in with what I have just said above, it would be cool for women riders to get a bit more respect like the men, I guess you can earn that from doing rad shit and not moaning haha. It is awesome seeing women do the same rides and technical level of riding as men - I have hiked up many mountains with Flange and my bike slung on back, there is no let up just becasue I am there, ill maybe only cry to myself a couple of times haha but there should be no difference, we are both humans doing the same thing! It is so cool having my mixed group of friends all doing the same thing at our own #pace (plug). Also maybe less flowers and swirls on riding kit - that would be grand.

Finally, when your shredding alone, what is your all time favourite song? If I am on the road bike any Red Hot Chilli Pepper's song…I don’t listen to music when mountain biking otherwise I will just end up in a tree.

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