BMX.com first blessed me with her name in an article brought about by her latest promo video. As I pressed play to watch Julia Preuss in action for the first time, all I could think of as I watched the ensuing 2-wheeled tricks was, ‘How can anyone NOT be in awe of her?!’. Her creativity spanned many dimensions: her video embodied her skill, her physical strength, coordination and balance while her confidence exuded . Her artistic intelligence glowed from the editing job of the video and there was even something else that I couldn’t put my finger on as I watched her in a couple scenes; very casually pausing from her ride, sitting on her bike arrested in the blacktop, listening to her beats and just focused in her own world. What was going on in her mind? There was a true beauty and balance to the switchback of action and rest.
Maybe I could answer my question about what that was that I couldn’t quite figure out about her…..so I decided to search for Julia, (playfully known as “Erbse” (meaning: pea) by some of her friends) for this interview……but first, watch the awesome video of an awesome chick rider!
RRRG: Where are you from, Julia?
Julia: I was been born in Bad Saarow, raised in Fuerstenwalde and live in Berlin.
RRRG: How did you become a flatland rider?
Julia: Well, I started riding when i was 14 years old! I got a brand new mountain bike when I was 13 and really enjoyed riding around. During the summer holidays I got bored and thought riding BMX would be so cool and my cousin also rode BMX, so I bought myself a BMX bike for my 14th birthday. I ended up selling it because I thought street riding was no fun. I went to the Mellowpark with a bunch of “noobs” and it was there that I found out that there was a girl’s BMX workshop every Wednesday. I checked out the workshop and the leader, Hans, used to ride Flatland back in the day. That’s when I got hooked and was riding flatland by the summer of 2004.
RRG: So what’s it like growing up in Germany?
Julia: My childhood was alright, I grew up between cousins and my brother. I had a cool time living right next to the woods, so I was outside alot. The one side of my family is pretty cool, they really take care of each other; the other side is crappy as hell. As a child I travelled alot through Europe with my mom and dad. Then I stopped travelling so much, so my mom bought me a ticket to Los Angeles when I was 16 (4 years ago) just to ride with the riders there. Now I can`t stop travelling without my bike.
RRRG: Can you please explain in more detail to our readers who may not know, what is the difference between flatland and street riding?
Julia: Flatland and street riding are very different. You fly around in the air when you do street tricks. You need ramps or street objects to fly. When you ride flatland you just need a flat surface to do tricks on the ground. Creating combos of multiple tricks is what it’s about! Rolling in a circle, doing trick after trick on a flat surface. You might jump around sometimes but it’s just for barflips, switches or tailwhips!
“Church Fight” comp in Czech.
RRRG:. I read what happened to you in another interview in the Czech contest. What a cool location – in a historical, old church! But please explain what you meant about the judges “didn’t judge you”? Were you the only female in the competition?
Julia: Yeah, I was the only girl. First I didn`t want to compete, but my friend Rayk pushed me to register, so I was the last rider on the list. I kinda rode as a “surprise“. A few guys asked me if I`m gonna compete, I said “yes”. They were cool with that but it seemed that they were a little confused too. The audience applauded really loud… I didn`t pull all my tricks but it was super fun riding there anyways. A little later, I found out that the judges, except for one guy, gave me a hundred points, which I thought sucked because I wanted to know where I really placed between the other flatland riders! They kind of didn`t take me serious but I`m sure that the next contest will be a little more better with the results. Let`s see what will happen!
“Church Fight comp”
RRRG: Are many girls involved in riding in Germany? If not, why don’t you think this is?
Julia: Right now there are a hand full of girls in Germany. But you can see a huge different between street and flatland which I think sucks..haha. I`d like to see more girls on a flatland bike; a few female flatland rider show that they can do crazy comobs like the guys – it`s amazing! But flatland is tough; it`s harder to learn than street tricks. You need a lot of balance and patience but I`m sure that we`re gonna reach the 10 in a flatland girl’s class soon.
RRRG: In competition, are you competing with other girls? Or other guys frequently?
Julia: It depends. Huge contests have girl’s classes. Little flatland contests just have two classes: pro and master; except in France. France has five classes, but no girl’s classes anymore. I guess, there aren`t that many girls riding flatland there either.
RRRG: Do you like any other forms of riding…mountain biking? Road riding?
Julia: Now, since I`m studying I take the bike to school. It`s nice exercise. But if I get the chance, I also like to ride through hills and woods with a mountain bike althoughI don`t have a mountain bike anymore. I`ve also told myself, when I stop riding flatland, I`m going to get a road bike.
RRRG: Who is that pet hamster of yours? So cute! :)
Julia: My hamster is called Mr. Tom. Well, this little guy is female, but whatever ;). Mr. T is a super cool hamster, pretty clumpsy, totally cute and super fun to watch!
RRRG: That’s hilarious…and too cute. :) What tricks are you currently working on?
Julia: I like to arrive at the spot with looooong hang 5s or peg manuals, it`s totally fun! I also love to do G-turns. I`d like to pull barflips, still working on it and I think I`m gonna get those time machines dialed soon.
RRRG: Do you ever feel nervous competing? How do you deal with this pressure or any fears you may have..?
Julia: The last two ones were cool. Cologne was pretty chilled. I think it was the ground and the guys from Berlin which made me super comfortable during my run! I really need people I know well around me during a contest run. Two years ago my first contest was so horrible because I was so damn nervous! I was really pissed after my run, but I`m sure this won`t happen again in the future.
RRRG: You are crazy talented…..bass guitar, art and design, do you also film your own movies?
I loved that video I saw…not sure if you created it and edited yourself.
Julia: Yeah I created that promo video by myself, I knew that it`s the last summer riding there, so I wanted to catch this spot, the mood and my riding right there. I always film my own flatland clips yeah. It`s alright, since I used to ride alone. Let´s see whats going on in my next video. ;)
RRRG: What are some of your future goals in riding and in general?
Julia: Future goals are riding alot, studying alot and having a good time. This new part in my life just started so I`m excited where the future is going to take me. Maybe I`m gonna make my doctor and become a rad bmx rider ahhaha!
RRRG: What competitions have you been in so far?
Julia: BMX Masters 2008, 2010 ( I missed my run in 2009) and the the Flatland Church Fight 2010.
RRRG: How do you feel if you don’t do well in a competition and what inspires you to try again?
Julia: If I don`t do well, I`m getting really pissed. So when I`m back home I`m thinking about it and trying to make it better the next time.
RRRG: When and where are your next comps?
Julia: I really wanted to go to Praha and Portugal this September but sadly there was no money to go over there, so I`m planing to go to Minden in November. That`s the plan for now.
RRRG: Is your family supportive of you riding?
Julia: My mom is cool with it. Sometimes I`m telling her about tricks. She takes me to motorway exits to get picked up by other riders or she just picks me up if I got a flat ride. Now, it`s a little harder since I`m living in Berlin. I guess she won’t be picking me up if I get a flat tire the next time ..hahaha!
RRRG: :) Who are some of your greatest influences?
Julia: Friends! Other riders, music and flatland videos.
RRRG: I see…and you’re spreading the inspiration with your own videos. What bike are you using right now….?
Julia: My bike is Brakeless; I never even learned how to use them! I have squash grips on my bars and since I started riding and I have a wristband on my stem. Anything else? There are just typical other bike parts on it. ;)
RRRG: Do you listen to music when you ride? And if so, what is playing?
Julia: I totally need my music for riding! It´s beats, a little electronic or rap. That`s it.
Julia: Thanks to my awesome friends, family and riding buddies!
For more information and to keep up with Julia, the following is a link to her personal blog: Julia Preuss Blog
Interview by Christine Cauble