• Brenda Ryujin

Knolly’s Little Rippers


With the holiday season approaching, it makes us think about family and the things that we love to do. If you’re reading this story, you’re likely a mountain bike enthusiast. Many of us first jumped on our two wheeled friends in our youth, these days I see little rippers hopping on their run bikes and riding their local urban pathways just after they learn how to walk. On the trails, I’m super stoked to see more and more kids getting out and tearing it up in the dirt. There’s nothing better than watching the pride and smile of a kid’s face after they rip down a trail or hit a drop that was beyond their dreams of completing. On top of that, they’re getting fresh air, building skills, gaining confidence and checking the exercise box all at the same time… truly a parent’s dream sport.

It’s no surprise that more and more youth are getting into mountain biking and at Knolly, we’re stoked to have a pool of young talented riders on our Grassroots Racing Team. Our little rippers were first introduced to the sport by their parents and were nurtured to build their skills and endurance so that they could compete in their local race scene.

During this holiday season, we wanted to share their stories with you, and give every youth rider a big high five! We hope that all kids get the opportunity to ride in a way that makes them smile, charges their soul and provides them with incredible adventure.

Photo by Talentspotter

Top Photo: David Blucher "Talentspotter on Flickr”

Right Photo: Rob O'Brien

Rider: Emily O’Brien

Rides: Delirium & Warden

Community: Canberra, Australia

IG: @downhill_chick

How did you get into the sport?

I was around 9 years old when I first started mountain biking, beginning with XC. My mom wanted me to try something new, I was game and we made riding a sport my whole family could do together. Shortly after, I started racing XC locally. In December 2014, I remember chatting with the new Junior World Champ, Tegan Molloy, and she suggested that I try Downhill racing. It took me two full years before I could convince my parents to let me try DH but I finally raced my first Downhill course in December 2016. I haven’t looked back and love it! I now ride a Knolly Delirium and a Knolly Warden for downhill and enduro.

Favorite Trails and Races

My all-time favorite local place to ride is Mount Stromlo in Canberra because it offers a variety of XC and Downhill trails. My overall top favorite areas would be either Greenvalleys MTB Park in NSW or the Redwood forest trails in Rotorua NZ. In relation to top races, I look forward to the Rockytrail Entertainment downhill and the flow races every year because I get to ride with close friends and it’s always super fun! I also love racing our National Series.

Inspiration

What truly motivates and inspires me are all the amazing people involved in the races, whether it’s the people I race with or the race organizers. My mentor and role model is Tegan Molloy because she is an amazing person on and off the trail. I hope to follow in her footsteps and be as successful as her. In addition, many other riders have helped me along the way with key support coming from Jenney (nee Fay) Blair, Tracey Hannah, Sian Ahern and Claire Whiteman.

People ask me what I love about riding most? I love it when after climbing a slog of hill (when my legs are throbbing) and then I get to hit the bermed corners at high speeds and pop off super fun jumps. I am still learning and getting better with the steeper technical parts of the track and each time I conquer something tough, it excites me to ride and try more.

Looking in the future

I hope to be racing on the world circuit in 2020, starting with Crankworx Rotorua and chase the EWS selection further down the track. I just finished the Gravity Enduro National Series and took the Overall Series Win for U17 Female! I want to continue training hard and improving my skills and speed to become a solid all around rider and competitor.

Photos: Dale Mikkelsen

Rider: Nick Mikkelsen