Drew Mechielsen first participated in BMX racing at age three, in Brookswood. Now, the sport is taking her around the world to compete. (Special to the Langley Advance)

BMX racing takes Langley barista to World Cup in Argentina

Drew Mechielsen encourages other girls to get involved in riding, whether competitive or not.

BMX might still be predominantly a boys sport, but Drew Mechielsen is determined to show the world that girls can play, too. And, they can do incredibly well.

The Starbucks barista and part-time university student from Langley left Monday for Argentina to compete in the seventh and eighth round of the BMX World Cup.

“This sport is fantastic… I have made so many friends and travelled to so many places because of this sport. Riding your bike is so much fun so I say absolutely take the step and race BMX,” she said, anxious to motivate her female peers “to keep riding even when they get older and want to stop because it’s a ‘boy sport’.”

“It is definitely still a male-dominated sport and because of that, I love to help get younger girls involved,” Mechielsen said, calling it a rewarding and fun experience.

The D.W. Poppy Secondary grad has travelled to the Netherlands, Belgium, Paris, Germany, England, New Zealand, and throughout the U.S. as well as a few places she’d never heard of before.

“I was in Azerbaijan earlier this year (for the World Championships) and that was really cool, not somewhere you’d typically think of to go – so it was a neat experience,” said the 21-year-old Murrayville resident who is on her way to Santiago del Estero, Argentina this week to compete in another world competition. This is her third trip to Argentina.

And on the national team for the past three years, she is now one of five team members en route to the South American continent to compete this Saturday and Sunday in the UCI BMX Supercross World Tour (part of a multi-series event).

“Travelling is an amazing part of this journey,” Mechielsen added.

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How she got started

“I played tons of sports when I was younger,” Mechielsen said, explaining how she competed in soccer and basketball until she was about 16.

But it’s the world of BMX that holds her heart.

“I was three years old when I started racing BMX. The Langley track was a short bike ride from my house. I lived in Brookswood back then, and my older brother started to race so naturally, I followed what he did!” she recounted.

“When you’re young you just do it for fun of course, but around five or six years old I started to going to races in the States (those races are like a national circuit), I raced in the States mostly until I turned junior elite, when I was 17, and that is when I started going to more international races.”

She’s been racing World Cup events since she was 17, with a dream of being in Tokyo for 2020.

“The Olympics is my goal. It would be such an honour to compete at Toyko. It’s been my goal since I was a young girl, so that’s what I have my sights set on,” said Mechielsen.

“But really, I’m just enjoying the ride. This journey is full of amazing experiences and, of course, I have future career goals that are not bike related. But currently, I’m just trying to be the best bike rider I can be.”

Leading up to the last leg of the World Cup series, Mechielsen said she’s juggled BMX training (gym and track time), with her work at the coffee shop and classes at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

“Being an athlete is a challenge and BMX is a tough sport, but it is so much fun,” she said.

“Riding bikes is such a fantastic thing to do, whether your on a BMX track or just going for a pedal on the road or riding down a mountain, all of it is amazing. Anyone out there thinking about buying a bike or heading to the track, I fully encourage you, and when times get tough, push through.”

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