BY JAMES TWOMEY
The seventh ranked BMX racer in the country, who was inspired to ride her bike after watching the London 2012 Olympics, is calling on Londoners to get on their bikes.
Silvi Vargas, 21, from Brixton will be representing Great Britain at next year’s BMX World Championships in Houston, Texas and is aiming to inspire more people to cycle at a free open day at Brixton BMX in Brockwell Park this Saturday.
Silvi had always been interested in extreme sports, and after watching the Olympics in 2012 she knew that BMX was for her.
But with little confidence and support as well as a lack of female coaches in her area, she struggled to get started.
Silvi joined a bike mechanics course run by sports inclusion charity Access Sport at the age of 15, which helped her learn how to fix bikes.
Access Sport funded the redevelopment of Brixton’s BMX track in 2017, she was able to start training regularly – and from there, she hasn’t looked back.
Silvi said: “Helping other young girls get active and enjoy cycling is such a massive passion of mine.
“Often, kids in Brixton are already interested in cycling – doing tricks and wheelies near where they live – but it’s so important to give them a safe space to practice and positive role models as well.
“During my role as a coach, I’ve worked with a group of girls who had been excluded from school.
“Just watching their joy as they realised they could do it and seeing how their confidence built from week to week was absolutely amazing.
“They realised that they’re part of something positive and that they have support to make something of themselves now, and that’s really powerful.
“I really hope that more people will join us and give BMX a go this Saturday. The thrill of BMX is guaranteed to get your heart racing, and the health benefits it brings are amazing, too.”
Silvi is also doing a coaching apprenticeship with Access Sport to encourage more riders to get started – particularly women and girls – giving them the support she lacked when she was growing up.
The free open day at Brixton BMX in Brockwell Park tomorrow is for everyone regardless of age, background or ability, to have a go and experience the thrill of cycling.
Harriet Plows, Access Sport’s women and girls development manager in Brixton, said: “Our mission is to get Londoners active, particularly groups who are traditionally excluded from physically activity – women and girls, those who are disabled or from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Silvi is living proof that anyone, no matter their age or ability, can change their lives for the better through sport.”
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