West Side Riders


"Trailblazing women with heartfelt visions."

Name: Niki Gudex Daily Operations: Mountain bike athlete, modeling and graphic designer. Striving for: Happiness, health, wisdom and contentment. Words of Wisdom: Breathe and believe. Mission: Expression Power is: the pedals turning smoothly Music is: happiness. Love: the ultimate. Favourite scent: fresh rain falling on the ground Favourite film: Amelie The Niki Gudex Philosophy: Keep it fun on and off the bike. Do you wear any jewellery? What? Yes, a silver star on a strand around my neck (which was my redesign of an existing necklace I bought in an art gallery) and diamond lightning bolt earrings that were a present from my dad. What is the one thing that annoys the hell out of you? Assumptions. Your most prized possession? I love my cat Pushka, he is a chocolate burmese and acts like a dog. Favourite song: Heartbeats. Jose González and The Knife's versions. If you could change one thing about the world what would it be? Sustainability. It's in your power to free humanity of one ill. Which? Greed. What single piece of advice that you have received so far has helped you the most and who gave it to you? I have definitely been lucky to meet a very interesting mix of people. My first single piece of advice in relation to mountain biking was when I first started riding a bike, Seth Enslow (MX icon) told me to always look ahead and focus on the next corner, not to get stuck on any mistakes that might have been made to get there. He was really talking about the track but I like to apply that interpretation to my overall life. My grandfather was also very helpful when he once mentioned to me that there will always be skilled people in any occupation but the secret is to work hard and enjoy it. What keeps you working? My curiousity to explore the world and ideas. To see how far I can grow as a person and inspire other people, it is really nice when I get emails from women or young girls who say I have inspired them in some way. Describe the defining moment of your career. Looking back at what I have accomplished so far, racing at the World Championships in both the Downhill and Cross Country events has been very defining for me. I realize that I just love mountain biking as a whole sport, not one particular form/discipline of it. What is the most interesting aspect of your job and why? The traveling component and managing my schedule, training, email and workload. There is a delicate balance that must constantly be observed. What's your most successful failure? Not being able to be in two places at once. What's your greatest achievement? Being happy in my skin. What was the most challenging problem you faced early on and how did you handle it? We travelled a lot when I was growing up so I learnt to adapt to my surroundings. When is it appropriate to bend the rules? When heart and logic share reason. If your house was burning down but you had a chance to save 3 records and 3 pairs of shoes/kicks, which would they be and why? I would save all my photos from my family and growing up. Which historical figure would you most like to have dinner with? Why? Definitely a female historical figure. Because often women have other issues such as gender to deal with, which includes equality but also the issue of being able to have children or not based on their career choice. What companies do you most admire? Companies who are motivated by a passion to improve the world and lives of others, not purely for monetary reasons but because they actually care about the future for everyone. What is the sector or industry of the future? Health is the future, without it we have nothing. I would like to see a more holistic and balanced approach to the health and the environment. What is it that you actually do? Answer questions like this when I am not riding my bike, traveling, eating or sleeping! What creative methods do you use to gain insights, identify ways to outdo what you did yesterday, develop strategic frameworks to beat the competition and dream up what could be possible? I do things that make me feel happy and then the ideas come. I was always pretty imaginative when I was young and loved dreaming up adventures and plans for myself and my friends when we were growing up. I think letting that wild side come through lets the ideas flow more naturally. What makes a great mountain biker? There is no concrete recipe to a great mountain biker, we are definitely a diverse and perhaps even wild bunch. Skill, determination, flexibility, strength, passion and dedication are all needed in very large amounts. What is it about Oakley that makes their shit the illest? Oakley is a really great brand because they listen to their athletes and respond. Their high definition optic eyewear is absolutely the best in the world. I need my vision to be clear and protected, no matter what the elements or conditions are like, it is critical. Do you feel that your beauty has been an advantage or disadvantage in mountain biking? Coins definitely have two sides, I want to keep mine moving. I love to ride my bike and so I want people to be able to see that and know that I can and I do. For me it has been an interesting road though because I do like to keep fluid and try not to let an exterior determine the interior. I grew up seeing myself as a tom boy so I always found it funny to see what other people saw. Basically we are all born with unique skills and I just try to develop mine to the best of my ability. When people see you, are they shocked when they discover that you're biking's grit-girl that takes no shit on rocky turf? Yes actually that does happen sometimes. But it still surprises me because I see myself as I always have and that's absolutely normal. I have been challenged numerous time to impromptu bike races and it is always by a guy. I actually did a piece "FHM versus Niki Gudex" out on the trail and that turned out to be really fun. How does it feel to have been listed in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World several years running? Does it mean anything? I have been in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World list for six years in a row now. To have stayed there so firmly for consecutive years is definitely flattering. It is nice to be a part of the list although it certainly doesn't change my life. I am happy to be on the list as an athlete and especially to put mountain biking out there in the list. Mountain biking is not a glamorous sport or event so it is fun to be able to diversify sometimes. A quote that sticks in your mind? A gem cannot be polished without friction. How do you get your most useful information? Observation and assimilation. What do you do for fun that has nothing to do with the world of riding or sport? Hanging out and catching up with good friends. Painting is also very liberating and I love exploring cities and art galleries. Do you speak any languages other than English? I studied Japanese, French and Swedish. Who would you choose to play you in a film of your life? Keira Knightley, Natalie Portman or Audrey Tatou. They are all very talented women who innately have incredible depth and spirit. They are chameleons. What piece of modern technology has helped most to make your life easier? My laptop and my phone are very useful tools, for communication on the road, for working on art and design projects and for storing my photos/memories from the road. I love images and I love communication of ideas. Who have been your heroes? My heroes are wide and varied. I am inspired by people who live their lives as completely as they can, full of spirit, love, compassion and strength. What does success mean for you? Success is being able to smile when you wake up and smile when you go to sleep. What’s the meaning of life? I love this question. This is one of the reasons I ride my bike. Where do you want to be in 5 years from now? Happy and healthy. What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt the hard way? Listen to my heart. Trust my instinct. Incredibly important. What would you like your parting words to be? Keep it fun.


Photographer: Lee Vincent Grubb. "West Side Riders" Trace Magazine (UK), August 2007 Issue.

InterviewsNiki Gudex