Interview with Eme Cosh
Last weekend we met up with Eme Cosh for an interview and photoshoot. We were joined by her dad Russell who kindly helped out with carrying our gear as well as providing an uplift service, win, Thanks, Russell!
Eme is 15 years old and has only been riding properly since she was 12 meaning she only has 3 years of experience but you would think she has been riding for much longer based on her skill level and the difficulty of trails she has mastered. Also despite her age, Eme comes across as both confident and charismatic. She is a super positive person and willing to give any feature a try.
She has been thrown into the spotlight recently after being nominated for and winning multiple awards in cycling. She’s also found herself presenting to large groups often of which are made up of people far older than her. She is an inspirational individual and I can not wait to see where she goes next. So let’s jump into the interview and hear from her direct.
We met Eme at one of her local favourites in the Surrey Hills which is south of London UK. It was an overcast day but there was plenty of light and Eme was really up for showing off her skills on the bike.
How old were you when you first started riding and what made you go for your first ride?
I had been given a succession of Cube kids bikes for Christmas and birthday presents over the years but I always feel my riding properly started when I was 12 years old and got my first “proper” mountain bike. My birthday is at the end of June and I spent that whole summer riding Swinley Forest with my dad. At the end of the summer, I entered my first ever race and I have been hooked ever since!
Was it love at first ride or did it take a little bit of time for you to truly fall in love with Mtb?
I had worked really hard at gymnastics from a young age but as I got older I got a lot taller and the forces on my ankles and knees started to take their toll. Injuries started to get more frequent and my coach pointed out that you don’t see many 5ft 7” gymnasts and that was the reason I started looking for a new sport. My dad is a mountain biker and has raced for years so he got me to give the sport a try. I truly fell in love with the MTB the first time I rode a proper trail and felt the exhilaration that travelling at speed immersed in nature gives you. Everything else from that point onwards has been a bonus!
”I have yet to meet a mountain biker who isn’t just stoked to be out riding. I love the fact that I can call myself part of this brilliant collectiveEme Cosh
Along your journey so far what has been the most pivotal moments for you as a woman in cycling?
Every time I ride with or meet another female rider, I feel it is pivotal. Yet another girl moving the needle in the sport. Going out riding with girls is such a great day out and none more so than when there is a meet up with the amazing “Dirt Sisters Of Shred”. This u18 girl group has been established with the sole purpose of getting more young girls into the sport and they are going from strength to strength and I love being part of that.
What are your current aspirations as a rider and who inspires you most?
My current plan is to continue with the short format races like the awesome Southern Enduro series run by Scott Fitzgerald. This race series is perfect for where I am right now in terms of development and stamina and the competition from my peers really pushes my ability. As I get older and my muscle mass increases through training and not having stick legs of a 15yo girl I hope to do longer format races with EWS as a target!. The rider that influences me the most has to be Ellen Flewitt who, at 17, won the world champs and now wears the rainbow jersey.
Tell us all about your bikes… What was your first ride and what are you on now?
My first proper mountain bike was a Marin bobcat trail with a converted fork cartridge to air to enable it to be tuned to my lighter weight.
For my next bike I went with another Marin but this time it was a real-deal full-suspension B17-3. I chose this not only for its ultimately tunable platform but also because it came with plus size rims and tyres and I was willing to substitute speed for grip in the early stages of my racing career to avoid injury time off the bike.
My brand new bike is a truly amazing YT Jeffsy Pro Race and every time I ride it I feel like
It’s improving my speed and skill because it’s so capable. I’m also super proud of the fact that this is the first bike I bought with my own money. (mum and dad are also happy about this!)
As an enduro rider, I’m sure you have to keep many spares and snacks with you to get you through a big day in the saddle. What is your must-have tool for the trails and what is your must-have snack?
My must-have tool for the trail is a rad dad with a cool pickup truck for getting to all the best spots and also some cheeky hillbilly uplift runs!
As for snacks, anyone that knows me will know I always have a pouch full of jelly babies. Red ones are my fave. Oh and if I’m riding anywhere near Peaslake it’s a Pork & Leek slice from the Village Store.
What advice would you give other young riders who are thinking about getting into enduro racing?
Pick a short format series that targets new racers and advertise this on their promotional blurb. These races are designed to be achievable and will give you a measure of your capability against your peers. What they will also give you is a massive smile on your face and you will be craving more.
If there was one thing you could change about the sport what would it be?
I always wish there were more girls in the sport and the great news is I see more and more every time I ride. There has been lots said about equality in the sport and at races and I am really pleased that organisers like the Southern Enduro series put in defined female categories to encourage girls of all ages to compete in a fair way and don’t just lump us all in one 14-39yo category.
What is your favourite thing about the sport?
The people, the people and the people! What an awesome bunch of human beings mountain bikers are. I have yet to meet a mountain biker who isn’t just stoked to be out riding. I love the fact that I can call myself part of this brilliant collective
What helps you to progress as a rider most?
Living in the Surrey Hills I am blessed with a wealth of trails on my doorstep and there is always that next steep drop or jump to master. This always pushes me out of my comfort zone. That said, the main aspect that has helped me grow as much as I have as a rider is all down to the support and people that I have been surrounded by when entering into this new sport. There has been a continuous influx of the riders around me from pre covid night rides with the Forest Chumps, racing and riding with the girls of Southern Enduro through to riding with my new crew of shredders from the YT Mill. All this encouragement has meant that I was able to progress in confidence and skill as well as being able to meet new friends.
Oh, and my Dad – mustn’t forget him – he’s helped a little bit 🙂
You have been nominated for and have won some cycling awards recently. Can you tell us some more about these?
In 2019 I was nominated as one of Cycling UK’s most 100 Influential Women in Cycling and this accolade was awarded to me at the Houses of Parliament by Baroness Barker MP; Isla Rowntree & Angelica Bell. This was such an amazing experience and I got to connect with so many other amazing women at the event and cycled through the streets of London in one huge group of females. As part of this ceremony, I made a pledge to encourage more girls into cycling and this has been my mission through either direct 1-2-1 involvement or through inspiring other girls by winning races.
In March 2020 I was also nominated for and won the Cycling UK/London Bike Show ‘Rising Star’ award for my continued successes at racing. This was such an astonishing achievement and has helped underpin my credibility to pursue my pledge even more. My winner’s jersey has pride of place on my wall.
Do you have any goals for your riding and where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
An amazing family friend gave me a jump bike for Christmas so when the parks reopen I want to have a little play at that discipline and see how I get on. I want to keep racing as my main focus though so I always have to consider the risks involved with jumping leading to potential injury and therefore time off the bike.
As for 5 years ahead….I see myself as stronger, faster and winning races at a national level.
Lastly is there anything else you would like to mention?
I have been really fortunate in receiving some phenomenal support along the way so I would like to call out a few names:
Thanks to Stans No Tubes for selecting me as a Brand Ambassador for a second year running and for all the personal support that comes from them.
Thanks to YT Mill for giving me the absolute best “First Job” ever in the history of the world at the best bike store in the world!
Thanks to the Cycling UK team for the awards, nominations, blogs, magazine articles and continued support – their encouragement has been central to where I am today.
And of course thanks to Mum and Dad for all the help and putting up with the constant stream of “where’s my…?” that happens before every race and ride.
Thank you, Eme for taking part in this interview and photoshoot. Your progression over the last few years has blown us away and riding with you was not only a pleasure but humbling. It’s clear to see that the future for you is very bright and I can see you being a fantastic role model for girls getting into the sport.
You can follow Eme on Instagram here: @ememtb
We have a video with Eme dropping soon so keep an eye out for that. Signup to our mailing list to keep informed each week of our latest articles or download our iOS or Android apps for free.
Here are some other interviews that we think you will like:
- Influential People – Becci Skelton
- Influential People – Olly Wilkins Interview
- Interview with Bark + Ride
- Influential People – Melanie Chappaz
- Influential People: Veronika Widmann
- Interview with Harry Molloy
- Kara Beal – From MTB Beginner to Influencer
- Getting more girls on bikes
Photos and Interview by Katie-Jane Beaven and Will Brett-Atkin