Monday, January 10, 2011
Francesca Miles: Model, musician and motorcycle stunt rider!
You look at the stunt riding videos and you admire the sheer talent. You wish you could ride like that and somewhere deep down you grudgingly accept that you probably never will be able to. “These stunt rider dudes really are something else,” you think. Only, in this case, there is no ‘dude’ in the video (scroll down for the video). It’s a 20-year-old girl. And, boy, can she ride!!
Based in London, Francesca 'Chesca' Miles is the UK’s only female professional motorcycle stunt rider. She’s only been stunt riding for the last six months but look at pics and videos of her and you’d think she’s been stunt riding for years. Suitably impressed, we decided to catch up with her for a quick chat. Here are some excerpts from what Chesca had to say:
On her company, Stunt Starz
Stunt Starz is a streetbike freestyle team based in London and consists of two riders – Alstar and I. We started the team back in 2009 as a two-up duo team, as I wasn’t riding then! After I came to learn on my bike, we became a two-rider team. We perform at live shows and gigs around the country and constantly work hard on trying to promote Streetbike Freestyle as a more recognised sport.
On the highs and lows of the last few months, since she started stunt riding
I have only ridden my Honda CBR600 for about 4-5 months. Haven’t been riding during the cold months. Therefore I haven’t really had long enough to say too much. However, I have found the pressures of riding do catch up. Being a female in this sport is quite hard. Females require a little more encouragement and support, of which I don’t really receive from others in my sport. That’s probably the hardest thing about it all, but just got to keep on going, no matter what. The highs, however… well, they are simply stunting itself. What an amazing feeling it is and a pleasure to be doing so!
On whether motorcycle stunt riding all about inborn talent, skills acquired through endless practise or sheer fearlessness
Stunting does take a proportion of talent, yes, but anyone can learn it, really. It is more about learning how to control your bike and not about trying to do things out of your comfort zone. It takes a long time to achieve each single step, but once you are there, it is very worth it! You do have to have an element of fear. That way, it will hold you back from trying to run when you must walk first – this makes for a better rider in the long run!
On whether the difference in physical strength, between male and female riders, makes a big difference in stunt riding
I don’t think it makes a huge difference but, yes, it does slightly. Having a 600cc machine to shift about isn’t an easy thing at times and I often find strain on my back and arms where I have tried to move the bike etc. Although, most of this sport is about having the machine at ‘Balance Point,’ and the bike becomes completely weightless when there. The more you keep it inside ‘BP’ the easier it becomes.
I don’t necessarily follow a regime for fitness as stunt riding itself tends to be just that. I do, however, do yoga when I train. That way, I can keep as flexible as possible.
On what her friends and family had to say about her decision to start stunt riding
My family, well, they didn’t really say too much to be honest. Although I heard muttering here and there that perhaps they thought it was cool and maybe dangerous, they never really said anything. They were not as supportive as I had imagined, nor encouraging. As for other male riders, some are highly fascinated and want to know lots about it (ha ha!) and others, well they are simply not very interested! But, the majority of men are highly intrigued by what I do, which is flattering to say the least.
On whether she’s a deeply competitive person
I am not really competitive, no. I did want to race motorcycles when I was around 14 years old but again I didn’t receive any support from my family so had to sell my RS125 to someone who’d be able to use it. I have quite a competitive streak when it comes to Go-karting though. I must admit, I’ve always had a little passion for it since I was around it most of my life whilst growing up!
On her work away from motorcycle stunting – modelling and music
I do modelling work on a part-time basis now. I used to model full-time but with the business, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with everything and stunt riding is my number-one priority (apart from my singing). So, as for singing, I usually jam with my band a few times a week and we hit live music venues every week as well to jam. Music is my first love. I have been into my music and singing since I was very small. I had bands and live gigs from when I was about 10 years old. I manage to fit everything quite nicely around my schedule which is great but it is gradually getting more and more full!
On what really makes her happy
I will always sing – that is my main aim, to hit live venues and share the music with people, as well as acting. As for stunting, well, that too. I love it so much and it really is the way for me to de-stress and wind down. Those things together are definitely the careers I will never lose from my life. As for modelling, well, that isn’t something I really enjoy. It isn’t really me and just something I was pushed into at a young age. I would love to carry on a career within television and media.
On what’s her dream bike
Errrm, silly as it may sound, the Honda CBR1000RR is my favourite bike. I can’t answer why; it just has been since I was about 15 years old. I guess that may never die!
Some of Chesca’s favourite things:
Streetbike: Honda CBR-F / Kawasaki 636
Racebike: Honda CBR1000RR
Stunt rider: Jorian Ponomareff
Motorcycle racer: Valentino Rossi
Music: Jazz / Blues
Movie: The Green Mile / We Were Soldiers
Drink: Pure orange juice / Tomato juice (with Tabasco, yum!)
Fashion label: Jane Norman
Holiday destination: Bahamas
We thank Chesca for taking the time to talk to Faster and Faster and wish her all the very best for her career. You can visit her website here and follow her on Twitter here. Please also visit the Stunt Starz website here