Women Only Rides

I hit up the Women’s 101 ride noted below and was really pleased with the nice turn out with the questionably skies and scattered rain throughout the day.  The ring leaders for the night include: Eryn Hughes (Velomuse), who does an excellent job of promoting and organizing these events.  Karen Brooks (Dirt Rag Editor), who I feel like I have known for years, but tonight was the most amount of hang out and conversation we’ve had to date and Elizabeth Klevens, who has and will always wow me with her seriously impressive technical skills.  Bad ass women mountain bikers uniting to share and spread the knowledge and love of this magnificant sport

We gathered in an open field and worked on handling skills, shifting our weight, tight turning obstacles, small logs, pedal ratcheting, etc.  All the newby ladies seemed thoroughly interested and the practice session was very informative and well received.  I think Karen and Elizabeth did a terrific job explaining and helping throughout the exercises.  I chimed in a few times with an opinion or two when I got the urge.  Before the group took to the trails for a ride we gathered back up talking about riding options, camps, coaches, training, etc.  Somene points out that PORC has beginner rides each week, but it was quickly noted its for all beginners and not just women.  Hmpfh! 

Yes I am for “girl power” and all that jazz, but this sport is truly overrun by dudes and can be very intimidating and difficult for the average girl to make her way into the trails and stay there.  There is a lot to learn and I think we all agree that when there is a “women only” ride the dynamic is truly different.  An extra sense of comfort is there.  Girls may let their guard down a little more.  Ask more questions.  Try more obstacles and/or new things during the ride.  Seeing a group of girls try a certain obstacle versus a line up of guys can definitely pursuade a newby more to give it a go… and that rules.  

One of the girls (sorry I cannot remember everyones name!) said something like, “ok. this was really great, I learned a lot, but now what do I do?”  I think most of the girls felt the same way.  Heading out in the trails solo can be too intimidating.  I was the same way early on.   The topic was just enough to light a fire in me to want to help keep them riding.   I’ve lead plenty of group rides before.  Heck, I mentored TNT for 5 years and definitely used to being a ring leader at times, so I am officially starting a weekly WOMENS ONLY ride. 

The intent, of course, is to promote women mountain bike riding.  It will be an easier ride, but all levels of riders are invited and encouraged to attend.  Let’s share a ride, experiences, stories, skills.  It’ll be rad.  If enough girls show up we can split up into more than one group and focus on our individual strengths.  Let’s finish the summer off with a few sweet group rides before the days shorten up.  Maybe we’ll keep them going for the rest of the year if it goes well.  Doesnt have to be me leading them.  I’m going to use this opportunity to get the ball rolling.  I’ll get Eryn / Velomuse to help spread the word (she’s good like that!), but I wanted to drop this post out tonight and start spreading it now.   Hopefully it’s well received.

How about:  Mondays.  Women Only.  Frick Park. Tennis Court Parking Lot.  6:30pm START time.  See you there.  🙂

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Way to go MJ! Girlie rides rock! THere used to be a weekly girlie ride until the organizer had a baby… so awesome for you to resurrect them. Men were allowed on Girlie rides, but there were some rules: a woman led the ride. Men were not allowed to pass women on the trail (had to stay in original order relative to the ladies), and if women wanted to stop and work on obstacles and so forth, the guys had to stop and spot. It made for a great dynamic while keeping the competitiveness in check

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  2. Posted by Josh Matta on August 12, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    I think the biggest issue with PORC beginner rides is the fact that its hard to get better though osmosis alone.

    So I hope you make a step in the right direction with some chikas there MJ and remember osmosis doesnt work all the time.

    Reply

  3. I would love to see a women’s specific skills clinic done, especially for beginners. We have so many that come to our Friday beginner rides that wan’t to learn more, but become intimidated because of some of the more advanced riders among us. They want to know more about riding skinnies, getting over logs bigger than branches, hucking, bunny hopping, etc. They want to develop the skills, and courage to go down steep hills like they see some of the other women do. They tend to think it’s a mens only thing half the time. What they don’t realize is that a lot of the women out there bury us! I think the local clubs would be served well with something like that. JMHO.

    As for the women’s only ride, you guys should post on PORC website as well. Anything that helps bring more women (and overall more people) to the sport is encouraged and we all should support it..

    Rick

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  4. Posted by Kait Brennan on August 13, 2010 at 8:11 am

    MJ this is awesome!! I have classes on Monday nights , but I assure you any Monday that I am finished up by 6:30 (fingers crossed there will be an evening or 2 we leave early) you can expect to see my face (and new 69er, thanks for the suggestion!) I had a great time last night and agree that the chicks rides have a whole different dynamic that is welcomed, especially in the beginning phases of riding. Really looking forward to this , hoping we can ride soon!

    KB

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  5. Posted by MJ on August 13, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Thanks for all the hits and comments! 🙂

    Suzanne, Yeah, maybe we can get Holly back out on her bike now too!

    Matta, I’ll keep that in mind. haha.

    Rick, I intend to promote through PORC & Bike PGH. Thanks tho!

    KB, Yeah, sorry Mondays are easiest for me. Hopefully your schedule is forgiving to hit us up, and depending on the response and weather maybe we’ll switch the night up on occasion. All TBD. Great to meet you and so glad your digging the 69er. Much, much fun to be had. You’ll see! 🙂

    Reply

  6. […] the word out about the opportunity and we’re continuing to collaborate with local ambassador Michelle Johnson to bring a new, weekly Monday Ladies’ ride together. Velomuse Youth Bike […]

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