Why Women’s Only Rides?

Why Women’s Only Rides?

Many have pondered the big question- “Why are there not more women riders?”

All dressed up and looking the part, I head off on my 29er (with very wide bars), for my first MTB experience. Hubby and number one son, decide that we should go explore Parklands. After getting off my bike for numerous obstacles (logs and sharp rocks) and narrow gaps between trees, (what were they doing there in the first place?), I began to wonder and stress a wee bit, (we seem to be forever descending into a black hole), I know what goes down eventually has to come up. What am I doing here? This is not fun! After falling off a few times and walking more than riding, I decide that mountain biking is not for me.

This is a familiar story and well-meaning partners and husbands encouraging words of “You can do it love” just doesn’t always cut it. After scraping yourselves off the forest floor, many women are tentative about getting on their bikes again. Luckily, I did and went on a Bushrangers Ewan Maddock social ride. There I was met by some friendly ladies riders who took me under their wing. One lady took me into Parklands and we did the Ho Chi Ho circuit! After the challenge of the uphill fireroad, it was yea ha all the way down. Now this is more like it! She taught me to be persistent and there were great rewards as you got fitter. Lots of High 5’s and cheering could be heard when we managed a challenging bit! Or we would say, next time, there always was a next time! All the sweeter when you made it! After a few months we could do it three times with a lot less huffing and puffing! I’ll never forget the encouragement and support I was given. Another lady took me into Sugar Bag but that is another story.

The Bushrangers, also contemplated the big question, “Why are there not more women riders?” After careful consideration and consultation (at the Christmas BBQ) the president of the club asked if anyone was interested in a position of women’s advocate. I grabbed the opportunity, as I have always been interested in women’s health and fitness, (I obtained my fitness leader qualifications in the 80’s and started my own neighborhood aerobic classes. Back in the day, you would find me, dressed of course, in fluro leading a group of enthusiastic women in the garage doing the “grapevine” to Cyndi Lauper and Madonna). With ten years racing experience, 5 different bikes in the garage and a love for riding, I felt that I was the “man” for the job!

Today you will find me extremely driven in my aim to get more women into riding. Queensland Women’s Week was my first challenge. I believe this was very successful as so many ladies that we hadn’t seen before came out of the woodwork, some for the very first time, most looking to make connections with other female riders. There was coaching, coordinated rides with other clubs, competitions and most importantly, a riding group was formed- Go G.I.R.L (Get Into Riding Ladies). The aim of the women’s riding group is to encourage new riders to the sport, support each other as we grow in confidence, build proficient skills and fitness and promote opportunities to challenge ourselves. We now have monthly rides and co-ordinate with the other clubs to offer more opportunities for women to ride. Why not join us for our in our next ride at Jinker trails or race in “Chicks In The Sticks” or . . . The sky is the limit! So join our Go G.I.R.L (Get Into Riding Ladies) Facebook page, be informed and hopefully get inspired to hit the trails together!

Cheers,

Susie Hume

Women’s Advocate Bushrangers MTB Club Sunshine Coast

womensadvocate@bushrangers.org