FOSTERING COMUNITY AND FUN
Studies have shown that girls will embrace more traditionally “boy” activities, like cycling, when presented with images that show other girls engaging in them. Visibility – such as Emily Batty being on the cover of the previous issue of this magazine – isn’t just a nice thing for women’s cycling, it’s essential for its growth. National team coach Dan Proulx adds that for girls, the creation of a community in the form of a club, weekly group ride or female-specific program needs to be in place. Then, he says, girls will come out to ride.
“The people in the bike community are the nicest people I’ve ever met. I highly recommend just going and winging it,” says Emma Robbescheuten, a talented 14-year-old bmx racer. “I can almost guarantee you’ll make friends after a week of riding, everyone is so friendly and helps each other.”
“Mountain biking was always a part of the family activities for me growing up,” says Trek Canada mountain bike racer Soren Meeuwisse. “But I really started riding for myself when I fell in love with the sport when I had an awesome group of girl friends I would ride with on Team Hardwood Devo,” she says, acknowledging the influence of the group in Oro-medonte, Ont.
below Emily Batty (back) inspires young girls to have fun on and off the bike at Durham Forest