WOMEN IN CYCYLING
More and more women are getting on bikes and creating positive forces to enrich and encourage participation by other women in their community and across the nation. This year, Pedal profiles Edmonton’s Marianne Shelawa, who cycled alone across Canada for an adventure of a lifetime covering 7,700km. She hopes to empower women everywhere and one day touch all of the oceans around the world by bike. Plus we look at female-driven cycling initiatives along with women’s bike tests.
Realizing the need for more female-focused cycling activities, women are joining forces and forming race series, clubs, rides, and associations – even female-owned bike shops are popping up across the country.
X Elle Women’s Cycling Association, Kelowna, BC
X Elle Women’s Cycling Association is a not-for-profit organized by women for women. In its fourth season, this friendly, shop-neutral road cycling club welcomes all women-identified cyclists and has grown to nearly 100 members. Weekly no-drop rides run May through September, accommodating novice through to advanced riders with four different pace groups led by 17 experienced women ride leaders. X Elle’s robust program also includes monthly education sessions and fully supported destination rides throughout the Okanagan Valley. New this year, X Elle hosted the first annual Black Sage Women’s Road Ride, a 50km jaunt through the South Okanagan’s beautiful wine region, and developed the X Elle
Racing Team supporting women of all ages who want to race bikes together. firstname.lastname@example.org; xellecycling.com.
Women on Wheels YEG (WOW), Edmonton, Alta.
WOW is an Edmonton-area women’s mountain biking group that encourages women to ride by offering a social, encouraging and non-intimidating environment. Affiliated with Revolution Cycle and Hardcore Bikes, their rides never leave anyone behind and provide coaching and mentoring on more technical sections. Offering Tuesday beginner and Wednesday intermediate rides from AprilMay to September, there are options for most everyone. Beginner rides focus on skill development and building confidence on the trails. Intermediate rides focus on flow but also include sessions on technical sections. Wednesday rides continue past September, weather permitting, with night rides and winter fat biking. email@example.com; womenonwheelsyeg
Shift Happens Bike Repair, Devon Alta.
As a mom-and-daughter owned bike shop, you’ll find both women on the sales floor and in the service department wrenching on bikes. With years of experience racing, riding, coaching and wrenching, they are experts in the field. And along with that expertise comes the awareness of the barriers and challenges that exist for women in cycling. To combat some of these barriers they offer a number of female-only cycling programs – like a ladies-only basic bike maintenance clinic called Wenches with Wrenches and Wine, and a ladies-only intro to cyclocross and mountain biking. Their focus is on grassroots development in the community and getting more women hooked on bikes. www.shbr.ca.
Trek Dirt Series, Various locations
The Trek Dirt Series Mountain Bike Camps offer personalized instruction, professional programming and an incredibly skilled, enthusiastic and supportive coaching staff. Since 2001, the program has run over 200 weekend camps – women-only and co-ed, beginner through advanced, cross-country, all-mountain and downhill inclined. Their efforts are often credited with being a founder and inspiration for women in mountain biking. Their 2017 season included 16 women-specific and four co-ed camps in BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. All camps offer top-notch coaching, proven progressions and an incredibly supportive community to learn from and ride with. www.dirtseries.com.
Bikes on Wheels Women (BOWW), Toronto, Ont.
Does early-morning riding appeal to you? Biking approximately 40km every Tuesday and Friday at 6 a.m., BOWW is a dedicated space for female-identified, trans and non-binary road cyclists to ride with support and encouragement. Created to promote a welcoming space for women, their mission is to foster a positive cycling community in the city of Toronto by offering an encouraging and challenging no-drop group ride. This benevolent group believes in giving back to the community, and as a collective have raised over $13,000 for various charities in the past year alone. bikesonwheelswomen.tumblr.com.
Shred Sisters, Canmore, Alta.
Shred Sisters is a group of passionate coaches dedicated to providing high-quality instruction that takes mountain biking skills to the next level in a safe, fun and supportive environment. With rides, camps and yoga retreats in Calgary, Bragg Creek, Canmore, Golden and Invermere, they offer a community where women can connect, share their passion and feel empowered to push their limits. Their customized services including private mountainbike and yoga retreats, workshops and lessons for cycling clubs, and cover beginner to advanced mountain biking, cross country, downhill or fat biking. If you like, or think you might like, knobby tires – check them out. www.shredsisters.ca.
Pedal Wenches, Saskatoon
Pedal Wenches is Saskatoon’s first and only women’s road cycling club that delivers fitness through a fun-first attitude by welcoming riders of all experience levels. At 100 members strong, they help cyclists improve their skills and fitness in an encouraging environment. In the off-season, they also run indoor cycling training sessions to allow riders to build on their spring and summer fitness and prepare for the next road season. pedalwenches (Facebook).
Ride Like a Girl, BC
Ride Like a Girl is a BC-based not-for-profit that provides a mentorship and bursary program designed to support young female mountain bike athletes as they develop their talent. They support girls in British Columbia up to the age of 20 who are currently racing cross-country, downhill or enduro mountain biking, or who are honing their skills as a freeride athlete. This support also includes a mentorship program that provides opportunities for young athletes to ride with and receive guidance from professional female athletes in their discipline. In 2017, ten young female riders were matched with mentors. www.ridelikeagirl.ca.
WOWride, Vancouver, B.C.
Created three years ago by three women passionate about riding, WOWride Cycling Club is more than just a cycling club, it’s a strong movement to bring like-minded dynamic women together to ride in a strong and safe environment. With a brand of #strongertogether, on and off the bike, their goal is to help women be fast and strong while focusing on safe, savvy riding strategies. With 27 ride leaders, or “domestiques”, they offer cycling clinics, riding camps, three weekly rides with varying speed options, training programs for ‘realistic’ racers, support for youth cycling development, and free clinics (cycling and non-cycling topics). www.wowridecycling.com.