WOMEN IN CYCYLING

Pedal Magazine - - Test Gear - BY TIF­FANY BAKER

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. xelle@bal­an­ce­pointrac­ing.com; 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. womenon­wheels25@gmail.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.

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