GET­TING STARTED FEEL­ING SAFE AND FEEL­ING IN­CLUDED

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - INSPIRING GIRLS TO RIDE -

Most women cite safety as their stick­ing point for not want­ing to get out for a ride. Stud­ies have shown women pre­fer cy­cling in con­trolled en­vi­ron­ments, so why not start with a bike park or easy trails in­stead of roads or ad­vanced trails?

Proulx and Au­drey Du­val, founder of Shred Sis­ters, agree that in or­der to fos­ter a sense of fun, as well as com­mu­nity, more trails need to be de­signed with be­gin­ners in mind. Bunny hops and more ad­vanced skills can come later, but in­still­ing a sense of con­fi­dence and en­joy­ment is im­per­a­tive as Step No. 1.

bmx coach Bren­dan Arnold has seen a huge in­flux of girls com­ing to bmx for a few rea­sons. While the big jumps shown on Red Bull TV might seem ter­ri­fy­ing, just rid­ing around the begin­ner jumps and pump tracks i n con­tained parks avoids the nerves as­so­ci­ated with rid­ing on the road. Also, bmx bikes are sig­nif­i­cantly less costly than road or moun­tain bikes, mak­ing the bar­rier to en­try much lower.

Sim­ply in­tro­duc­ing cy­cling to peo­ple in the lo­cal com­mu­nity who might not be ex­posed to life on two wheels is im­por­tant. That’s where or­ga­ni­za­tions such as Fast and Fe­male come in. Erin Yung­blut, Fast and Fe­male’s head of me­dia re­la­tions, says that last year, 1,877 girls at­tended Champ Chat events, of­ten fea­tur­ing a pro moun­tain biker.

Of the girls who come to Fast and Fe­male events, 92 per cent say that they leave feel­ing more con­fi­dent and i nter­ested i n check­ing out new sports. Meeuwisse, a Fast and Fe­male am­bas­sador, hosted an event at a Canada Cup race this past sum­mer and had more than 50 girls in at­ten­dance to see what cy­cling was all about. Events such as these – and the in­ner city events hosted by Fast and Fe­male – spread the cy­cling mes­sage to girls who might oth­er­wise miss it.

above Learn­ing tech­ni­cal skills at the Fast and Fe­male Champ Chat in Al­berta

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