GETTING STARTED FEELING SAFE AND FEELING INCLUDED
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