For Women

8 Signs Women’s Mountain Biking Is On the Rise

May 26, 2016

Over the past 15 years, there has been an extra­or­di­nary shift  in the sport of moun­tain bik­ing. The evo­lu­tion of new tech­nol­o­gy, gear, races, des­ti­na­tions and the expan­sion of trail sys­tems around the world has opened doors for the sport. On top of that, the wom­en’s moun­tain bike com­mu­ni­ty has seen huge growth — with more women hit­ting the trails, enter­ing races and start­ing up their own com­mu­ni­ty moun­tain bike clubs, it’s no sur­prise that women are  tak­ing the moun­tain bike world by storm.

Here are 8 signs that women’s mountain biking is on the rise…

1. The Trailhead

Look around the trail­head — you are guar­an­teed to see female rid­ers get­ting ready to shred. If you’re new to the sport, don’t be shy to strike up a con­ver­sa­tion with a fel­low female rid­er for tips and trail rec­om­men­da­tions. If there is one thing I have noticed, it’s that female rid­ers are hap­py to share their pas­sion and encour­age oth­er women to hit the trails.

2. The Bikes

Moun­tain bike com­pa­nies have real­ized the women’s mar­ket is grow­ing and there is  demand for bikes that com­ple­ment our body type and shape.  The  wom­en’s line of Liv bikes, a sub-brand of Giant, is a great exam­ple. Liv cre­at­ed a frame with women’s spe­cif­ic geom­e­try, while cut­ting unnec­es­sary weight by using a spe­cial car­bon lay-up process. The Lust Advanced 0 weighs in at just over 22 pounds, which is a big deal for us ladies.  It’s a ques­tion of biol­o­gy, math and physics: women devel­op less pow­er to weight than men, so the lighter the bike, the more we will feel in con­trol and as a result, we gain more con­fi­dence. That means, if you’re a woman choos­ing between two bikes, and one is lighter than the oth­er — choose the lighter one. 

3. The Gear

Try­ing to fit into bag­gy shorts and loose jer­seys with bor­ing colours are a thing of the past. Com­pa­nies are start­ing to rec­og­nize that women have and want their own style on the trail, we don’t want the same rid­ing gear as their male coun­ter­parts.  It’s a necess­c­i­ty, for com­fort, style and safe­ty to have moun­tain bike cloth­ing, gear and bikes catered to wom­en’s bod­ies. Our female guides are always try­ing out new gear made specif­i­cal­ly for women and rec­om­mend the following…

Cristina from New Zealand –>

Mac­Pac women’s moun­tain bike shorts are super com­fort­able with a detach­able lin­er, and they get bonus points for style and durability!

Charlotte from Ontario –>

A women’s spe­cif­ic bike seat: let’s face it—our tushies are not designed the same as a man’s and invest­ing in a women’s spe­cif­ic bike seat can make a big dif­fer­ence. Take time to test out a few sad­dles and find the right fit. Most bike shops will have a fit guide for sad­dles, and you will be able to assess the prop­er size seat for your unique bottom.

Check out Shred­ly or Dirty­Jane for com­fort­able, prac­ti­cal and styl­ish women’s moun­tain bike gear.

4. The Rides

The best thing about moun­tain bik­ing is the com­mu­ni­ty. Moun­tain bik­ers bring pas­sion, deter­mi­na­tion and cama­raderie to the trail. We are eager to learn, ride, share and cre­ate life-long mem­o­ries with each oth­er. We are focused on main­tain­ing a healthy body, mind and spir­it and under­stand one of the most impor­tant ele­ments to being healthy is sur­round­ing your­self with oth­er like-mind­ed, pos­i­tive moun­tain bikers.

On top of this, wom­en’s moun­tain bike rides, groups, skills work­shops and tours are sprout­ing up all over the world — ded­i­cat­ed to pro­vid­ing women a place to learn from each oth­er and prac­tice their skills in a safe, wel­com­ing envi­ronem­nt. Many com­mu­ni­ty moun­tain bike clubs will offer women’s only rides, events and races. Check out the Inter­na­tion­al Moun­tain Bike Asso­ci­a­tion (IMBA), either in the US or Cana­da to find rides and clubs near you.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to hit the trails with our male-coun­ter­parts, but some­times the sup­port, advice and trail­side con­ver­sa­tion from oth­er women is inspir­ing and  more relat­able. Plus, it’s moti­vat­ing  to wit­ness more women falling in the love with sport — which for years, was dom­i­nat­ed by men.

Here at Sacred Rides, we are super excit­ed about more women hit­ting the trails and over the last few years, we have launched our spe­cial line of women’s rides. The trips encour­age rid­ers to explore remote trails and new cul­tures with like-mind­ed women and learn from qual­i­fied guides in an inclu­sive envi­ron­ment. It’s a life-chang­ing expe­ri­ence to spend a week moun­tain bik­ing in Cos­ta Rica, Utah, British Colum­bia, Ontario or New Zealand with oth­er kick-ass female riders.

5. The Pros

Pro­fes­sion­al female moun­tain bik­ers are tak­ing the world by storm. Test­ing their lim­its, chal­leng­ing bound­aries and inspir­ing oth­er women to ride has cre­at­ed an envi­ron­ment where more women feel com­fort­able to join the sport.

Rachel Atherton

In 2005, Rachel was named Times Young Sports­woman of the Year after win­ning a vari­ety of cat­e­gories in down­hill rac­ing. In 2008, she took con­trol of the women’s down­hill cir­cuit by win­ning the World Cham­pi­onship gold and win­ning the World Cup over­all. Not to men­tion, she con­tin­ues to dom­i­nate the sport after bounc­ing back from a pre-sea­son injury in 2009. Since then she has won three UCI World Cup titles in 2012, 2013 and 2015. She is on the right path for prov­ing to be one of the best darn female down­hill moun­tain bik­ers in the world.

Jill Kintner

Jill is an accom­plished female ath­lete ded­i­cat­ed to two wheels. She has dom­i­nant­ed sev­er­al dis­ci­plines includ­ing Down­hill, Slalom, 4X, BMX, Pumptrack and Enduro. In 2008, she won an Olympic Bronze medal, three con­sec­u­tive 4X world titles, Down­hill World cup podi­ums and 15 élite USA Nation­al Championships.

6. The Clubs

Many com­mu­ni­ties have women spe­cif­ic moun­tain bike clubs. Can’t find a women’s club in your area? Think about start­ing one. Find one oth­er woman to ride with and expand from there, you may be sur­prised at the num­ber of women in your com­mu­ni­ty that are itch­ing to get out, but don’t feel like they have the right peo­ple to ride with.

Check out these women’s moun­tain bike clubs for a lit­tle inspiration.

The Spin Sisters - Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Their Vision
“The Spin Sis­ters inspire a world where  no woman fears rocks or drops, by bring­ing women of all abil­i­ties togeth­er for super-duper wicked rid­ing in an envi­ron­ment of cama­raderie and sup­port whilst build­ing lead­ers, and being a pos­i­tive force in the community.”

Wild Bettys
 — Toronto, Ontario, Canada

“We are women of all ages and abil­i­ties who love to moun­tain bike. Our club rides are fun and non-com­pet­i­tive, and pro­vide an oppor­tu­ni­ty for us to grow as moun­tain bik­ers. Wild Bet­tys offers sup­port and guid­ance out on the trail as every­one faces unique and per­son­al challenges.”

Austin Ridge Riders Mountain Bike Club - Austin, Texas, USA

“Based on the the­o­ry that women learn new skills dif­fer­ent­ly from men, rides are des­ig­nat­ed as for women only. While a sub group of  the Austin Ridge Rid­ers, Ride Like A Girl is self sup­port­ing and estro­gen powered!”

Women’s Mountain Bike Association of Colorado Springs
- Colorado, USA

“The Women’s Moun­tain Bik­ing Asso­ci­a­tion of Col­orado Springs (WMBA of COS) engages a com­mu­ni­ty of sup­port­ive female cyclists of all abil­i­ties through orga­nized group moun­tain bike rides.”

7. The Races

If you’re a female moun­tain bik­er with a com­pet­i­tive edge, you prob­a­bly won’t find a short­age of moun­tain bike races in your com­mu­ni­ty. Look up your local moun­tain bike club and they should be able to pro­vide you with a list of races to enter.

Oh… and if you can’t find any women’s moun­tain bike races, just com­pete against the dudes. If you need some moti­va­tion for this, read about Trish Brom­ley com­pet­ing against the men at Cranx­worx 2015!

8. The Spirit

With more women hit­ting the trails — you are bound to hear more laugh­ter and enthu­si­as­tic “Yahoos!” out on the trail. We have fun, we laugh at our­selves, we are hum­ble, deter­mined, focused, and love a good trail­side chat. Most of all — we sup­port each oth­er, cheer each oth­er on and appre­ci­ate break­ing a good sweat. Here’s to get­ting even more women out on a moun­tain bike!

Keep chal­leng­ing your­self, push­ing your lim­its and most impor­tant­ly — have fun.