For Women Inspiration & Humour

8 Myths About Women Who Mountain Bike

July 5, 2015

About the Author: Jill Hin­ton (above right) is a moun­tain bik­er and Chief Hero­ine of the Out­door Book Club, an online com­mu­ni­ty of out­door­swomen who love books. You can fol­low her on Twit­ter @outdoorbookclub or con­tact her direct­ly to learn more. 

My lady moun­tain-bik­ing friends are some of the most intre­pid women I know, but not all of us came by it nat­u­ral­ly. Per­haps they were nat­ur­al risk-tak­ers as kids — but then again, I think most kids are open to tak­ing risks (or none of us would have tried walk­ing, right?). Too bad that the grow­ing-up process often involves dim­ming or even snuff­ing out that bright, bold spark that moved us to try new, often risky things.

Moun­tain bik­ing women have man­aged to keep that spark going into a fire, but along the way we’ve picked up some stereo­types and pre­con­cep­tions that those who don’t moun­tain bike tend to assume about us. Here are eight mis­con­cep­tions peo­ple have about adven­tur­ous women:


Bugs in my teeth and sand in my bra are not my favorite. I can only do sweaty for about half an hour before I start want­i­ng to crawl away from myself. Sure, a lay­er of dust at on my glass­es and a lit­tle mud on my tires at the end of the day is a mark of a good ride, but it also like­ly means I pushed my bike, body and mind to learn some­thing (even if it was just how to fall off my bike in a new way). For the record, hot show­ers are in my top 5 favorite things to do — ever.


This is only true when I’m on the trail or hav­ing my morn­ing cof­fee — and then it’s only most­ly true (I love a cute moun­tain bik­ing out­fit). When I’m on the trail I real­ly don’t care if my hair is messy or you can see my wrin­kles. Nei­ther does my dog Howie, who runs along behind my back wheel, or the women I ride with. But you can be sure that when I’m meet­ing with clients or even just run­ning errands around town that I don’t want to come across as unkept or fraz­zled. I actu­al­ly like putting on a lit­tle make­up and nice clothes.


I moun­tain bike not because I want to look good in a biki­ni (ha!), but because I love the woods, the cama­raderie and the sense of accom­plish­ment that comes with it. Mov­ing my body feels good so I want to do it more. I also want to be good at it, so I have to prac­tice and keep in shape so that moun­tain bik­ing is more enjoy­able. But you won’t catch me run­ning any marathons or enter­ing any body­build­ing contests.


There are women I know who are sin­gle moms, women who teach Sun­day School every week. That, my friend, is a lev­el of tough­ness that I could nev­er aspire to. Willpow­er and tenac­i­ty are a state of mind. I’m woman enough to admit I’ve cried on the trail, and I have chick­ened out plen­ty of times when it comes to rid­ing the hard­er trails (though I always resolve to come back to them after I’ve improved my skills on the eas­i­er routes). And for the record, “no apol­o­giz­ing” is one of my first rules of moun­tain bik­ing. Men don’t apol­o­gize for not being tough enough, and nei­ther should we.


Some peo­ple seem to think my hus­band is lone­ly or some­how resents my moun­tain bik­ing. If any­thing, he thinks it’s awe­some that I’m out on the trail, tear­ing it up and doing some­thing that is all my own (he’s a road bik­er, which most­ly I find tedious). And we occa­sion­al­ly find time to bike togeth­er, which is also in my top 5 favorite things to do.


Moun­tain bik­ing has a rep­u­ta­tion for being a sport for wild, risk-tak­ing young men. But just because I spend my free time moun­tain bik­ing — basi­cal­ly out­side par­tic­i­pat­ing in activ­i­ties that the major­i­ty of women don’t — does­n’t mean I’m insane or have a death wish. It means I’m pas­sion­ate. There’s a (slight) dif­fer­ence. I might be crazy, but it’s for lots of rea­sons oth­er than the fact that I’m a moun­tain biker.


I’ve nev­er bro­ken a bone, moun­tain bik­ing or oth­er­wise. I don’t like get­ting hurt; it’s not fun. Though it may be true that I have more scrapes, bumps and bruis­es than most oth­er women I know, I earned every one of them — and that part actu­al­ly feels pret­ty amaz­ing. One of the great­est lessons moun­tain bik­ing has taught me is that although you can be pre­pared and safe and fol­low all the rules, get­ting hurt is life, and the more you under­stand that the risk is part of the fun and the process, the hap­pi­er you’ll be.


Let me be clear: being a moun­tain bik­er and a woman are not mutu­al­ly exclu­sive. I look killer in a pair of heels (all that ped­al­ing up hills) and I’ve got long, dark hair that sees its share of the inside of a salon. Although admit­ted­ly I hate pink (espe­cial­ly when it comes to bik­ing acces­sories), gig­gling and wine are in my top ten things I love to do just about any­time it’s appropriate.

I sup­pose that in the end, it doesn’t mat­ter if you were born adven­tur­ous or redis­cov­ered your grit through a series of chal­lenges. What oth­er mis­con­cep­tions have you heard about women who moun­tain bike? Leave your biggest whop­per in the com­ments below.

About the Author: Jill Hin­ton Wolfe is a moun­tain bik­er and the Chief Hero­ine of the Out­door Book Club, an online com­mu­ni­ty of out­door­swomen who love books. You can fol­low her on Twit­ter at @outdoorbookclub or con­tact her direct­ly to learn more.