MTB Riding From A Female Perspective
As a primary school student, I played competitive tennis. Then, as I moved into High School, I played mixed tennis – a 50/50 gender split which I never thought anything of until now. As a female mountain bike rider, I’m definitely not seeing a 50/50 gender split when riding or racing. Actually, on a recent trip to Derby in Tasmania for a MTB weekend, I was the only female of the group of 12.
Women mountain bike riders
Do woman not like to get out in the dirt (or mud as it is in winter)? Do they not like to ride bikes up rocks, even ride through rivers or glide down free-flowing berms? Well, there are a growing number of women and young girls getting into mountain bike riding and that’s a good thing. Here’s what I’ve noticed about being a female mountain bike rider.
Speed doesn’t always equal fun on a MTB
It’s not always rosy when riding with a group of guys. Firstly, I’m not a speed demon, in fact whenever I ride in a group – whether it’s male or female, I’m always the slowest downhill rider. But I do try and give the fast ones a run for their money on the uphill sections. Riding with women, I’ve found there’s a greater emphasis on it being about the journey not the destination.
Skids can be scary
When I get on a section of trail and spin the back out, I’m often shaky afterwards, lacking confidence and feeling like I shouldn’t be out on the trail. I don’t ride and try and skid, I tackle the obstacles with as much speed as I can handle whilst still being cautious and feeling in control. A bit like how I downhill ski.
Many hands make light work
There’s nothing so rewarding as pulling together as a group to do something. One Thursday morning ladies ride in Warrandyte, we came across a log preventing us from riding our bikes through. So we got off our bikes and as a team, carried the log off the trail. Then continued riding.
We’ve also pulled together trying to tighten a pedal when it kept getting loose when a lady’s son had not put the pedals back properly on the bike they shared. Or the time when multiple bike levels wouldn’t get the tube off the wheel without damaging the rim.
You need to celebrate the small achievements
Women enjoy the banter, the reassurance from each other and the celebrations when you achieve something for the first time. No matter how big or small the achievement is, if you attempt something you’ve not done before, then that’s worth celebrating. And females love celebrating with each other. And if you don’t achieve it, then that’s okay too.
You can be comfortable but still get out of your comfort zone
Being in a group of other like-minded people is what makes the trails more enjoyable. Whether it is a male or female group, or a mixed one, having people that are at a similar level helps with the enjoyment levels.
Internal recognition is what also helps you to get out of your comfort zone. Seeing those little achievements, celebrating them and reflecting when you were less confident helps to give you the motivation to push beyond your limits and out of your comfort zone. Even a little extra challenge such as getting around a bend with a log in the middle successfully for the first time builds confidence and enthusiasm.
It can get rocky at any time, but you can get past it
As I continue learning more skills, developing friendships with an active group of ladies, I’ll share with you some of my tips for getting out there when maybe you don’t feel up to it.
Follow me on my journey below.