This article first appeared in Dirt Rag magazine, Issue #126. You can purchase the back issue here.
Ride Like A Girl
By Joe Whitehair
There is no question the sport of mountain biking is dominated by men. Many times this abundance of testosterone isnít the ideal riding environment some women are looking for. Whatís a girl to do?
Here in the Mid-Atlantic thereís been a very successful program for getting the ladies out on mountain bikes and making sure they have a good time. It goes by the name "Ride Like A Girl" and is part of the regular rides organized by the Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts (M.O.R.E.). This isnít the first or only "Ride Like A Girl" program, but in less than a year itís been highly successful. Early in 2006 new mountain biker Liz Notter decided to get organized and get the ladies out on the trail. She based the idea on a similar ride series going on in Richmond, VA and tapped into the large network of Washington DC, northern Virginia and Maryland riders that make up MOREís membership to put together twice-a-month womenís only trail rides. In May the first ride was launched and they have been going strong ever since. The success of the rides has as much to do with Lizís coordination as it does with the ride leaders she has recruited and the women who just come out to ride.
Rides span a range of skill levels, but most are beginner friendly and stopping to develop skills and work on technical sections is a common ride activity. The rides regularly have 12 - 15 women attending with the biggest event so far turning out 22 riders. Besides the regularly scheduled rides, many of the participants are organizing their own ad-hoc girls rides and many of them are now riding more than ever. You canít get much more successful than that.