Ride Like A Girl
Do you have a woman in your life? How about a lucky woman who mountain bikes? No? Well unfortunately that seems to be a common answer amongst most folks these days. However, programs like the Ride Like a Girl mountain bike program aim to get more women on mountain bikes because all too often we hear the same refrain that “mountain biking is too scary and hard” from ladies of all ages and backgrounds. Additionally, a lot of women get introduced to mountain biking from their male significant other who makes every ride a mission to shred down the trail faster and harder than their dudebros. That doesn’t always go over so well when their lady is trying to learn a new skill that is already incredibly intimidating and seemingly dangerous.
With that said, we take a sport that has historically been inaccessible (or undesirable) to women and break it down to a new hobby that they become obsessed with. The truth is, we’d love to invite the guys to ride with us, however, we have found that women feel most comfortable learning a new vulnerable sport surrounded (and taught) by other women. Hence this idea of ladies-only mountain bike programs that are sweeping the nation. Now the guys don’t want to ride with us, because they are afraid of the hurt we will lay down on their next ride.
I have been the director of Central Texas’ only free, ladies-only mountain bike program, (better known as Ride Like a Girl), for 3 years now and there is never a dull moment! I cannot take the credit for starting this 20+ year old program, but I can certainly say that I have been a product of it. Although I grew up in Austin, I moved away for a while for different reasons acquiring the love of mountain biking along the way. When I moved back, RLAG was there to welcome me into a group filled with passionate, badass female mountain bikers like me. I met my wife riding in this program, and I gained so many life-long friends.
The women in this program inspire me. At any given weekly ride I have 12 year olds to 65 year olds, cancer survivors, women on chemo trying to fight cancer, women trying to recover from breakups, and those who find the outdoors as their outlet for rejuvenation. Their stories inspire me, and I realized that in order to keep this legacy of RLAG rolling along, I needed to step up and take over the Director roll. It was time to give back what RLAG had given me, and I certainly have not looked back since! Although other adventure sports like rock climbing and whitewater kayaking take up a chunk of my outdoor time, it’s an understatement to say that most of my time goes into the mountain bike community. It is a passion of mine to ride mountain bikes, and it is even more of a passion, a life goal even, to share that with as many people as possible. That passion has driven me to a USA Cycling XC mountain bike Category 1 National Championship title, obtaining an IMBA Level 2 professional mountain bike instructor certification, serving on the Board of Directors for our local IMBA chapter mountain bike club, coaching a high school mountain bike team, and now my third year of continuing on the wonderful legacy that is the Ride Like a Girl mountain bike program.
If you’re a female, and live near a city that has a ladies-only mountain bike program, jump on the bike, and the opportunity to be a part of it; you WILL NOT be disappointed. I am encouraged by the hundreds of women I see each week for our RLAG program, and I know you will be too.