Women-Only MTB Clinics Ramp Up Across U.S.

About 5,000 women are anticipated this year to take part in a new series of mountain biking clinics held across North America.

Women-Only MTB Clinics Ramp Up Across U.S.: Bell Helmets Joy Ride

Learn to ride singletrack or hone your skills at mountain biking events across the country. Men need not apply.

Bell Helmets’ Joy Ride series launches into its second year, and it’s bigger than before.The females-only program comprises eight months of informal group rides, skills clinics, and race instruction (if interested) for women age 12-60 and above.

This year, the program expands into four new regions, bringing Joy Rides to 12 locations across the U.S. and Canada.

Women-Only MTB Clinics Ramp Up Across U.S.: Bell Helmets Joy Ride

Bell Joy Ride For Women

More than 2,400 women participated in about 50 events last year. For 2017, with the rise from eight markets to 12, Bell expects to more than double that, preparing for around 5,000 women to take part.

Women-Only MTB Clinics Ramp Up Across U.S.: Bell Helmets Joy Ride

Golden, Colo., Santa Rosa, Calif., Gig Harbor, Wash., and Boone, N.C. join this year’s list of regional events. For a full list of Joy Ride Programs, see below.

Just as last year, events will kick off in August, following this month’s ambassador-orientation program in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Women-Only MTB Clinics Ramp Up Across U.S.: Bell Helmets Joy Ride

At each event, Bell will support group rides with promotional gear, including test equipment from its Joy Ride helmet line. Joining a Joy Ride is free unless otherwise noted on an event page.

While riders should feel free to pack some extra gear and trail snacks, ambassadors typically organize refreshments, tools, and extra gear ahead of time.

Women-Only MTB Clinics Ramp Up Across U.S.: Bell Helmets Joy Ride

Partners like Dirt Series and Ladies Allride provide instructional and technical support. Experienced riders have the opportunity to hone skills and log saddle time. But the program is focused on for-fun activities that “get more women mountain biking, more often.” That means no-drop group rides and non-competitive events.

Women-Only MTB Clinics Ramp Up Across U.S.: Bell Helmets Joy Ride

Why ‘Women Only’ Mountain Biking

2010 report quantified the factors that get women involved in, or discouraged from, mountain biking. Conducted by the International Mountain Biking Association, the report gained both quantitative and qualitative data on the sport’s barriers to entry for women.

It found that women from virtually all professional backgrounds, ranging in age from 20-60, enjoy mountain biking. Those that partook cited “invitation by a friend” as a leading reason for entering the sport. And more than half believed that an invitation by another woman specifically would be most effective way to get other women riding.

The survey also found that mountain biking is “still viewed as a male-dominated sport,” and that it’s “too hardcore,” keeping many women from trying it out.

The takeaway? Mountain biking needs more fun, friendly opportunities with a community of supportive female riders.

2017 Joy Ride Ambassadors, Locations

Bell selected 12 ambassadors to organize group rides and events each month from April to December.

Women-Only MTB Clinics Ramp Up Across U.S.: Bell Helmets Joy Ride

Each event has a 100-person cap, so check in with program ambassadors on what’s available in your area.

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Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie – from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it’s outside, it’s worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.

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