Skip to main content

You cant be what you cant see!

We were delighted to hear that Becca, a well known Tweed Valley volunteer, mum of two young boys and member of the FNY Collective, passed her British Cycling Level 2 Mountain Bike Leadership Award. Having struggled with many of the issues us women do - we asked her for an insight into her journey to inspire others to be role models too!

Becca and FNY

The more women we see on the trails leading, the more accessible it can seem to other women and girls too.

Of course, role models are not the only answer. Addressing under representation is complicated but it’s a start. Each individual woman out there, being seen riding or delivering led rides, demonstrates how mountain biking is more accessible than it is perceived to be to other women and girls. Each individual woman in these roles IS helping address the gender imbalance within our sport and we love sharing stories like this to hopefully inspire others to just 'go for it'!

Thanks Becca for sharing your story and good luck on your leadership journey!

Becca

Why did you want to go through the Leadership training and become a Level 2 Leader?

Mountain biking is a huge part of my life and I wanted to help more people experience this amazing sport and all the benefits that come with it. My two sons both attend a brilliant local cycle club, Cranked and they were on the lookout for more leaders, in particular female leaders. I loved the idea of being a part of the team helping kids to get out on their bikes. I also ride with local women’s group The FNY Collective, and seeing how many lives they have transformed through mountain biking has been nothing but inspirational. It took me about two years to convince myself to go for it, but I am so glad I did!

Becca and Kids

What were the issues during training that you struggled with most and how did you overcome them?

It sounds really strange, but the main barrier I had was me! I constantly had that inner voice giving me a hard time. Telling me I wasn’t a good enough rider, I wasn’t fit enough, I’d just embarrass myself and people would wonder why I had even gone for the course. Like many people I have anxiety, which started 6 years ago after being treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). When things were at their worst, I found it difficult to leave the house and to socialise. Mountain biking played a vital role in helping me to try and overcome these thoughts/feelings and I used some of the same strategies when I was having a wobble about the leadership course.

The first was pretty simple, get out on my bike. It didn’t matter that kind of ride I did, how far it was or if I had company. Getting out on my bike was like pressing a reset button and also firmly reminded me why I wanted to do the course in the first place.

The second was to be as organised and prepared as I could be. This meant not leaving anything to the last minute, making sure I had all the kit on the kit list available, that I had completed the mandatory training, my logbook was up to date…. the list goes on. For me, this was a way to make sure that my worries didn’t spiral too much and ultimately gave me less to worry about. Anyone who know me, knows I love a list and this was a great way of keeping track of the things I had done and still needed to do.

The final factor was learning that it was ok to be unsure of things and to ask for help. Everyone I spoke to was so supportive, helpful and generous with their time. They came with me on training rides, helped me practice map reading and bike mechanics and listened to my many worries. I even had the opportunity to gain some experience helping out at some women’s mountain bike events with The FNY Collective which was invaluable. I owe them lots of coffee/wine!!

Ridelines MTB who ran my training course and assessment also supported me from the moment I booked onto my training. They knew I was nervous so took the time to get in touch with me to try and make me see that this award was achievable! I was a bundle of nerves even at the training weekend, but they managed to make it feel like we were just a group of people learning and riding bikes.

What were the parts of the training you enjoyed most?

I actually really enjoyed learning how to map read, it opens up lots of opportunities to have adventures but is also a vital skill to keep you safe out on the hill.

Before this course, when it came to trailside repairs I was very much an “I’ll have a go and see what happens” kind of person with varying degrees of success!! But now I have a better understanding of the mechanics of my bike and how to get the best out of it. This gives me greater confidence to go on bigger rides and it’s a lovely feeling not having to rely on everyone else to help me with all of my mechanicals.

What do you think could help other women ‘just go for it’ and start their leadership journey?

Easier said than done but try not to overthink things. If you’re unsure if the course is right for you, then ask the company delivering it or someone who has been through it. Remember that the training is to show you what you need to know in order to pass the assessment so you don’t need to have everything dialled the moment you decide to book your training.

Also, think about why you want to be a leader in the first place to try and help put things into perspective. I was so worried that I would be the worst at everything on the course and have the least experience. However, I quickly learned that this process was all about me achieving my personal goals and as long as I had put in the work, it didn’t matter what everyone else was doing.

If you can’t find a good role model, be one!

GALE ANNE HURD

Why do you think it is important to have more women as leaders in our sport and how should we be making that happen?

I am very fortune that I ride with many amazing female leaders and coaches, many who have been huge role models for me. However, I am aware that women in our sport are in the minority. In order to increase the number of female leaders, it is important to make it as inclusive an environment as possible. Having female leaders and riders can bring a different dynamic to mountain biking and will hopefully inspire other women to not only ride but become future leaders so they in turn can inspire even more individuals to try this amazing sport.

In order to make this happen we need to firstly find ways to encourage women/girls into the sport by giving them more opportunities. This could be in the form of beginners taster days, school age group rides or social group rides (amongst many more). Living in the Tweed Valley, we are very lucky that many of these projects and opportunities are already being offered and I have seen first hand how it has brought women to the sport.

Becca Award

Further reading

If you can, please consider donating to the Scottish MTB Heath Fund and help us run more Trail Therapy sessions across the country.

Donate



You may also like

If you can, please consider donating to the Scottish MTB Heath Fund and help us run more Trail Therapy sessions across the country.

Donate