‘If you can’t find a good role model, be one!’
Women specific mountain bike progression days
We have developed these weekends to address the confidence issues we see in many women aspiring to become mountain bike leaders but uncertain of their ability to transition from mountain bike rider to mountain bike leader.
A joint initiative between DMBinS and Glenmore Lodge, these immersive and supportive two day courses support aspiring women to realise they are absolutely capable of taking this journey, indeed many are more than capable!
We have been delivering these courses for a few years now and their success is evident and with more female leaders out there, we can get more female tutors and more girls into this amazing pastime.
"the course was fantastic, well-balanced and had lots of takeaways that I still use today (like the bike M check and kit bag stuff). I can see myself working towards assessment at some point, which I would never have considered seriously if it wasn't for the R2L course”
The role model conundrum
In our minds it is all about creating accessible role models, the more women we see on the trails leading, the more accessible it can seem to other women and for girls too. The more women leading rides the more female riders and this is so important. We know the current level of inactivity in children is damaging, we see the headlines and scary stats that tell us the proportion of children obese by the time they leave primary school. Clearly diet and lifestyle are super important, and we are not saying that mountain biking is a universal panacea but we know it works for a lot of girls and for every individual girl (or boy) we encourage into the outdoors through the medium of mountain biking we know we are helping reduce not only physical health concerns later on in life but diagnosable mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders, to name a few.
Participation rates for 11 to 15 year olds playing organised competitive sports fall and this is more notable again in girls. Girls, generally are less positive about PE in school than boys. For many the influence of poor self-esteem with a perceived conflict between the image of the ‘sporty’ girl and ‘femininity’ alongside a strong focus on traditional and competitive sports can also be a turnoff.
Girls more so than boys seem inspired by fun and social experiences. And mountain biking offers that. The irony of course is that many girls are motivated by a desire to ‘get fit’ but often don’t consider cycling as a way to do this. And yet mountain biking is so good for all over body fitness, and lets not forget the getting outdoors side of it all.
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
“It (the course) was great! It showed me that the L2 pathway was much more achievable than I first thought and empowered me to give it a go! I passed!"
The nitty gritty of cost
We think these programmes are amazing and put as much available funding to these as we possibly can to keep costs at a negligible and sometimes (in a good year) non-existent amount for the amazing women out there needing these courses. Funding goes to venue hire, accommodation for tutors (always pretty basic, they are a tough lot), instructor hire (always discounted) and expenses. On average a course costs in the region of £1,000 to deliver benefiting 8 inspiring and motivated women who will then go on and inspire countless more women and girls.
And they do make a difference.
Rider (now Leader) who qualified after attending a weekend
“What's interesting about the aftermath of the course is two things...firstly it gave me confidence in my ability as a rider, for example, I had to courage to attend some social rides in Feb/Mar that I wouldn't have done before. And secondly, I've been helping some of my new female neighbours discover mountain biking, taking them to GT, helping them with basic bike maintenance etc and it's been really enjoyable! I certainly think that attending the course has helped me to inadvertently help new riders find their feet”
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How we're funded
New MTB & Mental Health ‘Trail Therapy’ Project – Ready to Ride
Rider2Leader - ranks it up a bit
Trek - Support for Scottish Mountain Biking
As a company, Trek are hugely supportive of the Scottish mountain bike scene and we would like to share some of the areas that they are getting involved and really making a difference.
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