Five Ten Pays Tribute to 4 Women Making a Difference

Mar 8, 2018
by Five Ten  
Photo by Sean St. Denis

Words by CJ Selig, Five Ten

For me, International Women’s Day exists to bring attention to the women who work daily to improve parity and to celebrate the accomplishments of women and men dedicated to this goal. There’s always room for improvement (I would love to see more women at downhill races), but today I want to celebrate. I reached out to several women’s camps we support to examine their motivation and impact.

Everyone can find their own way to enjoy mountain biking. From the adrenaline of competition to the tranquility of the great outdoors our sport benefits anyone who wishes to see the world and be active.

Photo by Sean St. Denis

It takes a concentrated effort to turn a day of mountain biking into a lifetime spent in the dirt with your favorite set of wheels. Traditionally this transformation happened less often for women, but today many begin this journey with a skills clinic.

A skills clinic can improve your ability on a bike. This sounds obvious, but constant improvement is key to spending years revisiting your local trails or dreaming up holidays that include your bike. Candace Shadley of the Trek Dirt Series knows the importance of pressing women to improve their riding.

bigquotesMy favourite part of my job is seeing how happy people get when they accomplish something they didn’t previously think they could do, and knowing that those feelings of success and possibility will translate from the trail into their everyday lives.Candace Shadley

Photo credit Stephanie Nitsch writer photographer
Photo by Stephanie Nitsch

Any coach or teacher will confirm the challenge inherent in guiding others. Tina Bek and Tina Lang have teamed up to run the Tinas’ Backyard Trail Jam to tackle this challenge. Tina Lang summed this up into the classic ‘aha-effect.’

bigquotesMany participants already got some tips before the course, be it from their men, or other courses. Then you tell them that there is another ‘easier/right’ technique, for example ‘your bike can’t move when you pinch the saddle between your legs.’ Then they try it - AHA – and are so happy with this information...Tina Lang

Photo by Moritz Ablinger

Photo by Moritz Ablinger

Even women who have ridden bikes for years can feel as if they are at a stalemate; their passion for the sport isn’t growing and their bike community remains the same size as when they first started. This is the situation Lindsey Richter of Ladies Allride found herself in when she tried a skills clinic for the first time. She started following the professional race scene in 2002, but felt it wasn’t speaking to her.

bigquotesThe female racers were nice, but I was super intimidated by them and there were WAY more men than women at all the events. I raced for fun but didn’t like riding around all the big pros because I was scared... One day in 2010 a friend suggested I take a mountain bike instruction course to learn better riding techniques and to learn about how to teach the sport... I had no idea there was a method and terminology to teaching such a complex sport. I decided then and there that more women needed to hear this stuff and I wanted to coach as many women as possible immediately.Lindsey Richter

Photo by Allan Mueller

Photo by Katie Sox

When women have a place to build their skills and a community to support them, our numbers grow. Camp directors have seen the power of this support system firsthand, and dedicated themselves to the hard work it takes to pay it forward.

bigquotesWe have had a few women who weighed over 200lbs come to our camps. It’s very important to us that larger women know they too can mountain bike! One woman in particular felt self-conscious and insecure at first until she was welcomed with open arms and no judgement from the other participants. It was the second day of camp and we had to climb a fairly steep hill to get to the top of an epic downhill. The group made it to the top and patiently waited for our last participant whose weight held her back a little, but she didn’t give up. When she crested the top, still on her bike, fighting hard to keep the wheels rolling forward, everyone cheered for her success in getting up the climb.Lindsey Richter

Photo by Mason Photography

Photo by Doug Jambor

These women have worked tirelessly, through highs and lows, good times and awful climbs to make a positive difference to our sport and to the lives of women and their efforts have absolutely paid off. This passion helps everyone, and Tina Bek feels proud of the work she is doing.

bigquotesI am most happy when long-term friendships develop at the camps and thus more and more women are mountain biking.Tina Bek

Photo by Wade Dunstan

Photo by Katie Sox

This International Women’s Day I want to thank everyone who works hard to move this sport forward. I am in awe of the professional athletes who not only inspire the next generation of women but also find ways of giving these girls a helping hand. I am grateful for the women and men who have dedicated their time to designing, engineering and producing an impressive range of bicycles and bike products meant exclusively for the female market.

Photo by Sean St. Denis

Photo by Wade Dunstan

Finally, I am inspired by the tireless women who have taken the time to organize! Today, junior development teams, group rides, festivals, retreats and skills clinics all thrive and spread the enthusiasm and love of getting outside and riding. I believe mountain biking is thriving, the number of female bike-lovers is growing, and I hope everyone involved has someone reach out and thank them today!

Written By CJ Selig: a Five Ten office grunt who lives to race downhill and is forever wishing there were more women to race against.


MENTIONS: @FiveTen



63 Comments

  • + 54
 I knew the comments weren’t going to be good. And the first main comment proved my point...

In response to the article, this is so rad. I’m a man but I absolutely love seeing anyone and everyone on the trails. Kids, families, serious racers of any gender, it’s more people in the bike community, and that makes me smile.

Well written article, and best wishes in getting more women out on the trails!
  • + 15
 Agreed, its fantastic to see all the womens events being put on. As a guy its great to see some diversity on the trails these days
  • + 27
 Thanks CJ for shouting out the amazing efforts of women in mountain biking! Mountain biking has a long way to go for inclusion of women and these skills camps as a way of building community are a great!
  • + 18
 Thanks for acknowledging that 1. Male dominated sports do in fact make it more intimidating and less likely for women to join and stick with it. 2. Some women really benefit and enjoy the safety and security of all women's groups, they are less intimidating for a variety of reasons. 3. Welcome to the 21st century, young girls need role models that they can related to, it doesn't mean we don't admire and respect male riders, its just different. Thanks for the shout out Pink Bike.
  • - 31
flag Ramon1901 (Mar 8, 2018 at 11:03) (Below Threshold)
 I don't see why riding in a men's group can be intimidating. We don't bite hahahaha
  • + 3
 @Ramon1901: even as a guy, I can see how riding in a group of men could be intimidating, to younger riders, newer riders, and female riders.

I think there are a lot of things that men and women both do great, but I think that this is a very valid point that was brought up in the article.
  • + 14
 Great article highlighting some amazing ambassadors of MTB. Would love to see more like this and not just one day a year. Although I know the reality is there are far too many deserving individuals to list, here's a big shout out to Lea and Sabra Davison and all the amazing Little Bellas mentors that are working to get the next generation of female rippers stoked on riding!
  • + 10
 Lea & Sabra are SO awesome, as are all of the Little Bellas mentors and supporters!
  • + 13
 This is an Awesome piece. These ladies ROCK! and have a place on my trails any day! Keep on Empowering ladies of all ages to participate and join the sport and make it a fantastic family event. Cheers to you.
  • + 8
 A call out to wish all women a fantastic and happy woman's day and a big THANK YOU for being you. I love seeing them supported more and more and recognized too. I enjoy chatting to them on the trails and riding along with them and even learning from them. Their attitude, endurance and strength is amazing and something that everyone should aspire to have. Thank you, happy celebrations and keep up the good work getting more into mtn biking.
  • + 11
 Yasss ladies! #ferdagirls
  • + 0
 I disagree - they made their line for women by adding.....drum roll......a pink stripe to it. At least that was the banner flashing over pink bike last week. For fucks sake. Great article and outreach program but those shoes look like a lazy product design and more of the same old tired 'girl' branding.
  • + 3
 @danfromme: @danfromme: It might appear that way at first glance, but the choice to design/manufacture/have shoes tested by female athletes/commit to full production runs in women's sizes is more significant than the visual pink stripe. Previously, many women had men's (& junior!) shoes to choose from. Anecdotally, only a few years ago when I was looking for my first pair of bike shoes, I had to special order the smallest men's pair that 5.10 made at the time, and I have average sized feet. And that was living in a very mountain bike centric town. Might look like a pink stripe to you but it's a bigger financial/manufacturing decision to that creates product that women can actually fit in and that are available!! Smile
  • + 2
 @danfromme: We will never please everyone- some women love pink and some despise it so we look for an even middle ground. But our Women's Freerider Pro is not the same as the men's. Same technology, same look, but the fit has been adjusted for women using female testers.
  • + 5
 Lindsey and Angi gave me the tools and confidence to take my riding to the next level years ago and then offered me the skills and opportunity to share my love for the sport with other women as an assistant coach. Mountain biking has changed my life in so many ways and while it feels AMAZING to conquered fears and push myself to new limits through this sport, mountain biking has also brought some of the most amazing people into my life. Here’s to more people having the opportunity to find their passion and their people to share it with. Cheers to a great article!
  • + 7
 I just came to say that ladies 5/10s look better than the mens versions. Happy Womens day.
  • + 15
 All womens shoes look better than mens. Happily crossdressing since 1972
  • + 6
 Awesome regarding women's involvement. Equally awesome regarding the promotion of bigger women in the photos. It's nice to see a more inclusive, diverse population.
  • + 4
 Great article and props to Lindsey as she did a fine job teaching my wife the proper way to shred. Big shout out to Angie wston too. Exellent coach as well. See you guys on the trail again.
  • + 3
 Candace (Trek Dirt Series) should be sponsored by Redbull as well as 5:10 as she gives every rider the chance to have wings. I’ve been coached by her and her camp and each time I’m always amazed that she can see ability in people they either aren’t aware of or afraid to believe possible. Go to camp, be challenged and take it to the next level. People talk about spending $400 to upgrade something on their bike - try investing the same amount in some coaching - you’ll never look back Smile
  • + 3
 Thanks for putting skills clinics in the spotlight. Women riders need to know there's a place for them to go to learn basic through advanced skills.There are a lot of hard-working women behind the scenes with plenty of knowledge, ready to share with anyone who's willing to learn. Keep it up!
  • + 6
 RAD! Keep up the great work ladies. All the respect in the world.
  • + 6
 Such a well written article amazed to see how far this sport has come!
  • + 1
 I've ridden with some of these ladies - they are amazing, supportive and are excellent at coaching. I've benefited from clinics from both men and women, the ladies group just has a different vibe of support. Great article.
  • + 3
 Wonderful piece! Thank you for highlighting these amazing women and encouraging other amazing ladies to get involved.
  • + 5
 Keep on the good work
  • + 4
 Awesome work! I’m looking forward to taking a clinic!
  • + 3
 Well written article! Yes, kudos to all that take time to work with women wanting to learn and grow their skills.
  • - 1
 @G-A-R-Y your name says it all; 100% caps and 100% terrible. Go back to spongebob little snail boy, maybe than you won’t have to settle for belittling over half the world’s population by way of a website called PINKbike. Go ride your bike so you can Strava it champ.
  • - 6
flag G-A-R-Y (Mar 8, 2018 at 13:13) (Below Threshold)
 I'm not belittling any of the human population. If you had half the brain power of a snail you'd realise everything I've said si in favour of equal rights.

Did you happen miss type "w" for "p" when choosing your name? Mine wa given to me by a woman. do you have a problem with that?
  • + 2
 Great article!!! Wow you truly inspired me today to one day try a camp and finally go and meet some fellow muddbunnies!
  • + 1
 Keep writing CJ! It wouldn’t have grown without all of the storytellers spreading the word. Keep it growing!
  • + 2
 Remember the trail workers, too! Keepin' 'em nice for ya' to enjoy.
  • + 2
 That ladie is my hero.
  • + 2
 Awesome ladies!
  • + 1
 Nice! Looks like miles of smiles for everyone Smile
  • + 1
 Nice!
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