Snapshot: A View of Women's Mountain Biking From Female Racers & the Industry

Mar 8, 2019
by Sarah Moore  
Rae Morrison is currently in 7th after one dat of racing.


To celebrate International Women's Day, we reached out to a wide variety of female racers and women who work in the mountain bike industry to see what their thoughts are on the state of women's mountain biking. From XC to DH, from Product Managers to Marketers, the answers are varied and the number of responses was overwhelming. We asked what the mountain bike community and industry could do to help encourage more women to participate in the sport, who they look up to most, and what their hopes and dreams for the future of women's cycling are.


What could the mountain bike community and industry do to help encourage more women to participate in the sport?



bigquotesSimply invite and include. Women only need the door cracked open a tiny bit and then we’ll kick it down. But you have to open and unlock the door first.Rebecca Rusch, 7x World Champion, 4x Leadville 100 Winner & Adventurer

bigquotesI am 100% for integrity and equality of both genders. I think that if we can promote and advertise male and female riders equally we’ll eventually get a better balance. Give women entering the sport someone to look up to and relate to might just inspire them to push themselves.Vaea Verbeeck

bigquotesThe cycling industry needs to really work to increase the diversity in the sport across all disciplines. Teaming up with organizations like Diversify Outdoors is a great way to do this. A couple of main actions they identify are:

• Hire and support a diverse workforce and executive leadership.
• Present representative marketing and advertising in our media.
• Engage and support broadly representative ambassador and athlete teams.
Sara Jarrell, SRAM


bigquotesI fully believe it’s on its way. When I see families bringing out their little girls to Kidsworx events at Crankworx all over the world, I feel so much hope. There’s a new generation that may not grow up with this idea that mountain biking is a male-dominated sport. I believe that’ll be the legacy of women that are out there riding now, as amateurs and pros. The face of mountain biking is changing.Julia Montague, Communications Manager at Crankworx World Tour


bigquotesI think it would be beneficial to portray the endless nuances that mountain biking offers. To let everyone engage in the sport in a way they're comfortable with. You like rowdy downhills and huge gaps - fine! You want to go for a quiet, picturesque ride on groomed trails - cool! We're all different and mountain biking is for everyone. I think it's already out there and is getting more women on mountain bikes. But of course the more focus it gets the more that picture of mountain biking being for everyone will internalize in the broad public.Annika Langvad, 2016 XC World Champion, 2nd overall in 2018 XC World Cup, Olympian


bigquotesI think that the industry should be more equal, I think that the bike sponsors should invest more money in women's cycling, to get more women on the teams, to get more women as a product presenters and to pay the same salaries as the boys get. For the hobby riders, I think that the bike companies should show young girls and women in all the ages all over the world that they can and should ride as well and to show them how much fun it is! And maybe to organize some girls group rides for amateurs together with the pros.Noga Korem, GT Factory EWS Racer

bigquotesAt this point, and it might be fuelled by the snow on the ground, I think showcasing more women going on achievable and aspirational adventures is key. There’s nothing better than tapping into our wild and free side with our friends and heading out for the weekend with a tight but loose plan. If we are being honest, mountain biking is a pretty scary thing haha. If we can remove the intimidation of the sport there’s a lot of opportunity. Keep it fun, and keep it relatable to inspire others to join in and do the same. We need to build a community from all sides that is welcoming and encouraging more people to just get out and ride.Mallory Burda, RockShox Brand Manager

bigquotesStop making it a polarizing subject and putting so much pressure and emphasis on it. Show women in sport with men. Stop isolating women and pretending that only women can mountain bike or learn from other women. It's just riding bikes. Let's get normal about this again, please.  Danielle Baker, Pinkbike Contributor

bigquotesI think, sometimes, our sport can look a little elitist to the rest of the world, which can intimidate or discourage people from becoming involved. To grow the sport, I think we all need to embody the idea that “if you ride - ANY kind of bike - then you are part of the cycling community”. When we talk about our sport to other women and they respond with “Oh, I couldn’t do that, it’s too scary/intense/difficult/boring/etc.”, we can talk about how fun and freeing riding a bike is, and that we all started somewhere. The beauty of cycling is in the daily progression and the little confidence-building wins along the way. All cycling journeys are worthwhile, not just the ones that include elite-level skill and dedication. **One practical thing we can all attempt to do is to post more content on social media that is less edited and more raw: ex. more photos without shades and helmets (or course, only when not riding) that help other women see us as people and not performance machines.Haley Smith, Canadian National Team, Norco Factory Racing


bigquotesI think that the mountain bike industry is more accepting and accommodating to women as it has ever been. There is much more recognition and respect for women as athletes and in various roles within the world of mountain biking. I’m sure that there are still areas that can improve but we have come a long way and I’m proud to be a part of this progression.Claire Buchar, Graphic Design & Softgoods Product Manager at Chromag, former World Cup DH Racer


bigquotesI believe there are major changes in the industry. Most races have equal prize money. Sponsors value having a woman supporting their brand. Also, more brands develop specific products to suit woman needs and not only use that old "pink it and shrink it" method. Media give more attention to women, especially on race coverage. In the MTB community, we see more and more women-specific ride sessions or skills camp. And I think it is the best way to get more women on bikes. It makes that first step easier. It is difficult to make to first go in a skatepark, bike park, local BMX track, and these woman days are an opportunity to make it and have fun while learning.Isabeau Courdurier, EWS Racer


bigquotesI think the mountain bike community and industry are doing a lot of great things to encourage more women to participate in the sport by sponsoring more female ambassadors who connect with shops and recreational riders to help spread the mountain bike love. I think more and more companies are realizing the importance of speaking directly to women with marketing efforts and making products specifically to make women feel welcome and invited into the sport.Lindsey Richter, Founder of Ladies AllRide


bigquotesI think there are plenty of opportunities for women to get into the sport, with women's camps and ride outs all over the globe. Right now I'd say you get it served on a silver plate if you wanna join in the fun!Anita Gehrig, EWS Racer


bigquotesI think the bike community and industry are doing a lot of great things to help bring more women into the sport. Camps, clinics, events, and rides targeted towards women are all the right move, but I do think that offering more entry level co-ed events would be helpful. I’m more comfortable learning in a co-ed environment, personally, and while I think all-women’s events are great for a certain audience, I think having inclusivity of everyone at the beginner level is critical. Sometimes I fear that we are segregated because of so many women’s specific events. I love riding with guys and gals and everything in between. Let’s just have events for people who want to learn to ride at a higher level, no matter how they fit into their skin.Lacy Kemp, Communications Manager at Kona Bicycles


bigquotesI think it's key to introduce women into the sport at a young age in a non-competitive environment like we do at the Little Bellas. We use mountain biking to empower women. I would love to see Little Bellas chapters in all of U.S states providing opportunities for girls to get on bikes. At Little Bellas, we have seen a larger cycling community develop. Originally when we started the program, we were focused on the girls. What we didn't anticipate was that Little Bellas gave a place for our female mentors to connect and ride together. Also, entire families are riding together! Moms and dads would ride the trails while the Little Bellas program happens. Community helps encourage people to get involved. If people feel like belong, they are more likely to start riding.Lea Davison, Two-time Team USA Olympian & Founder of the Little Bellas


bigquotesIt would be good if it continues the trajectory it’s on. Year to year the number of women I see riding and racing is getting bigger and bigger. A few brands like Liv Cycling do this well by hosting women’s specific mountain bike clinics, group rides, workshop clinics and races which are all a huge help and an encouraging and supportive way into the sport.Rae Morrison, EWS Racer for Liv Cycling

bigquotesWe’re starting to see more and more coverage of female athletes and riders who all have such different backgrounds. As an industry we need to be generating more of these stories through journalism or marketing. Learning someone’s story and how she came into the sport lowers the barrier to entry and makes it more approachable because it encourages us to go – “if she can do it, I can do it.” We also need to continue to support women’s events and women’s rides that allow ladies to feel welcomed. I only see more of this in the future.Sofia Whitcombe, GT PR Manager
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bigquotesI think there should be more women in the MTB media. Ads show men most of the time and most of the articles or tests are also representing men. I think if the mountain bike community and industry pushed to give more visibility to women riders that would encourage more girls getting into mountain biking and help the riders getting more sponsors.Morgane Charre, 2012 DH World Champion


bigquotesWe all need to be open and be encouraging. No matter what someone’s ride level or experience we should take a moment to acknowledge their efforts, support, and encourage them. A high five and a “nice one!” can be the difference between someone dabbling in cycling or becoming a lifetime enthusiast.Rachelle Boobar, GT Marketing Manager

bigquotesMore reflection of women shredding. There are some super talented ladies out there. Let's see more of what they can do!Catharine Pendrel, 2x XC World Champion, Rio 2016 Bronze Medallist

bigquotesI think you can’t be what you can’t see and more industry brands and industry bike parks, bike distributors need to get behind and have more women as the faces of brands, events, content, media, workplace roles. Front and center... what we can see, we can be!Caroline Buchanan, Olympic Gold Medallist BMX

bigquotesCompared to when I first started racing to now, I’ve seen such a huge change in the industry! The amount of support keeps growing and growing through women’s specific programs and sponsorships. However, I don’t think we take time to give the women who pushed hard for the current generation the credit they deserve. I think one thing the industry could do is continue to teach young girls their value in sports and provide tools to help them achieve their goals and then set aside the funding in the marketing budget to make it happen. Just because you are a fast racer doesn’t necessarily mean you will make it on a team nowadays. There is so much more that goes into it, and I have fast friends that struggle with “selling themselves” to companies because they don’t see their value. Well ladies, we have huge value in this sport! Don’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve!Rachel Strait, GT Wing Project

bigquotesI think we’re on the right track,  there has been a huge increase in female riders in recent years. I see far more articles about women riders these days and not just because they are women, but because they have an interesting story to tell or are riding in a way that people enjoy watching. This is really important because when I was younger I would only see the female racers in the mags and videos, which is still inspiring, but many riders don’t have aspirations to race and I think coverage like this  helps encourage women to just get out there and give it a go. Joey Gough, GT Coalition Ambassador

bigquotesBesides making amazing bikes for women, I think promoting outreach at the grassroots level to get more women to just try it is really important. All the social media in the world isn’t nearly as effective as a friend dragging you out to ride. And if they drag you out to a demo event where they can take a clinic if they want and try a cool new bike, even better.Nina Baum, Cannondale Women’s Product Manager



Which female cyclist do you most look up to?


bigquotesI would have to say it’s quite even between Casey Brown in mountain biking and Mariana Pajon in BMX both of these strong female leaders have defied the boundaries of what I thought was capable. Casey Brown I love that she’s created her own trail she has not followed the easy line to success or the normal cycling career she’s bought her own unique flavor, her authenticity, her upbringing, excitement energy and most importantly she’s shown the future women in the sport that there isn’t just one path to the top!Caroline Buchanan, Olympic Gold Medallist BMX

bigquotesAs a kid I looked up to Anne-Caroline Chausson. I was so impressed by her skills, style and speed. I felt like she was not afraid and could control her bike the way she wanted. I remember telling myself that I would love one day to be able to control and ride without being afraid the same way she did (I am still working on it). Right now, there are so many inspiring women on the MTB scene. I look up to every single woman that gets on her bike and chases a dream.Isabeau Courdurier, EWS Racer



Welcome Anne-Caroline Chausson
Anne-Caroline Chausson


bigquotesCasey Brown. She has incredible bike skills and does the most amazing whips. I also really like how authentic she is, the Casey you see on the videos is the Casey you get in person.Rae Morrison, EWS Racer for Liv Cycling

bigquotesI think that all the women who race bikes bad ass and amazing! And I really appreciate all the women who are able to make a living from their riding career because I know how hard it is. I really appreciate all the Enduro girls that have taught me a lot in the past 2 years, shared their knowledge with me and for making the EWS races super fun and friendly even when the race in on.Noga Korem, GT Factory EWS Racer

bigquotesMarla Streb because she truly broke the mold of what was possible. She’s smart, fast, fearless and not only carved her own path, she reached out and brought other women with her! And she still does.Rebecca Rusch, 7x World Champion, 4x Leadville 100 Winner & Adventurer

bigquotesCasey Brown. She’s the raddest rider I know on top of being incredibly skilled. I appreciate her attitude in the scene of mountain biking; she’s not competitive “against” the other racers or riders but rather riding with everyone which is how I feel about racing as well. Just doing our own best riding I think is the most inspiring.Vaea Verbeeck

bigquotesI've always looked up to Rachel Atherton. She is an awesome athlete and she always pushes so hard no matter if she's on a winning streak or getting back from injury. I think she's a great role model for many racers. She also seems truly passionate about mountain biking. Casey Brown is also super inspiring, so rad!Morgane Charre, 2012 DH World Champion


Rachel Atherton performs at the UCI DH World Championships in Lenzerheide on September 9th 2018 Bartek Wolinski Red Bull Content Pool AP-1WUPUBEQ52111 Usage for editorial use only Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information.
Rachel Atherton. Photo by Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool


bigquotesMy heroes are the women in communities all over the world who are out there investing blood, sweat and tears to put on events for women of all ages and levels of ability. At home in the Sea to Sky, it’s everything from after-work Muddbunnies rides on the North Shore, events like the Spud Crusher Women’s Enduro in Pemberton, and GT Women’s Nights in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. A couple years back I was at après in Whistler with all the ladies from Women’s Night, and we found out that one of the girls had cleared every single jump on Crabapple Hits that day. The room, about 100 women deep, erupted in a standing ovation. It was a rad moment. You could feel that every woman in that room felt empowered by that accomplishment. Those moments don’t happen without the time and effort behind the scenes – women who have a dream, and work to create opportunities for girls to come together, support each other and SHRED.Julia Montague, Communications Manager at Crankworx World Tour


bigquotesOnly one? That's tough. I'm going to give you three and you can choose! Jill Kintner because, as much as she is a dedicated athlete who is committed beyond belief to training and competing, she is also an incredibly well-round person. She's humble, has an incredible sense of humour, and is a talented artist. To achieve all that she has in our sport and still be such an incredible joy to interact with, makes her one of my favourite athletes.

Claire Buchar is an incredibly accomplished athlete who has been open and authentic about her struggles with her health. This kind of bravery is something that contributes to our community as a whole and enriches all of our lives. Additionally, her ability to put her health first and manage a balance in her life that allows her to continue to inspire all riders is fantastic and admirable. 

Tara Llanes has put a face on what life in the mountain bike industry looks like after a spinal cord injury. As an incredibly accomplished and decorated athlete, the time following her accident was challenging and diverged from the sport. But now she is an advocated for adaptive mountain biking and has brought so much joy and inspiration into people's lives by creating an option that wasn't readily available.
Danielle Baker, Pinkbike Contributor

bigquotesI can't name one specific that I look up to more than others. Everyone is different, but what really appeals to me is women who do their own thing without caring about what others think. I find inspiration among many fellow cyclists. An example of a woman that fall into that category would be Miranda Miller. We were on the same team for a few years and even though the XC and DH are somewhat separated I got to hang out with her a bit. I love her whole style, appearance, and mentality. She strikes me as someone who is very much her own and someone who does and says exactly what she feels without caring about whether it's popular or will bring her "likes" and exposure. In that sense, I probably weigh honesty and authenticity in the people I find inspiring. With social media being increasingly important for pro athletes, choosing a style that portrays the whole person in an honest way is what does it for me. Rachel Atherton is another mountain biker I've found to give that side of herself through years of riding at the highest level.Annika Langvad, 2016 XC World Champion, 2nd overall in 2018 XC World Cup, Olympian


Annika Langvad takes another win.
Annika Langvad

bigquotesI don’t look up to any particular female cyclist above all others. Rather, I’m really inspired by women who push their own and societal limits through bike riding and racing. Seeing women hit trail features that are terrifying, compete in events or complete challenges that women historically haven’t done, or challenge stereotypes through their participation and attitudes are things that really fire me up.Haley Smith, Canadian National Team, Norco Factory Racing


bigquotesI look up to all women, as a collective. Women are doing different things in the sport and industry and they all have different strengths so it is easy to find all kinds of inspiration whether it be attitude, creativity, skill, personality, drive. There is plenty to look up to for women entering the sport, whatever your age.Claire Buchar, Graphic Design & Softgoods Product Manager at Chromag, former World Cup DH Racer


bigquotesI look up to all women who enjoy mountain biking. It's such a unique sport and community and I have a hard time saying I look up to one cyclist more than others. We're all part of the community of female cyclists and I think what I love so much is how much we all support each other's endeavors to inspire more women to get involved with the sport.Lindsey Richter, Founder of Ladies AllRide


bigquotesI look up to Ayesha McGowan. She is not a mountain biker but is doing what I consider to be the most important work in cycling right now.Sara Jarrell, Women's Program Coordinator at SRAM


bigquotesAnne-Caro Chausson! She's just such a ripper, we were riding with her in Whistler and it blew my mind how fast she was. She's a super nice person and just truly loves to ride her bike. I wish her all the best for her current fight with cancer, F*** CANCER you're stronger than this!Anita Gehrig, EWS Racer


bigquotesThe female cyclist I look up to most is Sarah Leishman. Sarah is kind of an enigma on a bike. When I see her riding in Whistler she’s just so incredibly fast and confident and always seems like she’s having a good time. I find her relatable, too. She rides with the boys, takes no bullshit, but is also sensitive and willing to share her vulnerabilities and experiences through her writing. She’s not some sponsor-slinging, Insta-famous rider. She’s just a bad ass, intelligent woman who rips. I think she’s awesome.Lacy Kemp, Communications Manager at Kona Bicycles


bigquotesThat’s a tough one, but I’d have to say Jill Kintner! Racing BMX at the Olympic level, World Champion titles in 4-Cross, Downhill World Cup podiums, over 20 National Championship titles across multiple disciplines and her continued domination on the Crankworx circuit is pretty incredible! Not to mention she’s an overall rad person.Laura Veharanta, Community and Content Specialist at Shimano North America Bicycle, Inc.


bigquotesI look up to any female athlete that's fighting for equality and pushing her limits in sport. I really love watching the women's nordic U.S Ski Team especially Sophie Caldwell and Jessie Diggins. They have done some really inspiring things in that sport. I also look up to Billy Jean King who really paved the way for women's equality in sport.Lea Davison, Two-time Team USA Olympian & Founder of the Little Bellas


bigquotesGunn-Rita Dahle Flesja. She is an amazing rider with a down to earth supportive personality. She balances racing at the highest level with having a family and keeping it real. Although she retired from World Cups this year after more than 20 years of crushing she remains as an ambassador in the biking industry.Catharine Pendrel, 2x XC World Champion, Rio 2016 Bronze Medallist


Miranda Miller aboard the Kona Process 153 CR DL 29er
Miranda Miller


bigquotesDid someone say Miller Time? To be honest, this is a tough one, there are many ladies within the cycling industry who inspire us all, push us to be better, and continue to raise the game for everyone within the industry. To name a few, Anne-Caroline Chausson, Tracey Mosley, Kate Courtney, Cecile Ravanel, Miranda Miller, and even those not on the start line who are behind the scenes pushing the boundaries on the brand side of things like one of my favorite co-workers Kate Powlison. It’s been amazing to learn, grow, and share a lot of laughs with soo many great ladies over the last ten years.Mallory Burda, RockShox Brand Manager


Sideways action from the Oakley Official Alpine WhipOff Championships presented by Spank. Credit Fraser Britton Crankworx 2018
Sideways action from Casey Brown at the Oakley Official Alpine Whip Off Championships presented by Spank. Credit: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2018


bigquotesI really look up to Cecile Ravanel. She is such a beast on a bike. She really puts in the training and pushes her limits, and doesn’t seem to be afraid to crash! Or if she is afraid, she doesn’t really show it. Mentally, she is so strong! She is also hilarious and welcoming to all female athletes!Rachel Strait, GT Wing Project

bigquotesI’m inspired by many women riders of all ages and abilities. The new wave of younger riders such as Vero Sandler, who will push the limits of Women’s skills far beyond what we have seen before. Lynne Armstrong who has run the Air Maiden Freeride events for 10 years and she is in her 40’s and still up for hitting new jumps and scaring herself. Also, my friend Ellie Dewdney who only got into riding in her 20s, but is happily throwing herself down the Andorra World Cup track now. You won’t catch me riding that! Joey Gough, GT Coalition Ambassador
 
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bigquotesThere are so many incredible women in cycling right now that it is hard to pick just one in any one discipline. They are breaking down walls across road, mountain, cyclocross and BMX –  they’re all so rad. They all inspire me, encourage me, and give me the confidence to know that I shouldn’t be afraid to give it a go.Sofia Whitcombe, GT PR Manager

bigquotesHave to say Micayla Gatto right now, still love the huge statement she made with her Ferda Girls parody and the movement it has spawned.Nina Baum, Cannondale Women’s Product Manager

bigquotesThere are so many women out there crushing it! How can I pick just one? Shout out to all the female riders racing, coaching, inspiring, riding with a smile on their face, and doing their thing.Rachelle Boobar, GT Marketing Manager





What are your hopes and dreams for the future of women's cycling?


bigquotesI hope we’ll see more women riding in international competitions – a deeper field on both the pro and amateur side. It feels like this massive wave of momentum has hit in the past few years, bringing more young, beginner and amateur riders into the sport. Let’s help them make the jump to competition and see equal numbers of women out there competing.Julia Montague, Communications Manager at Crankworx World Tour


bigquotesWomen's cycling is taking off these years. I actually like to commend the UCI MTB department for being the ones showing the way on women's cycling. For years we've had equality when it comes to prize money, TV coverage and so on. I'm often asked by my local media about the inequality in women's cycling and it's a bit weird for me because I feel that the gap isn't that big between the genders in mountain biking. I wish the other disciplines would learn from mountain biking and see that if you provide the right conditions for the women it'll be worthwhile. In general, I just hope that the whole movement is continuing and lets women get on bikes however they want. Riding your bike is one of the most liberating things for me and I'd like for more women to get a share of that feeling. I live in a small bubble of "pro cycling" but if what I do inspire just a few women to get out and ride, that's all I can ask for.Annika Langvad, 2016 XC World Champion, 2nd overall in 2018 XC World Cup, Olympian


bigquotesI hope that, someday, you will see even numbers of men and women out on bikes, whether that’s commuting, in recreation, at races, or at competitions. I would be amazing if picking up a bike became as natural for women as driving, or jogging, walking the dog, or hitting the gym. There is so much to be gained from riding a bike - a connection to nature, improved health and fitness, higher self-confidence, FUN, resilience and problem-solving skills… the list is essentially endless. My hope is that more women will feel capable, motivated, and empowered to participate in our sport!Haley Smith, Canadian National Team, Norco Factory Racing


bigquotesI think the next generation will be limitless. There are already so many women sending it that I am sure the young girls have perfect role models to keep on rocking. I truly hope it will be easier for a girl to pursue her dream of being a professional rider. I hope none of them will be told that it is impossible, too hard or not the right sport. And eventually, I simply hope more woman will have the opportunity to discover what mountain biking has to offer and embrace the sport.Isabeau Courdurier, EWS Racer


Isabeau Courdurier cutting through the dust at the bottom of stage three.
Isabeau Courdurier

bigquotesMy hopes and dreams for the future of women's cycling is to continue to see more women get involved with the sport. It is a sport that can change women's lives by helping them see what they're capable of on and off the bike. It's a sport that challenges us, helps us change negative thoughts to positive and allows us to dig deep to find the strength to overcome obstacles on the trail and deal with what life throws at us.Lindsey Richter


bigquotesMy hopes and dreams for the future of cycling are that all people will be welcomed into cycling with open arms no matter what their race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other cultural or ethnic characteristic that they embody. That when a young child dreams of riding a bike or becoming a pro cyclist that their dreams are not deferred or that they do not dry up like a raisin in the sun*…
*taken from my favorite poem Harlem – by Langston Hughes
Sara Jarrell, SRAM


bigquotesI hope that many rad girls keep on pushing the boundaries in all disciplines of our sport. The progress over the years is so impressive to see, you can meet so many female shredders everywhere you go. They are just having the best time on their bikes. Also, I hope to see many girls get into racing, follow their dreams and push forward. Send it girls!!Anita Gehrig


bigquotesI think in an ideal world we won’t even have to talk about equality in cycling because it will just be the norm. It won’t be an issue to have equal pay because it will just be obvious. We won’t have women’s specific bikes because we just have bikes that fit humans – no matter the size and weight. We won’t hear whispers of awful stories of sexism that happen at races and events because we will evolve to realize that as a community, mountain biking has got to be better than its history. We have an opportunity to be the example we want to see and I challenge all cyclists and media to step up to the plate and be better. Think about what you say and think about how it will affect someone. And lastly, the color pink will be banished from existence.Lacy Kemp, Communications Manager at Kona Bicycles


Image by Piotr Staron
Kate Courtney and Emily Batty battle at the World Championships.

bigquotesI think if you look across all disciplines of sports, we’ve seen progress in gender equality in sports in recent years. Athletics is one of the most powerful platforms to continue to empower women. My hopes and dreams would be for continued growth and opportunities for women of all levels to participate in cycling. The NICA GRiT program here in the US is a great example of a program looking to provide female cyclists with the tools to succeed in the sport. It’s going to take this type of continued support across the industry to continue to attract and retain people to our sport.Laura Veharanta, Community and Content Specialist at Shimano North America Bicycle, Inc.

bigquotesI hope that we can get equal participation in our sport, fifty/fifty men and women racing and riding. I also hope for a future where there's a full, three week women's Tour de France and Giro. A world where there are equal race opportunities, equal media coverage, equal prize money and equal pay for women in cycling. I would love to see our sport grow to the point where it's a legit profession for women. There are only a handful of women that can race bikes full time and make a decent living. Most balance full time careers with very successful bike careers.Lea Davison, Two-time Team USA Olympian & Founder of the Little Bellas

bigquotesI would love to see more women participating and racing at the top end of professional sport with more equal salaries to the men. Also more brands researching and developing women’s specific gear and technology... not just just painting things pink.Rae Morrison, EWS Racer for Liv Cycling

bigquotesThat we won’t be talking about women’s cycling anymore. That we’ll all just be passionate cyclists and gender won’t matter.Rebecca Rusch, 7x World Champion, 4x Leadville 100 Winner & Adventurer

bigquotesI would like to see the industry and the federations give more support to more women, to help them do some cool projects and achieve their goals. I hope we will see pretty much as many women than men on the trails or at races like in skiing for example.Morgane Charre, 2012 DH World Champion

bigquotesMtn biking is in a really good place. The level is high, the competition fierce and the audience energy and engagement soaring. Let's keep building on this so more women can invest in it as a full time job and more girls can see reflections of their dreams in the media.Catharine Pendrel, 2x XC World Champion, Rio 2016 Bronze Medallist

bigquotesKeep building the tribe and supporting the ladies doing what’s in the best interest to grow the sport.Mallory Burda, RockShox Brand Manager

bigquotesIt’s well on its way now! Women are the heroes and definitely holding their own. I truly don’t even consider cycling make dominated anymore as the women shine just as bright even with less numbers. I have seen great momentum with my Buchanan Next Gen scholarships I have each year to give belief and mentoring support to bmx girls to get the exposure on the highest bmx world championship event level. This year launching my kids book 'girls can b' has also been a huge passion project for me to help get more women inspired to be different that girls can be brave, unique, strong and one of the boys in the sporting arena. I love riding anything two wheels and my hopes and dreams for the future of cycling is to see more people loving the ride!Caroline Buchanan, Olympic Gold Medallist BMX

vaea Verbeeck
Vaea Verbeeck

bigquotesI would love to see the numbers continue to grow. More women racers, more women riders, and more women industry employees – it would be a dream come true! I would also love to see women not be afraid to get into mountain biking - that they felt welcomed right away because they didn’t have to only ride with the boys. Unless of course they wanted to .Rachel Strait, GT Wing Project
 
bigquotesI hope that we won’t be asking these questions in the future. The next generation of kids have so many male AND female riders to be inspired by that boys and girls will be picking up MTB’s without questioning it. Joey Gough, GT Coalition Ambassador
 
bigquotesI wish to have more women from Israel racing at the international levels, I wish to see more girls on the start list of all the bike races, wish to see more girls riding and shredding trails at home in Israel and around the world, I wish to see the first Enduro women team one day, and I wish that the women will receive equal treatment same as the mens, are all over the world and amateurs and pros.Noga Korem, GT Factory EWS Racer

bigquotesThat one day, all types of riding disciplines will be viewed as mainstream sports that their daughter, wife, sister, mother or friend can get into, have a load of fun doing, and be successful at.Rachelle Boobar, GT Marketing Manager
 
bigquotesThat people will pick their riding friends based on who they like riding with and not their gender. Oh wait, everyone already does this? Cool. Then let's keep doing more of it! Danielle Baker, Pinkbike Contributor

bigquotesI want to watch the amount of women cycling continue to grow. I hope that no matter the style of riding women have no fear in participating. And, that one day we won’t have to ask these questions because riding bikes is just riding bikes and kids will have so many athletes to be inspired by no matter their gender.Sofia Whitcombe, GT PR Manager

bigquotesBigger and deeper fields of skilled riders and racers. Give all riders a challenge and motivation to improve in their own discipline.Vaea Verbeeck

bigquotesHopes and dreams for the future is pretty simple: more women more enthusiastic for all the kinds of riding. More female riding buddies. More respect, more cred, and more pay for women racing at the top echelons of all the bike disciplines. We all need to work to increase the diversity in cycling, the general public’s enthusiasm for cycling, and grabbing more people’s attention about how awesome it is to just ride a bike.Nina Baum, Cannondale Women’s Product Manager


Whose opinion do you relate most to? What would your answers be to these three questions? What can we do better?


84 Comments

  • + 58
 Oh my goodness thank you for this! I love this day, this sport, these athletes, these voices, this community, being a girl and am so happy to read this all in one place. Thanks for putting this together!

Also, i am so happy to live somewhere where over 40% of our trail association membership is female, and over half of the trail associations board of directors are women. I wish it was like that (or better) everywhere because riding a bike in the woods is friggin magical and everyone deserves to experience it! Love the steps pb is taking to give more exposure to girls! Sign that the tides are changing!
  • + 20
 Go talk to your mates and get them out on a bike then. Its not about being a man or a woman. Its about being a mountain biker and having a great time Smile
  • + 0
 Any transwomen in your trail membership?
  • + 47
 "Sometimes I fear that we are segregated because of so many women’s specific events. I love riding with guys and gals and everything in between. Let’s just have events for people who want to learn to ride at a higher level, no matter how they fit into their skin."

Well said Lacy Kemp.
  • - 3
 It is just that women and men interact differently. Women are more collaborative and like to do activities in groups. Men have no problem riding alone or with just a few buddies.
  • - 18
flag robG413 (Mar 8, 2019 at 14:52) (Below Threshold)
 I know it seems like the crazy left wants to just drive a wedge between the men and woman, I don't understand why. don't we all love to ride bikes? whats the F****** problem I have never ever seen any one give any woman shit out on the trail WTF is going on????
  • + 21
 @robG413: I don't think left or right has anything to do with this topic.
  • - 18
flag robG413 (Mar 8, 2019 at 14:58) (Below Threshold)
 @lacykemp: really?? then you have your head in the sand
  • + 23
 @robG413: That's me. The clueless ostrich.
  • + 10
 Can't disagree with this. I often feel like "women's groups" are too often just "beginner groups" except for women only. I want to ride with fast people of all stripes! There's a local bike park near me that is particularly egregious with this where the "women's group" is a "safe place for women to ride" and the "master class" is men only. Let there be "beginners groups" and "expert groups" and ditch the gender split!
  • + 9
 @robG413: Hang on, what? You're "agreeing" with Lacy's quote by painting it with your own biases and when Lacy replies you're sh#tting on her? What.
  • + 5
 @lacykemp: You had one of my favorites quotes in this piece. Thanks for being an awesome representative of the sport and giving me yet another reason to be stoked to be riding a Kona!
  • - 1
 Well the obvious reason there's women specific events is because they wouldn't be able to qualify if they were in a men's event? Am I missing something here??
  • + 4
 @Squeakybb: Yeah your missing the common sense entry criteria to events where 50% of entries will go to each gender. If not enough women apply after an allotted time, the men who didn't get an entry will get those places.
  • + 3
 @lacykemp: Yeah!
  • + 1
 @jclnv: so change the rules. The point is in a men's event women won't qualify because on average they are much slower. Don't believe it watch any world cup race.
  • + 2
 @Squeakybb: Thanks captain obvious.
  • + 19
 Whose opinion do i agree with most? Danielle Baker's. I love that women are getting into the sport and I hope more do as itd be sick to ride together but can we please just get back to normal.
  • + 4
 Likewise, closely followed by Lacy Kemp. I really look up to Jill Kintner. Love seeing her and Bryn around Bellingham, they have done a lot to give back to the community, and even as absolute world class athletes they are approachable and friendly. That's doing it right!
  • + 16
 Danielle Baker hit it right on the head. Stop making it a polarizing subject and putting so much pressure and emphasis on it. Show women in sport with men. Stop isolating women and pretending that only women can mountain bike or learn from other women. It's just riding bikes. Let's get normal about this again, please.
  • + 1
 Couldn't have said it better myself.
  • + 2
 yes, yes, yes, yes, yes x 1,000
  • + 13
 As much as I can appreciate diversity, it seems like we’re better at creating disparity and segregation.

It kinda halls that the industry is suggesting they care. No industry cares bless it supports their bottom line.

Tokens are nice, just don’t confuse them for something else.

Women are a huge untapped market, but the reason is nit because women aren’t reachable, it’s societal and cultural.

The bike industry is not the place to solve issues of diversity, specifically by marketing to a specific population they further segregate and promote difference.

Sociology 101.
  • + 1
 Well if you wanna market and sell something, a great angle would be doing it under the guise of social justice and inclusiveness.

The reality is, out of all the women I've known, less than 1% have any interest whatsoever in mountain biking. Nobody tries to keep them out of the sport, in fact I'm willing to bet if you studied it you'd find female mountain bikers have, on the average, way more mtb friends than dudes. It's just the natural differences between men and women that keep women from being interested in it.
  • + 16
 Female mountain bikers always smell better!
  • + 5
 Than? Female rugby players?
  • + 4
 not all of them.
  • + 14
 This is the best! Thanks Pinkbike!
  • + 11
 women , men , old , young,aren’t were all just mountain bikers, living and loving the same sport right ?
  • + 6
 Great job pinkbike! As a guy I have to check my perspective at the door and just read. Keep covering this and i'll keep reading.
  • + 4
 It goes without saying that women should be treated the same as their male counterparts, regardless of occupation. Also, I think it is possible that the average male athlete (and ex-athlete) behaves even more poorly towards women than the average male. Certainly the opinions of elite riders and industry insiders who are women are valid and important.

However, that is not a view of our sport shared by very many women. I would like to hear from recreational riders who are women about their reception at the trailhead and on the trail. I think "Joe Average" might learn most from "Jane Average" about how to be more welcoming to women.
  • - 1
 how is that??? what have you seen and who did this" behave even more poorly towards women"???
  • + 3
 There are women riders in my biking crew. Honestly, it never crossed my mind once that they are any different than the male riders in our group. We're all equals and we're all there to ride and have fun. That's what it's about. One of the female riders is amazing at riding gnarly tech so I'm always following her to learn new skills and progress.

I love danielle baker's quote. That is exactly how my female friends feel about being treated. They want to race and ride with men/coed groups rather than women's only. They don't want to be treated any differently.
  • + 3
 Same with my crew. The women get treated the same as the men. It has been so much fun watching them progress from beginners to some of the strongest riders in the group. Everyone gets encouragement to try things that push their boundaries, and nobody gets any grief for backing away from something if they aren't feeling it. We are all mountain bikers regardless of gender.
  • + 2
 @Skooks: that's great to hear. When I meet another biker I just see a person who rides bikes, not their gender. I find the biking scene is great in BC for women being treated as equals.
  • + 3
 Great article! I love hearing the diversity of voices/opinions, the amount of stoke, and the hope for the future! Every single person featured in this article is amazing. The industry is changing, and I have high hopes for the future that my daughter will be participating in.
  • + 5
 Women completely dominate the industry. Are there even any men that ride?
- Kathy
  • + 5
 Awesome work Pinkbike! There are so rad women out there riding bikes. Here's to many more.
  • + 1
 "Stop making it a polarizing subject and putting so much pressure and emphasis on it. Show women in sport with men. Stop isolating women and pretending that only women can mountain bike or learn from other women. It's just riding bikes. Let's get normal about this again, please. —Danielle Baker, Pinkbike Contributor"

Oh my god yes. Pinkbike.... Danielle is your woman and this is the most rational comment I have heard/read on this topic for a long time. I just don't understand the mentality of today wanting to separate everything into catagories and then constantly complain about it. The path forward is together.
  • + 1
 Got my wife into MTB 3 years ago. DH camp, girl rides the whole thing. After 3 season she rolls over rock she would walk around before. It so much more fun for me to have someone to ride, and we have the two kiddos on wheels now too. I see a lot more family riding in trails and at the bike Park. This is how the sport grows.
  • + 1
 Great to see the opinions of a lot of women that are deeply involved in the sport and industry.. A lot of my favorites were named here, but with rate at which some of these women have been progressing, it seems a new name finds its way onto my must watch list.. Keep it going ladies!
  • + 1
 I love and respect women. The notion that women are equal or will be equal to men is pure fantasy. Equity is the correct term that should be used. Equality is not possible. Equity is possible and should be the norm. Much progress has been made as of late. Good to see. Danielle Baker's words resonate best. Nice job PB!
Side Note: too bad Missy was not mentioned by anyone. She was a huge pioneer for women in the sport.
  • + 1
 Correct but part of the equation is people also want equality of outcome which of course is not possible as well and then that further muddies the waters and then that to is an example of an "ism" of some kind.
  • + 2
 @Gibbersticks: people need to look up the definitions of equality and equity. Women are not equal to men and never will be. That is not a put down.
  • + 0
 I'm glad Pinkbike is a refreshing change from what I'm dealing with right now. I've had a few old white men in my office complaining loudly all morning that my company had an event for international women's day. "But there's no men's day!" I want to slap the crap out of them. They seriously have been ranting, complaining, and making off-color jokes for over 4 hours.
  • - 1
 What has the colour of their skin got to do with anything?

Also, is violence really the answer? I'm not sure slapping the crap out of them would really help get your message across.
  • + 1
 @Vulhelm: Because the most privileged group in societal history complaining about the fact that there's not a day for them is completely ridiculous and ironic. If you can't see that, I'm sorry. And I said I "wanted" to, not that I did. There's obviously a difference. Also, the things they were saying about women were pretty appalling.
  • + 0
 @Vulhelm: Before you take this as some anti-white male propaganda, I say this as a white male myself.
  • - 15
flag b45her (Mar 8, 2019 at 12:08) (Below Threshold)
 may i suggest a safe place so your feels don't get too traumatised, would you like a doll so you can show us where you believe the naughty white men may have thought about hurting you?
  • + 4
 @b45her: Sounds like you need the safe space. You sound way more offended and butthurt than I do, Mr. tough internet male. Insecure much?
  • + 9
 @BaeckerX1: I do not think they were complaining about it really. They were just complaining. Complaining is a sport to some people, they just like to complain and anything will do to feed the complaining gland. And if you hear a few farts complaining you are just being unfortunate. It is their way of saying: I am so f*cking bored or burned out, I wish I was somewhere else doing something else and I don’t really know where and what that would be and even if I think I know, deep inside I know that it would not heal me, which makes me even more sad, trapped. I wish someone would help me, but I know that would make me even more miserable.

So don’t take it too personally, deep inside men just don’t care. They don’t... they will forget about it 2 days later so don’t let it burn inside you. Some men simply have a raging inner whiny bitch just like some women have an inner a*shole wanting to burn the world. These demons must be conquered and very few even know of their existence so they steer their lives
  • - 3
 @Vulhelm: violence? Come on... wishing to eb able to perform an violent act and actually doing it are two different things. Actual violent people don’t talk too much about violence, they do it. And it actually hurts. Not like some malnutritioned morons from Antifa or offended students of social sciences... Violence, like all things, requires devotion and training to be good and effective at it. Hence most people are much better at saying shitty things around you, than come and punch you properly. So don’t overuse wors violence is I can mansplain it like that Smile she meant no harm, just got angry at few pricks.
  • + 11
 @WAKIdesigns: You're not wrong on some of that, but... This is the same guy though who actually emailed the woman in the company who organized the event and complained to her about it. He also asked our receptionist to tell the building turn off the news on the TV in the lobby that he sees for 10 seconds walking in because he didn't want to see the "fake news" on the TV. He repeatedly put down and criticized the woman speaker on the webcast. He also made some comments about how "Us men work to support all these women and pay their bills. We deserve to be recognized. You wouldn't have a family without your husband, etc." =/ We still have a long way to go as humans.
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: Thanks for the support, you're right about the violence bit, but I'm a guy by the way. Big Grin Just hate ignorant dicks.
  • + 10
 I'm an old white man and I agree, they deserve to be slapped! Leadership is the key. The leader of your organization tolerates this behavior. Shame on him (or her).
  • + 3
 @jacobyw: Well to be honest we're a smaller satellite office in another state from corporate. And they're just ranting in the cube farm next door. I doubt these guys' sad ranting and sexist comments ever made it to anyone in leadership.
  • + 3
 @BaeckerX1: change job if this is a norm you will die inside or become a boiled frog. Unless you have other folks with you and you can try to psyche them out. Humor is a good weapon. If some dude did that in my office he would experience mental hell. Simply because it means he is very insecure and insecure people have little sense of humor. It is very easy to bully them with intellectually charged jokes or in this particular case, jokes about their manhood... try it... just try to wind in “hah as if you were a real man”, “what do real men do?” or “I thought real men do X” on some occasion and he will give you many if he is into stuff like what you described. Be smug, not rude, put him in position where he cannot classify your intentions as malice and would maje a fool out of himself if he tried to counterattack aggressively. You must have an excuse I didn’t mean anything wrong. There are different forms of manliness: wealth, type of car, physical appearance, whether his woman is good looking, sports they follow - the nr of buttons is countless and nobody checks all the boxes. Oh so you are a real man? Can you win a fist fight? Really? How many did you win?

Now... men don’t slap men in the face...
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: Ha, I was thinking of the expression "slap some sense into someone." Not that I would actually slap them. Big Grin
  • + 2
 Well for anyone who is offended by someone either celebrating or not celebrating National Women's day........tomorrow is for you. March 9th is officially National Get Over It Day lol.

nationaldaycalendar.com/march
  • - 5
flag robG413 (Mar 8, 2019 at 14:55) (Below Threshold)
 poor you o god it must be so hard lol
  • - 9
flag robG413 (Mar 8, 2019 at 14:56) (Below Threshold)
 @BaeckerX1: most privileged because they invented and build the hole of wester society so...
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Egotastical values undermine perpetual harmony with both genders*
  • + 4
 @robG413: wow you're a real winner. Also completely wrong.
  • - 3
 @lehott: there are very few worse things a man can hear in his life than the prettiest woman in his surrounding coming up to him and saying “I would never sleep with you”. When skillfully done in public it is destructive. In every organisation everyone knows who is the prettiest woman, pretty much every man in there fancies her, every man fantasized about her. Pretty much whatever she does, she will get a pass and he will be put aside as the impotent. It doesn’t matter whether he is married or not, unless his wife is damn good looking and other men would find her very attractive. Women have power they rarely realize. The Alphas though, they know.

As you can see I like to push buttons on people...
  • - 2
 @WAKIdesigns: I do its more about that then being serious
  • + 2
 Tuesday, 19 November International Men's Day 2019 You're welcome.
  • + 2
 An article about female racers and not a single one of those athletes talked about Missy Giove. What we need is more girls like Missy not more bible saleswomen!!!
  • + 2
 So your saying we need more female mountain biking drug dealers?






@wakidesigns Thats how you push buttons
  • + 4
 @SacAssassin: 1 fun girl in hell is better than 53 virgins in heaven.
  • + 3
 It was nice to see Tara Llanes name mentioned, always wondered what's going on with her since her accident?
  • + 3
 Good thing they didn't ask Kathy Sessler any of these questions
  • + 1
 They should have at least interviewed Rachel about the advantage of being able to follow around fast brothers
  • + 1
 Best part about the video was the guy taking off the goggles and the shades behind them. I laughed pretty good.
  • + 1
 Nice job on purging all the comments you fascist fucks.
  • - 3
 Who cares, I don't wake in the morning and think about this subject ever or any other holiday. There is a reason why men and most of society don't watch women's sporting events and we don't put cats in the same cages as dogs in animal shelters.
  • + 1
 Great to see Pinkbike! Nice work tup
  • - 3
 Sorry this cranky old man thinks intl women's day should take up half a year.
That said, if diversity is a topic in this thread then I ask why is our sport is represented almost exclusively by white people? Trails are for everyone.
  • + 1
 Girl power ????
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