Bell Joy Ride Doubles Down on Fun in 2017

Mar 14, 2017 at 12:19
by Betty Gilbert  
Bell Joy Ride Expands for Year Two

The Bell Joy Ride Program began with a small group of women in Santa Cruz, CA, called Girls Rock, headed up by the former executive vice president and general manager of Bell, Jessica Klodnicki. Girls Rock was an energetic, community-driven group of women who met monthly for mountain bike rides and were beyond stoked to have even a handful of other women to rub tires with. As Girls Rock evolved into a significant gathering of die-hard mountain biking aficionados, Bell decided to take the idea and turn it into something even larger, and Bell Joy Ride was born.

Since the launch of the program in April of 2016, over 2,400 women have attended at more than 50 rides spanning North America. Astonishingly, these women riders range from 12 to over 60 years old.

“2016 was hugely successful and Bell is now doubling down on their program resources,” says Heather Cooper, Bell's Brand Director for Bike and Powersports, who is currently heading up the program. “The Bell Joy Ride had the strongest media presence of any Bell brand marketing effort last year and is now a pillar for the Bell marketing strategy. The Bell Joy Ride program is very stable and will continue to grow with even more financial backing and greater interest from the other Vista brands, including Camelbak, Blackburn, and Bollé,” adds Cooper.

Bell has now expanded the program from eight to 12 locations for 2017. Six new ambassadors and four new regions have been added. “We’ve chosen locations that aren’t already popular mountain biking destinations and may not have existing infrastructure,” says Cooper.

The new ambassadors back row from left to right Lauren Hutchinson from Boone NC Amber-Lyn Streiff from Santa Rosa CA Natasha Weis from Gig Harbor WA Jamie Armitage from Golden CO Jaclyn Delacroix from North Vancouver BC Canada and front row Susan Douglas from Coeur d Alene ID.
  The new ambassadors: (back row from left to right) Lauren Hutchinson from Boone, NC, Amber-Lyn Streiff from Santa Rosa, CA, Natasha Weis from Gig Harbor, WA, Jamie Armitage from Golden, CO, Jaclyn Delacroix from North Vancouver, BC Canada, and (front row) Susan Douglas from Coeur d'Alene, ID.


When Heather was a 16 year-old living in New Jersey, it was her dad that started mountain biking with her. When she returned to riding as an adult, she searched cycling clubs, attended bike events, and asked guys to ride. Back then you had to be really proactive with making your own scene. As Heather's 40th birthday approached, she decided to register for her very first mountain bike race. In fact, she raced the entire California Enduro Series and won her category. This past year, she gained the confidence to pursue her dream of working in the bike industry. Here she is today, running the marketing team for Bell.

bigquotesThe long-term goal is to have a Joy Ride Program in every state, and every province in North America. Next, we’re targeting overseas with the UK at the top of the list. - Heather Cooper, Bell Brand Director for Bike and Powersports.
When Heather was a 16 year-old living in New Jersey it was her dad that starting mountain biking with her. When she returned to riding as an adult she searched cycling clubs attended bike events and asked guys to ride. Back then you had to be really proactive with making your own scene. As Heather s 40th birthday approached she decided to register for her very first mountain bike race. In fact she raced the entire California Enduro Series and won her category. This past year she gained the confidence to pursue her dream of working in the bike industry. Here she is today running the marketing team for Bell.

Bell Joy Ride Expands for Year Two
Jaime tries on her new Boll shades.
Jaime tries on her new Bollé shades.

For the upcoming year, Bell vows to offer even more support to the ambassadors, giving the women extra gear for volunteers and a stipend for attending festivals and events. They’ll give the ambassadors open, more frequent communication and transparency about the company structure and status of the Bell Joy Ride Program.

Cooper explains, “The program is moving the product line forward through the development of social media, video, sponsored athletes, expanding awareness of women riders, and our presence in bike shops. We encourage the rides to start from bike shops – how else can a bike shop get 100 women in their store all at once? And they get to know the shop owner and employees, the shop’s product line, and feel a more personal connection to the shop.”

Bell Joy Ride Expands for Year Two

Bell Joy Ride Expands for Year Two

Bell wants to involve the ambassadors in providing feedback about helmet design and features, investigating whether there’s a “real” way to make helmets more specific to women. Bell is open-minded toward the development of new activities the ambassadors hope to pursue. The marketing team will check in with each location with a monthly phone call and aspire to attend a Joy Ride at each location. There’s also more encouragement for connecting the group of ambassadors to share what they’ve learned about logistics, strategy, and new opportunities.

There will be a larger push to connect the ambassadors to Bell sales reps, bike shops, and companies like Ibis, Liv, Juliana, Bolle, Camelbak, Qloom, and Blackburn to open up each program to more support and the potential to reach a broader region, even traveling to new locations for destination rides. Bell leaves it to the individual ambassador to choose which products interest their group.

The Bell team will spread the joy by representing the Joy Ride Program during events like Crankworx and Sea Otter, along with the Bell Bike Park Tour, running from June through September with 5 stops, complete with a booth, demos, parties, and giveaways.

Heather adds, “It’s incredible, the ambassadors want to do more than just a monthly ride. They’re really passionate about the Bell brand and inspired by the tools they have access to, which opens up possibilities of what they can create in their communities.” Bell is very mindful in allowing the women to have ownership and exercise the freedom to modify the program to suit the needs of their specific location.

So, what does it take to be a Bell Joy Ride Ambassador?

Bell Joy Ride Expands for Year Two
bigquotesForemost it just takes a passion for getting women out on bikes, second to that would be organization, flexibility, and an interest in what it’s really all about. It’s not about being the best rider, it’s just about getting women out, having fun, and being safe in a social setting.Kendall Ryan, returning Joy Ride Ambassador from Richmond, VA

This year, over 100 hopefuls submitted their application videos from all over North America to be the next Joy Ride Ambassador. The marketing team sought out personalities that echoed the obsession with dirt and an understanding of the challenges in event planning; women who simply needed support for the efforts they were already making.

The women selected were those who recognized that they could use extra help from a high-profile brand like Bell, but they had the supporters, friends, and volunteers in position to get through the challenges of organizing the rides and events. They are the champions of their biking community – seeing a need, committing to a vision, and being a motivator for others to join in.

The new and returning ambassadors were brought to Santa Cruz CA for the Bell Joy Ride Training Camporama. The first stop was the Bell Joy Ride Kick-off Party at Roaring Camp Railroad.
  The new and returning ambassadors were brought to Santa Cruz, CA for the Bell Joy Ride Training "Camporama." The first stop was the Bell Joy Ride Kick-off Party at Roaring Camp Railroad.

New colors and a more laid-back style for the Joy Ride gear and apparel this year.
  New colors and a more laid-back style for the Joy Ride gear and apparel this year.

Lauren Hutchinson left is an Occupational Therapist and is said to be the glue that holds her women s cycling community together in Boone North Carolina. With the technical trails of Blue Ridge Parkway just minutes away she hopes to tie her program efforts in with the existing mountain bike tourism and local biking groups to encourage more women to ride. Susan Douglas right of Coeur d Alene Idaho is a Joy Ride volunteer turned ambassador and helicopter crewmember furthering the National Science Foundation by assisting scientists to remote locations in Antarctica. Susan will be taking her Joy Ride Program to the road for several months spreading the joy throughout Idaho to Spearfish SD and across the United States.
  Lauren Hutchinson (left) is an occupational therapist and is said to be the glue that holds her women's cycling community together in Boone, North Carolina. With the technical trails of Blue Ridge Parkway just minutes away, she hopes to tie her program efforts in with the existing mountain bike tourism and local biking groups to encourage more women to ride. Susan Douglas (right) of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho is a Joy Ride volunteer turned ambassador and helicopter crewmember - furthering the National Science Foundation by assisting scientists to remote locations in Antarctica. Susan will be taking her Joy Ride Program to the road for several months, spreading the joy throughout Idaho to Spearfish, SD and across the United States

The two bike shop pros. Amber Krueger left of Madison Wisconsin is an all-star returning ambassador who had 150 women show up to her Surly fat plus bike demo ride last year. She s already got a full calendar of rides booked and is looking forward to a new year now that she s worked out all the kinks. Amber has become intent about giving back to local trails and state parks and getting more youth riders involved. Jamie Armitage right resides in Golden Colorado and aims to make her passion for mountain biking contagious. Jamie is amped to share her favorite after work ride a pedal up Lookout Mountain via Chimney Gulch to Apex trail. A former baker she equates bread making to days in the saddle Some days you ve got a great rhythm and just the right grind for great dough and other days the dough just isn t so lively. But all you ve got to do is go back challenge yourself day after day and one day it ll work.
  The two bike shop pros. Amber Krueger (left) of Madison, Wisconsin is an all-star returning ambassador, who had 150 women show up to her Surly fat/plus bike demo ride last year. She's already got a full calendar of rides booked and is looking forward to a new year now that she's worked out all the kinks. Amber has become intent on giving back to local trails and state parks and getting more youth riders involved. Jamie Armitage (right) resides in Golden, Colorado and aims to make her passion for mountain biking contagious. Jamie is amped to share her favorite after work ride, a pedal up Lookout Mountain via Chimney Gulch to Apex trail. A former baker, she equates bread making to days in the saddle, "Some days you've got a great rhythm and just the right grind for great dough, and other days the dough just isn't so lively. But all you've got to do is go back, challenge yourself day after day, and one day it'll work."

From concept to development to exploration the Bell shop does it all. Designers prefer to utilize clay when focusing on the right thicknesses shape and aesthetics because it s fast to make design iterations. Once they get the clay version dialed they cast the shape in silicon and make a clone in rubber. Eventually the helmet gets scanned into machining software and ends up as a CAD model.
  The next stop of the Joy Ride camp was a tour of the Bell facility, test lab, and design shop. From concept to development to exploration, the Bell shop does it all. Designers prefer to utilize clay when focusing on the right thicknesses, shape, and aesthetics because it's fast to make design iterations. Once they get the clay version dialed, they cast the shape in silicon and make a clone in rubber. Eventually, the helmet gets scanned into machining software and ends up as a CAD model.


There was also a sit-down portion of the training where the ambassadors were introduced to their 2017 Bell Joy Ride Ambassador Toolkit and got a real grasp of the resources available to them and what the expectations are. Above all, the emphasis was on fun and making sure ride attendees are having such a good time that they want to return to each month. According to Heather, program success is measured in positive feedback, friendships formed, community-building, and shared libations.

Bell Joy Ride Expands for Year Two

To wrap up camp, ambassadors got to experience the famous Girls Rock ride firsthand. This is the inspiration to propel them as they develop their own local program. Heather Cooper was careful to express that the Girls Rock ride is not “the bar” of expectation for the ambassadors.

Bell Joy Ride Expands for Year Two
Tom Morgan of Ibis Cycles talks bike kinematics during setup.
Tom Morgan of Ibis Cycles talks bike kinematics during setup.

Jessica Klodnicki the creator of Girls Rock makes a special appearance to greet the Joy Ride Ambassadors.
  Jessica Klodnicki, the creator of Girls Rock, makes a special appearance to greet the Joy Ride Ambassadors.

 Once we hit the trails there was an instant bond something clicked and we all became inseparable best friends - Natasha Weis right Gig Harbor Joy Ride Ambassador


bigquotesOnce we hit the trails, there was an instant bond, something clicked and we all became inseparable best friends.Natasha Weis (right), Gig Harbor Joy Ride Ambassador

Veronique Pardee returning Joy Ride Ambassador from Tucson AZ
  Veronique Pardee, returning Joy Ride Ambassador from Tucson, AZ.

Second year ambassadors Kendell Ryan right from Richmond VA and Sam Jones from Kansas City MO.
  Second-year ambassadors: Kendell Ryan (left) from Richmond, VA, and Sam Jones from Kansas City, MO.

Braving relentless, poison oak-lined climbs with skyrocketing heart rates will make fast friends out of any group. Happily, the Santa Cruz Mountains deliver ocean views, ageless redwoods, and hysterical descents to make up for it. The new-ambassador-jitters were completely annihilated on the Ibis Cycles demo ride.

Bell Joy Ride Expands for Year Two

Bell Joy Ride Expands for Year Two

bigquotesBell has a passion for getting more women on mountain bikes, with an emphasis on tapping into it in an authentic way. It’s the trend now to target women, but how you go about it makes all the difference and Bell has nailed it.Amber-Lyn, Santa Rosa Bell Joy Ride Ambassador
 Bell has a passion for getting more women on mountain bikes with an emphasis on tapping into it in an authentic way. It s the trend now to target women but how you go about it makes all the difference and Bell has nailed it. - Amber-Lyn Santa Rosa Bell Joy Ride Ambassador

 I was so excited from the get go to see a company that s really behind us supportive invested and incredibly involved in promoting women s mountain biking. I can t believe I get to be a part of that with these companies taking notice to make sure products are solid for women who shred. Bell values our feedback and has clearly chosen each of us based on who we are rather than our age or looks. They believe in us because of our involvement in community and passion for getting women out there riding. It s just fantastic. - Jaclyn Delacroix North Vancouver Joy Ride Ambassador
bigquotesI was so excited from the get go to see a company that's really behind us, supportive, invested, and incredibly involved in promoting women’s mountain biking. I can't believe I get to be a part of that, with these companies taking notice to make sure products are solid for women who shred. Bell values our feedback and has clearly chosen each of us based on who we are, rather than our age or looks. They believe in us because of our involvement in community and passion for getting women out there riding. It's just fantastic.Jaclyn Delacroix, North Vancouver Joy Ride Ambassador

Bell Joy Ride Expands for Year Two

Natasha is not only a new ambassador but a new rider, getting her start on a mountain bike just last year. "This is me!" she exclaimed, when she discovered the Bell Joy Ride Program was accepting new ambassadors. Her background in snowboarding and surfing has given her the guts to really pin it on the bike, but she says she's still practicing patience with the learning. Her hope is to develop her love of riding by building community, starting with a group of smiling beginner riders.


Natasha is not only a new ambassador but a new rider getting her start on a mountain bike just last year. This is me she exclaimed when she discovered the Bell Joy Ride Program was accepting new ambassadors. Her background in snowboarding and surfing has given her the guts to really pin it on the bike but she says she s still practicing patience with the learning. Her hope is to develop her love of riding by building community starting with a group of smiling beginner riders.

Alexis Morgan and Juliann Klein take a breather after another big effort to organize Girls Rock s March ride. These ladies are the true wheels of the bus.
  Alexis Morgan and Juliann Klein take a breather after another big effort to organize Girls Rock's March ride. These ladies are the true wheels of the bus.


Without a solitary doubt, the ambassadors have whole-heartedly embraced the spirit of this program. They ended the Joy Ride camp in Santa Cruz with enough goosebumps, inspiration, and momentum to share the joy and perma-grins with their own mountain biking communities and beyond.

Bell Joy Ride Expands for Year Two

Photography by Josh Sawyer and Betty Gilbert.

bellhelmets.com/joy-ride-program


MENTIONS: @BellBikeHelmets



Author Info:
BettyG avatar

Member since Mar 8, 2017
1 articles

21 Comments
  • 12 0
 There is so much Bro/Brah on this site, I love reading these articles, as they are something different. Great program and story/photos. Roaring Camp Railroad is a super cool place as well.
  • 14 0
 this is rad
  • 10 3
 Knoxville Joy Rides have been extremely popular. I'm envious of the ladies.
  • 2 0
 Jaclyn Delacroix and the Vancouver crew deserve monster kudos ! My wife really enjoyed both events she attended before they became heavily subscribed - she got the basics, enjoyed riding her bike and now we get to ride together. Thank you Jaclyn , thank you Bell Joy Ride. A great initiative.
  • 4 0
 Ran into this group, looked like they were having fun and enjoying their ride.
  • 5 0
 congrats on the success
  • 4 1
 So where is the schedule????
  • 2 0
 There is no set schedule. Your best bet is to get in touch with the amabassador in your area and ask when the next ride is!
  • 3 0
 Bringing smiles all around!
  • 5 3
 All manufactures have a passion about selling more product, has nothing to do with gender.
  • 4 1
 Excellent! love seeing the support for the ladies
  • 2 0
 Props to Alexis and Juliann...they're good people! I've ridden with both of them...it's been a while though.
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