Kathi Kuypers, Photos:
Yvonne Höerl, Video:
Hans Friedrich„Ladies only“
asked a buddy at the trail spot and gave me a funny look. „Why no men?“
He couldn’t believe that he was not welcomed for one afternoon at the public trail spot. Especially when there is such a rare sight like Ladies on dirt jump bikes. It’s a common picture at dirt jump spots with sausage parties and testosterone buzzing „Yo dude, did you see my sick whip?“ Why not revolutionise and invite all the ladies to enjoy the jumps without boys and have fun making progress.
I believe that Mountainbiking and dirt jumping is for everyone if you just practice. The stereotypes are difficult to navigate and there are many obstacles that women have to face entering a male dominated sport just like women can’t ride dirtjumps, it’s too dangerous. Girls who enter these environments are sometimes heckled, bullied and discouraged. Men stare at women like animals in the zoo.
But riding bikes is not something girls do to look cool in front of someone, it’s their way of expressing themselves and they enjoy doing it. Doing it gives them a good feeling just like why everyone one else jumps on their bike as well. Some females are objectified by male who assume they are only dirt jumping as a way to pick up guys. If she can do it, I can do it
Women are excelling this sport at their own uniquely feminin way. Less raw and aggressive than their male counterparts. If the media and the MTB business is not supportive of female Slopestyle riders, then male will not be supportive of female Slopestyle and the female riders will not feel supported. Because media has such a big effect on the population.
Therefore there has been a lack of female role models in Slopestyle. It’s now increasing with girls like Patricia Druwen and Caroline Buchanan. Their visibility and skill level make them role models, showing girls out there that we have a place within Slopestyle. And when female riders are struggling against the obstacles they face as a woman in biking, other female Slopestyle riders can provide them with the motivation and inspiration to keep fighting on.
A dirtjump spot or a skatepark should not be a place where people are judged. Girls are often told that they are not as good as the guys. Why comparing? Or it usually comes with the qualifier „for a girl“
which still leaves them in a subordinate position relative to male riders. Girls get the impression to ride extra well to prove that they are legitimate riders.
These spots are no calm and welcoming environment to get out of your comfort zone, maybe embarrass yourself doing your first steps on a DJ bike. Crash, look boyish, sweat. Attributes most parents haven’t taught parents their girls when they grew up. As a girl it was important to be nice, discreet, pretty and diligent. Not rowdy, adventurous, dirty and wild. Some girls at the Ladies only event mentioned that they experienced many negative things so they only limit their riding to all-girls events.
Now female Mountainbikers create their own communities and events to connect and find like minded riders. Let’s just include all riders no matter which gender. And as much as we girls want to be independent, it needs a village or let’s say a couple of very motivated people to keep this paradise in shape. Big up to Kevin, Dominik and all of the shapers of the rip trails for dedicating all their freetime to move dirt.Riding bikes is an outlet to keep sane and happy
My advice to any one starting out dirt jumping is:
Stick with it. You are definitely going to experience downfalls, but in order to keep learning, you just have to stick with it. Remember what you are doing it for that you are doing it for yourself and you love doing it, it’s fun and makes you feel good - which is the most important that I feel people tend to forget about. Don’t just ride to record videos and photos for social media, do it for yourself.
The confidence riding gives you helps out in other areas of your life. - Kathi Kuypers