Mountain Biking Women on the East Coast

The number of people getting into the sport of mountain biking is increasing, and we think that is simply fantastic! We have met so many smiling faces on our trips across the Maritime provinces, and many of them are the happy faces of ladies on mountain bikes!

In support of IMBA’s International Women’s Mountain Biking Day, we want to celebrate the women who love mountain biking on the east coast of Canada! Happy #womensmtbday!

Kaarin and Alice from the McIntosh Run Watershed Association enjoying a day on the Bluff trails

 

Mountain Bike Atlantic Project Manager and Owner of Be Rad Adventure Company, Sam Bosence, credits mountain biking with changing her life for the better. Mountain biking has become Sam’s main physical exercise, mental health booster, way to spend time with friends and family, and part of her career. You can find Sam in Rockwood Park in the port city of Saint John, New Brunswick when she isn’t touring the Atlantic provinces to check out trails and meet the local characters.

Mountain Bike Atlantic Project Manager, Sam

 

It’s great to showcase professional athletes and their hard work and dedication, but sometimes throwing in some local heroes that are making a difference at a community level may help a new rider find their outlet in the sport.

IMBA Canada: Changing the Narrative: More Women On Bikes

In support of IMBA’s International Women’s Day, Sam chatted with some of the women working toward an inclusive mountain biking culture in their local trail communities. We know there are many more of you out there, and we can’t wait to meet you too!

 

Dominique Gaudet fell into the sport of mountain biking when a friend casually asked her to join her on the trails one day. Jumping on an oversized bike, Dominique followed her friend down rooty trails and drops on her very first ride! For some, that would be the end, but that was the beginning for Dominique! She realized that mountain biking is clearly not a boring activity, and found the amazing adrenaline rush is totally worth it. So, she went out and picked up her own bike. Dominique and her wife Mylène are now Advocates for Mountain Bike Atlantic!

Dominique and Mylène enjoying a laugh at the Mountain Bike Atlantic Summit in 2019

 

Emily Lennon, got into the sport for her love for the outdoors, adventure, and for a new challenge. Emily’s home trail is Rockwood Park, which boasts technical terrain within the port City of Saint John, New Brunswick where she rides with her partner and friends. Emily is a certified Mountain Bike Instructor and Guide for Be Rad Adventure Company and leads the Mountain Bike Club at the high school where she teaches. As one of the Lead Trail Builders for Saint John Cycling, you can find Emily hiking through the trails with either a pickaxe or her toddler daughter hanging over her shoulder!

Emily at the Mountain Bike Atlantic Summit

 

When Melissa Bordage first started mountain biking, the number of beginner trails available to her were limited. So, she opted to « suck it up » and learn how to ride the technical trails in her home trail network MVP located in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Melissa is actively involved with her local cycling club, River Valley Cycling, in addition to the provincial sport organization for New Brunswick, Velo NB. In an effort to get more women into the sport, Velo NB has been working toward certifying more ladies as mountain biking coaches!

Melissa, Nina, and trail dog Farlow

You’ll find us in advertisements, winning titles, at the trailhead, shredding rock gardens, asking questions in the bike shop, and catch us at the local brewery or grocery store in our riding clothes. Mountain biking is more accepting and accommodating now than it has ever been.

IMBA Canada: Changing the Narrative: More Women On Bikes

 

At the age of 12, Vanessa Thomsen, saw the opportunity to compete at the Jeux de l’Acadie. After qualifying at the Regional Games and learning proper mountain bike skills, she fell in love with the sport and now competes at the provincial and national level for Fitworks Nextgen MTB Team! When she is riding recreationally or for training, Vanessa seeks out the tech and flow easily found on the east coast. Keep an eye out for this local role model around her home trail network of White Rock, or at her favourite post-ride spot, the Cinnamon Soul Cafe and Bakery!

Mountain Bike Racer, Vanessa

 

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.

PinkBike: Snapshot: A View of Women’s Mountain Biking From Female Racers & The Industry

As women, we want to be apart of the tribe and don’t want to be put in the spotlight simply just for showing up. We just want to be included … it can be surprising how a simple invite to join can make all the difference for someone just getting into the sport. If people feel like they belong, they are more likely to be involved.

IMBA Canada: Changing the Narrative: More Women On Bikes

 

Prince Edward Island rider, Heidi MacLeod, enjoys « riding with people at the same skill level rather than gender ». Like many of us, Heidi is more likely to visit a trail community if she knows that offers enjoyable trails for all ages and stages. Another local Islander, Cynthia King, operates a cycle touring company, PEI Cycling Tours, through her favourite Island trails. Cynthia hopes to see more women’s specific events led by women on the Island. You can join Heidi and Cynthia on one of the Rigid Riders group rides offered on the flowy trails at Brookvale!

Prince Edward Island local, Lindsay, catching some air at Brookvale

 

Tips on How to Get Involved with Your Local MTB Scene:
  • Get to know your local cycling or mountain bike club or association
  • Volunteer on the Board of you local club or association
  • Join a trail build or trail maintenance event
  • Join a group ride
  • Invite others to join you for a ride – regardless of age or gender

Mountain Biking Group Rides for Women:

 

New Brunswick

Moncton: CCT Ladies Who Ride

Greater Saint John: Saint John Cycling and The Quick Chicks & Dirty Chicks and the Shady Ladies

Sussex: This One’s For You (TOFU)

Caraquet: Les Sirenes en Cavale

Edmundston: Sprock Chicks

Fredericton: Freddy Tacos Who Shred

Be Rad Adventure Company

 

Nova Scotia

Bicycle Nova Scotia Women on Wheels

Halifax: McIntosh Run Watershed Association

 

Prince Edward Island

Cycling PEI Rigid Riders

 

Newfoundland

Women in Cycling NL

 

Check out the East Coast Mountain Biking forum for posts on local group rides for women!

If your local club or association doesn’t currently offer group rides for ladies, perhaps there is an opportunity for you to do so!?

Happy trails, ladies!

 

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