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How Women Earn Their Turns

How Women Earn Their Turns

Introducing the Theme for #WomensMTBDay 2024

Posted: April 1, 2024
Two women smiling and talking after some muddy mountain biking at a trailhead.
Photo courtesy of: M. McIntyre

Every year, IMBA supports local events and social media celebrations for Women’s Mountain Biking Day, the first Saturday of every May (May 4th this year). Women’s Mountain Biking Day is a day for women to gather, experience, and share their stoke for mountain biking together. IMBA's focus is to help you spread the STOKE for your local Women's MTB Day events and to garner momentum around #WomensMTBDay in storytelling and on social media.

This year’s theme is:

How Women Earn Their Turns



“Earning your turns” was first coined by backcountry skiers in the 1970s. The idea spoke metaphorically of getting out of life what you put into it, and more directly to the joy derived from the extreme exertion required to drag oneself and one's skis to the top of a mountain in order to ski down untamed, backcountry powder. Somewhere along the lines, this made its way into mountain biking vernacular, remaining true to the metaphor, but more directly meaning a mountain biker should earn their downhill by using human-powered means to climb up, or earn their ride by committing to the activity, their trails, or their local trails organization.

We'd like to take a different approach to this conversation: one that acknowledges all the barriers - perceived, experiences, enforced) that make it challenging for people to spend time on their bikes, and celebrate the ways in which women overcome, dismantle, and adapt around them, over them and straight through them to ride their mountain bikes. 

Kate's Story

Last Thanksgiving, I found myself, once again, experiencing holiday event and meal preparation solo. I woke up at 5am to ensure the bread was rising, the bird was brining, and all the side dishes and drink ingredients were prepped. My friends and family went out for rides and hikes, and I was alone in the kitchen busting-my-buns to ensure we could have a delicious, traditional meal together. And I loved it. And I wanted to be out there with my people in the woods, too. Because I’m a mom and the alpha-nurturer of my tribe, I default to ensuring everyone is safe, healthy, and well. I earn my turns by leaning into that role. 

Ride Together!

Being a woman and being a nurturer often go hand-in-hand: sometimes the difference is imperceptible. All people belong on trails, no matter how they’re earning their turns. That person getting a ride to the trailhead because they don't have time to ride from home to singletrack today: they belong on trails, and probably earned their turns in ways we may never have to. And all people deserve to celebrate and be celebrated for the commitment and efforts they make to opt outside, to opt their mountain bike, to opt #MoreTrailsCloseToHome. Women: this year, on the first Saturday in May, in honor of Women’s Mountain Biking Day: Go for that ride. Go find those birds. Go hound some rocks. Go ride bikes with other women. Ask for help from your family and your people with your myriad duties because you earn your turns a million different ways every day, and you belong on trails. 

We hope you can find something of yourself or of the women you ride with in this year's theme. Use #WomensMTBDay on your socials, and celebrate women who ride! Check out our webpage to download the logo, for stories that inspire, and to learn about the history of Women's Mountain Biking Day.

About the author
Kate Noelke, IMBA's Communications & Advocacy Specialist

Kate grew up on the backwaters of the Mississippi River biking, paddling, and wandering through the beauty of the Driftless Region of SW Wisconsin. She loves to make and share food she's grown or foraged, and believes all bodies belong on bikes (and wandering trails via whichever mode of…

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