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Organizing Women's Riding Groups

Women's Riding Group

 

  1. Brand it! Endowing your ride with a unique name automatically gives it a sense of community, fun, and legacy. Plus, you know, naming stuff is fun.
  2. Choose a date and starting time. This isn't just another weekly shop ride, this is a ride-party. Monthly rides keep the turnout high and the work low. Pick a regular day for the ride, such as the second Saturday of every month.
  3. Pick a location. Locations that offer different trail experiences, novice to expert, are perfect for group rides. Choosing a new location each month will keep the ride fresh.
  4. Plan for varied skill & fitness levels. Imagine a skills clinic where everyone, beginners to experts, is taught as a single group. By keeping the group together, nobody gets exactly what they want out of the ride, and the novices spend the entire time feeling like they are holding the group back. Instead, allow for the Speedsters, the Intermediates, and a separate No One Gets Left Behind group. Everyone gets to ride with his or her peers and share stories after the ride.
  5. Join forces with your local advocacy group. Part of advocacy is building a community of people who love mountain biking as much as you do. Teaming with your local advocacy group benefits the community and the trails!
  6. Create a flyer. Make sure you include the date, time, and location of the ride. Novices are always afraid that they will be too slow for the group. Emphasize and re-emphasize the separate "No One Gets Left Behind" group just for first time riders. Advertising both a "meet" time and a "ride" time ensures that everyone is ready to go at the same time. Posting multiple ride dates and locations on the flyer will increase turnout and reduce the need to update the flyers.
  7. Get the word out! Post flyers at all local trailhead kiosks and bike shops. Encourage bike shops to hand flyers to new women riders - more hooked riders means more bike sales.
  8. Get the word out even more! Advertise the ride on local and regional forums. Hand flyers or handbills out to women at the trailhead. Don't forget to advertise to the men - they've got sisters, mothers, daughters, friends, and spouses who they'd love to see ride!
  9. Make the schedule available online. By teaming with your local advocacy group, you can put the schedule of rides online for all to see. By making the schedule public, you eliminate the need, work, and exclusivity of a separate "Girls Only" email list.
  10. Run the ride from the back. Intermediate and Advanced riders are comfortable in the trails. The group who is most likely to get lost or frustrated if they get a flat is the "No One Gets Left Behind" group. Make sure that this group has a sweep and occasionally stops to talk about skills. This group may only ride 4 miles in 2 hours, but it will be the best ride of their life. The ideal "leader" of this group is another novice who can empathize with their peers and share the tips they've picked up.
  11. Don't give in to the Nay Sayers. Every Women's Ride eventually runs into "that guy." This is the guy who complains, "It's not fair to have a Women's Only ride! What about the men?" And, here's the response that works every time. "If you want to create a Men's Ride, go for it!"

 

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