As the days slowly start to lengthen and the odd miraculous dry patch begins to appear on our trails, there can only be one thing on the mind of every dedicated lady shredder – summer is coming: bike adventure time!
Though riding on your own, with the boys or with small local groups is ok, sometimes it’s nice to try something different and there are a host of companies offering women’s only trips. Some of these are very much orientated around training, whilst others are more designed around just having fun with a great group.
"Without the coaching, I would not have had the confidence to put myself out there and get this massive sense of achievement by riding and racing downhill"
Not everyone is sold on the idea of women's only coaching and riding, but some really benefit from the environment. Hayley Tutte is a 33-year-old shredder who has benefitted hugely from 1 on 1 sessions with Katy Curd bi-annually over the past 4 years. She told us: “Without the coaching, I would not have had the confidence to put myself out there and get this massive sense of achievement by riding and racing downhill, sometimes better than the men. For my partner, he now has to live with the fact that by introducing me to Katy that I now ride faster than him and have beaten him in a grassroots downhill race by 2 seconds!"
Discussing the difference between a women's only group and a men's group, Aneela McKenna - a guide from ‘Go Where’ who organise women's only coaching - told us: “The reality is that women are still in a minority in mountain biking and might be put off by coming on to a standard trip if it’s mainly guys. Getting a bunch of women together, the vibe is different, there’s great camaraderie among the group, women encourage each other to ride the technical stuff and the noise levels are definitely higher!
"Getting a bunch of women together, the vibe is different, there’s great camaraderie"
"It's amazing how our guests learn from one another, they watch each other ride, and over a beer after a hard day out on the bike, they talk about their riding, give each other feedback, discuss how they rode that technical section or what could they have done better. As guides we can offer the right advice and guidance, but it really sticks when the support comes from others in the group."
We’re rounded up some of the best. Though they vary in focus, all of the events we’ve chosen gather women together in a friendly, relaxed environment that is perfect for taking your riding to the next step, increasing confidence and discovering new trails, all whilst meeting other like-minded individuals...
Women's Only Coaching
There are a range of companies running regular women’s coaching days and weekends that you could book on to any time this year - here are some that we rate...
Cambrian mountains, Powys, Wales - more info here.
This one is aimed at beginner level riders needing to increase their confidence when the trails get technical. There are eight dates left this year, the next being April 23 to 24. The weekend costs £135 and includes two full days of coaching.
Surrey hills - more info here
This is a well-established company running a range of courses as women only groups. Options range from half day courses for a selection of abilities, to multi-day training extravaganzas. You can also expect to walk away with personalised feedback, an action plan, and free 30 days support.
Crowthorne woods, Berkshire - more info here
This is a cross country focused company run just for girls offering half day courses. The course costs £65 (with a goody bag!) and each day starts at 9.30am and ends at 1.30pm. Dates for this year are: 16th May, 13th June, 27th June, 5th September, 3rd October.
North Wales and Cheshire - more info here.
The Fundamentals, Single Track Mind or Trail Master are all progressive courses run as women only groups throughout the year.
Katy Curd training days
Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire - more info here.
Highly recommended within the industry, Katy is a pro rider, multiple 4 X champion now turned DH racer. She offers all levels of group courses and customised private lessons. Most courses are three hours, and cost £60 - but you can create a custom option - read more about the options here.
Tweed Valley, Scotland ‘Mountain Lassies trip’ - more info here
A guided bike holiday rather than coaching weekend though you will learn new big mountain ride survival skills and be tested in terms of fitness and negotiating obstacles found on natural singletrack trails. With female guides, incredible views and promised ‘higher than average camaraderie quotient’ these guys are well worth taking a look at. Trips are two days long and priced individually, with dates starting from April and available on the calendar.
Women's Only Riding Days
If you're not after full on coaching, and want a more relaxed riding experience, there are many more informal events throughout the year. So if you’re fed up of listening to your male riding buddies incessantly geeking out over bike specs try one of these ladies social rides...
Regular rides in Wales
This women's only group organise regular meet ups - most often at Afan and Bike Park Wales. Rides are organised through their website and social media.
Daisy Chain bike events for women
Regular social rides in mid to North Wales, next event 2 April
This Company organise regular social rides around mid to North Wales. On the 2 April they are holding a mountain bike day at Builth Wells, Powys which will include coaching in the morning, a guided ride in the afternoon and lots of tea drinking in-between. Price £60 - with more information and future riders here.
Fort William Girls group ride
May 21 Nevis Range, Fort William, Scotland
A group ride with the opportunity to ride a wide variety of trails all with a discounted £5 off price for the uplift and lots of other rad ladies to keep you company. £26 full day uplift (with discount). Keep up to date with the Facebook page here.
Women's Only Riding Weekends
If you're after a full weekend of just fun and riding, there's still more. Here are just a few we've found..
Bike Park Wales Women's Weekend
9 – 10 April - more info here
This is an amazing opportunity to get involved in a whole load of activities especially organised for us ladies. There will be;
- Talks and presentation with the infamous Tracey Mosely
- Workshop masterclass demo
- Group rides for all abilities
- Discounted coaching
- Female specific product exhibitions
All for only £10 per day including bike park entry, 1 uplift, tea/coffee and cake.
Girls Gawton Weekend in Devon
18 – 19 June - more info here
A great introduction to racing for all levels in a fun, relaxed atmosphere with plenty of riding beforehand to get you all amped up for the timed runs. The weekend includes;
- 2 nights camping
- Saturday uplift at Gawton with Flyupdownhill
- Saturday coaching from Evolve MTB
- Guiding and advice from local riders on which trail to choose
- Saturday night Pilates and Yoga
- Sunday practice then timed runs at Tavi Woodlands
- Demo bikes from Marin for both days
Only £45 for both days!
Plan for 2017: Airmaiden and Miadenduro in Scotland
Innerleithen and Glentress, Tweed Valley - more info here.
The original ‘Airmaiden freeride event’ will be on the 14 and 15 May.
The lucky ladies to already have their tickets to this sold out event will be split into multiple small groups for coaching with the focus being on getting more women feeling confident with both wheels in the air. Sunday sees the ladies go head to head for a variety of fun competitions. It is possible to put your name on the list for any last minute tickets that come up and show the organisers how many more places are needed for next year’s event!
New this year there will be a ‘Maidenduro’ event on the 23rd July 2017 and it is well worth booking up!
A ladies only 3 stage enduro race on the Golfie trails. There will be a practice session with optional coaching in the morning and an excellent after party in the evening with raffle, prizes and lots of dancing. Price £40 inc all the above + 1 free drink at the after party!
The face behind Airmaiden, Lynne Armstrong also runs skills courses from beginner to advanced throughout the year. Prior to Maidenduro on 11th June she will be running a course specific to getting riders confident on the kind of steep technical terrain to be expected at the event.
The most important aspect of these events is that they are a fun, sociable environment where women can come together to share their love of all things outdoors and bike related. Enjoy, and get shredding!