At last, a mountain biking marathon event in a non threatening environment, specifically designed with women in mind.
We caught up with Bonna Williams, creator of Daisy Chain Bike Events who want to encourage women, both novice and experienced to come and enjoy a mountain bike ride set in the glorious Mid Wales countryside. Everything from the route, the support, the venue, the facilities have all been chosen to suit the female mountain biker.
The idea for a marathon event just for women came to me whilst out riding my bike last autumn. I had been thinking about a ladies only event off and on all year, and I had recently had a conversation with the owner of Fforest Fields campsite about how to promote his campsite as a mountain biking venue. And suddenly ‘Eureka’! The idea of the Daisy Chain Events was born. There I was, pedalling along getting more and more excited planning the event and suddenly realised that I was miles from home and really needed to turn back!
As it’s a new concept we thought we’d start this year with 2 events, 11th May and 14th September. We expect to expand on this for next year.
We are sure that the Daisy Chain Events are going to be a great experience. The women only format can be less intimidating and therefore should encourage women who would otherwise avoid taking part in a cycling event of mixed gender. These events incorporate quality bike trails with women friendly support on a course designed by a woman for women! Suitable for your everyday cyclist with technical options to keep the more experienced rider interested.
No roads, no testosterone, no pressure just fun on your bike. I hope that the sense of achievement you get when you’ve finished your first ever event will inspire some of the riders to participate in other events.
I feel that for the majority of women and possibly men who enjoy biking, the thought of doing a race is intimidating, but a non competitive event is much less scary, can be done with friends and may well lead to other things. The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter why you get on your bike – so long as you can enjoy it when you do.
I really do hope that your regular female mountain biker will be attracted to the events, the ladies I have spoken to have all been as enthusiastic about the events! Because there are different distances available and diversions around the technical parts the Daisy Chain should be able to satisfy most mountain bikers from the novice right through to the experienced.
Cycling is such a rewarding pastime, it is great on so many different levels, it is a fabulous way to exercise without stressing your joints, it can be done at whatever pace you fancy, it can easily be fitted into your lifestyle, and of course it can be a very social activity, there’s nothing better than going for a bike ride with similar minded friends. MTB can be such fun, that it’s not surprising that more women are taking it up.
I started mountain biking in 2003 and within a couple of rides I was hooked. I am not a proper racer, but have taken part in a few mtb marathons, the occasional mtb race and the odd sportive. Mostly I just enjoy riding my bike on my own or with friends. The Daisy Chain Events are exactly the sort of event I would enjoy most, a chance to ride my bike with friends, old and new, in a beautiful part of Wales, in a fully supported environment with a medal , a cuppa and friendly welcome at the finish.
Once I’d got home from my ‘Eureka’ bike ride, my first job was to persuade John Lloyd, my partner and veteran event’s organiser that these events would be great – He didn’t take much convincing, so then we went to visit Will and George Barstow, the owners of Fforest Fields Campsite, who loved the idea. So from there it has been a whirlwind of setting dates, finding sponsors, getting a new website, sorting facebook and twitter and generally getting the event planned and publicised.
John and I have been organising mountain biking events for many years, so we know what we’re doing, but we have had a Tourism grant from Powys County Council to help get Daisy Chain off the ground.
I think that as more women get into biking, they will encourage their friends to take up biking as a pastime and it will spiral, it’s contagious. Our local women’s group is growing and growing. There is alot more media coverage of women enjoying biking and as has been said many times since last summer, the 2012 Olympics has definitely boosted women’s participation in sport.
Once we had the idea for the event, we felt it needed a memorable name, something that was obviously a women’s event but also a cycling event, after a few unsuitable suggestions from friends and family, ‘Handle-bras’ and ‘Menstrual Cycle’ being the worst, we arrived at Daisy Chain, and my talented brother, a graphic designer came up with the logo.
I expect we will learn alot this year about what is and what is not popular, so next year’s Daisy Chain events may be slightly different, it would be great to think that next year we will venture out of Mid Wales, we are already thinking about an event in the West Country!
Daisy Chain is not just a bike ride; the venue is at a 5 star campsite with quality facilities including a boating lake. There will be a large marquee with children’s activities, including a bouncy castle and face painting, so for those who wish to bring their friends and family, either for the day or the whole weekend, there will be plenty to keep them occupied.
Daisy Chain 2013, Event information
There are TWO Daisy Chain events organised for 2013, based at Fforest Fields Campsite, Hundred House, Nr Builth Wells;
At each event there will be 2 distances to choose from: 20Km and 40Km. For the less experienced riders there will be diversions around the technical tracks. The route will be fully marked, there will be refreshments available out on course and there will be medals, certificates and refreshments for all riders once they’ve finished. The emphasis is on a social event not a racing event, but don’t worry, the biking route will not be compromised.
Mountain Bike Wales will be holding skills courses and Nadine from Catering Cymru will be serving refreshments. Scott Bikes will be bringing along some demo bikes for you to trial, and there will be sports massage on hand too.
This event is not just a bike ride; the venue is at the 5 star Fforest Fields campsite, with quality facilities including a boating lake. There will be a large marquee with children’s activities, including a bouncy castle and face painting, so for those who wish to bring their friends and family, either for the day or the whole weekend, there will be plenty to keep them occupied.
Target Ovarian Cancer, Daisy Chain’s charity partner, have sponsorship packs for those of you who are interested in raising money for this worthy cause.