Last night saw the first of Hopetech’s ‘Hopetechwomen’ Tuesday night rides, which took place at Gisburn Forest Trails. Organised by Brand Manager Rachael Walker, the ride was aimed at women of all abilities with an interest in mountain biking. Free to attend, with the opportunity to ride some lush bikes all pimped up with Hope gear, this first ride drew in excess of 30 riders, with more already showing interest in the next ride.
There were really only two common factors among the riders: they were all women; and they all wanted to ride bikes. Beyond that, there was a real mix of backgrounds. Some were experienced enduro racers, while some had a canal bashing hybrid at home and were venturing onto the trails for the first time. To be able to ride a bike such as a Juliana or a Santa Cruz for your first mountain bike ride must be a real treat! Others were local Gisburn regulars, while some had travelled from as far afield as Liverpool and Warrington. Some rode regularly with their partners, but this was their first ride without them.
No matter what their background, there was a route and a group to suit. No one was left behind, there were chances to try out sections not previously ridden, and encouragement to do so. Fire roads between singletrack sections provided chance to chat and compare notes. Which shoes did you prefer? Had you found some waterproof shorts that worked? Which manufacturers produce the nicest kit? To this question, there seemed to be a lot of agreement that Hope components were definitely something to be lusted after. There was some outrage when it was discovered that one woman’s partner had bought her some Hope brakes, only for them to be mysteriously fitted to his bike.
The ride finished up with the traditional eating of cake, and as the groups came back together it gave everyone a chance to compare notes. Test bikes were somewhat reluctantly handed back, and while not everyone was in the market for a whole new bike, a few people commented that there were features that they’d now be looking to upgrade. Perhaps the industry needs to pay more attention to this market opportunity – test rides aimed at demonstrating the upgrades that can improve your existing bike? With women more likely to be in part time employment than men, and lower incomes to match (and let’s not even get into the gender pay gap), for many women upgrades are likely to be more realistic than n+1 bike shopping.
Perhaps Hope has already clocked this market opportunity, as this ride was part of an ongoing push by the Barnoldswick manufacturer to reach out into the women’s market. They have also recently set up specific @Hoptechwomen Twitter and Instagram accounts, and these are worth a follow if you’re interested in keeping up to date with future events. Of last night’s event, Rachel said:
‘We were quite humbled by the number of women that turned up for the first Hopetech Women’s ride last night, we never anticipated the rides would be so popular. What was particularly great to see was the complete mix in ability across the ladies – everyone could learn from or help another rider. If we at Hope can help women find more confidence and enjoyment in riding bikes, then it’s a job well done!’.
If you want to ride a top spec bike, meet some other women riders, or break out of your usual ride routine, further dates for Hopetechwomen Tuesdays are as follows: