Video: Shifting Perceptions – A new dawn for women’s MTB?

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Crankworx today presents the first episode of a new three part series looking at women in mountain biking. The press release reads:

“It’s a time in mountain bike history like no other. For years, women were outnumbered and underrepresented. Their accomplishments, understated. Through it all, they kept charging forward, pouring blood and sweat into the dirt, paving the way for a hoped-for future – a future where women would be seen as good riders, the caveat “for a girl,” eliminated.  

“Ask the men and women who’re out there today, and they’ll tell you: it’s happening.”

Kialani Hines – Fraser Britton photo
Claire Buchar – Fraser Britton photo

Take a look at magazines from the earliest days of the sport and you might wonder where it all went wrong – Chipps is a hoarder/haphazard archivist and flicking through early editions of Mountain Bike International, Mountain Flyer and Dirt Rag Magazine, there are plenty of women. They’re riding bikes, writing features, featuring in adverts, and being interviewed. Perhaps there were just so few riders that everyone got featured? Maybe in the early days we hadn’t all branched off into little niches with pockets of bro-dom. Or maybe something went wrong, somewhere. Anyway, we digress…

Whatever the cause, women are under-represented on the trails, on pro-teams, and in pay cheques. This series suggests that change is happening and looks forward to what might be to come. Here’s episode one, plus what future episodes are promising:

Episode 1: Spark to Flame

Do you have to play the game to change the game? Legends of mountain biking, Claire Buchar, Anneke Beerten and Jill Kintner, talk about where they’ve come from and where it’s all going as the sport, and women’s place in it, charges forward.

Tuesday, February 5 – Episode 2: See it to Believe it

Women of Crankworx signing – Kike Abelleira photo

Dedication, motivation and inspiration. According to some of the top women in mountain biking, these are the qualities that have pushed the best to become even better, paved the way for a new generation of all-stars, and brought female participation in the sport to a whole new level. Hear Kialani Hines, Vaea Verbeeck, Miranda Miller, and more, talk about what drives them to persevere through every peak and valley

Tuesday, February 12 – Episode 3: The Time is Now

Jill Kintner – Fraser Britton photo

Where to next? More riders are making their way to mountain bike Mecca, equipment has upped the ante, and the next generation is coming in hot. Riders at all stages of their careers, including Micayla Gatto, Jill Kintner and Valentina Höll, talk about how the game’s been changed, and their hopes for the future.

Obviously this is a series made in conjunction with Crankworx, and so it’s as much an advert for the event as it is a showcase for women’s mountain biking. But what do you think of the points made? Do you think some realities are being glossed over? Or is a bright new future on the horizon? Let us know in the comments below.

Comments (4)

    Where’s episode 2? Am i just bad at searching or has it not come up/out?

    @kamratkalass I’ve just added that link in for you now!

    I’ve been thinking loads about this, and I’ve got lots of thoughts and still working them out. (Which is the sign of great editorial content of course..). So – apologies for how long this response is!! Inherently I hate segregation of women, I have never wanted to be treated as a ‘special case’ by ‘comparison with’ a man – years ago a female colleague said we were “women in a man’s world” (at the time music journalism) and I was horrified, never realised special allowances had to be made for me ‘as a woman’ (we were just talking to people & typing it up), and never expected or wanted any such thing. More recently – as a total newbie to mountainbiking – I’d assumed what you do on/with your bike is broadly the same regardless of gender. I just find the ‘bro culture’ quite funny, but to me it is >over there> and I don’t need to be part of it or care. That’s probably naive, I now realize, having watched this video. And I do totally welcome anything that encourages more women whether in competition or in any way at all to ride bikes – parity of prize money is definitely a great thing, huge kudos for that. For me, it was definitely a wee bit scary getting on a bike at age 48 and going out the first time, but the thrill and unbelievable energy of it outweighed anything else, and I suppose I’m old enough to just not care what people think! But also guess I’m just too new to riding bikes to be aware yet that it’s seen as in any way odd for me to go out on my crappy old bike, and I’m really sad that other women find it inhibiting. I had thought of going to a women’s only training course, but went to a mixed one and loved it. We’re all beginners regardless of men/women/non-binary – just people, riding bikes, making mistakes, getting better (hopefully!!) and having an amazing time. But if that’s not for someone else that’s fair enough. I love that there’s the opportunity to do it in a female group they’re more comfortable in. It’s not for me, but anything that gets more people riding mountain bikes should be applauded, whether it’s seeing women riding + writing about it in Singletrack magazine, or competing, or on Twitter/Instagram talking about it. Just ride the bike and nothing else matters – it’s joy, freedom + happiness. Just wish I’d discovered it sooner! (Thanks Singletrack btw, you’re the reason I did).

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