Video: Flying Squirrels and Radical Rippers

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If the feature in Singletrack Magazine issue 133 didn’t already make you want to move to Bellingham, the story of the Flying Squirrels and Radical Rippers might just seal the deal.

The Flying Squirrels is an entry level programme to get girls into mountain biking, and the Radical Rippers is for progression towards racing and higher level riding. ‘Lessons’ include skids and wheelies – riding more playfully. If that doesn’t sound amazing and make you wish you were young again (and a girl!) then maybe you need to take up hill climbing.

Transition Co-founder, Kari Young, started the Flying Squirrels to complement all the afterschool ride programs in Bellingham, WA and create a space for girls to ride together. The Flying Squirrels is a volunteer-led after-school ride program for girls through the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition (WMBC). These girls are learning how to ride in groups, navigate the mountain, and find other girls their age who ride.

After a few years and heaps of success and momentum the need for a “next step” arose. Kari reached out to Angi Weston, owner of Radical Roots MTB Instruction, to collaborate on making it a reality. So in 2019, the Radical Rippers program was started and offers professional coaching and group rides for girls ready for the next level of progression and instruction.

With almost 60 girls in the Flying Squirrels club and 40 girls in the Radical Rippers program – there are girls of all ages, interests, and wheel sizes given opportunities to ride and have fun together.

Any parent can appreciate the sentiment and value spoken of in the video, where young people are able to be themselves, find a community, and find their confidence. Is it a bit dusty in here?

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Comments (7)

    Just the opening scene with the sounds of the girls havig fun tells you how worthwhile this is. Top stuff.

    Perfect antidote to the current climate! 🙂

    i was at Montana Mountain, yt in the summer. it is a shuttlable riding are with some very good trails.

    while i was stopped scoping a tricky section of woodwork up a rock leading to a blind skinny down the other side. a girl of about 8 came bounding down the trail and rode it as if it weren’t terrifying. she was then followed by her friends.

    when they stopped to regroup i commended them on their riding. they replied with a cheerful “thank you” and bombed off to the next black diamond feature.

    the guy i was with commented that he hoped that his son would be able to ride like that. my aspirations were more personal.

    it’s great to see kids out having fun on bikes. on the same trail at the same time were local rippers, shop rats, tourists, couples, odd ball groups and at least one tubby middle-aged man.

    what strikes me most about that riding area is the community atmosphere and the total lack of pretension. mums and dads shuttling kids, fast riders accommodating the slow and everyone happy and friendly.

    i live in a small town so such an atmosphere is easily fostered, but being in it together from a young age must be a great contributor to getting girls, and subsequently women, interested in mountain biking.

    the trails Montana Mountain also has an interesting backstory for inclusiveness in themselves.

    Superb, great to see stories like this, very heart warming. I will be showing it to my seven year old MTB daughter tomorrow 🙂

    This is quite frankly so bleeding cool. Good on all those who got this up and running but more so for the kids for stepping up. Cycling needs more of this.

    So cool, my daughter’s 6 but keen as mustard, really hoping to keep this going by finding other girls for her to ride with, I feel that aspect is essential if you want it to stick long term.

    My daughter is 7, will show her tomorrow! Does anyone know of good videos to encourage kids? Thinking more flowing natural stuff rather than big jumps? Can find short clips but want to find some longer stuff. Cheers

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