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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