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About the Gold Coast She Rides Mountain Bike Programs

Updated: May 26, 2020

Gwyn expertly performing a well practiced Manual Wheel Lift. What makes this even more impressive is that she's doing it with all the weight of an e-bike to get off the ground.

It's that time of the year when Cycling Australia's She Rides programs begin to kick off around the country. For those of you that are new to Mountain Bike Riding or are unaware of the She Rides program, it's an initiative is coordinated by Cycling Australia to get more women involved in cycling, both on and off the road. The program is all about providing a way for women to learn key riding skills, improve their fitness and provide opportunities to meet and ride with other like minded women in a fun, safe and social environment.

The first session of the She Rides Confidence group on the Gold Coast taken last year. It was a privilege to watch them progress and grow as riders.

You can learn more about Cycling Australia's specific goals by heading over to their She Rides Website. The great thing about the She Rides programs is that all of the coaches that are involved are required to develop structured skills programs that have to be approved by Cycling Australia. And given that each program is six to eight weeks long, you can rest assured that there has been some serious thought given to each program run by a She Rides coach.

Alyssa on her original mountain bike learning how to stop properly and safely.

Beyond the shared goals of what is required by Cycling Australia in delivering the She Rides programs, it's important to note that there are going to be differences between what are taught from region to region. The type of trails and terrain, the skills and style of the coach running the program and even the group of women that come together will all have an influence on what is specifically taught on a She Rides program. Just because you've completed a She Rides Confidence program in one region it still pays to check and make sure you'll be comfortable in another region's Together program.

Natalie negotiating a descending switch back on a "Green" trail at the Nerang Mountain Bike park on the Gold Coast.

What one mountain bike park classifies as an easy "Green" trail may be completely different to another region. And although Georgia, the She Rides program coordinator, knows us all pretty well and can answer most of your questions, for those of you on or near the Gold Coast I thought it might be helpful if you could see how some of last year's women progressed through the Confidence and Together programs.

Silda was so new to mountain bike riding when she joined the She Rides Confidence program that she didn't even own a mountain bike. It only took her a few weeks to fall in love with riding and get her own bike.

Like the other programs around Australia the Gold Coast's She Rides program is specifically designed for women who have limited to no off-road riding experience. It doesn't matter if you've got the latest and greatest e-bike or something that dates back from the previous century - the Confidence program starts from the very base level and is all about giving you the skills to ride safely and confidently irrespective of the bike that you're on (that assumes that you have a bike that's in good working condition, but you get taught how to check that during the course as well!)

I don't think Maree ever really considered herself to be the fittest or strongest rider, but at the end of the Together program she completed a 20km ride in the heat of summer - no easy feat!

Another important aspect of the She Rides Confidence program is helping to improve your fitness. During the course of the program you're introduced to trails that increase in distance and technical difficulty to match your fitness levels and help you progress, while giving your the opportunity to challenge yourself.

Anita getting the hang of lifting her front wheel properly using her body weight during the late weeks of the She Rides Confidence course.

As your basic riding skills, confidence and fitness increase you'll become introduced to some core technical riding skills. While it all looks like a bit of fun, learning these technical skills can really help you enjoy riding out on the trails a whole lot more by giving you the ability to negotiate trail features and obstacles without having to get off your bike.

The last class of the Autumn She Rides Confidence course for 2019 - a very different group of riders to the women that first started.

There is of course the social aspect of the She Rides programs. Forming friendships and having people to continue to ride with are all part of the fun and enjoyment of riding - both on and off road.

Maree learning to ride down stairs on the She Rides Together program. For the Spring She Rides program, this was also tackled in the Confidence program because some of the women were learning so quickly.

You'll find that there is some flexibility during the course programs. Just because there might be a curriculum, it doesn't mean we won't adjust it to suit the group. If a group is learning at a different speed to the original curriculum, it can be adjusted to make sure everyone gets the most out of a course while having as much fun as possible.

Anita learning to become comfortable with some of the rocks Nerang is so famous for.

The She Rides Together program on the Gold Coast takes learning of new skills up a notch. Because of the technical nature of Nerang's blue trails, it's important and necessary to learn the techniques to handles these challenges to continue riding confidently and safely. These are skills that generally require some repeition to become habit so like the Confidence program, the Together program's curriciulum is flexible depending on the needs of the group.

Shannon confidently handling a small drop on the Together course.

Things such as drops, roots and rock gardens are common place amongst Nerang's blue trails. Learning the techniques to handles these types of features not only helps you enjoy the ride more, it also helps give you the confidence to explore some of Nerang's out trails, providing you with more variety and the challenge of extending your fitness.

Alyssa learning how to tackle a more challenging feature out on the trails.

While Nerang's trails offer an abundance of challenges, the great thing about the She Rides groups is that you never feel under pressure to attempt a feature that you dont feel confident about. When it comes to riding the trails, staying safe is the most important thing. Still, it's always fun to challenge yourself to see what you can really do!

How could you not grin as you ride over one of the bigger log roll overs on the trails?

The last ride of the She Rides Together program is a trip out the back to one of Nerang's outer trails. This is the challenge session of the ride, tackling a 15 to 20km ride and attempting some new features. This particular ride tends to be an extended session and is a great way of bringing your skills and testing your fitness to see what you can really do at the end of the She Rides programs.

Elena tackling the rock drop on the Comm Games Jump Track

Completing the She Rides programs should give you the skills necessary to handle most of the blue trails in Nerang. Still, from last year a few women went onto challenging themselves a bit more and completed some extended skills training. Gaining the confidence to pursue more advanced skills to see what you can really achieve on a bike is part of what the She Rides program is all about.

Leah went onto finish the Flow series of skills development programs.

So are there any reasons why you shouldn't join the She Rides programs? Well, the biggest reason not to join is the long commitment. Eight weekends can be a big commitment for some people and even though the She Rides programs represent great value, not attending a few sessions may mean that you miss out learning some key skills that might make the next class a bit more challenging. But really, that's the only reason that you might not want to join the She Rides Confidence or Together programs.

Hopefully that gives those of you that are interested a bit of an insight on the sort of journey you'll find yourself on as part of the She

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