Over the past few months, upon partnering with Sport Australia, our team at AusCycling successfully delivered a One Day Women’s MTB Skill Clinic in West Australia and Victoria.
The main objective of this program was to provide our participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to engage safely and confidently in mountain biking and on an ongoing basis.
In addition to meeting the program's objectives, this skill clinic became a hub for empowering stories of women participation in our loved sport.
Starting off from the west coast!
Shiela Su was one of the many enthusiastic participants whose mojo wasn’t deflated even after a COVID-19 enforced restriction during our clinic held at Kalamunda in Perth. Apart from being the adventurous type, Sheila was a recreational rider with a hybrid bike and counted herself as a novice rider.
But the challenges of navigating a different bike on a mountain trail was the key selling factor for Sheila to dip her toes into the MTB mud. When asked about her experience during the program, Sheila was delighted and felt comfortable with how the program was structured and never felt it to be a daunting experience. The part that struck her the most was the social element and camaraderie with other female riders. For her that was quite inspirational!
Our other West Australian participant, Helen Abott, a deputy principal at a primary school and a strong member of the cycling community. Helen’s journey on the bike started when she was battling breast cancer while undergoing chemotherapy in 2011.
Through a member at her support group, Helen was introduced to a road bike charity race and took it up as an opportunity to support a cause she is fighting while also re-gaining her mental and physical strength. Helen was hooked onto anything with two wheels and started venturing into different disciplines of cycling from thereon. The women’s MTB Skill Clinic was an excellent way for Helen to dust of her mountain bike and upskill herself. The USP of the program to her was having a female instructor on the course, which made it truly a comfortable experience for our lovely ladies.
When asked about the benefits of such program, Helen said “I am 59 years old, and fitter than most of my 30-year-old staff. Such programs can really encourage you to use those basic skill and be active while getting your 30 minutes on the bike consistently.”
Off to the east coast!
In Victoria, we had the program conducted in Bairnsdale, an area affected by bush fires in early 2020. The interests and enthusiasm we got from this area was the best we have ever gotten. Our participants were so thrilled from the experience, they got themselves enrolled in the Foundation MTB Skills Instructor Course to support and help more people take up MTB within their local cycling club.
One such person was Donna who was not confident handling a mountain bike apart from the casual roll around her house. For her, the skills clinic was an opportunity not only to learn to navigate a bike, but to do that on a mountain trail and push her confidence levels.
“After participating in this clinic, I just felt like I could ride on the MTB tracks without falling off, being able to turn corners and brake properly, it made an enormous difference to my confidence level and understanding of how the bike works,” Donna said.
Being able to gain outcomes like that of Donna’s, is what we thrive towards within our organization and through our many programs. We can only hope for the stories like that of Helen to empower more girls and women to get on their bikes and try to break the many barriers that women face in sport.