Empowering girls through mountain biking

Payson Roundup (April 25, 2023) by Michele Nelson

Mountain biking has been a male dominated sport, but the Forest Service hopes to encourage more girls to take up the sport.

Arizona Trail Association program directors noticed that when boys and girls from this age group did a mountain biking clinic together, the girls let the boys take over the questions and hands on bike work.

Not understanding the piece of equipment that you rely on deep in the wilderness disempowers girls. GRO Girl GRO and Gear Girls aims to change that.

The Payson Ranger District, along with the Arizona Trail Association’s programs, GRO Girl GRO and Gear Girls will bring a mountain bike two-day program and camp out for Arizona girls aged 12 to 14 on the weekend of May 20 and 21 in Pine, Arizona.

The Payson Ranger District hopes local Rim Country girls will fill the camp.

The purpose of the Arizona Trail Association supported GRO girl GRO and Gear Girls programs is to “work diligently to ensure that young women are seen as capable athletes and outdoor leaders,” wrote GRO Girl GRO on their website.

Gear Girls “uses mountain biking, trail work, and snow sports to build confidence, outdoor competence, community and character in young women…to become leaders, outdoor adventurers, and trail stewards.”

These girls only programs give the girls the space to understand the equipment from maintenance to riding.

The May event hopes Rim Country girls will learn skills on bikes, take rides, camp out (or not) and “spend meaningful time together outside in beautiful Pine, Arizona”.

Space is limited, so the sooner parents sign up their daughters, the better.

The Gateway Community Girls Camp is for middle school aged girls and is run by women.

If needed, mountain bikes, helmets, hydration packs, tent and sleeping bags use can be arranged.

To read the article online, click here.