Girls and mountain bikes: an empowering combination

By Michele Nelson ~ Payson Roundup


“What’s the worst thing that could happen?”

That’s the question Jody Bartz put to Gabby, a middle school-aged girl attending the Gateway Community Girls Mountain Biking Camp in Pine the weekend of May 20-21.

The two locked eyes over the front tire and handlebars of a mountain bike, Gabby in the saddle, Bartz gripping the wheel. It was Gabby’s first go on this piece of equipment, and she was nervous.

“I fall.”

“Then what happens?”

“I hurt my arm.”

“Do you trust me?” asked Bartz.

Gabby nodded.

Bartz then put Gabby through a series of moves from a standstill, each designed to make Gabby aware of her proprioception nervous system – the one that helps us move in the world and to anticipate the next step and automatically adjust.

Bartz tilted the bike. Gabby immediately put her foot to the ground, surprising herself.

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