SHINE girl SHINE: An Introduction to Night Riding launches in Tucson

Girls celebrating on mountain bikes with the sunset behind them

Merriam-Webster defines shine as (1) to emit rays of light; (2) to be bright by reflection of light; (3) to be distinguished; (4) to perform extremely well; and (5) to have a bright glowing appearance… 

… let’s face it, it’s TOASTY in Tucson… and we anxiously await the monsoon season. As adults, we are familiar with the summer outdoor exercise routine–either you are up and at it early or you wait until evening to head out. 

As part of the newly launched GRO girl GRO (Gathering and Recreating Outdoors, girls learn to Give back, be Responsible and take Ownership) Program with the Arizona Trail Association, Coordinator Jody Bartz created SHINE girl SHINE: An introduction to night mountain bike riding in order to teach Tucson girls in 4th – 8th grades how to beat the heat (and have tons of fun)! 

The first cohort of 4 girls met at 6:30pm once each week for four weeks in June. The second cohort of 4 girls will be following the same program through July. Each week, the adventure is different: the first two weeks are spent riding at Pima County’s Fantasy Island Trails Park so that girls can get more comfortable with experiencing trails at night. The third week, the groups head out on an adventure on the Chuck Huckleberry Loop shared use path system ending up at Dairy Queen (doesn’t everyone need to know how to ride to ice cream?). For the final week, both groups ride on the Passage 8 of the Arizona Trail north from Pistol Hill Road for the ultimate night ride adventure! 

Each adventure begins with a check-in –girls are asked to reflect on where their head, heart and body “are at” before the ride. Some come “tired” … and most come “excited and ready”! At refection time end at the end of the adventure,not surprisingly, girls are happier (and hungrier) than they started! 

Overall feedback from the first cohort was incredibly positive–girls LOVED the adventures and riding at night was “peaceful, quiet, and SO FUN!” We expect the same feedback from the second cohort! Families have been so supportive – one family even brought post-ride In-N-Out for the whole group –many drop off their daughter and head out on their own trail adventures, and some have commented they’d “love to keep night riding” with their daughter! 

Without a doubt, these girls are shining–literally and figuratively! Excited to see where our future adventures take us! You can follow our GRO girl GRO and SHINE girl SHINE adventures on Instagram (@aztgrogirlgro) and Facebook (Arizona Trail Association: GRO girl GRO!)