Husqvarna Womens Trailride 2019
CREATE THE SPACE AND WOMEN WILL FILL IT
130 women on bikes! Having fun, supporting one another, encouraging each other to get out on the trails and have a go at what scared them. Mums and daughters, sisters, friends from way back, freshly made pals, camping neighbours and ‘Ice Cream Relay’ team mates, all out on a mix of trail, motocross and some grass track goodness. All this excitement happened on a sunny June weekend at Conondale, Queensland, at the inaugural Husqvarna Womens Trailride. And boy (or should I say, girl!) what a good time it was. The Sunshine Coast Motorcycle Club is an amazing club with one of the best properties in Australia, with a tonne of members, but here were over one hundred non-members previously unknown to the club. But once invited… they came!
I set out a few years ago to create a ‘womens dirtbiking community’ and it is happening! I didn’t get to interact with as many ladies as I would have liked too (turns out, there is a bit to running a trailride) but the conversations I had with ladies was inspiring. My events are not about ‘not riding with boys’, they are merely about giving a place to women in this formerly male sport and hobby. I’ve come to realise that in order to give ladies the confidence to attend events open to all, we need to provide a welcoming starting place.
The predominant feedback was “everyone was nice… and patient!” The ladies only environment is one of no hooning. No-one passing you, coming super close, and making you feel like you should probably just head back to the pits. No-one is assuming a level of confidence (or reciprocated aggression) that just isn’t there… yet.
Don’t get me wrong. Not all ladies are put off by all that, and not all boys are hoons, either intentionally or unintentionally, but from the Husqvarna Trailrides response… it made a real difference to the numbers that entered, and the time had by the ladies at the event. More than a ‘male free’ environment, it was an ‘intimidation free’ one.
The only reason that more men ride offroad (and bikes in general) is because… that is how it has been. There is no other legitimate reason, except ‘old habits die hard’! I have spent the last 15 years travelling around Australia and the world with motorcycles giving me goals, wins, losses, freedom, adventure, fitness, friends, achievements and seriously fun times, and I could not be happier to spread the love and give other ladies the opportunity to feel the excitement and accomplishment of riding a cool mx track or some wicked trail, and trying new bikes, thanks to Husqvarna!
Now comes the thankyous! Thank you to all the ladies who supported me, by entering my first ever trailride. I could put in an infinite amount of effort, but if you ladies and girls didn’t show up, there would be no event! And even more importantly, you got out there, rode some pretty technical and tough tracks, made friends and had smiles on your dials – I got you to Green Park but you created the community.
Also, an incredibly large thank you to the Sunshine Coast Motorcycle Club and all the event sponsors, especially Husqvarna, MXstore and MPE Suspension. They are smart and kind and are opening their eyes to the ‘female market’. They are supporting me, and in turn all you ladies. THANK YOU!
There is a real change in the industry as a whole. I have been running lady only coaching weekends, the Fox Womens Offroad Camp Outs, for five years, I’ve begun a lady only motocross funday, the Fox Womens Ride Days and we’ve got a group of ladies riding from Cairns to Cape York in September. There have been a few ladies only rides in the Victorian High Country, Jess Gardiner and Kristie McKinnon have been running some ladies only coaching events and there are some ladies only motocross races such as ‘Go Girls’ and the ‘Women on Wheels’ Series. We need these ladies only spaces to push the growth. At some point they will not be needed, but for now, the more the merrier. So, if you are in a position to create a space for ladies at your club or event, do it! Give it a good chance, invite and welcome the ladies and see your new members learn and grow and your event expand and diversify.
And of course, keep an eye out for our 2020 Husqvarna Womens Trailride, same time of year, same place, bigger and better.
(And more photos and a video to come.)