When brand ambassador, Dee Hollingsbee, approached us for coffee, cake and a chat, we couldn't say no. We were even more excited to hear of her plans for a new initiative to give teenage girls a supportive and safe space to improve their riding skills. As a brand which started from being inspired by the strong women who ride the hills around the Scottish Borders, we absolutely had to be a part of getting the next generation of female cyclists into the hills. We'll let Dee tell you more...
Those of you who know me know how much I love my bike and one of the principal reasons for this is the freedom it gives me. It’s my happy place, my distraction, my way of keeping strong in my head and body.
I know how important it is for me to spend that couple of hours on a Friday morning with my biking buddies. Sometimes it’s a challenge; in fitness, confidence or just because the weather is rubbish. Sometimes its a lazy day, putting the world to rights, sharing, laughing.
It is always a blessing.
I have the good fortune to be involved with a couple of local kids cycle clubs. Again and again I see the majority of the amazing little girls who start out at 6 and 7 and 8, with such enthusiasm and passion, disappear by the time they reach high school. Sadly this is not a situation restricted to biking. We are all too aware of the drop off in girls participation in Sports during their teen years.
I would love our girls to know what I know about biking. It doesn’t have to be a race, or a challenge or to push you when you don't want to be pushed. It can just be a Vitamin D, endorphin hit in this beautiful place where we live, with pals.
So I approached the good women of FINDRA with a plan to promote a female-only ride for 13-17 year olds, and they jumped on board.
For our inaugural ride around the trails of Glentress, 11 amazing girls signed up - the highest number of riders for one of my FINDRA rides to date. Sadly my second female leader had to call off with the lurgy, so a top male friend stepped into the breach. It wasn't the nicest day but the rain held off and we got just muddy enough to make it worthwhile. We played on reds and blues for a couple of hours, with chat and laughs and encouragement all round, then back to the cafe for hot chocolate and goodie bags!
I had a message from one of the dads after the ride. He told me that his daughter said she had forgotten how much fun it was to ride with her pals. That made my day.
I had the best time girls, and I hope you did too.
Thanks to FINDRA for supporting my plan and providing goodie bags. Thanks to Scott Finnie for stepping in at the last minute to be my wingman - I couldn't have done it without you. Thanks to Caroline McKaig - your turn next. Thanks to Fall Line Cycles for fixing my bike and the home delivery.
But most of all, huge thanks to all of girls who humoured me by stepping up, signing up and showing up - Jess, Ruby T, Ruby S, Robin D, Layla W, Kirsten F, Izzy & Ness, Katie G, Erin F. and Niamh.
This is the start of something...