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She Rides Penticton - from fearless leader Louise Blais

mb52016 was certainly a big year for She Rides Penticton! We saw a large increase in the number of riders as well as in the number of coaches. After winning the ProMotion Plus Leadership award in the winter and the resulting press that She Rides received, we expected some new faces but were still surprised when 38 women showed up for our first ride in May. It was amazing to see our awesome group of kickass women take up almost a kilometre on Eastside Road. This year we had 6 new coaches join us to bring us up to 9 in total. Our coaches are women that started as brand new riders two or three years ago and grew to love the sport and our group enough to want to give back. This year we also hosted a Level 1 NCCP coaching certification and all of our coaches are now certified Community Initiation Level Cycling coaches!

Thankfully, we had a strong coaching staff as I suffered a serious concussion and fractured hand in a road race at the end of May and was unable to ride my bike at all for 2 months. During that time I would organize the rides and our amazing coaches would lead them! I truly could not have kept She Rides running this year if not for them!

We conducted a survey at the end of the season and learned that 42% of riders this year were complete novices when they started the season and that 65% came out at least 2-3x/month. Most importantly though…64% now feel comfortable enough to continue to ride their bike on their own. Mission accomplished.

So, what’s next? During the winter I will continue to offer our She Rides Strong program which includes cycling specific resistance training to encourage the women to get even stronger on their bikes. As well, this next summer I will also continue to offer a small program I started this past year called She Rides Strong[er]. This is a training focused group that wants to improve their cycling performance and therefore, doesn’t mind enduring hill repeats, intervals and high intensity efforts to do so. In 2017, we will also officially launch She Rides Dirty. After getting certified this past spring as a Mountain Bike Instructor through PMBI, I am ready to take these amazing women off road and onto singletrack…where my true passion for cycling lies. I seriously can’t wait.

She Rides Penticton is a volunteer run program through the Penticton and Area Cycling Association and as such relies on support from the community to keep it strong. I am grateful to receive that support from Swagman Racks and our local bike shop, The Bike Barn. Getting more women on bikes takes a village and I thank you Swagman for being part of our tribe!

Read more about Louise here.