LOS ANGELES, CA (BRAIN)—The idea to start a women’s mountain biking group in southern California was sparked over happy hour conversation. Good friends and avid mountain bikers Wendy Engelberg and Kim Cofield saw a need for a place for women to meet other lady cyclists.
“Kim and I were talking about the conversations we’d had with girls we ran into out on the trails,” said Engelberg. “And we always heard the same thing: ‘I have no other girls to ride with,' ‘I hate riding with my boyfriend/husband,' and ‘Why can’t I find any girls? Are there any who ride?’ So Kim and I decided to start Girlz Gone Riding to bring all the ladies together in one place.”
The first Girlz Gone Riding gathering was held in October 2011, in partnership with the Concerned Off Road Bicyclists Association. The event consisted of a day of rides and skills clinics for all abilities and swag from local shops. It drew 85 women from all over southern California, who met at Malibu Creek State Park just north of LA.
The gathering was such a success it spawned a Facebook group that has grown to more than 450 members who regularly meet up for other events throughout the year, including trips to riding destinations in the region. GGR also hosts a bike maintenance workshop series called Wenches with Wrenches that, like all GGR events, is free of charge.
Engelberg said she’s thrilled the momentum GGR has gained in Southern California. “Women now have a voice in our local community. Women are mountain biking and sticking with it,” she said. “And THAT is the most exciting part for me.”
Every GGR October event also doubles as a CORBA membership drive and fundraiser. In 2012, Engelberg had to cap the event at 100 women in order to keep it a manageable size, but ended up with a waiting list. Women who didn’t participate in the group rides and skills clinics because they were full came to hang out anyway.
The 2013 event, which GGR is calling the Rocktober 20th XC Gala, will be held this Sunday at Malibu Creek State Park. The event is capped at 150 women and will have an expanded number of vendors and retailers. Longtime GGR supporter Cycle World will be on site to assist with the rides, and a variety of demo bikes will be available from Newbury Park Bike Shop and JRA Bikes and Brews.
The Rocktober 20th event will be a CORBA fundraiser and membership drive, but will also be dedicated to former GGR and dedicated CORBA board member Danusia Tabor who passed away in May after a long battle with cancer. Bike bells with Tabor’s name on them will be sold at the event, and all proceeds will go to the Sarcoma Alliance.
Local pro rider Christine Hirst will coach free skills clinics for all levels in the morning and a gear swap will be held mid-day. Lunch is provided, and champion mountain bike racer Leigh Donovan will be there as a guest speaker.
For the full schedule of the day’s events, visit girlzgoneriding.