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Inaugural Roam Bike Fest brings together female riders, brands and retailers

Published October 30, 2017

SEDONA, Ariz. (BRAIN) — Well over 100 women from all corners of the country and Canada gathered in this red rock mountain biking mecca for the first-annual Roam Bike Fest. The three-day event, which took place at Red Agave Resort in the Village of Oak Creek, just south of Sedona, was conceived and hosted by Roam Events, a company that also hosts women's mountain biking retreats and collaborates with Seattle's Sturdy Bitch race team to put on the Sturdy Dirty all-women's enduro race series.

Roam Events founder Ash Bocast said that while she didn't set out to create the first multi-day women's mountain bike festival in the U.S., Roam Bike Fest is the first of its kind.

"It's not focused solely on racing or clinics — it's about bringing together a bunch of brands to interact with female consumers in a welcoming environment," said Bocast, who previously worked as a retail trainer and event coordinator for Liv Cycling and guided bike trips for Backroads. "I really wanted to provide an opportunity for consumers to really spend time with a brand and get to know and really interact with their products."

Several brands sponsored Roam Bike Fest, including Pivot, Specialized, Yeti Cycles, Liv Cycling, Juliana, Shredly, Zoic and SRAM. Besides riding the Slim Shady trail right from the Red Agave resort, women could opt for a shuttle to other area trails, provided by Hermosa Tours. Specialized hosted group rides, and a number of clinics were offered by Liv, Yeti, SRAM and others. On Saturday evening, an Industry Influencers panel, co-hosted by Camber Outdoors, was held at the venue. Seven women from differing backgrounds shared with festival attendees how they got into the industry, insights into their roles at various brands, and tips and tricks to help more women find a career in the bike and outdoor industries. The panel included Shredly founder Ashley Rankin, SRAM women's program coordinator Sara Jarell, Liv Cycling marketing manager Jen Audia, Specialized USA women's category manager Victoria Hunt, Lauria Tewksbury, COO of the Outdoor Women's Alliance, Yeti Cycles and Vida MTB series' Sarah Rawley, and Pivot marketing managerCarla McCord.

Brand ambassadors, including several from Bell's Joyride program, were also on-site assisting with demos and group rides.

"We have four ambassadors here and we're demoing helmets. We kind of used it as a hub to meet up, interact with other brands we partner with, as well as all of the ladies here at the festival," said Kristin Michal, senior brand manager at Bell. "It's so amazing to see more events like this just for women. We know there is momentum and the movement is growing, and it's neat to see."

Bocast said all the bike shops in Sedona, including Over the Edge, Absolute Bikes, Sedona Bike and Bean and Trailsport, also supported Roam Bike Fest.

"We want to support these local bike shops. They've been so insanely supportive of us, helping us navigate permits and put out fires," she said. "They're all involved in the event in some way."

Bocast and her team at Roam Events announced they will hold a Roam Bike Fest at Reeb Ranch in Brevard, North Carolina, from May 11-13, 2018, and that the event will also return to Sedona the last weekend in October next year.

Look for more about Roam Bike Fest in the December 1 issue of Bicycle Retailer.


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