Californian-based helmet company Bell has launched a women's mountain biking ambassador scheme with a view to encouraging and developing the sport in new locations via burgeoning scenes across the US.
Joy Ride is Bell's name for its women's-specific products, and more widely for its efforts to increase female participation in cycling, with a focus on mountain biking.
Bell is one of the main cycling brands putting money where its mouth is when it comes to supporting women's cycling, both in terms of product development and grassroots support. The women's Joy Ride helmet collection encompasses eight products across road, mountain bike and commuter cycling, and was developed after extensive research and feedback.
Earlier in 2015, Bell announced its intention to develop a women's ambassador scheme to encourage women's mountain biking in new locations across the US. More than 200 women applied, and the company has just announced the names of the successful six who'll be taking up those roles.
These Joy Ride Ambassadors will be tasked with running monthly women's mountain bike rides in their areas, and helping develop participation and engagement. BikeRadar understands Bell may extend the scheme internationally through local distributors if this first, US rollout proves a success.
Get with the Program
The aim of the Joy Ride Ambassador Program is first and foremost to develop women's mountain biking in locations that have a burgeoning mountain biking scene. This is where the ambassadors come in, with Bell stating that reps will "help inspire and enable female mountain bikers with regular, structured, fun and social rides that appeal to all levels of riders where they can enjoy both challenge and camaraderie in a non-race-oriented environment".
It's based around the informal format that Jessica Klodnicki, Bell's executive VP and general manager of Bell, developed when she began a women's riding group in Bell's home town of Santa Cruz, California. Her Girls Rock group started small, and in the space of a couple of years has grown and developed into a regular series of rides and events that now includes skills workshops and product demos.
“I’ve cultivated a local women’s mountain bike group that has blossomed to more than 300 women, and have seen first-hand the power of women coming together to create riding communities. I can’t wait to see the enthusiasm for mountain biking that our Joy Ride ambassadors will create next year.” Klodnicki said.
“I’m thrilled to have these six ladies representing our brand and helping us bring more women in to mountain biking. They are all involved in their local communities, incredibly passionate about mountain biking and empowering women to enjoy the sport.”
The six chosen ambassadors will meet in March for a Joy Ride training camp, where they will join a Girls Rock ride and receive training into how to run events. The women will also receive the tools and equipment they'll need to support their efforts, including a digital tool kit, promotional gear and a budget.
Meet the Ambassadors
Ambassadors were chosen based on their location and experience, as Bell is keen to develop women's mountain biking in areas where there aren't already activities in place to support it. They are:
- Karina Magrath, Coeur d’Alene, ID – Recipient of a PMBI Level 1 coaching certification who has recently starting hosting local women’s rides
- Veronique Pardee, Tucson, AZ – Coaches a youth cycling program called El Grupo and started the women’s In Session riding program
- Samantha Jones , Kansas City, MO – Park Ranger and newly-elected president of the Lawrence Mountain Bike Club
- Amber Krueger, Madison, WI – Member of Revolution Cycles Cycling Club and founder of a women's mountain bike forum and bi-weekly ride in conjunction with IMBA and its local chapter, CORP
- Missy Petty, Knoxville, TN – Women’s ride leader for the Easy Rider MTB Ride with TN Valley Bikes and no-drop women's MTB rides with Harper's Bike Shop; active member of AMBC (Appalachian Mountain Bike Club)
- Kendell Ryan, Richmond, VA – Member of River City Women's Racing (RCWR), which has strong connections in the community for bike advocacy, and former member of local Team LUNA Chix
Inspired by the number of applicants who are already run women's rides and activities, Bell will also create an online map that lists these organisations and their locations, in an effort to connect existing riding groups.