Women Shred festival celebrates women in mountain biking

Pro riders, world champs and every day riders descended on the inaugural women's MTB festival in the USA

Group of happy looking women mountain bikers on a stage with a banner that says Women Shred

The recent Women Shred festival had all the magic ingredients: inspiring films with incredible mountain bikers, pro riders galore, skills sessions and miles and miles of trails to ride.

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Founded by Fien Lammertyn and her husband Kenny Belaey, a multiple Trials World Champion, the inaugural festival brought together outstanding riders from around the world to showcase films, share skills and chat with festival goers.

This included eight-times BMX and MTB World Champion Caroline Buchanan, 4X MTB World Champion Anneke Beerten, USA BMX National Champion Payton Ridenour, HopeTech Women founder Rachael Walker and ultra-endurace rider Lael Wilcox who won the TransAm bike race in 2016.

One woman mountain biker riding a trail while another woman provides coaching
The OZ Trail network in the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas, USA, provided the perfect venue

The festival took place from the 8 to 11 May in the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas, USA, and was part of the wider Bentonville Film Festival.

In addition to celebrating women’s cycling through film screenings, there was also a firm focus on inclusivity and access with women taking part in group rides, talks, bike demos and pump track sessions, plus the opportunity to sample some of the 350 miles of dirt of the OZ Trails network.

Rachael Walker from Hope Tech working on a mountain bike
As well as film screenings there were bike demos, skills sessisons and ride-outs
Women Shred Festival

Women on film

The festival showcased a number of films either by, featuring or supporting women in cycling.

This included Spark to Flame and The Time is Now by Crankworx, which tracks the progress in women’s freeride and park mountain biking, highlights what’s working and discusses where things need to head next.

Other films screened included I’m Not Stopping by Lael Wilcox, charting her progress during the Navad 1,000, a 1,000-mile unsupported mountain bike race through the Swiss Alps, and Road 2 Recovery by Caroline Buchanan, which recounts the BMX legend’s recovery from a horrific buggy accident back to racing.

Other women’s film festivals and events

Women Shred is one of a growing number of organisations looking to celebrate and raise the profile of female riders, film makers and photographers in action sports.

The Shextreme Film Festival showcases the work of women in film and photography across a wide variety of sports including mountain biking, skateboarding and snowsports. The festival has expanded into the Shextreme Alliance, a global organisation and community that offers support, coaching weekends and competitions.

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More to come

The Women Shred festival is scheduled to return to Bentonville in 2020, although the exacts dates are yet to be confirmed.