BikePark Wales is offering a weekend of talks, rides, coaching and more as part of its first Women's Weekend, which takes place on 9 and 10 April, 2016.
Priced at a very reasonable £10 per day, attendees will get access to the bike park as well as to free talks, workshops and led rides, and the opportunity to peruse a wide selection of women's specific kit from brands such as Flare, Maloja and Endura specifically brought in for the event.
The event is part of a push from BikePark Wales to increase female participation in mountain biking, based on feedback from research it conducted which suggested that the percentage of women visiting the trail centre was surprisingly low. With 50% of BikePark Wales' board of founders being women, it's something the organisation is keen to address. Anna Astley, finance director, reached out online to talk to women and find out what their interests and concerns were.
"We’d been looking at women’s participation at BikePark Wales and found it was quite low, so I sent out a message on Facebook looking for ideas for things which would encourage more women into the sport," Astley told BikeRadar. "One of the things that came up was the lack of ability to get kit, and that riding here can seem intimidating. So the point of a women’s weekend is to make things more accessible."
"We want to encourage more women who are either thinking of visiting but aren't sure it's for them, or who already visit and want to get more involved, up here, to see that the trails aren't just for blokes."
The park will still be open to all-comers, men and women, with the uplift service running as usual. Additional buses will be laid on to cover the single taster uplift each Women's Weekend attendee gets with their admission. Additional uplifts can be bought pay-as-you-go.
Check out the latest women's gear
Access to decent women's kit is often cited as a barrier to women's involvement in cycling, with most shops only stocking a limited selection, and clothing sizes varying from brand to brand. This was also one of the pieces of feedback BikePark Wales received in their research, so it's arranged for a wide selection of clothing brands to attend the women's weekend, bringing with them a large selection of kit so you can try and buy on the day.
"I know from personal experience how difficult it is to get clothes. Women's sizes are different, and if you can't try things on it's difficult to know if they'll fit. I spend a lot of time buying things online then sending them back," Astley said. "I wanted to have pop-up shops to allow people to be able to buy the products they see. I think that's important, to give women the chance to see what's out there, try things on, and see what fits and suits them."
Fox, Troy Lee Designs, Endura, Flare, Maloja, Club Ride and Trail 42 will all be there with plenty of new women's mountain bike kit to try on and buy, plus accessories and shoes from Five Ten, Camelbak and Bell. You'll even be able to demo wheels from Enve.
There will also be a fleet of demo bikes on hand from Trek and Orange for those who fancy trying out a new steed. In addition to more women's specific bikes in the demo fleet, there will also be more unisex bikes in small and extra-small sizes, which are often hard to come by at demo events.
Talks, workshops, coaching and rides
If you're looking for a little inspiration and expert advice, look no further than multiple world champion Tracy Moseley who'll not only be sharing her experience and taking a Q&A session, but also leading a ride or two. It's not that often you get to follow at world champ down the hill. Moseley will be leading rides at 1.30pm on Saturday and 9.30am on Sunday, and she'll also be available from 3.30pm both afternoons if you'd like to chat to her generally, plus leading a Q&A session at 4pm on Saturday.
For those who fancy some skills coaching, Bike Park Wales will be running discounted coaching courses at £50, which includes your entry to the Women's Weekend. There will be three women-specific courses running, and booking in advance is recommend to guarantee a space.
BikePark Wales will also be running a number of led rides with local women's cycling clubs and groups, which, it's hoped, will also give participants the chance to meet other like-minded women and make connections.
There'll be a number of workshops over the course of the weekend, which are free to attend with a Women's Weekend ticket, run in conjunction with the Bike Park Wales workshop, Shimano and Mojo Suspension. Attendees can sign up for the sessions they'd like to join. These include cockpit setup, how to change and index your gears, how to change brake pads and do a brake bleed and how to set up your suspension. On the latter subject, Mojo will also be available throughout the day to dish out suspension advice.
There are only limited spaces available on the following courses, which will run on both Saturday and Sunday. You'll need to sign up 10 minutes before the course start time to join, and spaces will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
|Cockpit Workshop - Cockpit Set up - How to get the most out of your bike||10am|
|Suspension Workshop - How to set up your suspension for a lighter rider||11am|
|Gearing Workshop - How to change and index your gears||12am|
|Suspension Workshop - How to set up your suspension for a lighter rider||1pm|
|Brakes Workshop - How to change brake pads and bleed your brakes||3pm|
“Through the women’s weekend our aim is to encourage as many women as possible (young and old) to come to BikePark Wales and give mountain biking a go." said Astley. "During the weekend we plan to act as a hub to connect women who want to ride together, to connect them with brands, riders, advice and of course the trails. I can’t wait, it’s going to be an amazing weekend! We will have many of the local clubs on site who are eager to recruit new riding friends, it’s all about helping to strengthen the female riding community.”
BikePark Wales has said that if the event proves popular, it would be keen to run it again in the future.
BikePark Wales Women's Weekend
- Date: 9 and 10 April 2016
- Price: £10
- Included: Day pass to BikePark Wales, one free uplift, access to workshops, talks and rides, demo kit and free tea and cake!
Tickets can be bought in advance via the BikePark Wales events page, and although places will be available on the day, Bike Park Wales recommends booking ahead.