Have you been on a mountain bike course? I love that mountain bike coaches are popping up all over the country, helping all levels of riders gain more skills. Here in Nelson we have the brilliant Wheel Woman Workshops run by Emma Bawtree. My first course with Emma was about 4 years ago and it delivered on all fronts for me. So quite simply if you haven’t been yet now is the time to tap into the knowledge that is right there for the taking. For those of us who have been before – I’ll see you out there because you’re never too good to learn something more. Enjoy reading all about Wheel Woman.
goRide Group/Organisation Profile
Get to know who is actively involved in the female riding community through our group and organisation profiles. Support those who are supporting you. Remember we are all on a riding journey regardless of whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider so be open to learning from others, discover what others are doing and be curious about whether you could too.
How long has your organisation been around and what was the drive for its beginning?
Wheel Woman is celebrating its 5th birthday. The drive is helping women gain confidence. I could see all these women struggling with something that I find easy so I knew I could help.
Can you remember your first day of “work” and describe it for us?
The first Wheel Woman course was run for a friend who got 6 women together. She really drove that beginning as she was confident with road cycling but struggled with the technical aspects of off road riding. She really wanted to be shown some skills so we put together a 2 hour course for her and her friends which flowed really well. I remember being surprised at how much I enjoy it and how natural it was for me – I didn’t stress or get nervy and its just carried on that way from that day.
How many people are involved? How big is your group/business?
It’s just me but I get a lot of local support from the Triathlon and Multisport club, Mountain Bike Club and Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park.
What is the group/business trying to achieve at the moment?
Firstly, taking a break for winter. Then in September I am doing a relaunch with more defined courses and a new website. I’ve recently attended a National Mountain Bike Coaching Course and the direction was clear – less information and more time riding during a course. The outcome of that for Wheel Woman is to add another course into what I offer so that the technical information is more spread out. I get great feedback from everyone that comes to a course so this is more about fine tuning what I offer, hoping to cover something for everyone. Of course there is private coaching sessions as well if that works better for someone. It all depends on time, money and energy… what they want to achieve.
What is the thing you like the most about what you do?
Seeing girls absolutely stoked as they ride bits of track they never thought they would.
What is your greatest success to date? What do you hope it to be in the future?
Past: Giving so many women added confidence, knowledge and skill – so they can keep up with their husbands!
Future: Wheel Woman is beginning Youth Coaching in term 4 of this year. For 10 to 15 year olds as an after school mountain biking programme. I’m really excited about doing this and where it might lead.
What do you find the hardest about what you do and why?
Working weekends is hard at times but with that said it does mean my weekdays can be more flexible.
Describe how your group/business feels about riding and what riding can do for people.
Gaining confidence in your riding skills has a big impact on other aspects of your life and just generally gives you more confidence. It’s interesting that men often don’t understand what I teach. They think you should be able to just get on a bike and ride but there is a lot more to technical riding than that – if you want to do it well and make improvements. Some of my beginners gain way more than just riding skills, its quite empowering and something I never expected when I started this. They become stronger and more confident and suddenly have an “I CAN” attitude.
Biking also gives women easy access to fitness and the outdoors. With confidence and knowledge you realise that you can just go off and do it. It gives a real mental break to your day whether you are a Mum who goes riding by herself or with her children, it’s a great release.
What is your vision for riding in NZ in 2025?
The national cycleways funding is exciting and it will be great to watch this develop. It would be great if New Zealand could become more of a Holland in our attitude to bikes as a form of transport. I’d love to see growth in all forms of cycling as a sport, so greater participation and better access for families wanting to ride.
Anything else you would like to add?
Gaining a little bit of confidence and belief in your abilities leads to better participation in riding. Wheel Women does a great job in bridging the gap between women who ride bikes in a spin class to women who safely go out and about to ride… if they feel safe it seems achieveable.
Feeling like you want to gain some confidence on your bike? Check out Wheel Woman at www.wheelwoman.co.nz Thanks for reading. Used together our stories and resources support you to achieve and develop as a rider. goRide is a shared journey, so we would like you to assist in guiding it along the way. Contact goRide. Your thoughts, comments or feedback are welcome. Thank you for being a part of the goRide way.
Thanks for reading. Used together our stories and resources support you to achieve and develop as a rider.
goRide is a shared journey, so we would like you to assist in guiding it along the way. Contact goRide. Your thoughts, comments or feedback are welcome. Thank you for being a part of the goRide way.