Mountain bike festival for women only, a real need?

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Mountain bike festival for women only, a real need?

Karen Stark has been passionate about mountain biking for over twenty years.

Women can now register for the first-ever Women's Mountain Bike Festival to be held in Squamish, British Columbia in May 2023. This sport, which historically attracts more men than women, is now branching out . But why is it necessary to organize a festival for women only? Answer tracks with one of the organizers.

Ride Lab Festival will offer three days of guided adventures on the trails of Squamish for people who identify as women only.

The participants will be gathered in a campsite where there will be discussions, workshops and demonstrations. The organizers, originally from North Vancouver, want to attract beginners, as well as experienced enthusiasts.

According to organizer Karen Stark, the main purpose of the Ride Lab festival is to have fun.

One of the founders, Karen Stark, wanted to offer an opportunity for women to come into contact with each other and find each other in a comfortable atmosphere. It's mostly for fun, she says point-blank.

“We created this festival for women who might be intimidated to cycle with men.

— Karen Stark, Ride Lab Festival Organizer

The mountain biking enthusiast explains that she and her friends have never felt intimidated by their male counterparts, but that a growing number of women are learning the sport and are sometimes a little impressed. She is delighted to see more and more women on the trails.

The #metoo movement, which has brought many cases of sexual harassment to light, has created safe spaces for women who may have had bad experiences with men. Was Ride Lab created with this in mind? Not really, no. The idea is simply to have a great three-day festival, so that they have fun and feel comfortable, says Karen Stark.

Annie Roy is very involved in racing and mountain biking in Squamish.

Annie Roy, a huge Squamish mountain biking enthusiast for many years, likes the idea of ​​an all-female festival. I'm a bike coach, and then I really like teaching women in general, she explains.

Often, women feel much less intimidated among themselves to try things, to take their time, noted the trainer. She has even noticed that sometimes men tend to want to show off their prowess and sometimes even try a bit too advanced acrobatics on a bike.

Annie Roy, who is involved in the community of bike from Squamish, does not know the organizers of the festival, but she understands why her community was chosen as the destination. It's really a good place to do bike camps because there is really everything , she says. She was not approached to give workshops during the festival, but if she was, she would gladly accept, she says.

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