One less visible demographic in mountain biking is the 50+ year old woman who has a desire for living in the moment, losing inhibitions, and taking new risks. An opportunity came about to join a group of friends in Sedona, Arizona for a blitzkrieg of activities over several days. Not only was mountain biking in Sedona a bucket list trip for me, but it was a chance to share in some incredible experiences with some pretty incredible women.
Were these women incredible mountain bikers? No, their skill levels ranged from beginner to intermediate. These ladies were however well established executives that in each case had demonstrated a lot of drive and ambition over 30+ year careers. Settling for a pink jeep tour in Sedona or a visit to the souvenir shop was not going to be acceptable. Pushing boundaries and attempts at riding some endorphin-pumping trails would be the goal. Mix that in with hiking, climbing and back country four wheeling and you have a recipe for “sending it” as one of them would say, all day long.
The demo of 50+ year old women in mountain biking continues to quietly grow in the metro Atlanta area as well across the country. Many women have overcome the intimidation factor of mountain biking and realize they can do it with minimal risk of injury. Women are also finding that mountain biking is safer in many cases than riding on congested roads with unfriendly motorists. The reasons are different for each mountain biker. Many women are also discovering the therapeutic benefits of mountain biking. A 2020 Outdoor Industry Survey found that 93.5% of mountain bikers find that their worries fade away when they ride and 98.6% of cyclists state that being outdoors helps them destress.
For many like me, mountain biking is the perfect fix. I get my exercise in. I get quality time with great friends and it provides relief to the anxieties associated with the daily grind. A ride in the woods or on beside a quiet stream, or atop a butte or two provides many of us with a priceless moment. It was a challenging year for many in 2020 and the demand for greenspace and trails was at an all time high in metro Atlanta. There’s never been a time when trail advocacy and development is more important than now. Trails are providing a safe place for not only 50+ year old women but users of every type.
Part of MTB Atlanta’s mission is to build trails for all users, from a 6 year old just learning to ride, to a well seasoned mountain biker with expert skills. Our mission includes 50+ year old women who desire something more. We receive many questions regarding the trails we build and why we build them the way we do. There is something for every user in MTB Atlanta’s portfolio of trails from rugged technical trails, back country trails and more forgiving flow trails.
At the trip’s end, had there been some falls? Yes. Had there been some anxiety over the boundary stretching exercises? For sure. Euphoria is a strong word. Was there multiple moments of euphoric feeling on this trip. I believe so and I can’t wait for the next trip.