Looking to try something new? Give Mountain Biking a go

Nikki Lawn started Mountain Biking Ladies Australia during COVID, with the goal of empowering and encouraging women to learn to ride on dirt. Change Our Game’s Lani Johnson sat down with Nikki to ask her all about the sport, and why she thinks it’s the perfect activity for women and girls.
If you’ve ever thought about giving mountain biking a go, read on!

L: Hey Nikki, thanks for chatting with us – can you tell us a bit about yourself and how Mountain Biking Ladies came to exist?

N: I am the founder and administrator of Mountain Biking Ladies Australia. I launched the group during COVID in 2021 with the goal of encouraging more women and marginalised genders to ride dirt, and connecting and empowering those people who are already involved. Within 3 weeks of starting the group, we had more than 1,500 female riders join. Now, a few years later, that number is more than 3,500.


L: Why is Mountain Biking a good sport for women and girls to be involved in?

N: The physical and mental benefits of Mountain Biking extend so far beyond time on the bike. It builds confidence, resilience, provides social networking and a sense of community. Over the past three years I have heard of how it has helped women overcome barriers such as isolation, mental illness and help their recovery from domestic violence. And that’s on top of the endorphin rush you get simply from being outside in nature on a bike!

L: Can you tell us about any upcoming events or initiatives you have going on with Mountain Bike Ladies Australia?

N: We’ve got a Beechworth Come & Try Day in October this year. So, if you’re new to bikes, we’ve got you - bring a mate or come on your own, ask lots of questions (trust me, there’s no silly questions) and give something new a go!

A common fear we hear from women is that they’re worried they won’t be able to keep up – our group has lots of women with a huge variety of skill and experience. There’s something for everyone, and we work hard to make sure it’s a safe space for all.

We’re also teaming up with This Girl Can and Beechworth eMTB to deliver a social e-bike hire, with one-on-one mentored rides with some of our more advanced riders. You will be paired with a buddy and ride at your level on the new Indigo trail at Beechworth.

Make sure you follow us on Instagram @mtb.ladies.australia so you know what’s coming up!

Right now, we’re also working with an amazingly talented local photographer and videographer, Sam Purdie, on our latest (and most ambitious) initiative to create a short film highlighting the mountain biking community. We want to empower women who ride dirt, share the stories of the people in our community, and encourage more girls to get on bikes.

We’re working with the Surf Coast MTB Club to promote & support local trails, clubs & businesses while also challenging some identified limitations to women's participation. These include all-female coaches, provision of childcare and active steps to welcome marginalised genders.

Our Skills Weekend will include a coached component, social rides graded to experience, some Q&A’s and mechanical sessions aimed at increasing independence amongst female riders.

L: If someone reading this is interested in giving it a go, how would they get involved in Mountain Biking?

N: Head to Mountain Biking Ladies Australia and introduce yourself! Our awesome members will point you in the direction of a local club or social ride, or you may even meet your first MTB ride buddy. Don’t be afraid of how you look, what your bike budget is, being left behind or asking any silly questions. Mountain biking is the most welcoming, inclusive sport I have encountered, and I can vouch that all our riders look to encourage those starting their adventure on dirt.

If you’d like to support Mountain Biking Ladies Australia, click here.

Wednesday 30 August 2023

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