So my new pal and fellow Specialized Trail Crew* reject Mountain Biking Girl [UPDATE Oct. 2011: She is now a member of the Canadian Trail Crew … congrats!] was recently lamenting the lack of women in mountain biking. And she’s right. Show up to a group ride, and it will overwhelmingly be a bananarama. My theory is that the combination of few prominent female riders and too many tech-talking geeks in the shops leads to fewer women.
Let’s address the prominent female riders thing. I read the mountain bike mags, pretty much all of them. What I don’t see is quite the focus on the sport’s personalities. Consequently, it seems that there is no personality.
Contrast that with that wonderful Golden Age of mountain biking – those grand times when you replaced every stock bolt on your bike with titanium. Downhill forks had three inches of travel. Anodized purple was the order of the day. You could get a high-quality steel-framed bike at any shop. Back in those days, the sport had personalities. And some of the greatest of them sported two X chromosomes. Here are my four favorites, in no particular order cause they all freakin’ rule (there are lots of honorable mentions like Ruthy Mathis, but these are the ones that, for me, stand above the rest).