Vail Valley’s first women’s cycling club gets underway
AVON — You may be seeing a new group of riders on the roads and trails of Eagle County this summer, and if they’re wearing their brightly-colored, eye-catching kits, you definitely won’t miss them.
They’re the Vail Valley Vixens, and organizers of the new all-women cycling club hope it will attract lady cyclists of all ages and levels. A number of area businesses and cycling brands are supporting the group as well, hosting events, offering discounted products or connecting women with training services.
“It’s a cycling club for all women, whether you ride mountain bikes, road bikes or a cruiser. It’s not a racing club — the goal is to connect women on bikes and enhance our cycling community,” said board member Nadine Davis, a local rider and ambassador for Liv/Giant.
The club kicked off with a packed launch party on Thursday at Northside Coffee & Kitchen in Avon, where women got in line to sign up for the club and organizers unveiled the Vail Valley Vixens jersey, an eye-catching pink, blue, green and purple striped ensemble that is unabashedly girly.
Rides, shop talk, parties and more
Davis said the idea for a women’s club started after she saw how much local women wanted to ride and learn together. Several events that were held last summer, including a Leadville Loop ladies ride and free shop-talk clinics at Venture Sports, were so well attended that Davis figured there was demand for a more organized club.
“Women are definitely riding bikes here, but there are obstacles,” she said. “Maybe they can’t find other women to ride with. Maybe they feel like they don’t have the knowledge and education to go out there on their own. We want to empower them to get out there with confidence. Also, women like to be social when they ride, so this is a great way to connect them.”
All women are invited to attend the Vixens group ride, but a $30 annual membership gives women access to pro deals and special events. Shop talks will cover topics such as yoga for cyclists, coaching and proper bike fit. Members will also enjoy social events throughout the year hosted by sponsors such as 10th Mountain Whiskey and Spirit Co. and Crazy Mountain Brewery. Green Elephant Juicery in Avon is one of the sponsors of the club and will offer a free juice on weekends to any member who posts a photo of their ride on social media using the hashtag #VailValleyVixens. In addition, proceeds from the club will also go toward helping the younger generation of female cyclists through The Cycle Effect, the official nonprofit supported by the Vixens.
Judging from the launch party turnout, Davis was right about the demand for women’s cycling.
Edwards resident Beth Pantzer said she used to road bike with a group in Greeley before she moved to the valley and is looking forward to meeting local riders.
“I love road biking, and groups are a great form of motivation, so this seemed like a great opportunity,” she said. “I’m excited to meet people, and when I signed up, I even clicked the box that said I’d like to learn to mountain bike.”
Kristine Rossier said she joined the club to meet fellow riders. Cycling groups can often be male-dominated, and it’s nice to have some other women in the mix, she said, describing her relief when she saw another woman in her otherwise all-male cycling class.
“I really enjoy the social aspect of an all-girls ride, too,” she added. “That’s a big draw for me.”
Ride like a girl
Lauren Williams, with Outdoor Divas, an outdoor gear and clothing retailer, said she was impressed at the response to the Vail Valley Vixens. The mass interest in a ladies-only club shows that the old adage of “shrink it and pink it” no longer applies to the way people think about women’s sports, she said.
“Now women know that women’s specific gear actually means something that fits them better,” she said.
She added that women often relate better to other women when it comes to sports, whether it’s having a female professional fit your skis and boots or riding with a group of women.
“There are many problems that guys just don’t get, or maybe you’re embarrassed to say something about it,” Williams said. “Something about interacting with other women allows you to be more honest.”
Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.