West Highland Wheelers get more girls cycling!

West Highland Wheelers get more girls cycling!


In 2019, Scottish Cycling invested directly in clubs through our Active Girls Fund to increase the number of Girls taking part in regular cycling activity

The impact of the pandemic has meant that many projects have been delayed, but over the last few months as restrictions on club activity have eased, it has been great to see projects getting off the ground again and setting their sights on delivering on their ambitions.

One such club is West Highland Wheelers, who secured funding through the Active Girls Fund to train 3 new Level 2 MTB Leaders. The club recognised that young girls needed 'to see it to be it' and that by training more female Level 2 MTB Leaders they would be able to provide more female led groups. These new leaders would be seen as role models, and the club believed that they would attract and retain more girls to keep cycling with the club.

Partnership and collaboration was key, and the club engaged with their membership to understand what challenges they faced, and with the support of their Active Schools Coordinator, developed this project to ensure that girls would progress through the club and continue to encounter female role models at all stages of their cycling journey. The club also secured funding through the Lochaber Sports Association to ensure that they could support all three new leaders through the training and assessment process.

Two of the new MTB Leaders reflected on their experience:

"The majority of group leaders and helpers at the West Highland Wheelers Kid's Club have children of their own who attend. That's not me. I came to cycling very late in life and my kids are grown up. I tagged along with a group selfishly motivated by the hope that it would help me improve my own bike skills . Well it did that but I also realised that I enjoyed helping the leader of the group encouraging and supporting the kids.
I was delighted to get the opportunity, through West Highland Wheelers and with help from Scottish Cycling, to achieve the MTB Level 2 Leadership Award. I learnt a lot throughout the training and gained confidence and I am now able to lead a group of my own" - Gill Barnes 

"I was delighted to be given the opportunity to complete a MTB Leader course, it was a brilliant experience. The all female group was fab, we all had similar learning styles and the support we had for each other was great. Lovely friendships have been made and we continue to share ideas on routes and bikes as we now lead groups.
The course provider was kind, professional and full of knowledge. All the individual feed back was extremely constructive and huge improvements on weaker areas were made prior to assessment. We got lots of advice and tips from WHW members on trail side repairs which was totally amazing.
I’m now running sessions for an all girls group and its awesome, I’m looking forward to leading them round the trails and seeing them grow into confident riders" - Sue Cran-Crombie 

We are grateful to West Highland Wheelers for sharing their project and we wish them well in their ambitions to get more Girls cycling in and around Fort William.

Scottish Cycling are currently developing a new toolkit to support clubs to engage more Women and Girls in their club activities - understanding barriers, case studying different projects and sharing some best practice - watch this space for more info soon!

Are you looking to start out on your MTB Leadership journey? Did you know that we have just launched a new MTB Leadership Award?

The FUN- MBL course combines online learning with face-to-face training and assessment to give you all the skills you need to lead mountain bike rides. Though you might already be a regular on group or club rides off-road (and therefore wondering where this award fits in), there are a few important elements to the qualification that will both empower and protect you for future activity:

  • Learn leadership principles and skills from the most experienced mountain bike tutors in the country.
  • Get the most out of your route planning with a dedicated module.
  • Keep rolling with the knowledge to fix simple trailside repairs.
  • Be prepared with plans to manage accidents and emergencies – plus you’ll undergo first aid training in order to qualify.
  • Get protected with leader insurance.

The course is ideal for anyone who wants to lead groups using mixed road and off-road environments. This might include rides that are already taking place but require development and insurance, or perhaps you are looking to organise activity for your school, college, activity centre – or simply a group of friends. Your remit would be to lead on terrain that ranges from the urban fringe and gravel tracks through to open countryside, woodland and most trail centre blue routes.

You can find out more information here