I can’t think of a better way to spend a girl’s weekend this winter than shredding the gnar with a bunch of rad gals at the 4th-annual Women’s Weekend at Joyride 150. On Saturday, January 31st and Sunday, February 1st, the indoor bike park was open exclusively to female riders from 8:00am to noon.
Joyride 150 is Eastern Canada’s biggest indoor bike park with more than 100,000 square feet of pure fun, featuring skinnies, jumps, pumptracks, ramps, an XC loop, foam pit, street park, and so much more. It’s a great place to sharpen your bike skills, practice your jump lines, and just play on your bike. BMX, dirt jumper or mountain bike, you can ride it all (except skinny tires: roadies are welcome, but leave the road bike at home). It’s the perfect place to escape to when the weather is dreary and the trainer doesn’t get you overly excited to ride. But it’s pretty freakin’ awesome all year round regardless how gorgeous it is outside. Heck, August is actually their busiest month!
Since 2011, Joyride has held a Women’s Weekend on the first weekend of February, offering skills clinics, prizes, tons of swag, discounted admission and bike rentals, lunch, and lots of female camaraderie. Women come from all over the province as well as the US. The range in ages has been from 8 to 69, from all different levels and styles of riders.
Co-owner Leslie Summers was thrilled with the turnout of the event, which is now in it’s fourth year. “We have grown from 80 participants the first year to 173 women this past weekend. We were very fortunate to have the special services of 32 coaches sharing their knowledge and volunteering, as well as a massage therapist, chiropractors, a bike fit specialist and a coach who gave a talk on women-specific cycling issues. Participants got a t-shirt, lunch, a grab bag and a chance to win some very sweet prizes.”
The beauty of the weekend is that there are so many options and skills areas to check out. Every half hour, there is a skills clinic at each of the areas where instructors will provide demonstrations, show proper technique, and guide you as you practice. You can hit up any station in any order, or you can just ride and shred as you like. You can jump around and check out all the skills clinics or if you want to just master and session one area, you are welcome to stick to that as well. After lunch, there are Open Clinics where instructors are available at each of the stations to offer guidance and feedback.
BMX bikes, dirt jumpers, helmets, and body armor are all available to rent at a discount for participants. But you can also bring your own bike. Flat pedals are recommended.
Here are just some of the clinics that are offered:
Learn to Joyride – Beginners’ area with smaller features to learn positioning and build confidence on a small pump track and skinnies.
Pumptrack – Learn proper technique to riding a pumptrack and manualling, which will give you a good full body workout without pedaling!
XC Loop – Learn to tackle obstacles, logovers, cornering, and rock gardens.
Skinnies – Swallow that fear of riding skinnies and learn the tips on keeping that line.
Jump Lines – Master that jump and gain some style points! Various jump lines are available from beginner to expert. I spend most of my time here sessioning over and over on the intermediate jump line. It’s so much fun catching air!
Foam Pit – Ever wanted to soar on your bike (on purpose) without any consequence? Here, you can really catch some air and practice your bar twists with a nice cush landing.
Vert Park & Street Plaza – Hit the street part and learn how to ride street style. Drop ins and 180s will be your new trick.
Bunny Hops – Grace will be your middle name once you learn the art of bunny hopping.
Although the park opens to the public after noon, the place is still overrun with ponytails for the majority of the day. Girls love it because for once the ratio of male to female is pretty much on par at a bike park. Guys love it because, well, there are more girls than they can count on one hand at a bike park.
The Women’s Weekend is an all-inclusive environment with riders of all levels from absolute beginners to seasoned pros. It’s so cool to see the progression and confidence that builds throughout the morning as women ride with more self-assurance, tackle obstacles that they haven’t done before, and to see so many rad girls just ripping it up. Guaranteed you will leave with a big smile, new friends, sweet swag and sharpened skills. Check out http://www.joyride150.com/ww/ for next year’s details.
Linda Shin started mountain biking in 2008, and has since fallen in love with the beauty and tranquility of ripping around on the trails. Now she participates in the US National Ultra Endurance Series and has been a top contender in recent years. When she’s not riding, Linda works as an event producer in Toronto and volunteers as a Nordic Ski Patroller and Bike Patroller at Horseshoe Valley Resort and Hardwood Ski & Bikes, among other things.