By Holly O’Keefe
Cycling has long been perceived as a male sport. For years, bicycles were designed for men, and women just had to learn to be somewhat uncomfortable. Group rides were dominated by men, and it wasn’t always a welcome space for women.
That has changed.
Angie Anderson, founder of Women Ride, and Megan Andersen, Liv Ambassador, are changing the face of cycling for women in Southern Utah. They are at the forefront of this culture shift by showing leadership and creating an environment in which women’s cycling can thrive.
Liv Cycling makes bicycles and riding gear for women. From the ground up, they have a team of designers and engineers who carefully craft every aspect and each angle to specifically fit the female anatomy. Not long after Liv was introduced in St. George at Rapid Cycling, Megan Andersen joined the Liv family as the Southern Utah Ambassador. “Liv is the first cycling brand completely dedicated to women. Cycling can be intimidating. As an ambassador, I am here to help welcome women into the sport and make it fun.”
And Megan has done that. She shares her passion for cycling openly. When it comes to time spent on a bicycle, triathlon is her first love. “Six years ago I crossed the finish line of my first triathlon and discovered a passionate way of how I want to live my life. This sport is not perfect, easy, or one dimensional, but rather a collage of challenges, techniques, strengths and weaknesses that meld together to form a beautiful piece of art that is unique to you,” says Andersen. She inspires those around her and encourages women to take the first step on a bicycle.
Angie Anderson shares that passion. She saw a need in St. George and started a mountain bike club for women—Women Ride. Although she dreamed and planned the club for several months before the official launch, it wasn’t until September 2017 that she hosted her first club ride. And since then, women have been showing up.
“Women Ride is a place for women to ride together, to encourage each other, to teach each other,” Anderson says. “I can go out and ride with a group of guys and learn visually, and see what they are doing, but to have a woman explain something to me that makes sense as a woman, opens up a whole new world of understanding and skill. Women also like to ride with other women because it is easy. We are social, and cycling is a social sport. It isn’t intimidating to ride with other women. It is fun to ride, stop and talk, and then start riding again.”
Southern Utah is home to world-class mountain biking. “We are lucky to have so many awesome trails so close to us. If you don’t know where the trails are, it is intimidating to go and explore on your own,” Anderson explains. Women Ride provides an opportunity for women to meet up and explore together. The club provides a network of women with similar interests to reach out to for support and company.
The network Women Ride provides is especially beneficial for women who are new to the sport. “We are another resource to go to ask questions and get feedback. Women love to talk to each other and learn from each other’s experiences. We want to get recommendations before we invest in something as important as a bicycle,” Anderson says. Women Ride club members do receive a discount at Rapid Cycling, one of the club sponsors.
Women Ride hosts weekly group rides for club members. They also host open rides for women who want to get a feel for the group. They host regular skills clinics, maintenance clinics and social events. More information is available at womenrideutah.com.
The key for women who want to ride bicycles is to jump in. You will feel better physically and mentally, and make good friends. It doesn’t get better than that.