Women Mountain Biking: This Section is for Us!


To all you women mountain biking...you rock! Thank you for visiting this part of my website. Being a female mountain biker myself, I wanted to create a section just for us because we have different needs than men when it comes to mountain biking.

Many of the products out there are geared towards men because the sport has been traditionally been dominated by men. That is changing though. Every day there are more and more women mountain biking.

Women Mountain Biking Pioneers

Even though the sport of mountain biking has been dominated by men, women have been involved in mountain biking since its birth.

Wende Cragg, for example, rode in the Repack Races in Marin County on her klunker with Gary Fisher, Joe Breeze, Tom Ritchey, and other mountain biking pioneers.

Jacquie Phelan, aka Alice B. Toeclips, is perhaps the most well-known female mountain biker in history, taking the NORBA championship 3 years in a row among many other medals throughout her riding career.

Throughout history, many other women have been instrumental in the development of the sport of mountain biking, taken home medals in mountain biking competitions, and been inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.

Examples of these mountain biking women include Cindy Whitehead, Carole Bauer, Sara Ballantyne, Juliana Furtado, Kay Peterson-Cook, Susan DeMattei, Marilyn Price, and Anne-Caroline Chausson. Check out the Mountain Biking Hall of Fame website (opens new window) to see many more women mountain biking pioneers and more recent influential mountain biking women. Also, if you are ever in Crested Butte, Colorado, make sure you stop by their Mountain Biking Museum to learn more about these amazing women and their roles in the history of mountain biking. It only costs $3 to get in to the museum.

By the way, if you have not ridden in Crested Butte, it is well worth the trip. It is like Singletrack Disneyland!

Female vs. Male Body Type


As women, we generally have different shaped bodies than men and we are often smaller. This is not always the case, but in general. Because the average body type of a female differs from the average body type of a male, it usually does not work to just get a small men's mountain bike or wear small or extra small men's cycling shorts.

Some of the differences in our body types when compared to men include shorter torsos, shorter arms, wider hips, and smaller hands. Of course, this is not the case for all of us, but again this is in general.

Women's Mountain Bikes

With more women mountain biking today, many mountain bike companies recognize the differences in fit that women require and have a line of women's mountain bikes. Some of these companies have a good selection to choose from, while others are limited. Many companies do not have as many options for women as there are for men, especially as you approach higher end mountain bikes and bikes with more suspension.

For more information on mountain bikes made specifically for women and where to find them, please visit my page on Women's Mountain Bikes

Women's Mountain Bike Clothing

I used to think that women's mountain bike clothing was just different from men's bike clothing because it was smaller and came in different colors. I found out later that there are definitely more differences. For more information on choosing mountain bike clothing that fits properly and comfortably, please visit our page on Women's Mountain Bike Clothing

Training for Women

As women, we do not have as much muscle mass as the average male. This is why we may sometimes see a male mountain biker who is not very experienced plow through an obstacle on the trail that we may have difficulty clearing. It's so unfair when that happens! Improving our strength and endurance is key for getting through obstacles. One thing that has really helped me increase my strength and endurance is doing long rides involving hills on my road bike.

Other cross training during the winter months, like running and weightlifting, also help increase strength for powering through obstacles.

Balance is also important not only for clearing obstacles, but also for tight turns. Yoga and other core strengthening exercises are great for improving balance.

When I first started mountain biking, I took an all women mountain biking clinic, where I learned some great skills that I continue to use today. Check out what I learned on my Beginning Mountain Biking page.

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