PLEASE know, I’m not speaking specifically about ECMTB. Most of the time, I personally feel very included - BUT a huge part of that is just how I’m hard wired as an individual and the fact I’m on the mtn bike board. I’m not trolling for specific ride invites (though, I’m eager to get better so @brightwhite I’m gonna take you up on your offer). Tuesdays I usually ride with my dogs so my lack of showing up isn’t because I don’t feel invited, but because I’ve got other commitments to my family/competitive training.
I think there is a place for women’s specific rides, but I don’t think that’s helpful in solving the issues the sport has with inclusion. It plays a bit as “you girls go do your womens thing over there while we ride the real stuff”.
It’s not that women are not interested in riding with dudes, we’re not interested in feeling judged if our skills are not as developed and we’re not interested in feeling like we’re holding everyone up. Little things like how you talk about a trail makes a difference. If I’m stoked for hitting a bunch of lines I’ve not hit before and “you” casually mention that the trail is boring you’ve shut down a barrier to me feeling like I’m included.
Women face a lot of barriers to sport that men don’t. You don’t need to solve them all, just make the world of mountain biking a little better for the women in your life already. That alone will recruit more women to the sport.
I think the more trail development that focuses on beginners will bring more women to mountain biking. There is a huge jump from riding rail trails or the Shubie canal to tackling lines at fight. Being able to confidently, successfully move from one trail level to another is going to help. But delegitimizing how someone enjoys their mountain bike because it’s different from the riding style you enjoy the most is a barrier to them being interested in joining “you” where you’re at.
I’m not going to crap on the shop that was douche to Matt, it was a bad employee and I highly doubt the entire store or the owner. Same way I’m not walking away from the sport because one dude was an ass last week.