Impact 2019: Little Bellas + SRAM MTB Mamas = success
Earlier this year 9-year-old Maeve’s mom, Caoimhe, was given the chance to “level the playing field” and challenge herself on the same turf as her daughter. Caoimhe was invited to participate in SRAM MTB Mamas, a free, first-of-its-kind, half-day mountain bike clinic that took place in both Philadelphia, Pa. and Knoxville, Tenn. The clinics were a collaboration between Little Bellas and the SRAM Women’s Program, which provided instruction and support.
The idea for this type of clinic didn’t come from within Little Bellas, but rather from a unique challenge that emerged as Little Bellas progressed through the program.
The problem was that…
As the Little Bellas were evolving their skills and confidence, they were looking to ride with their families because they wanted to practice what they’d learned. Moms asked for a program of their own so that they could keep up with the girls.
The solution was to…
This led to a partnership between Little Bellas and the SRAM Women’s Program to create SRAM MTB Mamas. The clinic focused on getting moms out on bikes in the same way that Little Bellas did with their daughters. SRAM MTB Mamas was conceived as a program exclusively for moms but based on the Little Bellas curriculum. The clinic was open to anyone who was interested. The first MTB Mamas was held in Philadelphia at the end of May with 20 participants. The second one took place in Knoxville at the end of September. 20 was the maximum number of participants for each clinic.
Caoimhe Beil, Philadelphia MTB Mama
I'm the type of person that just jumps in on a lot of stuff, which is good but I never really learned the right way to do things. The clinic provided the opportunity to learn in an encouraging environment things like body position, footwork, navigating obstacles, and bunny hops!
How it went down
The women met up with their instructors at 9 a.m. Abilities ranged from total beginner to amateur racer. This vast range of skills served the collective group because skills just don’t happen, everyone has to earn them. Those who could taught what they knew to whomever was willing to learn (which was everyone). After making sure everybody had a safe bike to ride, they began with ride skills including body position, shifting, braking, and front wheel lifts. Following a Q&A lunch session, the group hit the trails.
“I think the impact of this program really comes down to creating a space for mothers and daughters to connect via the sport of mountain biking,” said Sarah Olson, who participated in the Knoxville clinic. Sarah is also the program lead for Little Bellas’ Asheville chapter. “A majority of the participants were new to the sport and were inspired to start riding after their children started to embrace the sport. The moms learned so much and left genuinely ready to hit the trails with their daughters and friends.”Sarah Olson, Little Bellas' lead in Asheville, N.C.
Additional topics included suspension and handlebar set up, drivetrains, and local riding information. Each clinic was scheduled to finish at 2 p.m. however it didn’t end there. The women made plans, rearranged schedules, and set up future rides so that they could keep building and sharpening their new skills.
“(SRAM MTB Mamas) pushed me to ride with my daughter, Maeve, more, and feel confident chasing her into the woods,” Caoimhe said. “It's both humbling and fascinating to do a session with your 9-year-old and hear her confidence in giving you tips on technique. That to me epitomizes the value of Little Bellas and the MTB Mamas programs.”