Little Bellas Mentor from Minnesota named Bike Educator of the Year
“Martha Flynn is a hero. She has blazed trails for many young people around our state to enjoy cycling. She is a founding member of the Minnesota High School Cycling League and a Little Bellas mentor. As an International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) certified instructor and chief course marshal for the new league, she ensured that student athletes were safe and volunteers and coaches had all the information they needed each week and that the courses for the upcoming race was set. But during the inaugural season, Martha saw something was missing... more girls on bikes! The next season, she launched Crank Sisters (now named NICA Grit). The mission is to inspire young women to build confidence and empowerment through off-road cycling. The Crank Sisters tent can be found every weekend at the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) / MN High School Cycling League races. It is bustling with female student athletes who represent teams from all over Minnesota, women riders who volunteer as race sweeps, course marshals and coaches as well as crafts. Yes, crafts. Sometimes the pre-race jitters can get overwhelming so Martha enlisted the therapeutic powers of crafting to help girls relax before their competitions. The girls also discuss their race goals, highlights and areas for improvement with the adult volunteers and fellow student athletes. Martha also organizes mountain bike clinics and social rides for girls in the league to work on techniques and grow their skill sets.
After one such clinic, Martha brought Little Bellas programming to Minnesota. Little Bellas Mentors work with girls ages 7 to 13 and teach teamwork, goal-setting and a healthy lifestyle using mountain bikes. Little Bellas meets on Sundays throughout the summer and teaches girls progressive mountain biking skills in a friendly, non-competitive environment.
In the past year, Martha has taken all of these lessons to heart. She overcame a major injury. She had to build her own confidence and learned to ride again. Through all of this, she kept her commitments to the Minnesota High School League and Little Bellas while striving to heal her own body. She worked extremely hard and achieved several podium finishes during Minnesota's fat bike season. Martha Flynn doesn't just instruct, she lives out the lessons of NICA, Crank Sisters and Little Bellas every day. “
Congratulations Martha and thank you for your work with the Little Bellas!