Little Bellas to achieve 60 programs nationwide by 2022!
Forget mountain biking for a minute – after all what is it except pedaling and rolling over dirt? It’s dangerous too. If that were true, someone's gonna’ have a tough time explaining why more than 3,500 girls, ages 7-13, have participated in Little Bellas since 2007. Some of those girls have been a Little Bella more than once and they've even gone on to mentor other Little Bellas. In fact, getting more girls on bikes struck such a chord that Little Bellas is declaring here and now, there will be 60 programs across the nation by 2022.
At the moment there are 42 Little Bellas programs in 16 states but the desire to be a part of the program is so great that there’s currently a waitlist. In less than six months, 1100 girls signed up for a Little Bellas program in 2019. If you’re wondering, “What gives?” the motives are multifaceted…and not just for the girls.
Little Bellas gets its strength from its mentors, who are talented and inspiring women who are the heart and soul of Little Bellas. What mentors bring to Little Bellas is a powerfully positive attitude and a will to pass that on to a new generation of young women.
Become a Little Bellas mentor
But what about the bike?
To get more girls on bikes, there needs to be a bike. Heidi Myers, cofounder of Rasputitsa, Sara Jarrell, SRAM Women’s Program Coordinator, and Fiona Swartz of Specialized leveraged their power to make sure that every girl gets an equal chance to become a Little Bella. Funds were raised, moms and guardians were engaged, and bikes were designed and manufactured so that barriers to participation got smashed. Little Bellas is not blind to the unfair economics of cycling, but through partnerships forged from altruism, girls who want to join Little Bellas each get the same opportunity.
Scholarships are available. Please communicate any financial help needed by answering the relevant questions when registering.
Mountain biking’s dual identity
Using mountain biking as the medium for mentoring makes rational sense, because mountain biking…
- Creates multiple opportunities for girls to experience success
- Teaches mastery of skills and physical literacy (competency in motor skills and movement patterns)
- Fosters a social environment where learning gets shared and encouraged, and both individual and collective successes are celebrated
- Encourages outdoor activity and appreciation for the environment
- Is free of the discrimination that has historically discouraged participation by girls in other sporting activities
They’re all pro
Last year Little Bellas announced a new partnership program with pro women athletes from triathlon, Nordic skiing, cyclocross, and of course, mountain biking. Little Bellas’ co-founder, Lea Davison, who is herself a 2-time Olympian (pssst, she’s gunning for Tokyo 2020) initiated the program. Lea has been instrumental in recruiting athletes and formalizing their participation in Little Bellas.
These athletes’ bios sometimes leave out that they have also experienced fear, setbacks, and even failures on their way to becoming pro racers. We’ll be bringing you some of those stories too.
We’ll let you know how it’s going on our way to 60 programs by 2022 so stay tuned and keep in touch! Here are a few ways how you can do that: