Women’s Mountain Bike & Tea Society Reaches Mile-scone
Fairfax CA 94978 For immediate release
Precisely two decades ago American offroad bicycle champion Jacquie Phelan took the cow by the horns to steer the direction of the sport she ruled unbeaten for six seasons.
By creating an insanely silly sounding club name and adding her own inimitable feminine flair (and repeated pourings of hot black tea, day-old pastry and juicy gossip), she set a high standard for future champions to aspire to.
Phelan was invited to speak and teach at shops all over the USA. Christy Lawyer and Sue Edwards of Boston, Sue Bannay and Jean Galli of Connecticut, Jennifer Buntz and Bonnie Nuttall of Albuquerque, and Rose Austin and Karen Lee of Anchorage have made such an impact with their WOMBATS chapters that trails are named for the club in a few states.
Nowadays there are even more women’s mountain bike clubs to serve new riders around the USA, taking their cue (and sometimes even their mission statement) from WOMBATS’ inclusiveness goal. MadFORCS, Glittergirls, VeloBella, Velogirls, WOMB, BOMBB, Pedal Queens, and WILD are carrying on the job of welcoming women into the soi-disant men’s club. This trend, Phelan predicts, will augment as long as the bike industry struggles to get a clue about what women want.
A brief list of the accomplishments of WOMBATS:
First fat-tire instructional camps in the world – for anyone, women OR men.
First club rides where leader is last (i.e., nobody gets dropped) Admittedly, this is unverifiable.
First time mountain biking was prominently featured in Vogue, Elle, O, Ladie’s Home Journal, Sunset and other popular periodicals. It is necessary to point out that these magazines remain out of reach of the advertising budgets of bicycle manufacturers, by dint of their circulation in the millions. Hence Phelan, without a industry funding, reached millions of women in their own magazines while (to this day) bicycle companies and trade magazines scratch their heads about how to “reach the women’s market”.
Jacquie organized countless WOMBATS retreats for beginner riders, as well as hosting symposia for women in the bicycle industry (Women of Power in The Industry, aka WOPITI) which inspired the outdoor equipment industry to do the same.
JP designed the first skills games for new riders, which have now been put to use in the nation’s Safe Routes To School programs)
To celebrate two decades of frivolously serious feminine fun, Marin WOMBATS will host a tea at Deer Park School picnic area in Fairfax Saturday Oct 6th, after a two hour ride around the legendary lazy Lagunitas Loop (8 huge miles) The ride starts at 9:30 and the tea begins at 12:30 lasting until 2:30 .
Full report of the day can be found at:
The photos and the movie link are here:
PLEASE WRITE YOUR COMMENTS, DEAR RIDERS I NEED TO HEAR BACK she yelled, perhaps a bit loudly.