Throughout the month of May, we devoted our social media presence to sharing the challenges and accomplishments of various women athletes in our sport. As May wraps up, we decided that the best way to complete our #SheRidesEveryDay feature is to offer an inside look at the women who are part of the staff of Ride Concepts.
Some seem to think we’re merely babes on bikes, talking about shoes. Sure, we talk about shoes like it’s our job, but as women who work and play in the outdoor industry, there’s more to it than an image or girl talk. It’s a feeling. It’s support. It’s comradery. It’s rallying. It’s getting after it. And it’s the snacks.
As the cycling and outdoor industries have been predominantly male, a growing number of women are calling Ride Concepts home when it comes to ambitions off the trail.
“I was first introduced to Ride Concepts at Interbike 2018,” said Nicole Ellsworth, who today services our amazing North American dealers and shops. “I loved that Brandon, our founder, was at the booth all day. He took time to talk in-depth with me about the women-specific fit and why he entered the market. That was huge for me at the time because I could tell he really cared about all riders, not just the typical (adult male) mountain biker.”
As a whole, regardless of gender, that attention to inclusivity is reflected in the company culture, the athletes we support and the product we design. We notice a similar holistic change occurcing across the industry as more women are finding their places with careers, women’s cycling is experiencing a growth spurt and in our little corner, women’s skills camps, women-only freeride progression events and women-specific apparel and gear is finally becoming prevalent.
“I used to ride with mostly men back in the day,” said Linda Greene, an outdoor industry veteran who manages sales and all things snacks at the office and company events. “Heck, pretty much all the sports I did were with men: backcountry skiing, climbing, etc. Women started to get involved in more of these types of sports and I found instead of always trying to catch up, I could ride side by side with these women.”
Women are being encouraged to show up on the trail and at the workplace.
“As women, we need to support each other and know our worth to overcome the gender gap,” said Ana Rodriguez, boss of all things accounting. “I am very new to the industry to be able to fully express my thoughts about it, however I feel that women face this gender gap inequality in all industries. As a woman of color, I have always found myself feeling like a minority in most of the industries I have worked for. With that said, I am very honored to be part of the outdoor world, especially at a place that understands this.”
The stigmas that still exist in the workplace across this industry are being challenged, often by those who are pushing the limits on the bike.
“Lady riders are erasing the stigmas that being a woman means you are meek or timid,” said Ellsworth. “When I ride, I'm not thinking about being a woman. I am thinking about the trail, whether I can pedal harder, touch my brakes less, how talented my friends are and how great that beer is going to be at the end."
“To me, much of the juicy stuff in mountain biking can’t be captured on film because it’s felt rather than seen,” said Anne Cahill, whose operational role holds the team together like grippy rubber to a pedal. “It’s like learning to feel yourself flow seamlessly through a berm versus trying to just hold on to your speed.”
That feeling isn’t limited to the bike. Momentum is a force felt just as strongly in the workplace as it is on the trail and Cahill is one to know. She’s been here since the very inception alongside Brandon, something she never seems to tout, but is certainly proud of.
“I feel that if we continue to have more women role models in the industry, it will encourage more of us – like it did with me – to not be afraid of being part of this industry,” said Rodriguez. “I work with a strong, talented, and beautiful group of women that love the outdoors and motivate me.” That feeling of comradery is empowering, regardless of the situation or activity.
“I love getting a bunch of women together riding bikes because I get empowered and motivated to be a better rider, whether that is following a badass woman and trying to learn from her technique or being the woman who is helping others,” said Greene. “Oh, and snacks! Women always bring good snacks and love to share!" Charlie enthusiastically barked in agreement.