This weekend saw the inaugural Gowaan Girls Mountain Bike Festival taking place at Farmer Johns Bike Park. Organised by Enduro World Series (EWS) athletes Bex Baraona and Martha Gill and their merry volunteers, the weekend was always destined to be a fun one, and it was just that.
The sun was out and all trails were riding fast. On the riding menu were friendly dual slalom battles, trail riding, wheelie workshops , the Dirt Factory air bag and much more. All weekend the festival vibe was chilled, music was pumping and lots of bike riding, the difference was this was a bike festival for females.
Bex and Martha are on a mission to simply get more girls on bikes by making it fun and friendly all with a give it a go attitude. The current gap between males and females in sport is pretty drastic and well documented, so to be a part of a mountain bike festival for women only was pretty awesome to see.
The event attracted many athletes and supporting industry brands, demo bikes were on offer, yoga sessions plus plenty of jamming with professional athletes.
“It was really cool to see so many girls from all over the UK spending time together and trying everything from pump track, jumps, air bag and dual slalom. We don’t have anywhere like this in France, I will come back next year for sure.” Morgane Such, French Athlete, Marin Bikes
“It was great, it was really cool to have an event that centres around women and young girls that takes the competition out of it, and gives the girls an opportunity to meet each other and interact with the athletes. “ Sarahfina Bachrach, Marketing Specialist, Marin Bikes
The riding vibe was certainly noticeably different compared to your usual male dominated bike event, not because the lads are doing it wrong. I think maybe fewer egos were present, which is what I think Sarafina refers to when she said taking the competition out of it. The festival was all about having fun on your bike no matter what your ability level is, which I think made everyone feel very relaxed rather than everyone trying to outdo each other.
A big thank you goes out to Bex Baraona and Martha Gill for having the balls (yes I said balls) for doing what they do, inspiring women and of course organising the event. The Dirt Factory crew certainly recommend any young girl or woman to give Gowaan Girls a follow and see for yourself how fun biking is, Gowaan, you know you want to.
Inspired by the @gowaan_gals themselves, ‘Gowaan Thursdays’ is a monthly bike session for all the gals out there looking to have fun, progress and keep fit. Starting this December, girls only sessions will take place the first Thursday of every month 7-10pm at Dirt Factory, Manchester.
For more information about the Gowaan Gals movement, check out www.gowaangals.co.uk