Blog

Elevating More Girls on Bikes

Registration is currently open for four new clinics that are part of Norte’s More Girls on Bikes initiative. Today we sit down with Norte Program Coordinator Abby Havill to discuss the inspiration and direction she has in store for the initiative.

Learn more and register for the clinics at More Girls on Bikes.


NORTE: What are you excited about? 

ABBY: I’m excited about bringing back our More Girls on Bikes initiative. We’re offering four all-female clinics this summer and fall. I’m also starting a committee of women to explore what the community wants and needs. After that, we want to build up the program and see more girls on bikes.

N: Why is it important to get more girls on bikes? 

A: There are not enough girls riding. Most of our riders continue to be boys, which only increases as we get into middle school. For many reasons, girls become more self-conscious and drop out of sports and activities like biking. However, we want to keep them in the programs and continue to build their confidence. That’s our goal for everyone in our programs. If we can build skills, we build confidence. And we know from experience that as girls age, that becomes more and more important.

N: Where do you see the More Girls On Bikes initiative five years from now? 

A: I’d like to see the idea of the pilot clinics developing into something more regular and elevated. We need different types of offerings to increase interest. We want to see a bunch of young women riding with us. We need to work on that buy-in by introducing them to all sorts of biking early. When we have all-girls clinics or teams, it’s more welcoming for many of them. In five years, I’d love to see our regular programs have a 50/50 ratio of boys and girls.

N: Besides being a rockstar coach with Norte, you’re also a ski coach. How have you developed a lifetime of staying active? 

A: I have my parents to thank. I was a terrible skier at first. I fought using the tow rope for the longest time at Hickory Hills, but my mom made me stick with it. Skiing then opened up my world to mountain biking. Coach Brad — Brad Miller — actually was my ski coach. He now coaches with Norte, and I recently told him he did the first Norte-like thing in this area. He’d take us out in the summer to train on mountain bikes. I was the only girl in that group. It was sort of awful, but I stuck with it. I’m still learning from Brad.

N: Norte is putting much effort into attracting more female coaches. How does that aid the effort to put More Girls On Bikes? 

A: It’s excellent modeling. When I think about how many female coaches I had growing up in whatever I had — skiing, cross country — I can only think of two. I’m fortunate that I had a great coach in Brad, but I also had a transformative coach in Ann Post for cross country. To this day, she’s one of my most important role models. If Norte can provide that experience for young women, they’ll carry it forward for their entire lives.

N: Anything you’d like to add? 

A: Melissa Socia needs credit for initiating More Girls on Bikes when she worked here years ago. When she started it, it wasn’t only mountain biking — they’d sometimes get a bunch of girls together and ride bikes to the nail salon. So it doesn’t have to be a rugged sport all the time. More Girls on Bikes is a lot of different things. The idea is to normalize riding bikes and develop lifelong habits and skills.

N: Do we hear you have a related movie recommendation? 

A: I grew up watching a movie called “Now and Then.” It was about a group of girls who rode their bikes forever. They went everywhere all summer long. I hope to see small groups of young women riding all over the place.


If you’re interested in helping Abby elevate the More Girls on Bikes initiative, please email at Abby@elgruponorte.org. She’d love to hear from you. 


KEEP UP WITH NORTE

We don’t spam, and we don’t share your contact info. However, we get excited about the fantastic people, places, and activities in Northern Michigan.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.