Female riders climb to new heights

Female riders climb to new heights

When she hits the mountain bike trails, Melissa Johnston loves to reach for the Birthday Cake.

When she hits the mountain bike trails, Melissa Johnston loves to reach for the Birthday Cake.

The 108 Mile mountain bike trail, with its “little princess crown,” has become one of Johnston’s favourites since she began riding the trails in 2010.

“There’s good skill-building on it and some tight switchbacks,” she said before a group ride Monday. “Bat out of hell is best coming out because it’s fast.

“It makes me so happy. I can go out in such a bad mood and after a ride, I’m so happy. Who wouldn’t want to be out here in nature? I want everyone to feel like that all the time.”

READ MORE: Huncity Mountain Bike Club to add trail for children

Johnston, a rehab assistant at 100 Mile District General Hospital, is the de facto leader of the Huncity Mountain Bike Club’s Ladies’ Night group rides and one of a growing number of women who have taken up the sport in the South Cariboo. Almost half the Huncity club’s 103 members are female – and Johnston anticipates more women will continue to join.

She started the Ladies Nights a few months ago to attract more women, who are intimidated by the mixed club rides on Wednesdays. Open to all ages and abilities, the group meets at the 108 Heritage Site parking lot at 6 p.m. Mondays before heading out for a 1.5 to two-hour ride. The chosen routes each week are based on skill level and interest.

“I’m seeing way more women getting involved in the sport; I think they’re just realizing how much fun it is,” said Johnston, 42, who spent years mountain biking in Squamish before moving to the South Cariboo. “I want women to feel comfortable coming out, even if they can’t keep up. We never leave anyone behind. They can take their time and learn. It’s a safe, fun space.”

It only took Lara De Kok, 22, one ride this summer to get over her nervousness. “Going out with the ladies is awesome because they give such great pointers,” she said. “You get into it so quickly on your first ride and you’re hooked. It’s a good workout but a fun experience on the way down. It’s like a reward”

Tish Diamond, who co-runs the Ladies Nights and is training to be a coach, said mountain biking provides an opportunity for women to get outside and still maintain physical distancing. She said she has had more female company in the past few years than when she started 19 years ago.

“This year with COVID, there are so many people buying bikes and getting outside,” she said. “That’s a positive from COVID-19.”

Adele Halper, 21, has been mountain biking with her dad since she was a little girl but said the Ladies Nights offer her an added challenge.

“It’s very freeing. Powerful is a good word,” she said. “You’re going a long distance and just using the strength of your body.”

For more info, call or text 250-395-0901 or check out huncitymtb.club. Funds raised by the Huncity Bike Club registrations help build and maintain trails in the region.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

100 Mile House

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes shared this photo of the binders and binders of letters and paperwork she’s received on area roads in the past few years. (Submitted photo)
Cariboo MLAs call on province to fix region’s roads

Minister Rob Fleming said more resources were on the way to the region

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Murray Casey, president of the Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre, hosted an online Shuswap language workshop April 27. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
‘Weyt-k’? It’s time to learn Shuswap

More than two dozen participants took part in online class to learn basic Secwepemc phrases

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Junior A team Coquitlam Express is offering all Tri-City residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19 a free ticket to one of their games. (Facebook/Coquitlam Express)
B.C. hockey team offering free tickets to hometown fans who get the COVID-19 vaccine

‘We know the only way to get fans back is people getting vaccinated,’ says Express’ general manager Tali Campbell

Most Read