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In March 2015 I set up a women's mountain bike group called Velo Vie. At the time I just wanted to find some other women to bike with who were more on my wavelength and skill level. My boyfriend is great to ride with but he's faster and stronger than I am and I knew that I was slowing him down on the trails. I find that men and women approach mountain biking with totally different mindsets, and this was another reason why I wanted to find more women to ride with.

I noticed that when it came to biking, a majority of men would just "go for it", fly down a trail and attack whatever feature came their way and be very goal orientated of needing to get down to the bottom as fast (and cool) as possible. Whereas women on the other hand, we tend to think more about what we're doing. We assess the features, we like to know what's coming, we tend to over-think our speed and all of that slows us down. We don't like to be told what to do, and when to do it either because we know that the more pressure is on us, the more likely we're going to fall off. Now this isn't a dig at either sex, this is just how many of us are when it comes to risk and extreme sports. Women WILL get there, but in their own time and at their own pace, nothing wrong with that whatsoever.

With this in mind, I set up Velo Vie and immediately invited the local girls I knew, who at the very least owned a bike! I then ventured out of my comfort zone and posted in forums about this new women's MTB group in Wales and that caught some more interest and recruits. The girls began to invite their friends and before I knew it my little group wasn't so little anymore. We now have over 100 members which is 98 more than what I was hoping when I started. I absolutely love these ladies, they are all so friendly and welcoming, there's no pressure to ride or push yourself out of your comfort zone, and we all support one another to progress. We've all got different biking experiences, different skill levels and there's a variety of ages, but we all love biking and hitting the trails. I really couldn't have asked for a better group! We like to share a lot about ourselves and what's happening in the biking world, we have good discussions about events and take genuine interest in each other's progress. I really could go on and on...and on about how great these ladies are, and they will no doubt crop up in my articles and future posts.

We try and organise a ride at least once a week, and some of us do mini rides after work at more local places such as Bike Park Wales, Clyne, Afan etc... What I love about our rides is how social they are, we chat about everything, kit, bikes and events and get to know each other really well. Being chatterboxes, we do like to stop every so often for a natter and some food, and a ride wouldn't be complete without a good cuppa at the end of it! Although we are based in South Wales and we ride a lot in South Wales, we love to have members from all over. So, if you ever plan a biking trip to Wales, check us out and we'll join you for a ride! Join us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram for our ride photos... and my epic shinners and fails!