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1. Expect imperfection

women learning to mountain bike what to expect

One of my early falls, which really **wasn’t** from riding. I call this my “at a stand still – back tire on slippery root – couldn’t unclip fast enough – handlebar to face” Fall. Photo courtesy of my friend, Pam Gueldner.

Yeah, that’s right. I’m here to tell you you’re going to fall (a lot), you’ll have scrapes and bruises. Wear them proudly!

You’re going to be slow, you’re going to dismount when you see a scary log or rock garden. You’re going to experience a very real fear. But you need to get right back up, keep chugging along and bring on the sweat.

When I started riding, I could NOT keep up with Jay. I’d arrive at an intersection, out of breath and exhausted. Jay would be patiently waiting for me, not out of breath at all.

It wasn’t until I started riding with other people, of all levels, when I realized that Jay was just on another level and I didn’t have to be on his level. I could have so much fun on my level.

Over time, my skills improved, I got better and I realized it wasn’t about being perfect at all. I could have fun. That’s what mountain biking is for me ; so damn fun!

2. Expect to sweat so hard that your chamois will be wishing it never existed.

Mountain biking is a great workout. It’s not easy for me to replicate the kind of workout I get from mountain biking. You’re going to be sweating out of places you didn’t know could sweat. Riding on trails is an exercise that can be explosive, steadying and balancing – and most of all, fun and the views can be spectacular.

Sweatin’ hard with friends at Kingdom Trails, VT

3. Expect to spend some money initially

Good mountain bikes can be pretty pricey. Especially if you’re totally new to the industry. You might think spending $1,000 on a bike is outrageous but truthfully they can be upwards of $5,000 +.  I can see how that may deter anyone from getting into mountain biking.

However, finding the right bike for you, both in your price range and fit, are extremely important.  Your local bike shop can help get you squared away. If you know your size, I’d recommend asking around and seeing if someone might be willing to sell you their old bike because it’ll save you some bucks!

In addition to a well-tuned, properly-fitted bike you also need some gear. I’ll write another more detailed post about bikes and gear in the near future.


Bike #2 – Once you get bitten by the bike buying bug watch out!


4. Expect to meet all sorts of amazing people

When I moved to Ithaca, I only knew a handful of people, mostly co-workers.

Ithaca is a college town, there are certainly a lot of folks we would casually meet at bars but it was hard to just walk up to a stranger and say, “hey, you seem cool… wanna hang out?”

It wasn’t until Jay and I started attending the local group rides with Cycle-CNY, that we started to meet people we wanted to hang with. From those friends, we met more friends and created a network that really has flourished.

what women should expect from mountain biking friends

Photo clockwise from top-left: Friends on a summer in-town ride to Ithaca Falls. My friend Gretchen and I at the Liv Ladies All Ride Clinic in Grand Targhee Wyoming. My friends and I at Kingdom Trails, VT, last summer.

I love these people! They’re my people – and without mountain biking, I wouldn’t have met them. They daring, courageous.. just a gnarly bunch of men and women that I’m glad to call my friends.

RECAP > Don’t give up, expect imperfection, sweat hard, and let the good times roll!

If you’re just getting into mountain biking, I hope you found this post helpful. Let me know in the comments below!

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