Downhill mountain biking with “Les Bikettes”

Audrey

We met with “Les Bikettes”, a group of cool, strong and energetic female cyclists who have been contributing to women inclusion in sport since 2015. They cycle in the mountains, around lakes and in cities and spread their contagious good mood. Discover who they are, their future projects and maybe join their movement?

For someone who doesn’t know “Les Bikettes”, could you explain who you are and what you do?

“Les Bikettes” is above all a group of girls who want to cycle together. This strong envy lead us to organize get-togethers, amazing excursions, adventures for beautiful memories. Good mood, honesty, humility and sharing are values we all have in common and want to advocate during our events. Our goal is to make biking more accessible to all girls.

Today, “Les Bikettes” (or Bike Girl Team, its original name) federates more than 100 girls from Annecy area but also everywhere in France (Alps, Alsace, Brittany…) and overseas! We welcome all girls who want to cycle! Each girl brings her personality and qualities to the group and make it grow : a rich and collaborative adventure in terms of sport and bounding.

How did you get the idea of “Les Bikettes”? Who created it?

It all began in May 2015 with 3 friends who found each other again in Annecy. Some were beginners other experts, but all had the common envy to ride only with girls, at their own pace and far from men who are often faster, more experienced and judgemental! (Note that we love dudes and their company on the road, it’s like a chocolate cake… but ride with the girls it’s the cherry on top, the whip cream and the curd!!!)

For our first ride we were 6 (the word of mouth had already started!) and it was an after work excursion in Semnoz : easy peasy! Since we had so much fun, we decided to create a closed Facebook group for friends to join us and to easily plan our next events. Our friends answered our invitations quicker than we thought! Quickly, the group started to grow : 20 then 40 girls in only few weeks. Our excursions were more and more regular with new faces to welcome each time. Today and 3 years later, almost 400 girls are contributing to the group!

In March 2016, we officially created the association with the goal to make biking more accessible to girls. We had couple of sponsorships with brands (still supporting us today!!) : outfits, equipments, mudguards for our bikes… and other partners like a mountain resort offering us discounts for their bikepark or our favorite bar often paying us rounds. It definitely contributed to make “Les Bikettes” ’ events more fun. Other brands joined in, offering their own support : discounts for our friends who want to rent a bike, advices on how to properly take care and repair our bikes, energy bars for when we’re feeling peckish, locally produced goat cheese and now ALGORIGIN with their energetic algae supplements.

Behind the desk, there are 8 super girls who became super friends and are happy to work on maintain this amazingly fun atmosphere and keeping alive this unique community in France and the whole world!

“Les Bikettes” have their own identity and are proud of it!

What are the perks of belonging to an all-girls cycling group?

It helps us feeling more confident since we speak the same language : “feel like having a wee break?! No worries, me too!”. We expect the same from our excursions : only fun and no competition! We can enjoy girls talk – since it’s common to say that women love chitchatting – but god it’s good! Kindness in the group makes everyone feel at ease, whatever the level. Experts share tips with beginners to help them progress and in return, they feel proud when they surpass themselves on a scree, jump or tight curve…

Being just between girls (usually) allows to progress in a more positive atmosphere : no comment like “that’s easy, why did you get off??” but more like “slow down and follow me, it’s going to be easy”, or no “we’ll go faster so we’ll wait for you at the bottom…” but more “no worries, we’ll wait for you, being together is only what matters”.

For someone who doesn’t know mountain biking at all, what kind of sport is it?

You need : a bike (with suspensions it’s more comfortable), a body ready to move and to explore wildlife and a no-limit mindset. The goal : discovering all sorts of paths (In the mountains, countryside or cities) on your “faithful charger”. We want to make uphill and downhill biking playfull.

Is biking for everyone? Does it require special assets?

Everyone can practice it! Your will is your driving force (or an electric bike, but you’d still need the will!). From beginners to champions, everyone can join our excursions for an unforgettable experience! There are actually many beginners and the group’s motto is to always encourage progress! Come and give it a try!

What are your favorite spots for biking? Where was your last excursion?

We often bike around Annecy : Le Semnoz, la montagne d’âge in Poisy… but also escape for weekend getaways on Le Salève near Geneva, le Beaufortain and bikeparks during summer : Les Saisies, Les Portes du Soleil, La Clusaz… and beyond : Italia, Alsace, High Alps…  “La Bikette” is adventurous!

Our last excursion was at “La Montagne d’âge”, we were a big group of ten girls to open the season!

Tell us one of your best (or craziest) memory with the group!

It was during our first “only for Bikettes” weekend during the first year. We planned everything : a luxurious cabin in the heart of Tignes, cupboards full of good food, an “after ride schedule” worth of the best event agencies… but we didn’t expect rain to show up! Saturday morning, we woke up and discussed grey sky and capricious barometre with coffee in hand. Soon everyone found the motivation and slip on their “technical underwears” and raincoats. The 20 bikes gather together in front of the cabin and the troupe of “Bikettes” head to the chairlift that would bring us to the top of the mountain! The sensations are terrific despite couple of slips! Laughs are mixed with small frights! Completely soaked and freezing cold, we ended with a stop at the water jet : no mud allowed in our beautiful cabin! We washed it all : wheels, frames, shoes, and butts… we did a great job! Soaked but clean, “Les Bikettes” deserved to warm them up in the cabin!

Tell us what you do when wou don’t bike?

Most of us are sporty : hiking, running, skiing, climbing, yoga practicing… outdoor or indoor activities to feel good! We also love sharing a drink, a good “tartiflette”, shopping or clubbing! More than just an all-girl biking group, we also organize meetups and practice other sports together.

What are your next projects?

A free day for all girls at “Les Saisies” this autumn (September 22, 2018) and many surprises! Our next exclusive weekend for “Les Bikettes” will be a warm up for the summer season, but shh… the destination is a secret… We are also preparing for couple of biking summer events : “Vélo Vert Festival” in Villars de Lans, “CrankWorks” and “Passes Portes” in “Les Gets”, “Roc d’Azur” in Fréjus… Plus some bike sessions with the girls and apéros with their partners are scheduled too, but not only… we’ll try crossfit, yoga, skating…

Why becoming a “Bikette” ?

Because it’s badass! (could this be our slogan?!) Or just to be part of a fun and enthusiastic community!

What king of improvements did you notice after your first cure of spirulina ?

Generally speaking, much more energy to keep us motivated and help us achieve our goals. It also helps in case of deficiency especially in iron. Spirulina is easy to take and to assimilate.

  • Year of creation of the association : 2016
  • Who took the initiative : A collective of girls
  • How many members : End of 2017 : 115 members
  • Type of activities : Mountain biking (enduro, DH, cross country), Road biking, BMX, Dirt
  • How many excursions per year : Hard to tell… many!!! A lot per months at least…
  • Next big project ; Summer 2018 : Bikettes weekend
  • Les Bikettes in 3 words : Sharing, joy and simplicity

 

Photo : Romain Laurent