Ladies on wheels

Riding Into Life clinics taking place in Invermere Saturday, July 27th

Andrea Locke casually mentioned that she’s heading to the doctor to see if her ribs are cracked after her last mountain-biking crash.

“As long as you’re working in progression and you’re starting out where you’re at and taking it slow, you don’t have to get hurt. It’s not a requirement of the sport,” she said.

But she doesn’t mind the odd cracked rib or spill in exchange for speedy progress and the thrill of the ride.

“Once you learn how to trust yourself and trust your bike and know how your bike works with the terrain, you actually have quite a bit of control going a speed that you’re comfortable with. Obviously it’s the same idea as driving. The faster you are going, the faster things are going to come at you. As long as you’re not pushing that speed and pushing your comfort zone and your ability to keep up with the things coming at you, I think it’s super possible to stay safe on the bike,” she said.

Ms. Locke will be in Invermere to offer two Riding Into Life biking courses for women on Saturday, July 27th. The morning course will be a very basic introduction while the afternoon course will kick the learning up a gear.

Many of her past students have been concerned about their safety hurtling down hills, but Ms. Locke helps them stay upright and build their skills.

“I love seeing the smiles and seeing the way that people feel. I’m like ‘oh, I know how that feels.’ It just feels so good and you feel so confident when you do something new or achieve something,” she said. “When you learn how to actually do it, your confidence levels just sky rocket and it just feels better.”

The Grand Prairie-based athlete, who was a freestyle skier until she got “kind of over winter” and switched to the warmer-weather sport, started teaching women how to mountain bike “as a way to get more females involved in biking and just being outdoors.”

She felt ladies needed a place to themselves to get started in the male-dominated sport.

“If it’s just females, we’re more willing to let our guard down,” she said, adding that the ladies she teaches are “a lot more willing to suck at something new when there’s not males there… They feel a lot more able to push their boundaries and kind of look silly.”

Ms. Locke’s course is $45 per session and $85 for both. For more information or to sign up, visit www.ridingintolife.com/invermere-womens-clinic.

Mountain biking has “kind of become my whole life,” she said. “When I can’t ride, I get super antsy and anxious in every aspect of my life. And just getting out on the bike is a way for me to really calm my mind and figure out my thoughts and feel more comfortable with everything going on around me… It’s really helped me find a lot more confidence and more passion for life.”

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