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Trail Tribe Stories: Nicola Ellis

Welcome to Trail Tribe Stories, a series of interviews with members of our riding community.

We're kicking off our series by talking to Nicola Ellis. Nicola has been riding with us for over two years now, attending events, and taking part in coaching sessions. She is a fantastically fearless rider, constantly improving, and taking on new challenges. We're excited to share her story...

Why do you ride?

Mainly for the fun, but with added benefits of mental health and fitness. Biking was a great way to meet some incredible women when I moved to Scotland and a few years ago. I met many of my biking friends through Dirt Divas coaching days, I knew no one at first and was quite nervous but quickly met many amazing women I now ride with regularly.

How long have you been riding for and what made you start?

About 6 years, like quite a few women, my boyfriend mountain biked and I gave it a go to see what the fuss was about. I was instantly hooked! Where had this sport been before?! Now I go mountain biking at least once a week.

What do you ride? (Trails, gravel?)

Mostly trails, I especially like natural trails which Scotland is renowned for. I do occasionally gravel ride, especially for the fitness side and getting the bigger miles in.

Do you see any barriers to women?

Majority of women I know got into biking at a later age, usually thanks to a biking partner or friends. Most men who mountain bike did so growing up too, so they learned all the tricks when they had less fear and years to mess around and become great bikers. I’m in my 20s learning these things and I’m aware I don’t bounce like a kid when I crash. I love biking but I wish I had had the opportunity growing up.

It’s great to see a younger generation of girls on mountain bikes now, who are actively encouraged by parents or teachers to bike alongside the boys and who have great role models. I hope we can continue to leave behind the stereotype that biking is a dangerous lads sport.

What would you like to see for women? Or what advice would you give to women wanting to try mountain biking/gravel?

Start with the basics and be patient with yourself, the skills and fitness will come. There’s nothing worse than sweating, puffing and feeling like you need an ambulance up a trail, then having a meltdown in fear on the difficult descent way outside your skillset. All your biking enthusiasm quickly disappears on those days! Having a supportive buddy or group to ride with helps enormously (like Dirt Divas!). 

Any big plans/challenges/adventures for 2024?

I’d like to try bike packing this year, and have set myself a challenge to ride my first 100km in one go. I guess now it’s online I have to do it!

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