The season is about to start. Sign Ups and Socials, weekly rides, learn to race days, and races! Oh my, and that’s only the first two weeks of May!
We’ve gotten quite a few enquiry emails, as we do this time of year, which is why we host the socials at our two favorite stores, Sport Swap near our trail head in Toronto and Mill Town Cycle in Milton, centrally located for our Halton Chapter, so you can come out and meet us and chat in person. The website and facebook and twitter and instagram have two dimensional images and words all about us but wait till you meet the real thing!
If you can’t make our sign up dates, April 29th and May 1st , you can still join us at any time throughout the season, as we have online membership and waiver execution set up through the Ontario Cycling Association. Check out our calendar, it is jam packed till October and we continue festivities through the year.
Answers to some of the questions we get frequently are on our FAQ page on the website ( Oh yes, our site is pages and pages deep! ) But a couple of questions have stood out in my mind of late. Some I might have even taken exception to;
”Why should I pay when I can ride for free”
Yes, anybody who has a bicycle, which certainly wasn’t free, can get on and ride it. Belonging to a cycling club is so much more than just riding a bike, and much more even than riding with like-minded passionate members. The freedom and exhilaration of riding a bike is free to all but our trail systems and our societal structure in general have communal costs, some of which are hidden from our sights in our taxes but if we think about it it’s pretty awesome value for all. Our urban club rides on public trails for the most part. Some of those public trail areas, like Kelso, Albion, Hilton Falls, have outhouses on the route and parking lots to meet in and so have extra gate fees which help to cover some of the trail building and maintenance costs. Trail work has a monetary cost for some of the work but also hours and hours and hours of volunteer work added. Cycling clubs all contribute to this trail work. Additionally, our society’s core values and the societal tenant of care-and-equality-for-all, and the other side of the coin; our litigious tendencies as a society, lead clubs to affiliate with cycling associations to provide collective insurance for members and collective advocacy for the biking community as a whole. These are nominal costs when spread over all participants, but large benefits to everyone in return. Additionally, individual Clubs have websites and merchandise, social events and administrative costs which membership dues, that participants pay, contribute to covering. Some clubs are extremely lucky to have corporate sponsors, who generously assist in defraying these costs for it’s members. So actually, to be able to ride on a spectacular publically owned and maintained trail is not free. By being a member of a cycling club a mountain biker is contributing to the bigger picture.
“I’d like to try it out, how do I know I am a good fit”
This is a good question, if you are a worrier. One of the qualities about which I am particularly proud of the Wild Bettys, is that we are so diverse, everyone can fit in. The kick off weekend of bike season is traditionally the bike show the first weekend in March. The Leaders and Race team members usually get together at the show and socialize afterwards in the evening. This year we went out dancing and were treated to some drinks at the bar by a generous yet very eccentric older gentleman. He stood back and watched us for quite a while and then approached asking, 'Why are you all together, you are all such different women?" Of course, when we explained we were mountain bikers he just raised his brow in disbelief and toasted to our health!
There are all types in any group of people who gather together, a fact I first learned in kindergarten. We often associate the phrase: ‘it takes all types’, with trying to excuse some outlier’s behaviour, but it also is an important point when realistically evaluating individuals' strengths. No one ‘has it all’, but together a team can achieve great, great things. We have women in the Wild Bettys club, of all ages, all abilities, all economic brackets, who shop in many different ‘favorite’ bike shops, who ride different brands of bikes, and have different skills they would like to improve upon, all proudly wearing the Bettys jersey in the woods, laughing and hooting on the trails.
Every women who wants to mountain bike will be welcomed into the Bettys, if you feel you don’t fit, know that your nominal contribution in the form of membership dues will be put to good use for trail maintenance, biking community advocacy, and in general will be of benefit to all.
We would very much like our fifth season to be our best season. Come and join us!