Bike clinic strives to empower women
Oct 14, 2019 11:00AM
By Hannah LaFond
Erik Urban answers questions about bike maintenance at 2nd Tracks bike clinic. (Hannah LaFond/City Journals)
By Hannah LaFond | [email protected]
Five female biking enthusiasts gathered in the back of Millcreek’s 2nd Tracks Sports for a night of bike tuning, learning and socializing. 2nd Tracks Sports partnered with SheJumps to host a bike clinic on the first Thursday in September.
Sam Millsap, an ambassador from SheJumps, helped run the event.
“This is really about empowering women that they can take care of their own bike,” Millsap said.
2nd Tracks Sports has been a part of Utah’s outdoor sporting community since 2009, offering lightly used and new ski and bike products. Which makes them a great pairing for SheJumps, a nonprofit focused on getting girls and women involved in more outdoor activities.
SheJumps holds many similar events throughout Utah and nationwide to encourage and bring women together. Along with skill-building clinics such as the one hosted in Millcreek, they teach girls wildlife survival, nature preservation, specific outdoor skills and host fundraising climbs. The overall purpose is to foster confidence and self-sufficiency in the women and girls who participate.
Millsap spoke about the relationship SheJumps has developed over the years with 2nd Tracks. Most winters they do a wine and wax night to prepare for the skiing season, just as this night was getting ready for the upcoming bike season.
Along with learning new skills, Millsap said socialization is one of the main draws to events like this.
“It’s a great way to find other women who share your interests. I’ve met so many friends through SheJumps,” Millsap said.
This seemed to be the case that evening as Millsap and the women chatted about various trails they’ve been on, exchanged tips and bonded over their mutual enthusiasm for all things outdoors and cycling.
Erik Urban ran the bike clinic for the night. He took the women in attendance through the basics of bike tuning: checking wheels, brakes and trailside maintenance. Urban said he had previously taught women’s bike clinics at the University of Idaho, making him well prepared for the night.
The group was enthusiastic throughout the lesson and asked questions about different problems they had faced with their own bikes.
While tuning an example bike, Urban went through the reasons for everything he did, giving quick pointers to make things easier to do at home or out on a trail.
While he used specific tools available in the bike shop, he also made a point of letting the women know what they could use in place of these tools when fixing their own bike.
He held up one tool used to push apart brake pads. “Is this a special bike shop tool?” he asked. “Sure, but it’s also the same as a business card folded in half.”
These kinds of tips and tricks made his training more accessible, so they could actually do it on the go and on their own.
Enabling women to do this for themselves was the main point of the event. While the evening was fun and useful, Millsap said the mission of SheJumps and the event is ultimately about more than just outdoor hobbies. It’s about empowerment. Teaching women and girls the skills to take care of their bikes means they don’t have to rely on anyone to do that for them and are more free to do it whenever they want and on their own.