Back in 2021 I published an interview with Nic from the New Forest off Road Club to see what this fledgling group trying to encourage women and to promote women led rides and cycling communities throughout the UK and around the world was all about. You can read that interview here
I bumped into Nic at the Bespoked Bicycle show at the Lea Valley Velodrome recently as she was exhibiting her bike on the Stayer Bikes stand and she suggested it would be a good idea to do a “how it started, how it’s going” style article to update readers on what has happened over the last nearly 18 months. It’s surprising how much has been packed into a pademic and lock down ravaged period of time.
Here’s what Nic had to say
It’s been over 12 months since Gary got in touch inviting us to write an article for The UK Gravel Collective website. I thought I’d do a little review of what we’ve been up to in the last 12 months.
- Connected a group of 12 ride leaders.
- Facilitated 87 rides with 317 people.
- Registered as a community interest company.
- Supported 12 people complete MTB leadership level 2 training.
- Collaborated with Vicky Balfour and helped people build confidence in mechanics by running 2 weekend Mechanic courses and 3 mechanic workshops.
- Hosted a Christmas Party.
- Led a birthday group ride with over 70 people and Lael Wilcox came to celebrate with us.
- Designed 2 online workshops to help support the growth of other women and non binary led communities. “How to Dismantle the Patriarchy One Group Ride at a Time” & “How to Show ‘em We’re Out Here”.
- Run 8 online workshops with 63 people from Uk, Istanbul, Belgium, North America, Scotland, Australia and Canada.
- Collaborated with Specialized Uk and the brilliant women led marketing team.
- We built a website so people can find out about our rides without having to use a Zuckerberg owned platform.
- We keep in touch with over 400 community members through our monthly newsletter.
- Meredith spoke about dismantling the patriarchy at the Kendal Mountain Festival.
- Meredith and Nic delivered the “How to Dismantle the Patriarchy One Group Ride at a Time” workshop to 300 Women and enby people at the Sisters in the Wild event.
- All ride leaders have completed a 2 day, outdoor first aid qualification.
- We worked with an all women team on a brand new visual ID.
Oh, and we won bikepacking.com’s ‘community of the year’.
It’s been a wild ride and we’ve loved every minute.
Bike mechanic qualifications. We don’t have any women bike mechanics in our immediate network and we want to fix that. We continue to fundraise through various events and workshops and we are researching to find the most comprehensive bike mechanic course. If any of the UK Gravel Collective readership have any recommendations, we would love to hear them!
Most immediately we are running a 3 week, virtual course for bike communities. This 3 week, virtual course is designed for people who want to increase the reach and integrity of their community. We’ll work through how to carve out your core beliefs, how to share your story, and how to collaborate with people who share your vision.
The course would be most relevant to people who are part of cycling spaces that have the opportunity to be more diverse and inclusive.
We’d love to see UK Gravel Collective readers there!
As we said last year, huge thanks Gary for your constant support and encouragement. We appreciate it and the glow of your support helps to power us around the forest!
Hope to see you on a trail soon, Nic and the New Forest Off Road Club.
Thanks for the update Nic, you, your ride leaders and NFORC community have been so busy! It’s very inspiring to see and I know from talking to other riders around the country that your team’s example has motivated many other groups to start up and just go out and ride a bicycle for the sheer enjoyment of it without the pressures of trying to conform to “how it’s supposed to be” and long may it continue. more diverse bums on saddles is hopefully the future.
As mentioned above |if you are reading this and have any ideas to help NFORC with the mechanics courses, ideas for events or just want to ask for advice you can DM Nic via insta at @newforestoffroadclub/ or via me at @ukgravelco and |I’ll pass the message on.