Bellingham’s premier riding club and development team for junior girls. Transition Co-founder, Kari Young, started the Flying Squirrels to complement all the afterschool ride programs in Bellingham, WA, and create a space for girls to ride together.
After a few years and heaps of success and momentum the need for a “next step” arose. Kari reached out to Angi Weston, owner of Radical Roots MTB Instruction, to collaborate on making it a reality. So in 2019, the Radical Rippers program was started and offers professional coaching and group rides for girls ready for the next level of progression and instruction.
A group of Flying Squirrels stop to plan their route at a Galbraith Mountain trail map kiosk. The Flying Squirrels is a volunteer-led after-school ride program for girls through the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition (WMBC). These girls are learning how to ride in groups, navigate the mountain, and find other girls their age who ride.
The Radical Rippers program is led by a powerhouse team of professional coaches through Radical Roots MTB Instruction (RRMI) and when the ramps come out – a mega progression session ensues.
With almost 60 girls in the Flying Squirrels club and 40 girls in the Radical Rippers program – there are girls of all ages, interests, and wheel sizes given opportunities to ride and have fun together.
There is certainly an advantage to learning how to get your wheels off the ground at an early age. Confidence grows as skill grows and these riders get loads of opportunities for that.
These programs are growing some incredible riders and mentors. The riders who have been in the program for a few years now take great pride in being a source of inspiration to the younger and newer riders.
These programs are an outstanding example of what a community can accomplish when they work together to grow the next generation of mountain bikers. Many thanks are due to all the parents, volunteers, coaches, assistants, and the WMBC for their part in making this happen. All of the support, stoke, and skills don’t go unnoticed. Thank you!
Words: Angi Weston Photos: Oliver Parish Video: Skye Schillhammer