Women’s Wednesday: An Open Letter From the Women’s Over 40 MTB Brigade

This(Old)GirlCan – Why Women Over 40 are the Next Great Force in MTB

From Total Womens Cycling

Words by Rachel Jevons

Recently, one of my new found mountain bike chums popped up and mentioned that a fledgling brand was looking for ambassadors. Did I fancy it? she asked. She thinks I’d be perfect.

Now, at 42 years of age, I automatically thought: “pah! That’s a hiding to nothing right there.” I mean, for a start I don’t feel I necessarily represent what a lot of male dominated companies who claim to cater for women seem to want. In fact, this particular fledgling brand, are targeting the social media accounts of very young women who fitted a certain type. I could imagine them with a check-list, which I’ve applied to myself:

  • Boobs (yep – decent bra and a stiff westerly breeze prevailing)
  • Perfect teeth (still have my own)
  • Lustrous hair (see teeth)
  • Endless legs (compared to a 6 year old, yes)
  • Young (Ah)

And I fall at that last, arbitrary, why-is-that-even-a-thing hurdle. (Well, to be honest, I fall at the second to last hurdle with my little pigeon drumsticks – but let’s not go there).

So, it got me thinking; how are we portrayed and represented in the sport we love?

I did a little research about how women over 40 are represented in MTB. God, it was a bit depressing. Put simply: we aren’t. It’s not great. It is, in fact, very bad indeed. The context is that women get a whole lot less coverage and exposure across the sport full stop. The social media accounts, publications and websites run by women, for women, have nailed it – but the mainstream stuff? Not even close.

The simple fact is: They. Just. Don’t. Get. It. And by ‘it’, I mean women who MTB, and even less so, older women who MTB.

ThisGirlCan, but not in our kit, thank you

So I decided to speak to someone I know who works at a senior level in the bike industry, and ask them why we don’t see older women in their advertising. I was disappointed, but not surprised, when I was told that big brands need people to feel their kit has an aspirational and inspirational quality. Are women over 40 who MTB somehow less inspirational and aspirational I asked? I didn’t get a reply…

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