Wednesday, October 3, 2018

October Updates

We are pleased to announce that we are adding two Fearless Women of Dirt Ambassadors to our lineup, both who will be creating FWD chapters in their areas. This means, not only are we expanding FWD into Chicago and Des Moines, but we will also have a total of 3 FWD chapters outside of Decorah!

FWD membership opens up on January 1st, with a minimum donation of $20.00 to be made to DHPT: Decorah Human Powered Trails. If you join FWD, you not only donate to our next trail system, but you also get some sweet perks!



Meet our newest Ambassadors!
Leah Barry
I love riding my bikes off-road! My love of dirt began as a little girl, and was reignited as an adult when I discovered cyclocross racing in 2015. After trying triathlon but discovering I really only liked the biking part, I competed in Afterglow, a late-season, casual race. I raced on my single-speed commuter, with a slick back tire, and despite wiping out in the mud (or because of it?) I fell in love. I love racing the Chicago Cyclocross Cup each fall, and competing in various gravel races such as Barry Roubaix and Rough Road 100, but had wanted a mountain bike for as long as I'd been riding. I decided this year would be the year I finally go for it, and ended up falling in love with the Jamis Dragonfly. On June 8, 2019, I plan to put my mountain bike and body to the test at the Sancho 200 in Traverse City, Michigan, riding 200 miles of scenic terrain. Until then, I'll enjoy my Dragonfly racing short track at Big Marsh Bike Park, riding the pump track, and hitting whatever trails I can throughout the Midwest. 
Aubrey Massmann
I’m 24 years old and a PNW mountain enthusiast currently transplanted to Des Moines, Iowa for medical school. Funny enough, I was introduced to mountain biking after moving to the Midwest. In retrospect, I have this funny belief that all things present themselves when we need them most, especially thrilling outdoor sports that require us to face our fears and better ourselves.

Five years ago, my father passed away suddenly after a long battle with illness. He had always been the driving force behind empowering messages; ‘be strong, be courageous, try your hardest, embrace the things that scare you’, etc. In the wake of his passing, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d really followed his advice. In fact, I really hadn’t at all. I had yet to push the limits of my comfort zone, try hard, or face fear. So, a week later, I signed up for a mountaineering course and purchased an ice axe, crampons, and a textbook about knots and crevasse rescue in hopes of honoring his memory.

Since then, I've found myself seeking more and more time in the wilderness in search of opportunities to grow in these ways. In hopes of sharing the empowering force that I discovered outside, I adopted the budding new Outdoor Recreation program at my college, led hikes, backpacking and climbing trips, and taught skills to students in my spare time.

Moving to Iowa last year, I feared I had left a part of myself behind and my connection with the outdoors would wither away. However, much to my surprise, I stumbled upon mountain biking and quite literally fell head over heels in love with it (learning to ride clipless has involved some pretty dorky crashes). My bike life is just beginning, but I’ve never enjoyed a sport more!


Also, we are going to collaborate with Ladies Who Shred and have a fun FWD/LWS mashup! Our skills days will be in support of Ladies Who Shred. Ladies Who Shred was created by Amy (who will be featured on Josie's Bike Life, soon!)

About Ladies Who Shred:
A community for ALL levels of Lady Shredders that encourages women (ALL sizes, ages, ethnicities, non-binary/femme, financial means and more) in adventure sports and the outdoors.

Trail Work Days
Keep your eyes peeled in 2019 as Fearless Women of Dirt will host a couple trail work days next year! These will be scheduled on a Tuesday or Sunday afternoon. Fixing some shoring to raking and picking up litter. We'll take a few hours to do something good, and then hit up Pulpit for refreshments after!

If you're wanting to help out with trail work before then, DHPT: Decorah Human Powered Trails will be having a work day on Sunday, October 7th starting at 11 a.m. For further details, go to www.decorahmtb.com

Be Involved
We highly encourage women to join in at our DHPT meetings that are (most times) held the 1st Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m.
There are awesome things coming up, like NEW/EASY/FUN!!! mountain bike trails. Anyone can be involved and it would be awesome if more women were!
To be on the mailing list, send an email to josie@decorahbicycles.com
If you're unable to make the meetings, you will receive meeting minutes. 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Fearless Women of Dirt Updates

Due to the unpredictable weather on Tuesday, September 28th we canceled our women's night.
In light of that, we have some current updates we want to share with you pertaining to FWD and the direction we're going next year.

Membership-
We have acquired 22 members to Fearless Women of Dirt. Memberships will officially open up on January 1st. We plan to do a suggested $20.00 minimum donation for membership, but if folks want to donate more they sure can.
Decorah Bicycles will not be hosting their annual Bike Month fundraiser, instead they will have a donation box out during most of the year to collect money for DHPT.

The fundraiser has been successful, but over the past 2 years it’s been more difficult to gather donations. Especially from those out of town. Folks have also asked when and where to donate to the trails during the year. We figure some may be inclined to donate smaller amounts more often if they had a place to do so.

For FWD sponsors, we have the same fantastic lineup of Impact Coffee, Sugar Bowl Ice Cream, and Pulpit Rock Brewery. Same gist for their perks. Pulpit Rock after scheduled rides and Sugar Bowl will be active May-August. Decorah Bicycles discount of 15% for all active members.
If there is a local business you think would be fun to work with or on board with FWD, please share!

FWD Night for 2019
Thinking Tuesday, April 30th

Try having a bike ride start at 5 p.m.? Just social from 6-8? Keep it 7-9?

Hold the social at bike shop or make it more casual? End of season women's night?

FWD Rides-
Structure for the FWD rides will be changing until the Carlson Property trails are officially built.
We will not have beginner-focused rides regularly.
We will not have kids rides scheduled in advance.
We may have rides for these two categories on a sporadic basis depending on schedules.

1st Wednesday and 1st Sunday of the month will be p.m. rides for intermediate/advanced riders.
We will start our Wednesday ride at 6:30 p.m. due to the difficulty of being able to leave right at 6 p.m.

Sunday ride will go on as planned- but I will no longer (at this time) offer morning rides.

May 4th - should be International Women’s Mountain Bike Day. It would be cool to have a Saturday morning ride and a Saturday p.m. ride.
Josie can lead one at 5:30 p.m.
This will be intermediate/advanced rider focused.

May 11th- Skill building Saturday starting at 5:30 p.m.

Instead of “beginner” rides, Our aim is to have a couple of skill building days. This will provide a foundation for those who are new to mountain biking and need to learn the basics. This will also help us as more experienced riders to be mindful of our technique. Literally, we will learn together.

There will be a renewed focus on integrating more new riders once we have a new trail system.

Josie talks about restructure-
The learning curve is steep with our current trail setup, and it takes a lot of gumption to stick with it as a new rider. It’s also challenging to set aside time to create rides and not have folks show up.

Ideally, we’d have a group for experienced riders and a group for newer, less experienced riders. Both groups would have a sweep and a ride lead. We typically do not have enough riders joining our rides to accomplish that.

It’s been too challenging to have such a diverse mix of riders show up at one time and it creates an unfair situation for all of those involved. We do not have the ideal setup to handle the mix of riders we currently get, nor do we have a great setup on legitimately introducing new riders to mountain bike trails without a steep learning curve.

For 2019 our rides will be intermediate/advanced focused with some all-levels welcome skill rides thrown in for good measure.

We will have two rides happening once a month- this might help drive up attendance.

This will also allow me to be free enough to have one-on-one rides with folks newer to riding.

Anyone joining our rides is expected to have had at least one season of mountain biking under their belt or a handful of rides with our FWD Ambassadors or myself to give the “all clear” to participate.

Currently I see 2019 as a focus on building relationships with women mountain bikers from other areas, and possibly collaborating together for rides. I am going to pursue expanding Fearless Women of Dirt into other communities while slowly increasing visibility in the Decorah area.

Amy- Fearless Women of Dirt Cedar Valley

Currently into Des Moines and Chicago for 2019. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

August Updates

Greetings everyone!

The summer season is winding down and school will be back in session soon. I (Josie) have been busy with dealing with all that goes into settling my dad's estate while trying to find time to ride my bike. Man, it's been a job, and there is still much that needs to happen before everything is truly settled. It's progressing, and that's a good thing.

Our next FWD night is coming up on Tuesday, August 28th! Super excited to share the evening with friends. Talk about the season, create goals for next, and ride bikes!


We have officially put up a tab for FWD Chapters! Check it out here.

We have officially opened up accepting applications for 2019 Fearless Women of Dirt Ambassadors. We would love if we had folks apply who would truly go forward with creating a FWD riding group in there area, or incorporate a FWD ride within their current riding group.

Applications will be accepted until October 1st.

A reminder that we have some awesome FWD swag available for purchase at Decorah Bicycles.
Also, if you are looking to order a sleeveless jersey- we can take orders for them ANY time!

Going to Chequamegon 40 or PertNear 20? Let me know so we can meet up!

Friday, June 22, 2018

June/July Updates

It's been a continuous catch up in life right now, and I'm grateful and appreciative of the folks who have been so understanding. There has been a lot on my plate with the estate, and the amount of cleanup that is required. It has drastically limited my availability for rides, which is a frustration, but at the same time it's simply a fact of life.



I was able to take a reprieve from estate-duties and was able to spend time with fellow FWD Ambassador, Amy and some friends from out of town. It was awesome! Granted, our ride was short due to rain, but we still had fun. It was awesome to connect with women from a different riding community to bond over biking.

At the time of posting, we have a total of 21 FWD Members! Awesome!
I would say our biggest challenge this year has been getting folks interested in our Mother/Son rides. Unfortunately, at this time, there won't be plans for Mother/Daughter rides due to Tuesdays being one of my prime days for dealing with estate stuff.

We tried to have parents register for these rides, but that didn't work out the best. We created Facebook events, but in true fashion, it's never certain who will really show up or not. We sent out a schedule of rides to our email list, but it didn't result in any communication either way (attending or no.)

Due to this, we have FWD Ambassadors showing up for rides with no one attending. We all have busy lives, but for us to offer rides, we need to have enough folks vested in participating to make it worth our time for hosting weekly events.

So, we have created a survey to help us with planning for the 2019 riding season with FWD Mother/Daughter/Son rides. We ask that if there is any interest at all in participating, that you fill out the survey. This will help us figure out what route will be best to take for setting these rides up next season- be a weekly option or a once-a-month option.

At this point, we still plan to have a FWD Women's Night event in August- why not celebrate the community of women mountain bikers? That date is Tuesday, August 28th. We'll see about having a ride prior to the event. If we do, plan a 5 p.m. start time for the ride and the social time to start at 7 p.m.

Stay tuned to our Facebook page for more info!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

May Updates

We had a wonderful kickoff for our 2018 riding season with our Fearless Women of Dirt Women's Night! Martha Flynn came and talked to the women of FWD about Little Bellas and what the Little Bella's program entails. It was great to learn about the program and the how it helps to build up a sense of camaraderie among the girls.

Decorah, in reality, is a small-sized community and this program typically looks to larger-scale communities, however Martha felt that Decorah would be a fantastic area to have a Little Bellas program established.

It would likely draw youth from other communities, but the issue at hand is the lack of trails suitable for the program to be established. You have to have the trails first, before you can be considered appropriate as a chapter location. There will be further discussion on that as things develop, but at this time Carlson Property conversation is still happening- but currently looking at more of a fall timeline.
Fearless Women of Dirt membership is officially open and we have 13 women on board as members of FWD! The total donation amount being given to DHPT sits at $270

The membership fee is $20.00 and is a cash or check donation given to DHPT: Decorah Human Powered Trails.

There are perks from multiple establishments: Impact Coffee, Sugar Bowl Ice Cream, Pulpit Rock Brewery, and Decorah Bicycles. You can read more about the perks here.


We hosted a ride on Saturday, May 5th that coincided with "International Women's Mountain Bike Day." Decorah Bicycles offered free demo mountain bikes for the women attending, and celebrate the riding season they also extended the free demo mountain bike option for the 1st Sunday of the month rides, too!
We're also working on getting more content up on the Fearless Women of Dirt Youtube channel. 
Slowly but surely you'll see clips of rides, highlights from out group rides, and more videos of Josie delving a bit more into #bikelife and answering some of your burning questions like:
Overcoming Fears of Mountain Biking
What was your first season like?
Clips vs. Flats
Event participation
Why do you wear lycra?
Essential Gear
What was your prior biking experience?
Why do you name your bikes?

Josie is open to receiving question ideas! Comment, email, or send a message on what you'd like covered and we'll get it added to the list.

Don't forget! Ride waivers for any FWD ride and FWD Mother/Kid rides need to be filled out prior to joining. Let Josie know which rides you're looking to attend per the Mother/Kid rides. Participants are limited to 10.
Sunday, June 3rd at 9 a.m.
Saturday, June 16th at 9 a.m.
Saturday, June 23rd at 9 a.m.

There is a special Mother & Kid ride on Sunday, May 13th for Mother's Day!


Decorah Bicycles is hosting their raffle/fundraiser for DHPT: Decorah Human Powered Trails during the month of May. If you purchase a $5.00 raffle ticket, you'll have a chance of winning one of these gift certificates

There is not a cap on how many raffle tickets you purchase, but it must be a cash or check payment.

If a check, write it out to DHPT.

If you do not live in Decorah but want to participate, send a check to:

Decorah Bicycles
101 College Dr.
Decorah, IA 52101


We encourage all trail users to participate with the fundraiser by donating $5.00.
It takes a good number of volunteer hours to keep our soft trails in tiptop shape. Plus, with the future Carlson Property trails, creation will take a lot of funds.

You may have noticed that all rides that I (Josie) had planned for 2018 that I would be hosting have been cancelled for the time being. Some of you may have heard, but my father passed away in a tree cutting accident on Sunday, May 6th.

I'm his only child and have not only the new journey of walking through life without my father, but the "adulting" that comes with the passing of a parent.

Because of the traveling involved and knowing how I can be when exposed to large amounts of stress regularly or suddenly- mentally I am not able to lead rides to the best of my ability.

This means all FWD Wednesday, Sunday, and Mother/Daughter rides are off the books at this point.

After time goes on and I find things more manageable, I will reinstate some rides as I can.

It breaks my heart to cancel rides, but I do not want to bring anything less than my best self when it comes to the rides. Fearless Women of Dirt means too much to me to provide a half-assed experience.

I will be mountain biking as I am able, and still plan to attend a couple of events in honor of my dad.

Keep an eye out for rides that our FWD Ambassadors will be hosting. I'm also enjoying the photos that folks are sharing with their own FWD rides with friends! Please keep them coming, they bring me great comfort. #womeninspire #fearlesswomenofdirt


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

International Women's MTB Day

It might be a little early to think about riding mountain bike trails, but we can always hope that things will be firm in a couple weeks! We are hoping to host a women's mountain bike ride on Saturday, May 5th in celebration of International Women's Mountain Bike Day

No, you are not wrong in believing that you have never heard of this day before. It's new! IMBA has had great success with their Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day, and this is a spin-off of that. The goal is simple- "Local organizations and individuals are encouraged to use the day as a driver for grassroots engagement, festivals, rides, awareness campaigns and other activities to both celebrate and encourage women mountain biking."

Fearless Women of Dirt is partnering up with Decorah Bicycles and will be offering free, demo mountain bikes for use during the ride. This will be an awesome opportunity for women to try out a new style of bike, say plus-sized wheels or full suspension. The ride will be led by Fearless Women of Dirt Ambassador, Kim.

If you are in need of a bike, please send an email to josie@decorahbicycles.com or call Decorah Bicycles during business hours. There are limited numbers of demo mountain bikes available.
The ride will leave the Decorah Bicycles parking lot at 10 a.m. but due to the setup of the demo bikes, it is ideal that you show up by 9:30 a.m. to ensure there is enough time to get things ready so you can have an enjoyable experience.

Check out the event on Facebook and be sure to select "Going" if you are planning to attend!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

April Updates

Spring in Decorah is off to a slow start with surprise snow and temperatures below average for this time of year. Folks are antzy for dry trails, especially with the 2018 Decorah Time Trials around the corner. It's unknown yet as to how firm the dirt trails will be by April 28th...only time will tell.


Fearless Women of Dirt Membership is in full swing and we have had women sign up! We expect more will register at the FWD Women's Night event on April 24th, but you are welcome to stop by Decorah Bicycles at any time during business hours to take care of your membership payment.


The ride we plan to have at 5 p.m. on April 24th is yet to be determined due to trail conditions. It's far too soon for us to promise a mountain bike ride yet. As the event gets closer, we will finalize details of where we will ride.


We are also in the early planning stages of a skills clinic that will go over some basics of bike handling, shifting, and braking that Travis and Josie will host. The plan is to have one in May and one in June, but with current weather conditions showing unpredictability, they are waiting a few more weeks to finalize the May date. This will be an event you will have to register for, as you will be using a mountain bike from Decorah Bicycles and there are limited numbers. This is due to the clinic being hosted on a grassy area and wider tires will feel more stable (than a hybrid or road bike.)
This is a great opportunity for folks who would love to learn the basics, and these basics can be applied to any type of cycling. 

FWD Mother/Daughter Rides
Current schedule for the FWD Mother/Daughter Rides:
Tuesday, June 12th and 26th at 7 p.m.
Tuesday, July 10th and 24th at 7 p.m.

FWD Mother/Son Rides
Current schedule for the FWD Mother/Son Rides:
Sunday, June 3rd at 9 a.m.
Saturday, June 16th at 9 a.m.
Saturday, June 23rd at 9 a.m.

*all rides subject to change depending on trail conditions

A reminder that registration for our Mother/Kid rides will be opening up on April 24th. If you cannot attend the event, you are welcome to email Josie to sign you and your child up for these rides. We are limiting the number of parents/kids to 10 total. Send an email to Josie to register. Please list off the days you are planning to attend and if you are attending the Mother/Daughter or Mother/Son rides.

We can increase the number of participants if we have volunteers who are interested in helping out either Kim or Josie on these rides. Email josie@decorahbicycles.com if you wish to help out!

Please remember that we want to ensure that all bikes being used for these rides are in good working order. Bikes should have functioning brakes and if they have gears, they should shift smoothly.

We are not able to perform tune-ups on bikes during the ride- it is your responsibility to ensure you and your child have safe and functional bikes for these rides. Please plan ahead and get your bike(s) serviced before the riding season, especially if your child is also participating in the Decorah Parks and Recreation Mountain Biking Class. FWD Ride Leads can make the call on any bike they deem unsafe for the ride they are leading. This is to ensure the safety of all involved.

Please keep in mind that planning ahead does not mean bringing your bike in on Monday morning and having it finished by Monday afternoon. Most service jobs are completed at Decorah Bicycles within 24 to 48 hours. 

If you wish to rent a bike for the mountain bike ride the cost will be $20.00. The rental also includes a helmet. (Which is a must for any of our FWD rides!)

In addition, if you are not on the FWD Mother/Kid Ride email list, please send an email to Josie and she'll put you on the list. This will be used to send out reminders of rides if a ride is canceled due to weather, and inform you of any special events FWD might be hosting. Email is a truly solid way of staying connected with any changes, as there have been instances where updates on a Facebook Event page were not seen. 

We've had several ask about ordering the sleeveless Fearless Women of Dirt jersey. We will take orders for any of our Fearless Women of Dirt jerseys (short sleeve, sleeveless, and freeride) during our FWD Women's Night.

*If you ordered a jersey through the Team Store, it should be mailed out by April 11th from Borah Teamwear. If you find yourself with a size that does not work for you, Borah Teamwear WILL assist!

Decorah Bicycles currently has short sleeve, full-zip FWD jerseys in stock!
(XS-XL available)
$79.99

If you are not able to attend the FWD Women's Night and wish to order a jersey, email Josie your size and style option before April 28th. We will publicize this on our social media accounts closer to the date. This is an opportunity to order any style of FWD jersey, particularly if you need a size larger than XL or you need a XS size.

We're very excited for the riding season to start, but we know that there are folks who are nervous about attending a group ride. We've compiled a Group Ride 101 post that should answer most questions. If you have further questions or concerns, you are very welcome to email Josie. Our hope is that Fearless Women of Dirt will grow and eventually we can set up further rides to better cater to the varying rider levels that would like to attend.

This is another handy guide to read prior to joining our group rides. This will cover some basics of common accessories or gear items that can improve your experience with mountain biking.

We are going to cover several items listed on this guide with our GRAND PRIZE at our FWD Women's Night! We will have a Specialized Tactic helmet ($75 value), a pair of fingerless BG Gel gloves ($35 value), pair of Specialized Sport shorts ($50 value), a Decorah Bicycles jersey ($80 value), and a Specialized Cap ($25 value). This setup will work with you on mountain bike rides, gravel, or pavement.
What do you have to do to get this awesome setup? Join our FWD women's night!
What we'd love even more is if you became a member of Fearless Women of Dirt, that will truly complete this awesome package prize.

We will have other great prizes from our sponsors for the evening: ESI Grips, Joshua Tree Life, Impact Coffee, Decorah Bicycles, Shebeest, and Specialized Bicycles.

Notes on the FWD Women's Night Format-
We plan to have some sort of ride leaving from Decorah Bicycles at 5 p.m. Ideally if you need a bike, you should plan to be at Decorah Bicycles by 4:45 p.m to get set up.

Our ride will be determined on trail conditions. If the soft trails are not in good condition, we will ride the Trout Run Trail. Our end time for the ride will be approx. 6:30 p.m./6:45 p.m.
Travis will be at the shop to let folks in if they beat us to the shop.

The social event will officially start at 7 p.m. Please be at the shop before 7 p.m. so you do not miss out, but if you absolutely cannot be at the shop before 7 p.m. you are still welcome to come! If you missed out on anything you wished to learn, Josie can fill you in later.

We will draw for door prizes at the end of the presentations.
Post prize drawing we can take jersey orders, membership payments, and complete ride registrations.

If you cannot stay until 9 p.m. and you want to purchase a FWD membership, order a jersey, or register for one of the Mother/Kid rides- Travis can assist with those if we're still in the discussion format. Membership/Ride registration can also happen at any point during regular Decorah Bicycles business hours.

We have a poll going on our Facebook page pertaining to group rides. Due to our late spring, we're not entirely sure on what the soft trails will be like for the start of our riding season. Options include riding the Trout Run Trail loop or riding Trout Run Trail to River Road and riding to Lower Dam and back. We're also open to riding part-way to Bluffton, tho it depends on rider level/confidence of those attending. Ideally, we want to host a weekly ride of some sort and figure that either of these options will provide an opportunity for us to ride together. We can even incorporate some skill lessons that can be practiced on our ride that can later be transferred to the trails!

Last but not least....
Decorah Time Trials! They are happening and will be held on Saturday, April 28th. Even if you have no desire to participate (since the weather is super questionable) the participants love to see your smiling faces down in Death Vally or at the Finish Line! (You can even drive up to Van Peenen Park and catch some of the action!)

Attending as a spectator is free. If you wish to join the Time Trials the short course fee is $15.00 and the long course fee is $25.00

Awards will be at T-Bock's in the upstairs.