Dirt Skirts MTB is the UAE’s first, International, Ladies MTB Club, established in 2013 for women who live in the UAE and love to ride their mountain bikes in the unique landscape of this country.
Mountain biking is one of the most dangerous sports around. Conquering steep rocky climbs and gnarly descents, winding up and down loose gravel tracks and constantly facing unpredictable changes in terrain, oh and did we mention you are doing all this on just two wheels?
Mountain biking is rewarding in so many ways and we truly believe that more women need to know this sport exists and is incredibly popular amongst the female population in so many countries.
Riding in a group brings a fantastic social dynamic to cycling and helps build fitness and skills whilst having a lot of fun.
During our rides, we try to ensure that we do have fun and keep the group together. Usually, we briefly discuss the route and agree on a finish time before we set off, otherwise, we don’t sweat the details too much as we believe there should be a little bit more spontaneity than just planning everything.
If you are a slower rider, and fed up of looking at everyone’s behinds disappearing into the distance, we always advise to kick up your training with extra rides during the week to build your fitness level up.
On our rides, we pay a lot of attention to the importance of staying together, both for safety and group politics. It’s all about the team, stronger riders drop back every so often to offer slower riders a bit of camaraderie on hard climbs or technical parts of the trail. If you are not keen to do so then solo riding is the way to go, which may have its own advantages, but when you choose to ride in a group, this is the time to leave your ego behind!
With regards to the members of our group; Dirt Skirts Mtb are very fluid, as most of our riders are expats, some women leave after working in the UAE for a few years to travel on to new destinations, at the same time new members arrive in the UAE and then join the group. This happens all year round. But the Dirt Skirts bond stays strong no matter where our members are!
This summer our group organized a very exciting MTB holiday to have a long-awaited reunion with some of our members who no longer live in the UAE. In July 2017 our group travelled to Morzine in the French Alps, one of Europe’s most interesting biking regions. The Free-ride, Enduro, and Downhill opportunities in this place are endless, it has more than enough variety to keep even the fussiest bike rider happy! We got our daughter a dirt bike this year from https://www.fit2bmom.com/dirt-bikes/9-year-old/, she loves it!
Our Dirt Skirt members travelled here from various parts of the world to have a week of riding together in breathtaking scenery, face physical and mental challenges of terrain, and simply to pump some adrenaline!
Our time in Morzine started off with heavy rain and cold temperatures but this failed to dampen our spirits! We were all in it together, women of all ages and backgrounds, with the sole purpose of improving our riding skills and more importantly sharing our time, connecting with each other and having fun!
After the first two days of rain, the sun came out and conditions for riding changed to absolutely superb! This was the best time ever!
This week created a lot of interest from the girls that could not make it to the Alps this summer, so much so that from now on our girl’s adventure is officially going to become an annual Dirt Skirts event!
Some Q & A’s
We often get asked:
“I just bought a mountain bike and I’m really excited to get out on the trails, but I’m brand new to the sport. Do I need more experience to join the group?”– We say the best way to get experience is to ride. We encourage absolute beginners to start off at Hatta Trail Centre, where you can find groomed, smooth and flowing, beginner friendly, green, single-track routes and a skills practice area.
Our group is all about camaraderie and support, we push each other to go faster, ride further, and try new techniques. We cheer each other on whether it’s at the finish line or taking on that rocky descent for the first time. What matters to us on our rides is your attitude – are you ready to try something new and have some fun? If the answer is YES then come and join us, get on your bike and discover what a thrill mountain biking can be. What you will find with Dirt Skirts is encouragement and support. You’ll find a network of women to ride with. You’ll find fun, fitness and friendship. Zero intimidation. Zero pressure. We hope to see more women riding bikes on their own terms without being intimidated.
Distances we ride?
Our beginner group rides could be anywhere from 10 – 15km. Faster rides may run from 25-35km. Rides maybe shorter in distance but longer in duration if the
group stops to work on specific skills or challenging areas.
Where we ride:
“Hatta Mtb Trail Centre” offers fast flowing smooth single tracks that make you smile as you ride down. The trail center currently offers green – (beginner friendly), blue (for intermediate riders) red (for advanced riders) and black trails (for very advanced riders).
The Meydan NAS urban forest 4×4 tracks are great for beginners and closer to the city. ■
Words by: Angelika Whitaker
Photos by: Tonya Colson, Sam Taylor, and company Lavadesign