Rocky Riders on a roll

Rocky Riders on the Bacos trails in February.

When early last year Natayla Garden set up a Facebook page to see if any women wanted to join her and a friend on a beginners’ mountain bike ride, little did she imagine that she was starting something quite significant.

After Natayla, her friend and 11 other women met at the local Bacos trails in Walmer Forest Reserve for a social ride, everyone wanted to know when the next ride was happening, Natalya said.

It certainly seemed that women’s social MTB rides were needed so Natalya met with Paula Ewing and Ella Bourke, who had experience in the relevant fields of thought, to brainstorm ideas.

After approaching the Castlemaine Rocky Riders MTB Club, Natayla was invited along to a committee meeting to discuss the trio’s ideas.

The committee was supportive and suggested organising the women’s social ride through the club, and hence the monthly ride was born.

“We had four ride leaders at each ride, so we were able to cater for two different groups of ability and fitness,” Natalya said.

Last December, Natalya joined the Castlemaine Rocky Riders committee with a focus on creating more opportunities for women and girls to feel included in the local MTB community.

“In 2022 we have a full year’s calendar of monthly social rides for women planned,” she said.

They aim to offer a safe and supportive environment for teenage girls, women, gender non-conforming people … everyone.

“Rides are targeted at beginner to intermediate riders. We have a no-drop policy, which means that no one is left behind.”

Women are also encouraged to join in on the club’s regular social rides, which are open to any gender and age. Each ride is pitched at a different skill level or ability.

“We also have junior rides, which parents and carers are encouraged to attend,” Natalya said.

On April 23 and 24 Castlemaine Rocky Riders members will be travelling down to Red Hill MTB Park on the Mornington Peninsula to take part in the In Search of Stoke, a women-only Gravity Enduro event.

On May 1 the Bendigo Women’s three-hour MTB challenge will be at Spring Gully.

Both events are aimed to encourage riders of all levels and abilities, especially those starting out or interested in riding in races or events. There is a strong social aspect to both events and dressing up is highly encouraged!

Feel free to contact Natalya via: if you would like more info.