Dirt Divas: Bend women blaze mountain bike trails

All-women riding group draws dozens, in all weather

POSTED: 9:02 PM PDT May 14, 2013    UPDATED: 9:05 PM PDT May 14, 2013 
BEND, Ore. -

They call themselves "Dirt Divas" -- an all-women mountain biking group, hitting the Central Oregon trails and learning the ropes.

"Simply put, the Dirt Divas program is here to empower women through mountain biking," said Jane Quinn, one of the Dirt Diva coordinators.

"And so we just want women to feel comfortable coming out, hanging out with other ladies, getting on a mountain bike and trying new things," she said.

When the Dirt Divas started in the summer of 2011, 10 to 20 women showed up. Now, 50-plus riders sign up every month. And many of them are brand new to the sport.

So why the high interest?

"It's a big thing here, and just seemed to be a great opportunity to get together with girls, to go out and hit the trails and have some fun," said first-time rider Elise Burrus.

That's also what's kept many of them coming back.

Susan Kinney has been riding with the group since it started.

"I just showed up because I didn't know anyone else to ride with, other than my husband, and I just wanted to ride with women, rather than guys," Kinney said.

Don't get the wrong idea -- it's not that the Dirt Divas don't like to ride with the men. They say it's just that men learn skills in a completely different way, and the ladies wanted to create a non-intimidating atmosphere.

"It's more of a comfortable environment with just the women," said rider Kelsey Williams.

Having fun and mastering the skill -- these women are trail-blazers all their own.

They're not called Dirt Divas for nothing.

"I mean, look at how many people are here," Kinney said. "Forty-five people show up. even when it's windy and rainy and yucky temperatures people show up because it's fun," Kinney said.

The Dirt Divas meet twice every month. For those dates and a schedule of events, visit http://www.pinemountainsports.com.