Less Room in the Carpark started as a question. “What is the point of getting more women out mountain biking, when it creates less room in the carpark?”
Shredding Betties, a social movement of women and girls in Tasmania, seized the opportunity in this question and used it to amplify their goal to get more women and girls involved in mountain biking. This is how #lessroominthecarpark started – a first birthday celebration with a cheeky nod towards the original question.
In the past five years Tasmania has seen an eruption of trail expansions across the state attracting world class mountain bike events and riding opportunities. Destinations like Derby and Maydena sit on Shredding Betties’ back doorstep and on any given weekend riders swarm the hills on the western and eastern shores of Hobart, home to the Shredding Betties.
“Our aim is to create a space for women and girls to connect, support and inspire each other to learn new skills, ride together and to feel part of the wider mountain biking community.”
Shredding Betties’ initial remit was to make women and girls visible and to help mainstream media see active women differently. The start point was a 2018 calendar project. 150 entries were received and images including roller derby, skateboarding, BMX, cycle touring and mountain biking were selected.
Funds raised through the calendar sales have been driven straight back into projects to strengthen women’s participation in wheel sports including Southern City BMX for female-specific coaching as well as She Shreds Australia, a local skating group promoting girls. Funds were also used to pay a bike mechanic for women to learn fundamental maintenance skills as part of the #lessroominthecarpark event.
“Less Room in the Carpark is a celebration of the success we have achieved in our first year. We understand that by pushing a space forward for women and girls we have an opportunity to connect with other organisations and motivated people with a similar goal.
“We have also supported our local economy by developing merchandise that is manufactured and/or handmade in Tasmania. We have a range of stickers, t-shirts, beanies and merino riding jerseys. Now we are hard to miss on the trails.”
Creating employment opportunities for professional coaches has been another success of the Shredding Betties, who regularly engage local coaches to teach specific skills for beginners all the way through to advanced riders.
“Women enjoy seeing other women succeed. We are lucky to have access to excellent professional coaches who tailor their sessions to match what the Betties are telling us they need. The best part about this is seeing women who started with us as beginner riders, build on their skills and progress with their riding confidence.”
Images: (in order) Emma Hutchinson, Allan Taylor, Marli Humphreys, Duncan Giblin & Jenni McLeod.