The Moab Mountain Bike Association is getting revitalized by Anna Sprout, a longtime Moab resident and mountain bike rider. The new era comes after a pandemic hiatus, and now, Sprout hopes the new events and programs hosted by the association will become the community’s go-to: places for mountain bikers to practice new skills and meet new friends.
“I think creating a community is essential in persuading people to stay to be a part of it,” Sprout said.
The local mountain bike community has been growing, Sprout said—the organization Moab Community Cycles took off this year, and she’s seen the community organize group rides. But there’s still a gap, one that she wants to fill: there’s room for educational programming, especially for women, she said. With her background in education, and as a woman herself, that’s what she’s passionate about.
In an international survey of mountain bikers completed in 2018, which recruited participants via social media, only 13.8% of respondents were women. The survey also found that women were less likely than men to report their biking skills as being in the highest category, “advanced or pro” (21% compared to 40.4%); and that women participants had been biking for far less time than the men—only 27.8% of the women respondents said they had been biking for over 10 years, compared to 45.2% of the men.
“Being a female in the mountain biking community—it can be a little intimidating,” Sprout said. “So making connections within our own communities is really important.”
In 2020, before the pandemic, Sprout helped organize a handful of women’s clinics: free bike maintenance clinics run by women, for women. She recruited Paige Stuart, a local bike mechanic who now works for Liv Bicycles, and other local bike mechanics to volunteer their time to teach. The group was only able to sneak in a few clinics before canceling due to the pandemic—but this summer, the MMBA has hosted two: one about bike wheels and tires, and the other about bike repair kits.
The association is also planning an anniversary party for Pipedream, a local biking trail that’s turning 10 this year. The party, at 6 p.m. on Aug. 22 at Moab Cyclery, will include a bike ride, barbecue, cake, and celebration both of the Moab biking community and Grand County Trail Mix—it’s events like these that Sprout loves, she said, because it allows her to bring everyone together.
Sprout has a lot of plans for the association, she said: she dreams of continuing the women’s clinics and starting up “session rides,” where beginner bikers could ride with more advanced riders to learn new techniques.
“It’s really important as a beginner rider to ride with intermediate and advanced riders to understand that you’re welcome to all of these rides,” Sprout said. “People want your company and don’t necessarily care about your skills, especially on group rides.”
She’s looking forward to hosting more anniversary trail rides too and organizing fun and informal rides, like a ride donned in costumes near Halloween.
“I’m really excited to see this level of interest from the community,” Sprout said. “And I do honestly think it comes with the COVID isolation, and then wanting to come back out. I’m excited to see what can happen with the association.”
You can keep up with the MMBA through its Instagram page @moabmba. There’s a website too—www.moabmba.com—which Sprout hopes she can eventually utilize to create memberships and a Google Calendar, she said.