Ride Notes - About Us; Before You Ride

Come bike with the Alaska Dirt Divas!

Alaska Dirt Divas was founded in 2007 to promote women's mountain bike riding in the Anchorage area. During the spring/summer season we have weekly rides in the Anchorage-Chugiak area. We also organize longer, weekend rides on the Kenai Peninsula and other locations.

Our mission is to encourage women in the sport of mountain biking by providing a positive environment for learning the skills that will make you more confident on the trails. We welcome mountain bikers of all skill levels.

We promote building sustainable mountain bike trail networks throughout South Central Alaska.

The Dirt - membership, rides, volunteering
The Alaska Dirt Divas is a member organization of IMBA - the International Mountain Bicycling Association. IMBA helps mountain bikers build and maintain local trails. Your membership dues go to the Alaska Dirt Divas to pay for: trail user fees, insurance, printing fliers, maintaining a PO box, the group IMBA membership and other expenses that arise in organizing rides and clinics. We also have been able to donate to groups that help build and maintain local trails. There is no paid staff - everyone is a volunteer.

Your dues help keep this club running. So, we hope you'll join us for a ride. If, after joining for one ride you think this is the group for you, you should join and pay the dues - just $35 for the year. To join, go to Membership.

Rides are scheduled for April through September. Most rides are held on Wednesday evenings. Members have the opportunity to network online with one another to set up alternate rides that fit their schedules.

Our Roots
Members of the former Alaska chapter of WOMBATS (Women's Mountain Bike & Tea Society) founded the new club in early December, 2007. Some of us were involved in the Alaska chapter since it started back in 2000. The main difference is that this is a locally-based club, instead of a chapter of a national club.

Rides with the Alaska Dirt Divas
Follow these tips to make your experience biking with us one that will keep you coming back.

The Bike
Before you ride with the Dirt Divas, make sure you have the right bike for the ride and that it fits you. For early-season paved rides, you can use a mountain bike, a road or hybrid bike, or a comfort bike. Once the dirt trail rides begin, you will need a mountain bike with either 26-inch or 29-inch wheels. Full-suspension bikes can make the bumpier trails more enjoyable, but they aren’t a requirement.

To fit a mountain bike, you should be able to stand over the frame and have one to three inches of clearance. The reach should be comfortable so that you're not too stretched out or too cramped on the frame. A shop can help you determine if you have the correct size bike; or ask the ride leader. (This is a simplified fit description.)

Make sure your tires are inflated properly for the conditions (higher inflation for pavement until the dirt trails open; lower inflation for dirt trails). If your chain is dry or squeaky, be sure to apply some bicycle chain lube.

The Riding Gear
All riders must wear a helmet. Please don't put the ride leader on the spot by asking us to make an exception. It's for your protection. If you aren't sure whether your helmet fits, visit your favorite bike shop for an evaluation or to purchase one that does fit.

Cycling shorts/pants will make you more comfortable on the bicycle because they have padding for your bottom. Paired with a saddle that is the right shape for you, they will help you enjoy the ride much more. Go to a shop that has a good selection and try them on before you buy. Hint: you don't wear underwear under them.

Dress for the conditions and carry a small pack for extra gear. Bring long sleeves or a light jacket in case the weather changes. If mosquitoes bother you, bring bug dope. Make sure you bring water for the ride and a snack to eat just in case.

Be sure to carry a repair kit containing a multi-tool, tire levers, a spare inner tube and a pump. A small seat bag is the most convenient way to carry your tools. Pumps can often be mounted on the bike frame or you can carry it in your pack.

The Rides
Many of our rides have a social pace but as the season progresses we also like to challenge ourselves. We do all we can to help people have an enjoyable mountain biking experience, however, you should still make sure the ride in which you choose to participate is right for you. We'll be including difficulty levels on our rides this season so you can decide ahead of time which rides are right for you, particularly if you are new to riding on dirt trails.

For you more experienced riders who want a faster pace, you can volunteer to lead other more experienced riders on a faster ride. You also probably have the skills to help with clinics for newer riders. We want riders of all skill levels to find a place with the Divas: learning, teaching, leading.

The best way to enjoy riding with the Divas is to ride. Riding off pavement more than just one day a week will help you build the stamina you'll want and need to tackle the more challenging rides as the season progresses. Try for three times a week, because, like any other skill, practice will make you better. When you become a better rider, you'll have more fun. Members often use the Yahoo group for networking so they can find a riding partner. Don't forget to take advantage of this membership benefit. You might just make a friend for life.

Ride Levels
Damsel (Easy) - relatively flat terrain with some hills; smooth, wide trail with few obstacles. Easy rides are mostly limited to paved rides and a few early dirt rides unless otherwise noted on the schedule.
Cardio challenge: mild to moderate.

Princess (Moderate) - mix of level, rolling terrain and some steep hills; some roots and other obstacles (rocks, sand, wooden structures) on the trail; some technical sections; frequent regroupings after technical sections or at major intersections. Includes a mix of wider trails and some singletrack. Many dirt trail rides will fit this category.
Cardio challenge: moderate to strenuous.

Diva (Difficult) - steep hills; roots and other obstacles on the trail, including rocks, sand, wooden structures; steep descents; Includes lots of singletrack; faster pace; and more mileage.
Cardio challenge: strenuous to moderate.

Join now!