I had this idea of putting together trips for women who already knew how to ride their bikes, catering to those who were ready to start exploring further afield, to travel & ride in new places and tackle new terrain. Then combining these trips with an introduction to yoga & how it can benefit and add to your biking. This was how the name Soul Trails came about.
There are many skills camps and clinics out there and they are valuable and an amazing platform to start from, but during my travels & trips abroad I’ve really noticed that there is a lack of women getting together and booking a trip somewhere “exotic” to just go riding with their mates on tough and challenging trails. You always see heaps of guys on a guys riding trip, with the token female tagging along (I’m usually one of these).
This (exploring new cool places with my bike) is my absolute favourite thing in the world to do, so I thought that starting a women's specific adventure trip and teaming up with some of the best guiding outfitters around the globe could bring about a change and act as a platform for adventurous women to take the plunge and book a riding trip of their own, then someday we’ll see groups of women out shredding with the token male tagging along :-)
These trips are about riding sick varied trails, about pushing your own personal limits, trying new, possibly scary things, meeting new people, but are also about discovering new countries and learning about their cultures and of course sampling their food. We session obstacles & work on techniques, in real world situations- on the trail; so no parking lot lessons. Along with the riding, I introduce yoga to these biking ladies, to balance out the masculine side of biking with the softer side of yoga and show them how yoga can benefit your biking. Don’t be fooled though, the yoga is aimed to get you stronger for the bike to absorb all those hits better, so we work up a sweat before breakfast.
The trips are focussed more on women, but we don’t exclude the guys completely, as they can be an important part of the trips and I feel that we can learn from them. I just want to create an environment which encourages more women to travel with their bikes and go riding new trails and sometimes alongside guys that are super supportive and encouraging.
Soul Trails Scotland
Our inaugural trip this year was in Bonney Scotland with Go-Where Scotland and the infectious duo of Aneela & Andy McKenna. We were based in the beautiful Scottish Highlands in the Cairngorm mountains at The Bunkhouse, which was just magical. We had our own private yoga studio, and hairy Highland coows to greet us every morning. Fresh, healthy meals were prepared daily by the lovely ladies; Shirley & Elisa, who would join in on the rides everyday, cutting out earlier to prepare our meals and welcome us back with delightful G&T’s. Janey, our lead guide made sure we didn’t get lost in the heather clad hills and Aneela & Andy taking care of all the laughs & banter along the way. Never a dull moment with those two! We even had a guest appearance from Andrea - the tech & suspension guru from Juliana Bicycles who popped in for a few days of riding, hanging, tech talk & helping all the ladies with a proper bike set up for their steeds.
We rode too many trails to name (or remember their Gaelic names), but some highlights were Laggan Wolftrax, Devil’s Staircase in Glencoe down into Kinlochleven, lunch in the Culra Bothy, Dalwhinnie, the Grey Mares, conquering the water bars on the Chalamain Gap Trail, bone-dry Burnside, Dunkeld, Ben Alder and plenty of other. We barely scratched the surface of what Scotland has to offer but that is the beauty of these trips they leave you with a thirst for going out and doing your own exploring.
A huge shout out goes to Lululemon who supported us by giving each girl a yoga mat & to Juliana Bicycles swagging out the ladies making sure we all look good on & off our bikes :)
Thank you to this first group of women who had the guts to book a trip with Soul Trails and all the other people who were involved with this rad week - you guys ROCK!
Sandra Williams, Agnes Arnold, Emily Trill, Sarah Bedford, Sue Walker, Shirley Clark, Elisa Smith, Janey Kennedy, Andrea Turner & “Handy” Andy & Aneela owners of the Go-Where Scotland mtb guiding company.