Photos from Facebook.

Do you hear that? The sound of spinning bike wheels and cheers from the sidelines? That’s the sound of Valley Girls Cycling, a squad of strong women pedaling their way through barriers and leaving a trail of empowerment in their wake.

Ever felt like you’re blazing a trail where few dare to tread? That’s exactly how Sarah Mount felt as a competitive cyclist in a male-dominated arena. But instead of letting the odds stack against her, she decided to flip the script. Valley Girls Cycling was born – with a mission to redefine what it means to be a woman on two wheels.

Valley Girls is a 501c3 non-profit that champions education, opportunity, and support among women cyclists. They volunteer in the community, mostly with cycling-related opportunities, but they also help with other sports events, like the Eau Claire Marathon. “You kind of see us everywhere,” says Sarah Mount, the leader of Valley Girls Cycling.

Sarah is a competitive cyclist, and felt underrepresented in cycling as a woman. “When I was younger, I didn’t see women in sports very much, and I absolutely did not see women in cycling. I didn’t know that a woman could have a professional career as a cyclist,” she notes. She wanted to create a support system for other women who were interested in cycling.

She launched Valley Girls Cycling in September of 2022, and 30 people showed up for the first ride. “It felt like I tapped into a consciousness that was just waiting for someone or something to bring it out more,” she says. The group grew from there, fostering a sense of sisterhood and support.

One of Sarah’s favorite events with Valley Girls was their block party in the fall of 2023. They had a jazz trio filling the air with music, they played games in the yard, cooked food and served ice cream, and had bike races with kids bikes that they later donated to the community. She says it was a great success and met quite a few new faces.

Valley Girls do races and regular Saturday morning rides around the Chippewa Valley. One race they participated in, the Green Comet race, had more women than men because the Valley Girls showed up. It’s moments like this that remind Sarah why she started Valley Girls Cycling, and she says, “I feel like it’s fostered a bit more of a sense of empowerment.” 

Sarah has a goal to make Valley Girls Cycling a supportive space, where they decrease intimidation around cycling, make it a more accessible sport, and make space for experienced and casual riders without judgment or commitment. She wants any and every woman to feel like they can give it a shot without worry.

This year, Sarah and the Valley Girls have launched Valley Girls Race – a program to support racing cyclists with sports psychology, nutritional support, training, and support to overcome obstacles. 

Valley Girls is a community first and foremost: “Some of Valley Girls is just girl talk, and hanging out in the sauna, and sharing secrets,” Sarah says. 

To learn more, find the Valley Girls on Facebook and Instagram.

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