I’ve been a sucker for Shredly, after meeting them at Sea Otter in California, last year, and trying on far too many pairs of shorts in a coffee break (sorry Grant, didn’t mean to be so long, it was the queue for the loo, honest!). However, since the sun came out and lockdown came in, I’ve become a seriously frequent visitor to their pages and the Shredly section of Flow MTB’s website, the place that I get my Shredly fix in the UK.
Is it the bold colours, fun prints or great cuts that I love or simply the representations of women I can relate to, making the most of the trails? Normally it is all of the above, but right now when I can’t ride with my own MTB sisterhood, it’s the women that is doing it for me. They remind me of us riding together – only far less mud!
So what’s so special about the MTB sisterhood? Is it only a small clique of women who share my passion for certain trails? No, over the years I’ve discovered that it’s far more than that. Whether I’m guiding a ride with women who’ve barely ridden off-road before; or racing a new and challenging venue, like Graythwaite ‘The Epic’ Enduro last year; or hitting progressively bigger drops and gaps at the local trails and bike parks, the sisterhood is a vital part of the whole.
It’s the mentality that we bring to each other – the acceptance that we are all there for friendship, a love of riding, a desire to overcome fears and accomplish new things be it fitness, skill, speed or simply getting out when your ‘to do’ list challenges Shakespeare for wordcount. Above all it is the knowledge that regardless of how you ride that day there is huge mutual respect and support. It takes the same courage and determination for a new rider to ride over a rooty section that distracted their eye and sucked them in to a tree stump last time, as getting yourself over the next biggest gap or drop, and women get that. Every female rider knows that and celebrates each other’s achievements accordingly.
Rather than feeling embarrassed, we know that the sisterhood will understand that at certain times of the month our hormones wreak havoc on our confidence, sense of perspective and depth perception – all of which can be sub-optimal for negotiating two wheels over obstacles in the woods. The sisters are quick to remind you to have a go but, if it’s not working that day they’ll be the first to tell you to go easy on yourself, to not let one feature, one trail or one ride define you. That today just isn’t your day and you’ll come back brighter and stronger next time.
An older female rider might spot the insecurities in a younger one and remind her that she is fantastic and not to worry about the opinions of others. Whilst that same younger rider can inspire the older one with her fitness and skill. Across the age groups there are friendships being forged that share wisdom, experience, fun and laughter, in the time-honoured way, just on the trails instead of village halls.
As women we know that what we wear has a massive impact on how we feel and that’s where Shredly comes in. It’s no surprise to me that a shot of me riding during isolation, in my Shredly flamingos got some of the most likes and comments in recent weeks – who cannot be cheered by shorts with big pink flamingos all over them?
To me they are pretty much the best fitting bike shorts I’ve ever worn and Shredly delivers a range of styles and cuts so that every woman can find a pair that makes them feel awesome. Next, they come in the most vibrant prints and colours ever. Granted you may not feel like wearing them in the depths of winter but slipping them under your waterproof trousers can do a pretty good job of reminding you that summer will return. Finally, riding in dinosaurs, flamingos, unicorns or now jade leopard faces with piercing gold eyes (amongst a host of other prints) reminds you not to take your riding too seriously. The whole point of getting out on bikes is to have fun, push your boundaries big or small, laugh, chatter, encourage and reassure. All of this is made easier with the accompaniment of a well-cut pair of shorts or tee.
So, until I can get out and ride with all the amazing women I’m lucky enough to have in my Tribe and those I’ve yet to meet, I shall be a regular visitor to Shredly via Flow MTB and Instagram. I will take comfort in the images there and continue thinking of my MTB sisters; dreaming of the good times to come, hopefully while there is still a warm sun in the sky and dust on the trails.
Every adventure is unique. So is every body. That’s why at SHREDLY, they offer a women’s-specific fit in multiple styles, a broad range of sizes and an array of enticing patterns. Find the best fit for your body AND your style.
The MTB LONG: The quintessential women’s mountain bike short with some added length. It boasts a waist adjuster system and invisible thighs vents while offering a longer length for more coverage on those chilly mornings, late night adventures, while wearing knee pads, or for those who have legs that never seem to end. A flattering and stylish look that makes the fact that these shorts are engineered to perform even more undercover.
The MTB CURVY: If you typically find shorts to be too slim fitting in the hips and thighs or always have issues with waist gap, THIS SHORT WAS DESIGNED FOR YOU! The MTB CURVY has a curve-friendly fit through the hips and thighs (thank you magically shaped back panel) and a legging-style, stretchy waistband with a higher rise and an internal draw cord (say goodbye to gapping at the waist). This style also boasts the same technical features found in the MTB LONG which includes: invisible zipper thigh vents, a handy side pocket, and two (deep) hand pockets.