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The MTB Exchange wants to connect Ontario’s mountain biking women

Liv backs program to bring female bikers together in new riding areas

Photo by: Liv Cycling

Manda Freyman wants to build the connections that she thinks will get more women into mountain biking. She’s already hard at work in Ontario, through the MTB Exchange.

“I started this initiative to connect women mountain bikers,” says Freyman, founder of The MTB Exchange.“I noticed that the perception of mountain biking as “hard-core” was deterring women from participating, even if they were competent riders, and mountain biking requires a “place” to participate.”

The MTB Exchange launched in 2021. The program connects riders in Ontario, facilitating social rides at different hubs across the province. It provides n opportunity to make new riding friends, develop skills and explore different trail networks in a group. Host clubs create routes for different levels of skill, showcasing the best trails in the area for each ability level.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, Freyman’s outdoor program quickly picked up momentum in its first.

“Last year, with COVID vaccinations rolling out, we got a better understanding of what was needed to keep our riders safe.” Freyman says. “The MTB Exchange hosted our first 8 ride dates over 6 months, bringing out an average of 50 riders from social ride groups and trail hubs across the province. The MTB Exchange is a non-profit private club, so sponsorships and collaborations such as our Liv Cycling partnership, will help us provide a consistent and safe biking environment for all our riders.”

In 2022, it has 19 mountain biking clubs signed on. Now, Freyman has more support in her project. Liv Cycling Canada is joining as a partner with The MTB Exchange.

“Liv Cycling Canada is honoured to partner with The MTB Exchange for the 2022 season. Our programs in Canada have always focused on growing the cycling community and bringing women together,” says Vanessa Lebrun, Brand Specialist at Liv Cycling Canada.“That’s exactly what the MTB Exchange is all about. Through this program, we’re hoping to invite more women in the sport, but also to give them a sense of empowerment, to have them commit to themselves and feel inspired by the women around them –while being an inspiration to others.”

The MTB Exchange is open to anyone who identifies as female. Participants are required to be comfortable riding their bikes distances varying from 10-30km, and to pick the right group according to their skills and fitness level. Each ride will be followed by a social gathering, sometimes featuring local businesses.

Four levels range from Novice, being beginner riders who are at least familiar with cycling, to “Competitive.”

Learn more and find the 2022 event calendar at MTB Exchange

Registration for the season opener event and club jersey order form open on February 16th, 2022, at 12:00 p.m. EST. For all the other events on calendar, registration will open the week following the previous event.