4/14/2023 – By: Scott Patterson & Angela Brooks
Who is Angela Brooks?
Angela has been riding bikes since childhood and began sharing her love of biking with kids in 1996. She’s currently the Program Manager for NICA Wisconsin and the former coordinator for the Wisconsin GRiT Program (Girls Riding Together). For over 25 years she’s been actively involved in mentorship and coaching, along with starting her own business to continue empowering women to ride bikes. To learn more about Angela, please check out her bio and business pages here: Biography & Brooks Adventures
Q & A Session
Borah Teamwear’s Sales Director, Scott Patterson, had the privilege to speak with Angela to learn more about her and how she continues to empower more girls and women to enjoy the sport.
Scott: What keeps you motivated?
Angela: This sport has given me so much confidence and pleasure. When I can get out on my bike or a trail that I am not super familiar with, or could potentially cause injury to myself, and I nail it – it’s empowering to know that I can control this machine fully and conquer things that are scary to most people. It’s exhilarating! There are so many different places where we can ride our bikes and have different opportunities to try new things with different skill levels. That’s what does it for me.
As far as teaching goes, it is bringing women to that same level. To have them do something that they’re like – “I’m going to hurt myself!” – you could hurt yourself, but I am going to teach you a way to not hurt yourself, and let’s see how you conquer it. It’s so rewarding!
Scott: What do we do, from your perspective, to get more women coaches and more girls involved in the sport?
Angela: I’ve always had a goal to get more Women on Wheels. The response that I get from a lot of women is – “I can’t do that, I’m going to hurt myself” – and in the back of their minds, I know that they’re thinking if I get hurt doing this, who’s going to take care of my family!?! One of the things that I do when I encourage women to ride or become coaches, is asking them to remember the feeling of fun and freedom when they were riding their bikes as a kid. Then I ask them to give it a try when they are at practice watching their kids. There are different methods to get the women involved, and I think half of it is just simply asking them to be a part of it! If you can get a woman interested in mountain biking, and she finds great joy in it, then the whole family is going to follow.
Scott: As a coach for middle schoolers, and as a guy, how could I be part of the solution?
Angela: You as a man, can help women riders by putting them in leadership roles and teaching the boys that women are just as capable of coaching as the men are. It’s something that needs to flip, and it’s starting to! I’ve seen it start. But we need a lot of men’s support to teach the boys that they must respect the women on bikes too.
Scott: Tell me what you’d like people to know about the GRiT Program.
Angela: This program in NICA allows girls and women to ride together at the races and practices. Although it does seem very inclusive, because it’s for girls only, in my own experience, and I believe there is documentation out there, that shows that women and girls learn differently than men. I’ve certainly seen it in my teaching. It’s a safe place where girls don’t have to feel nervous around boys and learn to make mistakes without the worry of feeling embarrassed in front of the boys. The same goes for women! Women are much more willing to try things that they might not otherwise do at the normal practice where other men or boys are around.
If you’re interested in learning more about NICA, the GRiT Program, or having a women’s clinic in your area, feel free to reach out to Angela and she can get you all the resources needed. #moregirlsonbikes