SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — Isi Luna loves working out problems on her bike – a perfect skill for the leader of the Summit County Cycle Effect team.
The group's mission, she said, is to empower young women through mountain biking. The programs are for girls ages 10 to 18.
Luna was part of the first Cycle Effect group in Summit County in 2014, when she was 17.
“Saw this group of girls who didn’t really have access to the sport, they didn’t see them on the trails, and so they wanted to see them on the trails, and to do that, they started the Cycle Effect," she said.
The organization provides everything girls need to get started.
"Just show up as you are," Luna said. "We give you the uniform, the bike, the helmet, the water bottle, and if you need shoes, we can get you some shoes."
"We want them to feel like they belong on this team," she said.
Ellie Flickinger said the experience has boosted her confidence on the trails.
“It makes me feel more confident that I can do it, and it makes me excited to be here and just bike around with all these girls," she said.
A mentorship curriculum is embedded into everything Cycle Effect does.
“I think with the mentorship that we provide is, really, tools for life," Luna said. "How do you navigate certain conversations when you’re in your job or with your family or friends? Trying to really embed different tools in real life outside the bike.”
Trading helmets for hard hats is also part of the mission, as the group helps maintain nearby trails.
“It’s important for them to learn about what makes a trail rideable," Luna said. "What problems may you run into on a trail that’s not well-maintained. Working through some of those problems.”
Luna said it's all about expanding the sport.
"I think just being Latina myself, I want to see more faces like mine out on the trails and people that enjoy mountain biking looking like myself," she said. "I never had that growing up.”
“I hope they are confident enough to pursue their dreams," she said. "I hope they don’t see barriers and they can trust that they have a bright future coming for them, and I really hope to see them on a bike sometime.”
Next year, the Cycle Effect will debut an adult program focused on getting more Latina women into mountain biking in Colorado.
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