Girl Power: F.O.R.C. Embraces Biking’s Inclusive Spirit
By Adrienne Baldini, BikePGH volunteer
For Connie Pizoli, it’s hard to recall a time when she wasn’t riding a bicycle. Summers spent at the Jersey Shore on her beach cruiser during childhood translated into a lifetime filled with biking. It wasn’t until she worked at a local bike store that she was fully introduced to her now favorite type of bicycle: a mountain bike.
Now, as a member of Pittsburgh’s Female Off Road Cyclists (F.O.R.C.), Connie can embrace her love of mountain biking alongside other local women who share the same passion. I recently caught up with Connie to learn more about F.O.R.C.’s impact on biking in Pittsburgh.
For those who don’t know, what is F.O.R.C.?
F.O.R.C. is a group that was created by Sarah Mateskovich for women of Western Pennsylvania who have an interest in mountain biking. We have a mix of all levels of riders. There are seasoned mountain bikers who know the trails and lead our rides, and some ladies who haven’t biked since childhood. It’s great because it gives you an opportunity to meet new people, roll through the woods and trade biking tips.
How often do group rides take place?
During the spring, summer and fall, rides are posted regularly on the group’s Facebook page and can happen up to four or five times every week. Most of our rides are “No Drop Rides,” meaning that we’ll never leave anyone on their own. These are great for new riders and are very encouraging. Most of our rides are women only, but we don’t exclude friends, boyfriends or husbands to join the fun.
Can you tell me about Women’s Night at The Wheel Mill?
For people who aren’t familiar, The Wheel Mill is an indoor park that’s filled with different kinds of ramps and trails. Women’s Night is an opportunity for ladies of all levels to ride together, learn from the skilled instructors and meet others in the mountain biking community. F.O.R.C. and The Wheel Mill share a common interest to get more women biking, which has turned into a great partnership.
How do you think Pittsburgh can get more women riding?
We need to show them how fun riding can be! Pittsburgh is filled with trails, resources and women who love biking. If we focus on connecting opportunities to riders of all levels, as well as offer more women-centric events, it will help encourage more to embrace biking. We can further foster biking’s inclusive spirit by showing every woman how to shred, commute safely and stay physically fit while having fun!
If you’re interested in joining the F.O.R.C., check out their Facebook group.
Does this make you want to go to The Wheel Mill? Good news! BikePGH members now get $5 off admission every Monday night. :)