Women on Bikes Series: Meg Broswick

Meg is a mountain bike coach with a background in DH and freeride. Since acquiring an all mountain trail bike in 2012, she has grown to love the pedal up, as well as the descent; however, nothing beats an epic day at the bike park.
In 2015, Meg hopes to continue to support the local bike community here is BC through coaching at clinics, hosting group rides and getting more ladies on bikes!

Follow her on instagram and check out her rider profiles on the Dirty Jane and Flare Clothing Co. websites.

When did you first start riding a bike? 
As with most kids, I learned to ride a bike when I was little.  However, I didn't start thinking about mountain biking until I was about 17, and I didn't take it seriously until I was about 21.  

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
I have always loved the outdoors and often gravitated towards extreme sports over the years. Mountain biking is the one sport that has always challenged me in one way or another, while being extremely fun and rewarding at the same time. It has taken me to some of the most amazing places in BC, the US and all over the world. I love that I am able to ride my bike with my hubby, friends, just ladies, dogs, or even go on solo missions, and the best part is that all are super fun. I am always looking forward to the next MTB adventure, big or small! 

What would be your favorite competitive biking event and why do you enjoy competing?
Honestly, I don't like to compete. I have a back injury that I need to keep in check and racing or competing just aren't for me. I do however, love attending DH races or events, it is always a great way to hang with friends and be a part of the riding community. We often attend or volunteer at local events or races around the province, mainly because it is just a good time.  
I have gotten more involved with coaching over the last few years, specifically teaching ladies to ride. I guess I could call that my version of competitive biking. 

Do you remember how you felt on your first mountain bike ride?
Well my first MTB ride wasn't the smoothest. I was taken to my first and only downhill MTB race by my brother when I was 17, and consequently sent down the hill with little to no instruction. You can imagine how it turned out. Over the course of the weekend I had some of the worse bails that I have still experienced to date, but for some reason I came out with a love for the sport. I guess I am a sucker for punishment. 

This is one of the reasons that I have now become a coach and why I am motivated to teach women how to learn to ride safely. Not everyone wants to crash on their first couple of rides, especially ladies.  

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?
I still get nervous when I am setting up to hit a new stunt, jump or gap. Personally, I'm all about visualizing when it comes to riding, especially with regards to overcoming anxiety or nervousness.  I will stop and have a look at the feature that I am planning on riding. If it is a jump or gap, I will look to spot my landing and play out how it will feel hitting the jump and making the landing. When I get back on my bike, I continue to visualize myself hitting the jump/gap and landing it. I try not to let negative thoughts creep into my mind, but if they do, as they often will, I may choose to not hit the stunt. There is nothing wrong with leaving it for another time when I have the mental capacity to commit. Mountain biking is all about commitment, if you are not in the game mentally, it is best to not push your limits.

I always tell myself (and others) that the trail isn't going anywhere, that jump, rock roll, step down or gnarly trench will still be here next time.  

Do you use clipless pedals? If yes, what are some tips/suggestions for beginners that you would share? If no, are you thinking of trying it out at all?
No and no, flats for life. 

Have you had a bike biff? If so, how did you recover on a physical/mental/emotional level?
I may have already answered this question, so yes, I have had many bails. It will generally happen when I am a) pushing the limits of my skill set, b) not mentally in the game, or c) when I am trying to show off. The last one always hurts the ego more than anything. ;)

Bails are never fun, but they're part of the sport and they will happen at some time or another. I think one of the best ways to overcome the mental, emotional and physical issues that come with bailing, is learning how to fall off your bike. No joke, bails happen and they are generally fast; therefore, teaching your body how to react when the time does come will limit physical damage. Less pain will generally help with both the mental and emotional components that come from falling, but learning also prepares you mentally, making the whole situation a lot less scary than it might have been, had you not already spent the time to learn how to fall off of your bike.  

What do you love about riding your bike?
My bike takes me to some of the most amazing places I have ever been, that I would not have otherwise visited.  

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
I have 2 bikes that I ride regularly, a 2011 Specialized Demo for DH adventures and a 2012 Santa Cruz Nomad for all mountain or xc riding. I chose the Demo for the slack DH geometry and snappy response for popping off jumps and drops. The Nomad came into my life at the time when I had accepted that I was going to take all mountain riding seriously, and in order to do that I had to have a bike that I could pedal, but also shred DH with.  The Nomad does just that, I love this bike and I can practically ride it anywhere.
The bike industry is constantly evolving and now there are more tire sizes then there are suspension platforms. There are so many interesting new bikes coming out these days, it is hard to resist the urge of buying a new one, but for the time being, these two will do. 

What clothing/bike accessories do you love? What would you recommend to your friends?
My favourite go to brands for ladies clothing and riding gear is Raceface and Sombrio, most of my riding clothing consists of these two brands. However, this summer I bought a Club Ride jersey and loved it as a perfect layering piece. I am also super interested to try out Flare, the UK ladies specific brand that I was lucky enough to recently become sponsored by. This brand is designed by ladies, for ladies and I love to support that type of movement. I also invested in a chamois this year for pedalling and that was by far the best investment yet! Go get one!

How did you hear about Dirty Jane and what inspired you to become a Dirty Jane Ambassador?
I first learned about Dirty Jane through friend and fellow ambassador Monica McCosh. I saw that Dirty Jane was looking for ambassadors and I thought that it may be a good way for me to further my coaching support/credibility, while also providing myself and other ladies with some swag. This season was a busy one for me; however, I am hoping that I will be able to more involved with Dirty Jane this winter and next season. 

What do you feel deters women from getting involved with cycling? Especially mountain biking?
Mountain biking is dangerous and not everyone is comfortable with risk associated with it, especially when they don't know how to do it. Often women are less interested in pushing limits, both physically and mentally without first knowing what to expect. The majority of women over the past 10 years have been exposed to mountain biking through partners and boyfriends, which likely means that they were told to 'hang on and lean back' and some of us know how that turned out. No one wants to fall and get hurt, especially on their first ride and that is often enough to deter a lot of ladies from pursuing the sport. 

What do you feel could happen to make changes and/or encourage more women to ride?
I think the same principals can be applied to mountain biking that apply to most real world problems involving women; education and opportunity. Learning the proper techniques and being exposed to the sport safely are key in keeping women interested. I have seen the difference that clinics make to both new and novice riders and more specifically ladies clinics provide a safe and comfortable learning environment without the pressure of trying to keep up with your spouse and his buddies. The result is a super positive learning experience and serious progression! Additionally, those ladies will then take those skills and teach them to their friends, or pass on the positive stories to encourage more ladies to consider trying the sport. 

You mentioned women look at the sport a little differently than men “as a result we generally need to learn those important skills before we send ourselves down the gnar”-could you elaborate on your thoughts?
Generally, my experience has been that men are less interested in actually learning skills. They just want to try "it", whatever "it" may be. They care less about getting hurt, because to them it is more about the fact that they tried it, even if "it" was outside of their skill set. This is not at all the case for ladies. They don't want to get hurt and for some, the thought of even falling off of their bike makes them not want to get on it. Enter MTB coaching. 

Women are very receptive to being coached, taking advise and progressing at a speed that is right for them. Therefore, I have found that if you teach ladies those basic skills and take it slow, they are much more likely to try it again and again. I have gotten in many of arguments with brothers, husbands, boyfriends etc. about whether a lady should try something or not. If it was a random buddy, well then sure why not, but for the ladies, I have found that it is best to build confidence and skills so that they will actually want to try it again next time.  

Tell us about coaching beginner and intermediate riders! How has helping other women develop their skills changed you? What has been the most inspiring moment for you with coaching?
I find coaching extremely rewarding, especially with beginners, as they progress so quickly and often getting really excited over their accomplishments. And really the same goes for intermediate riders, as they start to hit jumps, make tighter corners, or conquer loose steeps, I love hearing about how something that used to be such a challenge is now part of their regular riding loop. Prior to beginning coaching, I didn't think much of it, but I quickly realized that what I really wanted was to get more people loving the sport as much as I did. I feel that in order to do that successfully riders need to learn in a way that will not result in injuries or bad crashes. 

I think my most inspiring moment, isn't really a moment, but more of an accomplishment. I starting teaching one of my good friends Dawn, from the moment she starting mountain biking and watching her progression has been amazing! Because of the skill development from the very beginning, she has been able to progress really quickly and although I know some of that is her personality, I also feel that she is my perfect example of why coaching is so successful. 

What has been one of your most interesting experiences with riding with other women?
Women are so positive and encouraging all the time! Ride with a group of guys and they are likely to compete over everything, with testosterone oozing out of every corner. Add a female that is a talented rider into that equation and it only fuels the fire; most boys can't handle having a lady out in front. 

Ride with a group of women, and you will likely be offered to ride in front, asked if the speed is ok, or told not to worry about hitting that next stunt. Honestly, coming from someone who rode with only men for most of my riding career, the difference is night and day. As much as I love riding with my husband and my other guy friends, I would choose a ladies ride any day!   

Tell us a random fact about yourself!
I have a slight obsession with dogs. To the point of where I will generally squeal at the sight of almost any dog, cute or not. It is a bit of a problem.