Cumbria Crack

Lake District Lasses launch party

Rachel Simpson, Lonscale loop, Keswick (credit Mattyy Simpson Photography)
Rachel Simpson, Lonscale loop, Keswick (credit Mattyy Simpson Photography)

[C]yclewise sponsored mountain biker Rachel Simpson, 28, a primary school teacher from Keswick has just landed a full personal sponsorship deal with Bell Bike Helmets, a world leader in helmet design and manufacture, and is wasting no time in putting both her sponsors expertise and resources to good use.

Rachel is launching a program designed to inspire and enable female mountain bikers with regular, structured, fun and social rides that appeal to all levels of riders. The ‘Lake District Lasses’ launch party is taking place at Whinlatter on the 21 and 22 of May, running alongside Cyclewise’s annual open demo weekend.

The ladies party is offering free skill-based workshops, mechanical advice and fun social rides on behalf of Cyclewise’s highly trained and qualified coaches and guides for all female mountain bikers. Bell will be providing goody bags to every rider who books on in advance, as well as offering some brand new helmets as spot prizes to be won throughout the weekend.

Rachel only started mountain biking in 2013 and with the support and training of Cyclewise has gone from total beginner to 2015 Scottish Downhill Series Champion, also claiming the no.1 spot for Senior Women in the 2015 British Cycling National Rankings.

For 2016, Rachel has made the switch to enduro racing where the riders have a set time to pedal up to the different timed stages, rather than the vehicle assisted uplift of downhill racing. The timed sections are predominantly downhill and over a weekend riders will usually race six different stages and cover up to 100km. In August, Rachel will travel to France to race the inaugural Trans Savoie, a six day international enduro race, covering over 300km with 25000m of descent, from Val D’isere to Mt Blanc!

As part of her training, Rachel spends a lot of time in the mountains and wants to help other female mountain bikers make the transition from graded trail centre riding to exploring rural natural Lake District routes. The Lake District Lasses programme will involve building confidence and developing bike handling and navigational skills all in an enjoyable and social environment. The programme is keen to encourage all ability levels including riders new to mountain biking and experienced adventurers. There is a wealth of knowledge and experience in the Lake District and one of the best strategies for learning is providing an environment to facilitate the sharing of that information.

Rachel said: “I’m overwhelmed already by the support I have received both from my sponsors and other female riders. Mountain biking is a male dominated sport with a steadily growing female following and I want to facilitate that growth in what I believe is one of the best areas in the country! Having the launch party alongside the Cyclewise annual demo weekend also means that ladies who usually ride with their partner or male friends can bring them along too – it’s going to be a great weekend!”

Anybody interested in attending just needs to choose which day and get in touch with Rachel, through the website Booking is essential and already places are filling up fast. The event wouldn’t be possible without the support of Cyclewise, which has bike shops at Whinlatter Forest, near Keswick, and on South Street, in Cockermouth. Both shops have a professional workshop as well as selling bikes, clothing and accessories. Cyclewise provides a wide range of cycle skills courses as well as British Cycling leadership training, Bikeability and Mountain Bike skills. For more details visit

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