Two Nebraska organizations empower young girls on two wheels

GRiT, Girls Riding Together, and Girls Inc. encourage young girls in Nebraska to participate in sports opportunities, such as mountain biking.


As mountain biking gains popularity across the nation, local organizations have been working to ensure young girls aren’t excluded. Nebraska’s first all-girl mountain bike team, GRiT, Girls Riding Together, is one of many groups encouraging young girls to participate in sports opportunities.

"Girls tend to be a little bit more nervous when it comes to mountain biking,” said GRiT coordinator Breanne Campbell. “And so, what we are trying to do is create an inclusive environment where girls feel comfortable and they feel confident."

Campell teamed up with the nonprofit Girls Inc. to find girls curious about cycling.

"What GRiT is trying to do is lower those barriers of access to get more girls on bikes and help sort of identify those areas that are preventing them from joining the activity," said Campbell.

Nine-year-old Leliyah Thomas and 12-year-old Talia Davis are two of 10 members on the all-girls team.

"I love that it makes my muscle stronger on my legs and my hands,” said Thomas. “It also helps get a lot of energy in your body. So then, when you pedal more, you don't get tired.”

David said she joined the team because she wanted to try new things such as going up hills and trying different activities.

Girls Inc. sports and fitness specialist Madeline Dangerfield had never been on a mountain bike until Campbell approached her. Now, she rides with the girls to ease their nerves.

"At first, they were scared to be on the bikes, but now, they're becoming more confident as they’ve been riding and learning different skills,” she said.

GRIT quickly grew in popularity. And now, there’s a waiting list to get on their team.

Bike Rack, a local bike shop, donated 10 brand-new bikes to start the program.

GRiT and Girls Inc. are currently raising money to get more bikes and other equipment to help the program grow. GRiT also started teams in multiple cities within Nebraska. The organization plans to travel for all-girl competitions.

"Other girls want to get into it. They should go ahead, start doing it. They know that they're strong, smart and bold," said Thomas.