Call for Participants | Shelley Lucas & Laura Frances Chase: “Women’s Mountain Biking History and Culture” | Iowa Colloquium on Sport and Culture. Webinar on Zoom, April 7, 2023


In this presentation, we will share elements of our work-in-progress about the history and culture of women’s mountain biking. One of the goals of this book project is to make visible the historical experiences of women in mountain biking, but to go beyond simply adding women’s experiences to the broader history of mountain biking. Rather, we seek to examine the ways in which women’s participation alters the stories/narratives that are told about mountain biking history, creates a diversity of embodied experiences and fundamentally changes the space of mountain biking.

Utilizing a feminist cultural studies perspective, informed by poststructuralist ideas about bodies and physicality, we will share aspects of our exploration of women’s historical experiences in mountain biking through a focus on a mountain biking pioneer, Jacquie Phelan, and her response to the marginalization of women in the sport. Phelan’s efforts to involve more women and challenge the hypermasculine image of the sport led to the creation of the Women’s Mountain Bike & Tea Society – better known as WOMBATS.

Although this presentation will largely focus on history, we also want to introduce our approach to examining present-day mountain biking culture will include a focus on the many clubs and events (e.g., Girlz Gone Riding, All Bodies on Bikes, Black Girls Do Bike) that seek to broaden access and enrich experiences in mountain biking. Our approach can be traced back to our scholarly mentors, Drs. Susan Birrell and Tina Parratt, who taught us to read sport critically and to interrogate sport through an intersectional lens. 

About the Speakers 

SHELLEY LUCAS is an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator in the Kinesiology Department at Boise State University.  She received a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies of Sport and Leisure from the University of Iowa. Dr. Lucas’s research interests include women’s sport history, gender issues in sport, and socio-cultural aspects of sport-related concussions. Her current research focuses on women’s cycling history and culture, including mountain biking and the Women’s Challenge—an international road cycling stage race for women that ran from 1984-2002. Dr. Lucas teaches courses in sport history and the sociology of sport.

LAURA FRANCES CHASE is a Professor and Chair in the Kinesiology and Health Promotion Department at Cal Poly Pomona. She received a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies of Sport and Leisure from the University of Iowa. Dr. Chase predominately publishes in cultural studies of sport and exercise. She has done work on women’s rugby and distance running with a focus on issues of the body, physicality, obesity and the social construction of fat and fatness. Her most recent work focuses on the history and culture of women’s mountain biking.

How to participate

Iowa Colloquium on Sport and Culture Birrell/Parratt Lecture is Friday, April 7, 4:00pm CST (23:00 CEST). The talk will be delivered on Zoom and is free and open to the public. Please register in advance for this webinar at this link
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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