Pro racer Lea Davison and her sister Sabra have plenty to do when not racing their bikes. The pair teamed up with Angela Irvine to start Little Bellas, a summer program to draw young Vermont girls to mountain biking.
The Burlington Free Press reported on the program, which started after Lea and her fellow competitors noted a lack of young girls participating in races.
To program caters to girls between the ages of eight and 12, bringing them to mountain biking and focusing on promoting active lifestyles to build self-confidence in the girls. 14 girls are enrolled in the program. The group has met three times so far for 90 minutes per session.
"We still have room for more," Lea said. "We'd hate to turn anybody away."
The Little Bellas will undertake two major events this summer. They will work a lemonade social at the USA Cycling nationals in Vermont in July as well as participate in the Ride Across Vermont in August.
The key to the program is mentors who participate and ride with the girls.
"It's all pretty exciting," Sabra said to the Burlington Free Press. "We've developed a female camaraderie on bikes that is pretty much nonexistent in such an individual sport. We're creating a team atmosphere that's pretty exciting. You get to ride with people that are great role models. It pushes certain girls outside their comfort zones and gives them a certain sense of female empowerment."