New program inspires next generation of mountain bikers

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WATE) The Little Bellas program hopes to give young girls the skills to mountain bike that can also apply to their lives.

25 Bellas will be starting the ride-together program in August and are meeting with the group and their mentors every Tuesday night for eight weeks.

Through the program, the Bellas will learn how to properly ride mountain bikes, navigate trails, and ride in challenging terrain. All of it, alongside experienced mentors.

The mentors, ranging from professional and competitive mountain bikers, to hobbists, all looking to “pay it forward”, in the words of the Knoxville group’s program leader.

Missy Petty starting this program in Knoxville after going to the Little Bellas program in Chattanooga, with the hopes of inspiring new riders in ways she was never offered.

Petty saying, “I just want other women to grow up feeling that camaraderie and build each other up instead of tearing each other down. I sometimes think in life we’re raised to not support other women…”

Sierra Sims, a competitive mountain biker, saying she was inspired to become a mentor and give others something she never had as a child.

Sims explaining that, “They look up to you as an older girl, they listen to what you’re saying.”

The inaugural Knoxville Little Bellas Program will take place at Baker Creek Preserve from August to October. The program is sold-out, but Petty says there is a wait-list for the 2020 program for potential Bellas and Mentors.

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