Kelly Willet is an avid biker, a pilot, a videographer, and now an author. She wrote this book because she believes that all women should be equipped with the tools and support system to enter the bike world confidently.
Check out our Q&A with Kelly below!
Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and how you got into biking.
I grew up biking in Oklahoma with my family. I have memories of sweat dripping in my eyes and cicadas chirping in the background as the hot sun beats down wondering if I'd make it up the next hill. Today I call Alaska home and am an avid outdoorswoman who loves to share what I'm passionate about with others.
What do you hope women will get out of this book?
There was a time where I almost gave up biking, I wasn't having fun and I didn't think I had a supportive community around me. Luckily, I met some amazing women, and it was their encouragement that kept me going. I want women to feel empowered, to give them knowledge and skills to keep biking.
Were there any personal experiences or challenges you faced in your own mountain biking journey that motivated you to write this book?
I was afraid to bike with other women. I didn't want to be judged for my skills, or lack thereof. I had always biked with men who were faster and not always supportive. My story is not uncommon. That inspired me to write this book.
Were there any female mountain bikers, professional or otherwise, who served as inspirations or role models for the content in your book?
Locally, I love Jill Simek who is such a phenomenal biker and always a pleasure to ride with. She never leaves me behind, even though I know she could. Christina Grande who is always so supportive and bikes with a smile on her face inspires me to keep giving back to the community. Nationally, I love the content of Katie Burrell, she is relatable and down to earth. I hope I can meet or bike with her someday!
Could you talk about the importance of community and mentorship for female mountain bikers, and how your book encourages and supports these connections?
An early reader of my book had never biked outside in her life, she was in her late 40’s. After reading the book, she was inspired to attempt her first outdoor ride. These kinds of positive experiences and encouragement are what get more bikers out on the road, trails, and glaciers. Riders are the key to creating new spaces and improving the already established culture to be more accepting and welcoming.
What do you hope female readers will gain or learn from your book, both in terms of practical skills and personal empowerment?
I want experienced riders to gain knowledge and share that with new riders. One of the best pictures I’ve received is from a group of GRIT girls. The leader was so impacted by the book that she ordered copies for every single girl in their program. I want these girls to grow up feeling empowered with knowledge and mindset that is encouraging and supportive!
Can you provide insights into the process of developing your book, including any challenges or moments of breakthrough you experienced along the way?It all started by seeing women ask questions in the women’s only biking group, and seeing that many other women felt the way I did when I started riding. I learned that the way you feel about biking keeps you biking. The biggest challenge I faced was that I was thinking about the book at every waking moment, and on every ride. It consumed my mind and I got a little burned out on riding. The biggest breakthrough I had was realizing I had a lot to offer to the biking community.
Do you have any plans for workshops, events, or online resources to further support and engage with your readers after they've read your book?
I do hold group rides for women in my local community, I also try to stay active on the forums replying to questions and being an advocate for women in biking. I’ve been elected to a position on my local parks and recreation board that helps create and maintain trails across my community.
How do you envision your book contributing to the broader landscape of resources available for female mountain bikers?
I envision girls growing up will have a resource I never had. I want this book to be a key for moving forward in biking etiquette and attitude. The future of biking is in the hands of all of us, and I want women to take an active role in supporting a future that supports women.
What advice would you give to women who may be hesitant about trying mountain biking for the first time or taking their skills to the next level?
I encourage everyone to shoot for the stars, go on that group ride, put yourself out there and meet new women who are just like you. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs on rides, I’ve cried, I’ve laughed, I’ve yelled “yeehaw” and now I want to pass the torch to tomorrow’s leaders in biking. To show everyone that they are a leader in their community.
Anything else you want to share with your readers?
I’m really excited that this book is out there. I want women everywhere to have this resource and I encourage groups to contact me if they want to provide books in bulk to their group. The readers inspire me, please tag me in your social media posts so that I can share those!
Follow along on Kelly's journey: @kellywillett2
Purchase your own copy of Becoming a Superwoman on a Bike here.