Some of the world's best female riders are competing at Crankworx Rotorua this week and with a record number of women's events on offer they have plenty to choose from.

As well as the racing itself, several events aim at encouraging and empowering female riders.

Canadian rider Micayla Gatto made waves in the mountain biking community last year when her video "Ferda Girls", a parody of Humble by Kendrick Lamar, went viral.

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The video takes inspiration from Gatto's experiences as a professional mountain biker in a male dominated sport and provides plenty of laughs.

It won the annual Crankworx Dirt Diaries competition and has since become somewhat of an anthem for female riders.

On Tuesday last week Gatto held a Ferda Girls Ride in Whakarewarewa Forest for "local ladies that shred".

"The video was pretty well received last summer and I'm staying with a local girl Ashley Bond. She said there were some girls who wanted to meet so we said 'hey, we're going for a ride if anyone wants to come join in'.

"Almost 60 girls came out, it was insane. We actually ended up making T-shirts and stickers as well, just for the fun of it, and we sold out."

Gatto said it was an opportunity for women to "just ride" and enjoy each other's company.

"When you give the opportunity for women to just come out and be themselves, with no expectations, it's crazy how many women are actually riding. I think everyone was shocked by how many women there are riding in Rotorua.

"I told the girls 'my goal for this ride is for you to talk to someone you haven't talked to before and try to make a new friend'. I was hoping they got to know each other better and they can do it more regularly."


On Friday the reigning Queen of Crankworx Jill Kintner, of America, ran a BMX skills session with local riders at the Rotorua BMX track.

Sport Bay of Plenty communications and operations manager Melanie Short said Kintner shared her passion and knowledge for riding.

Queen of Crankworx Jill Kintner ran a skills session at the Rotorua BMX track. Photo / Melanie Short
Queen of Crankworx Jill Kintner ran a skills session at the Rotorua BMX track. Photo / Melanie Short

"Jill started out as a BMXer, and can relate well to the challenges of the sport, as well as the transition into mountain biking. A small group of passionate BMXers and mountain bikers were stoked to spend some quality time with Jill, who was generous with her knowledge and experience," Short said.

On Sunday there was a free yoga session, which will be held again on Saturday at 7.30am at Skyline Terrace. The sessions are designed to establish and correct alignment and no previous experience is required.

From 9am-12pm on Friday the Liv Women's Session is being held for a second year at Skyline.

After the success of the Liv trail session last year Skyline Rotorua has allowed exclusive access to seven great trails, ranging from grades three to five. There is no cost for the event but places are limited and you must register. For more information go to

The week-long celebration of female mountain biking concludes with a Women of Crankworx signing session from 2pm-3pm on Saturday at Skyline.