THERE is a phrase that has been circulating the cycling world since 2015 when a group of female bikers united to campaign for the revival of the women’s Tour de France.

In Peeblesshire, a trio of passionate cyclists have done more than find meaning behind this famous group’s name, ‘Donnons des Elles au Vélo’... they have ‘given girls a bike’.

A dynamic cycling club has been created with the hope of encouraging girls to stay in the saddle following a huge rise in the numbers of female teenagers quitting the sport.

MissAdventures was co-founded by Caroline McKaig, a teacher of craft, design and technology at Peebles High School, MTB leader and coach; Aneela McKenna, partner of Go Where Scotland, founder of Mor Diversity and co-chair of the new Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group for British Cycling; and Chris Bryant, a professional cycling coach and coach educator from the Borders.

The organisation launched on the perfect date – International Women’s Day, with a series of short video clips filmed during lockdown ‘by girls, for girls’ which has been uploaded on YouTube.

Caroline said: “The three of us share an enthusiasm and passion for making cycling inclusive for all with a specific focus on increasing participation within teenage girls.”

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MissAdventures was formed following two successful bike-packing trips with groups of girls – one group from Gala Academy which was involved in the trip through Aneela and the Adventure Syndicate, and the other trip run by Aneela through KICC bike club.

After seeing the success of these two trips and how powerful they were in increasing confidence in the girls who attended, the leaders decided it was time to get girls back on bikes.

“We strongly believe in the physical, mental and emotional benefits getting out in nature and travelling by bike can have, in addition to it being a sustainable way to move around,” said Caroline.

Statistics on girls’ participation in sport and cycling in Scotland during 2019 revealed that more girls than boys participate at the age of eight to 10 years, but girls’ participation drops markedly as they move into their teenage years.

In Scottish cycling, women and girls are heavily under-represented, and that’s something MissAdventures hopes to change.

“We don’t really know why so many girls drop out or choose not to participate in cycling but we think there are many barriers that exist which contribute to this such as image, peer pressure, lack of role models, even clothing/equipment, lack of confidence, believing it’s not for them, they can’t do it,” Caroline told us.

Border Telegraph: MissAdventures hopes to encourage girls to stay activeMissAdventures hopes to encourage girls to stay active

“I think as girls grow and develop and their bodies change they sometimes struggle with the feelings that go along with that change. But these changes are natural and should not stop girls from participating in sports.”

The wheels were in motion to host the first girls’ cycle festival last year, but COVID put the brakes on this going ahead.

Caroline explained: “We have therefore adapted and tried to have a positive influence via a digital platform instead.

"We engaged with a small group of girls who we know already cycle regularly and they have made a series of short ‘how to’ videos that can be found on our YouTube channel.

“These videos share some top tips and will hopefully act as a starting point for girls who are new to cycling. We have had a great response to this launch already with a growing following on Instagram and Facebook.”

MissAdventures is now calling on girls in the Borders to get that bike out of the shed, dust it off, and don their helmets for some springtime challenges.

“It will be like a treasure hunt and is aimed at getting girls who are not regular cyclists to get out on their bike once a week to complete a fun challenge. There are lots of prizes to be won which have been generously donated by SBC,” added Caroline.

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“We also plan to get out to some Borders schools after the summer and deliver some face to face coaching sessions which will be focused on developing basic bike skills and having fun.

“And finally, we hope we can bring together all of the girls who have been involved over the year to have a celebration event involving cycling, woodcraft and just having fun in nature.”

Caroline says the ultimate vision for MissAdventures is to create a community within the region allowing the girls to ride together and have fun while growing and supporting each other.

A woman’s place is not on the podium giving out flowers to the male winners, a woman’s place is on the podium with her own medal around her neck.

A woman’s place is on the bike – and that’s just what MissAdventures want to make happen.

For more details, email, or visit MissAdventures social media pages on Facebook or Instagram.