Molly Hurford on Cycling, Confidence, and the Shred Girls Series

“It’s not about bikes, it’s about confidence.”, that’s what author Molly Hurford had to say when we asked her about her new Shred Girls book series.

Molly is an author and cyclist who is passionate about getting girls interested in cycling, and supporting those who already are. Her new book, Shred Girls: Lindsay’s Joyride hit bookstores this week and it’s an empowering story about a girl who discovers her love of cycling, as well as her confidence!

Lindsay, the main character in the story, is a lot like many of our YAYOMG! readers. Maybe you’re the quiet bookworm or just someone who isn’t very athletic. Maybe you’re the one who hides out in the corner during gym class. Or maybe you’re the star athlete on your school’s basketball team. That’s the point of Shred Girls – no matter who you are or what you’re interested in – if you give it a try, you can discover your love of cycling.

As Molly Hurford points out below, cycling is for everyone and it’s a great way to make new friends!

Molly Hurford on Cycling, Confidence, and the Shred Girls Series

An empowering new series from the cyclist who runs is guaranteed to give readers an adrenaline rush–and the confidence girls gain from participating in sports!

It’s time to ride and save the day!

Lindsay can’t wait to spend her summer break reading comics and watching superhero movies–until she finds out she’ll be moving in with her weird older cousin Phoebe instead. And Phoebe has big plans for Lindsay: a BMX class at her bike park with cool-girl Jen and perfectionist Ali.

Lindsay’s summer of learning awesome BMX tricks with new friends and a new bike turns out to be more epic than any comic book–and it’s all leading up to a jumping competition.

But some of the biker boys don’t think girls should be allowed to compete in BMX. Now it’s up to Lindsay, Jen, and Ali to win the competition and prove that anyone can be great at BMX.

Shred Girls: Lindsay’s Joy Ride
AUTHOR: Molly Hurford

PUBLISHER: Rodale Kids
DATE: May 7, 2019

Author Molly Hurford Shares 9 Fun Facts About Shred Girls:

Author Molly Hurford is taking you beyond the pages of Shred Girls: Lindsay’s Joyride by sharing 9 Fun Facts about the book and how cycling is more than just riding bikes!

Molly Hurford on Cycling, Confidence, and the Shred Girls Series
(Image Courtesy of Molly Hurford)
You don’t need to be an athlete to have fun on bikes

In Shred Girls: Lindsay’s Joyride, Lindsay is a super-serious bookworm. Her idea of fun involves curling up with a good book, not practicing bunnyhops on her bike in the backyard! She doesn’t push her limits in gym class, and she doesn’t play team sports at school. In short, she’s not your stereotypical athlete. And then, she discovers biking and falls in love!

A lot of the female bike riders that I know have similar stories. Sure, some played a bunch of other sports: my best friend was a hockey player, a wrestler, a gymnast and a cross-country runner before she became one of the most successful female cyclists under 21 years old in the world. But there are others, like the 22-year-old current World Champion, who picked up bike riding around 12 years old after not being athletic and fell in love with it. So even if you wouldn’t describe yourself as sporty, you can still have fun and be a great cyclist!

It’s amazing what doors cycling opens

The three main characters in the Shred Girls series are very different girls. For Lindsay, who the first book is about, learning to ride bikes isn’t just about getting good at a sport, it’s about her learning to make friends and embrace her inner superhero. The big moments in the book happen in the bike park, but to me, the biggest moment is when she’s willing to ‘go first’ and ask Ali and Jen over for a sleepover. That takes just as much confidence as nailing a jump on a bike!

Lindsay, Ali and Jen are loosely based on real-life Shred Girls

Over the last few years, I’ve interviewed hundreds of young riders, and every girl I talked to helped me create the Shred Girls in some way. Like my friend Trish, the first girl to compete in a Speed and Style competition at a huge bike festival called Crankworx! She’s the one who taught me the ‘ponytail trick’ that helps you figure out how to time your jumps. And while there isn’t an actual Shred Girls team, there is a group of really cool girls that hang out at an indoor bike park near me and help each other with their bike skills — just like Ali, Jen, and Lindsay do!

Molly Hurford on Cycling, Confidence, and the Shred Girls Series
(Image Courtesy of Molly Hurford)
It’s not about bikes, it’s about confidence

The reason a lot of us girls shy away from riding bikes isn’t a fear of crashing or not liking to be sweaty—it’s that we’re scared of embarrassing ourselves, especially in front of other people. Lindsay spends a lot of the book learning to embrace those embarrassing moments: It’s OK if you’re not perfect at something the first time around, and in any type of cycling, you learn that lesson really quick. But real confidence comes from being willing to try something over and over again to get it right, not giving up the first time something gets hard.

I was the least athletic kid ever. Ever!

I have friends from elementary school that have messaged me to laugh about the fact that I’ve written a book about girls riding bikes, because I was the kid in gym class who would hide in the back praying to not be picked for a team. True story: The only time I helped a team win in gym class was when I stood like a statue in the soccer field until a boy was trying to make a goal, then pivoted my foot slightly to the side to block it, sending it back to our team, who scored. I was much older when I got into biking, but I wish I had started when I was younger because it’s my favorite thing to do! (Though like Lindsay, I was and am a total bookworm. So not that much has changed!)

Adding diversity into the series is really important to me

At a girl’s mountain biking ride that I was helping with a few years ago, I was talking to a 7th-grade girl about who her heroes in cycling are. She told me she had a hard time finding girls to relate to in pro cycling because she didn’t see herself in any of them. I started listening and heard the same from a bunch of other girls. So making Lindsay and her cousin Phoebe Mexican-American was a really important decision to me: I wanted to make sure that girls could see themselves in the characters, and one of my goals as the series moves forward is to keep introducing a wide range of diverse characters because cycling really is for everyone.

You can call it cycling, riding, racing, bike riding, whatever!

Growing up, I had no idea people raced bikes and my dad actually was a serious cyclist, so you’d think someone would have told me! So I understand that there’s a lot of confusion sometimes around what cycling, bicycling, bike riding, BMX, mountain biking, road riding, cyclocross, and all those terms mean. (That’s why the book has a glossary!) But really, you can call it whatever you want, as long as you’re getting on a bike and pedaling!

Molly Hurford on Cycling, Confidence, and the Shred Girls Series
(Image Courtesy of Molly Hurford)
Originally, Lindsay was actually going to get superpowers

Spoiler alert: she doesn’t. But I always wanted to be a superhero, so when I started dreaming up this book a long time ago, the early outline all centered around her actually finding out that she has magic powers. And then, I got on a bike and I realized that while I’m never going to be able to fly (darn it!), I could feel like I was flying during a really great bike ride. And so, Lindsay’s quest for superhero strength suddenly became much more attainable for her — and for every girl!

My favorite character is…Penguin

I’m extremely jealous of Lindsay’s cousin Phoebe for one major reason (other than her cool style and the fact that she’s in a band). It’s her dachshund (wiener dog) named Penguin. Dachshunds are my spirit animal: They’re super-short, but they’re absolutely convinced that they’re giant dogs, which is exactly how I would describe myself — short, but convinced I’m a big dog. I’m hoping that to go on a good book tour, I’m going to need to get a dachshund for myself. (So come out to a book signing if you see me hosting one near you, because there’s a chance I’ll have a puppy!)

Want to know more about Shred Girls? You can visit the Shred Girls website HERE!

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