Limitlass Mountain Bike Festival: Scottish lasses redefining the limits

Limitlass Mountain Bike Festival: Scottish lasses redefining the limits

Words: Fiona Finnie 

Last August, mountain bikers from all over the UK gathered in a remote location in the North of Scotland. Joining them were some of the country’s leading mountain bike coaches, guides, mechanics, and internationally acclaimed athletes – and they were all women.

This is Limitlass: a mountain bike festival for women, by women.

*Lass: Scots for a young girl or woman

As well as being a proud member of the Rocky Mountain Crew, I’m also a co-founder of Limitlass. Both of these things go beyond just riding bikes; they are about fostering community, empowering people, progressing skills and having as much fun as possible! Limitlass is a festival of mountain biking, well-being, and good vibes. It’s a space where women can learn new skills on and off the bike, create amazing memories and redefine their limits.

The fun kicked off on a Friday night with a chilled evening featuring female-led bike films and delicious pizza, setting the perfect tone for the weekend ahead. The excitement was palpable as attendees poured in for the sold-out event. Some arrived in lively groups, while others ventured solo – a deliberate encouragement from us. If you don’t know anyone at the start of the weekend, we can pretty much guarantee you’ll leave with a fresh crew of riding buddies by Sunday!

On Saturday morning, campers awoke to the sound of rain hammering down on their tents, that might be enough to put some people off, but it takes more than a bit of rain to dampen the spirits of us Scottish lasses! Saturday at Limitlass is all about learning and progression. The day began with coaching sessions tailored to riders of all levels, from beginners getting to grips with the fundamentals of body position and braking, to advanced riders honing their drops and jumping skills.

Mini cornering and wheelie workshops ran alongside the main coaching sessions, as well as workshops aimed at levelling up our off-bike skills. Our lasses mastered essential trailside fixes, aced tubeless set up and repair, discovered the satisfaction of navigating with a map and compass and learned mending techniques to bring life back to well-loved items of clothing. Those who just wanted to chill could explore our event village, chat to brands or demo a bike. The support we received from industry-leading brands, including Rocky Mountain, has been instrumental in making Limitlass a success and we couldn't have done it without them.

A welcome moment of calm after a packed day, was our panel discussion on Saturday evening. Limitlass co-founders Anna Riddell, Katie May and I were joined by athletes and industry professionals for a discussion exploring everyone's unique journeys in the world of mountain biking. Fresh from her 4th place at the UCI Downhill World Championships in Fort William and pushing the boundaries of women freeride at Red Bull Hardline, Scottish mountain bike athlete, and our good friend, Louise Ferguson joined us on the panel. Hearing from a local lass who is doing big things in the world of mountain biking was inspiring and a highlight for many. A fun evening of live music and Scottish gin ensued as we danced our way into the wee small hours.

The theme of progression and development extends beyond the festival weekend through our Limitlass Legacy program. This initiative aims to provide women with opportunities to gain qualifications in coaching, leadership, mechanics, or trail building. The impact is tangible—we put one of last year's attendees, Kate, through her qualifications and this year she returned to Limitlass as a coach.

On Sunday morning, the smell of freshly brewed coffee and the sound of chilled beats coming from the yoga tent stirred sleepy festivalgoers to life. As the final day of Limitlass unfolded, it was incredible to witness the connections that had formed over the space of the weekend. Newfound friend groups gathered for a morning of exploring the trails with our local guides and putting their new or improved skills into action.

In the world of mountain biking, there's an incredible sense of unity. It's a community built on shared passion and the pursuit of adventure, where people from all walks of life come together to conquer trails and build connections. This sense of community is what makes Limitlass – and mountain biking - truly special, redefining not just limits on the trails but also the boundaries of what a mountain bike festival can be.

Learn more about Limitlass