Dare to Try: Meet Lucy Paltz

Val d’Isere, France

Lucy Paltz is on a quest to inspire and empower women through cycling, because finding strength and confidence on a bike leads to strength and confidence in all other aspects of life. But she isn’t stopping there. Lucy sees a future for professional women’s cycling that includes living wage salaries, increased media coverage, and race opportunities equal to men’s professional cycling.

Growing up in the mountains of France, Lucy spent her childhood hiking, climbing and snowboarding. At the age of 22, she visited a downhill mountain bike park and it wasn’t long before she fell in love with the feeling of freedom, speed, adrenaline, and challenge that mountain biking provided. She was driven to explore the wild places that only two-wheeled travel allows you to do, and further develop her skills in the bike park.

“We have to stop comparing women’s performances to men’s performances. Women do amazing and impressive things, by listening to their heart and courage, and doing it their own way.”

As Lucy progressed with her riding, she found it surprising that there weren’t many other women to ride with and she began to encourage her friends to join her. Before long, Lucy had a group of women coming together on Tuesday nights for skill sessions with a local instructor. This Tuesday night gathering soon grew into mountain bike camps, providing women and girls a place to “dare to try.” These camps allow riders to push their own boundaries, do things that seem scary at first, practice new skills, and build confidence in themselves. Once they realize what they can do on the bike, they carry this confident mindset with them and dare to challenge themselves in other aspects of their lives.

“By trying something different, something that scares you, something you didn’t ever think you were capable of… you build a strong confidence in yourself. After learning this on a bike, girls can have the same state of mind in life and dare to challenge themselves in life’s biggest challenges.”

Sabrina Jonnier, who works for the French Federation of Cycling to improve women’s representation, sees the impact of Lucy’s work on the next generation of female cyclists. “Lucy is that kind of person women’s cycling needed.  She is full of ideas; you really have to be ready to keep up with her!”

Lucy’s documentary film, VELOCIA (which means speed in French), which will launch this summer in France and in November around the world, carries a message of empowerment, diversity, and comradery for the next generation of women riders. VELOCIA wants to provide hope to and awareness of women’s cycling—shining a light on amazing female athletes, inspiring and empowering more women to ride bikes, and providing a platform to discuss inequalities faced by women in all disciplines of cycling. VELOCIA also speaks to the future of the sport: our children. The film challenges us to get more girls on bikes, so they can develop their own strength and confidence.

“We {women} have a lot to share and by supporting one another, we will raise up women's sport!”

Check out GravityLadies.net for more about Lucy, plus advice on the best places to ride, the mountain bike lifestyle, technical skills and tips, recipes, inspiration and fun. And remember, “Dare to Try.”

Follow Lucy on Instagram @lucypaltz.