Why I Started Writing the Shred Girls Series—And Why It’s So Important for Young Girls
A year and a half ago, I started talking about a new project I was working on: The Shred Girls book series and website, dedicated to getting more young girls onto bikes and feeling confident. It took hold: I had originally planned to self-publish the series, but it was picked up by Rodale Kids/Random House and the first book, Lindsay’s Joyride, is going to be released May 7, 2019. To say that I’m thrilled is an understatement.I’m not just excited because publishing with a company that big is every author’s dream — though that’s part of it! I’m mostly excited because now, Shred Girls has a real chance of getting into the hands of young girls who otherwise wouldn’t find cycling or other sports.
I didn’t want the series and website to just help girls who already ride bikes, I wanted to reach the bookworms, the girls who haven’t heard of cycling, the shy kids who are afraid of going to a group sporting event.The books follow three young girls — Lindsay, Ali and Jen — as they navigate friendship, confidence, and learning how to get rad on bikes. (The best way to describe the series is if you’re familiar with The Babysitter’s Club, The Hardy Boys or any series like that… But replacing babysitting and mysteries with bike riding.)
I’ve talked about the Shred Girls series a lot on my social media and on the Shred-Girls.com site, of course, but since I launched the brand and series last year, I haven’t written about it a ton on this site. Part of that is because it’s a separate project, and while I’m ridiculously excited about it, it’s targeted at a younger audience than my readership on here, and I didn’t want to cause too much crossover confusion. Maybe it’s also partially because I’m a little freaked out. First, by the fact that I’m not just writing books for people in the cycling world anymore — since its first short self-published launch in 2017, Shred Girls is now launching in May with Lindsay’s Joyride, to be followed by at least two more books after that, published by Rodale Kids, an imprint of Random House. So it’s no longer just reaching the cycling community. The second scary thing is that it’s fiction, which means people don’t have to like it, and I can’t really argue with them if they don’t.
But it was scarier to not take the chance on really focusing my energy (and time and money!) on writing this and putting it out in the world. The statistics on girls dropping out of sport in general around puberty are terrifying. The amount of time kids spend sitting is on the rise, as is childhood obesity. And so many young girls aren’t riding bikes or being as active as they want to be because they just don’t see themselves on bikes — they don’t see other girls riding, they don’t see how cool and amazing it can be. So I’m hoping between the Shred Girls books with the coolest cast of rad girls that I could imagine (in all shapes and sizes and personalities!), plus the Shred Girls site with real girls and practical advice for getting started in riding, will help boost those participation numbers. And I don’t mean racing, necessarily, I just mean getting out and pedaling.
I realized that while I’ve written for tons of amazing cycling publications, none of them are resources that really would speak to a younger audience in general, and we so rarely showcase young girls riding bikes in magazines like Bicycling… not on purpose, just because the audience is generally older (and Bicycling does a great job featuring women!). But I wanted to create a place where girls could see girls their age, their size, their style, shredding on bikes. It’s a resource that, if it had been around when I was a preteen, I would have loved. (Real talk: when I was 13, I was SO into surfing, and there was actually a lot of great stuff for girls in surfing thanks to Blue Crush. There was even a surf magazine targeted at teen girls that was short-lived but I have ALL of the issues.)
OK… Practical asks for you as readers. If you’re the parent of a Shred Girl (or have a kid you wish would get into cycling!), it would be amazing if you could fill out this quick survey I made to get a sense of what challenges parents face when getting girls into cycling, what they’d like to see more of, what resources would help them, etc.
I’d also love it if you’d help me spread the word about Shred Girls: The pre-order is open now, and the more preorders we get, that boosts Lindsay’s Joyride in the rankings on Amazon, helps show the publishers that it deserves more marketing efforts, and it helps us reach more and more girls who otherwise wouldn’t find cycling. (If you pre-order, email me and I’ll send stickers and a signed postcard!)
So please share the preorder link, and if you’re interested in hosting a book talk, bike ride, clinic or school visit with me, I’m hoping to do a big book tour in 2019, so fill out this form here and I’ll see what we can do!
For those of you who did get one of the original self-published copies of Lindsay’s Joyride, thank you so much for believing in the project. (And email me, I have Shred Girls stickers to send you!)
Speaking of early readers, here’s what a few have said:
It’s a great book. It is my favorite bike book I have ever read. I think it’s cool they do bunny hops and other tricks. I want to go to joyride now! I’d give it 5 stars and it’s an exciting book to read! -Margo, 8
Lindsay is obsessed with superheroes and wants to become one someday. She was so excited for summer vacation so she can practice her superhero tricks everyday. Unfortunately, Lindsay’s parents tell her that she has to spend the summer away with her older cousin Phoebe. Lindsay believes this to be terrible news, but little does she know Phoebe is going introduce her to a new world of adventure on two wheels. Molly Hurford creates an awesome story about a girl who starts out shy but gains confidence and new friends while learning to Shred. This book is truly a “Joy Ride”. -Riley, 10
Riley is a good reader but not an obsessive reader. We make her read at least 30 mins every night. She’s read Harry Potter etc but rarely reads for more than an hour at a time. Well she started Shred Girls tonight and hasn’t put it down. She’s on chapter 14 and just looked up and said “I sure hope she writes a second book”. So you get a second Thank You from me and if you don’t have a second book coming you better get busy. -Tom (Riley’s dad)
Lindsay’s Joyride was very inspiring and definitely a fun read. It made me want to go back to Joyride 150 (which is one of my favorite places), hop on my bike, and try something new. I think all girls should read it, rider or not, because it really shows that riding is all about fun. You don’t have to be super good or competitive. All you need is the willingness to have fun and try something new. Molly’s book portrays that message clearly and in an interesting way. I love riding my bike and I loved reading Lindsay’s Joyride. -Jett, 12
When I was younger and first getting into cycling, I was a total bibliophile. I would bring books to every ride and race and couldn’t wait until I got off the bike so that I could get back into reading. I loved being able to pretend I was the heroine in some epic plot, a lot like how Lindsey started out in the book. Shred Girls is so different, because it shows that YOU are the hero, not some character in a book. I absolutely loved how much it inspired the reader to be their own hero, and shows that you don’t need to be in a book or comic to be one. I could seriously talk about how awesome this book is all day, but I’ll try and make this a little more precise rather than rambling. Shred Girls is the book that every girl, young or old, needs in her life. Lindsey’s story shows how everyone has a hero inside, and just needs to learn how to let that hero shine through. She shows how dedication leads to success and that you can do so much more than you believe you can. When I was younger, I was obsessed with books, and wish that I had been able to read Shred Girls. Back then, I always focused on living the stories of all the characters I read about, however, Shred Girls shows that you can live the adventure yourself. Even when reading this novel at 16, after nearly 5 years of cycling, Shred Girls has inspired me on and off the bike. Molly Hurford’s ability to creative such an intriguing plot, intricate characters, and inspirational message all in one book is amazing, and a feat few have achieved so well. She has created so much more than a book, but rather a community of girls inspiring girls. I’m honored to have had the chance to read this book and to be apart of this community, and am excited to see more girls get involved. It took me years to learn the lessons shown in this book, and I hope that girls everywhere are able to read Shred Girls and get inspired. -Lily, 16