Leaving dust in her wake and empowering women to ride

Dirt Angelz co-founder Haley Boulanger shares tips for aspiring riders, and celebrates the thrill of dirt biking

by Danielle Brost

Haley riding her dirt bike in the mountains

— Photo courtesy of Haley Boulanger

Haley Boulanger has been in love with the world of dirt biking since she was a child flagging races with her dad. Now it’s an integral part of her life, and she has surrounded herself with other passionate women who love to ride. You can find her on Instagram (@fairly__feral) and she co-founded the dirt biking account @dirt_angelz alongside Katie Wiebe (@kkat_w).

We wanted to know all about this enthusiastic rider, and she was kind enough to share her journey with us.

— Photo courtesy of Haley Boulanger

How did you get started in dirt biking?

My first memory of dirt bikes goes back to flagging a race as a volunteer with my Dad. I was a young girl, maybe eight or nine. The sound and smells of the dirt bikes as they whipped over my head at the top of a jump where I was standing with my flag, were filed away in my memory bank for years to come. 

Fast forward two decades later, a guy I was seeing knew I had a hankering to get a bike and ride—so he helped me find an early 2000's Honda 100 CRF—perfect for learning and in my price range. An hour later, she was mine.

What advice would you give to other women who want to get into dirt biking?

The first tip I would give to any female rider is to learn to load, and transport your dirt bike on your own. It's all about that independence, ladies.

Second, get your bike to the track!  The MX tracks are generally soft, and absorb our falls more gently. The track is great for practicing turns and technique. Anticipating the same turns over and over, helping you solidify proper form, into muscle memory.

You don’t have to get air time on the jumps, you can just ride over them to start!

— Photo courtesy of Haley Boulanger

I have fallen and bruised myself 1000 times more in the woods than I have at the track. Braap braap!

Have you noticed any changes or improvements in the inclusion of women in the sport?

I honestly find the female camaraderie in this sport to be unmatched. Having been active in the B.C. dirt bike scene for just a few years, I have always felt embraced and genuinely supported by my sporty female, and male counterparts.

Can you share one of your most memorable riding experiences?

My most memorable riding days so far were likely my first big mountain alpine rides with the homies, or my first few days at the Kootenay MX track (@kootenaymotocross). Hitting those big jumps made me feel so powerful. Yet, so does being in the mountains...

How do you prepare mentally and physically for a dirt biking adventure?

I would like to share that all-day, big mountain, alpine rides are a lot easier when you are well-rested and have had ample time to prepare. If you are planning to embark one, get your rest, and make sure your bike is good to go: gas, oil, tire pressure, clean chain, spare levers, sockets, wrenches, first aid kit, yada yada. Love your bike and it will love you back.

Have you participated in any competitions or events?

I think meeting other riders above your skill level is crucial to progression. B.C. is home to big mountains, winding rivers and endless trails—ideal to host many female-centric skill-building, trail riding and campout style hangouts, such as Clinics by Crystal (@crystallovesmoto) at Bill’s hippie ranch, female focused festivals by MudHunniez, or Revelstoke’s rowdy group rides, like the Triple B.

They are all cool in their own way, as you learn hands-on how to incorporate skill-building exercises, bike safety, and progress your personal riding style, all while meeting other badass women. Winnnnning. 

— Photo courtesy of Haley Boulanger

Do you have any role models or influencers in the dirt biking community?

If the truth were told, all my friends who ride are inspirations to me. Off the top of my head though, my new friend Yana (@powderfluffgurl) has to be my biggest inspo. She just learned to ride bikes last year and has progressed so much. She clearly puts the practice time in, and has no fear. This shout-out may be a bit biased though, as Yana hits jumps—and I LOVE hitting jumps.

How has dirt biking influenced your life outside of the sport?

I hate to admit it, but I am pretty selective of my friends these days. Basically, if you don't have a dirt bike, good luck finding me on a spring, summer or fall day.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

That being said, if you are ever in the Kootenay region of B.C., hit me up for a mountain or track braap session. We are @dirt_angelz—on IG to inspire others, and laugh at ourselves!

— Photo courtesy of Haley Boulanger

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