“Nobody reads anymore” goes the saying. Maybe that’s why podcasts are on the rise: one-third of Americans listened to one last year (according to the Pew Research Center). But search for cycling podcasts and you won’t find more than a handful.
One of them is Roam Rydes—a women’s cycling podcast created and produced by Ash Bocast, Liv Cycling’s west coast event specialist and demo driver. The show, which started out as simply a hobby, is up to about 3,000 listeners per episode. Bocast, who hunkers down in a hotel room and puts in about an hour of work per minute of each 30-minute episode, thinks she just might be onto something.
“I couldn’t find anything that I wanted to listen to and I figured there has to be other women out there also looking for women cycling content that, to be blunt, isn’t crap,” said Bocast. “I realized I had the desire and the skillset to do it myself and a unique position with job flexibility.”
Roam Rydes focuses largely on everyday women. Bocast started out trying to do a #vanlife podcast, but that market was already saturated. She realized she was meeting “rad ladies” on a regular basis through her nomadic job and decided to share their bike-related stories on a broader scale. The most important thing to Bocast is being able to provide inspiration that is relatable, which means famous cyclists or bike industry women might not get top billing.
“Sure, Jill Kintner is an amazing rider, but reading about her doesn’t necessarily make me feel more confident about getting out on a trail,” said Bocast. “We need a collective effort across the board to help women feel they belong. It doesn’t matter how old you are, the color of your skin, your size or how broken you are, there’s a place for you on the trail. It might not be at an enduro race, but there’s a Sunday ride we’re going on and you can come, too, kind of thing … Biking is fun. Women need to hear that message over and over until they believe it.”
Still, one of Bocast’s most memorable interviews was with Leigh Donovan, the most decorated female pro mountain biker in U.S. history. The story is titled “Choose Bikes” and “the stoke level is at eleven for this episode.”
“[Donovan] has this amazingly gregarious and welcoming personality that I wanted to showcase—basically show that women can be both successful and wonderful in the bike world,” said Bocast. “I sat down and asked her for the ‘real’ Leigh story. I was not expecting to hear about drug rehab and her parents’ marriage falling apart [and how riding bikes fit in]. It was not stuff you can find on Wikipedia. It was an ‘a-ha’ moment that I have an opportunity to help share stories that are totally relatable to anyone who rides bikes or wants to ride bikes.”
For Roam Rydes, Bocast has talked to women who operate mountain bike getaways, lead cycling tours all over the world, sail through the air with incredible skill, ride their bike solo across continents, survive horrific setbacks to rise again and young girls who simply love riding bikes. Each episode of Roam Rydes gives the listener a taste of each subject’s personality, their tips and their reality. Nothing is sugar-coated, and humanity is maintained.
For an amateur, Bocast (who attended a technology academy for high school and describes herself as a “closeted super-nerd”) has a seasoned radio voice, an ease about her interviewing and is clearly able to make her subjects comfortable enough to tell great stories. The shows are engaging, often featuring un-cut sections of very real conversations. Her goal is authenticity, and she turns away anyone that only wants to promote a product or service.
“At the end of the day, I’m so grateful. What I get paid to do [as a Liv demo driver] blows my mind,” said Bocast. “That goes for the Roam Rydes podcast, too. Being able to share these women’s stories is such an honor. I love the feedback I get from women about what hearing it means to them.”
Find Roam Rydes online and on iTunes and give it a listen.