- See this article published in British Heart Foundations online magazine 'Heart Matters', April 2012 http://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-online/april-may-2012/activity/cycling-groups.aspx
Q "Will I be able to keep up?"
A “For me it was being able to ride out without the pressure of 'speed'. Having tried a few regular cycle clubs I'd been scared off by the testosterone lycra clad brigade. Even the thought of a gentle CTC ride was out of the question. But an all girls ride more interested in the quality of the cakes then the speed or the distance was exactly my cup of tea (to go with the cake of course)!!!”
“For me one of my main concerns was I would not be fit/healthy enough to keep up with everyone and would hold the group back. The group are so supportive of new member’s abilities at times when I have been slower than everyone else I have never been made to feel that I was holding back the group. It is a very "nurturing" group environment which have open up a whole new world of cycling experiences for me. I don't think I have thanked them enough for this.”
"I feel fitter in myself, and it gives me such an energy boost. I am a member of a private gym, but I really dislike going. I feel enclosed and the routine is so repetitive."
Q "What if something breaks on my bike?"
A The beauty of riding in a group is the support if you suffer a mechanical during a ride. Firstly, ensure you have had your bike checked by a good bike shop. Before each ride do the 'M' check , this will reassure you that your bike is OK and in working order. There is little really that can go wrong, but we do link in with or organise women's sessions through the winter months with bike shops. The main thing is to gain a bit of confidence taking your wheels out and changing a tube, you will need to do this if you have a puncture! Again, this usually forms part of the winter session, or just have a go in the privacy of your garage/ shed/ back garden/ kitchen, there are certainly lots of places on you tube to show you how!
Q "Can I bring my daughter?"
A These rides are aimed at adults, so younger children may be bored and the distances may be a bit harder for young children to manage. I totally appreciate that it can be harder for a woman to come out without the children, but please contact me and we can discuss your children and young peoples abilities and expectations. Some teenagers have been out with their mums (including my own two) so it is always a possibility. Please have a look at the blog rides diary for a flavour of locations and distances that we do. The youngest girl I have out was my daughter when she was 10, but there were only 4 of us out (me, my two girls and a friend).
Other quotes from some of the ladies:
"When on a bike ride, it is so pleasurable and enjoyable. I always feel at peace with myself. It gives me quality time. I enjoy the company of the other people on the ride, and sharing their life experiences. Depending on which route is taken, the views can be beautiful, and you really have the time to enjoy the landscape.
"It also costs a lot of money, where as cycling is free, once you have invested in a bike and some cycling wear.”
“My initial worry was that cycling in a group I might crash into another rider and cause mayhem! Still have momentary fears about careering off the towpath and into the canal but in general far more confident about group cycling since braving a few CTC rides and joining the Fab Ladies. And I love it!”
"I think as women we tend to prefer to have a friend along with us when we do things especially new experiences it is not that we lack confidence but we enjoy sharing experiences with our friends. What I have found is that it has created a new friendship group for myself with a shared interest .Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming and have shown an obvious collective interest in new members."
“as a cyclist of many years my reasons for joining the ladies are possibly a little different from those of others, but even though that is so, perhaps I can tell you why I love coming along anyway. Put simply, I feel as though I'm going for coffee with a great bunch of friends, it's just that we get to the coffee shop by bike. That's my kind of coffee morning!”
"I love getting your emails, it keeps me up to date with ladies cycling activities.
I haven't been cycling with the Belles either lately as I've increased my fitness considerably, therefore we are cycling further on a Saturday now. I lost 5 stone (wow) in weight last year and it's certainly helped my cycling pace therefore the ladies groups are a bit slow now. Get me eh!!
My partner and I try to go out every Saturday and Sunday as we both work full time therefore weekends are our only option. I'm sure you have the same problem. It's nice for us to cycle together now and he doesn't have to slow down too much for me. We've got a few CTC buddies who we cycle with and he cycles from Eureka most Sundays and we hope to get out with the CTC throughout the summer.
However as I started my cycling with the ladies groups I'm very grateful you and Janet [Bicycle Belles] give up a lot of your own time to organise these groups as it's helped people like me to get in to the sport. It also introduced us to the CTC and we've met many cycling buddies through it."