This week I thought I’d share a few other women’s websites and blogs that I visit regularly for inspiration and information about women’s cycling. I’ve even been known to republish some of their material, with permission of course. This is a fairly short list and I’m sure there are loads of other great ones. Please let me know via the comments if there are other sites you’ve come across.
This is a relatively new women’s online magazine that is UK-based and launched early in 2013. It’s really hit the ground running and regularly publishes great tips, product reviews, women’s racing news and even runs regular competitions. They are also quite active on social media. Definitely worth a look.
Ever since I started riding four and a half years ago my weight has been very stable but I also know that if I lost a few kilos I would be faster and go up hills better. So I read with interest an article from one of my favourite women’s online cycling magazines Women’s Cycling.ca and the editor Laurel-Lea kindly agreed that I could reproduce it here.
So here it is by Diane Stibbard…….
Q: How do I determine my optimal weight so I’m strong and fit on my bike?
A: Everyone has a different body physiology as well as different cycling goals: your genetic makeup affects your ability to lose and gain weight and to gain lean muscle mass. However, your body weight, lean muscle mass, body-fat percentage, body-mass distribution, and body-fat distribution all play a big role in your performance on the bike.
Kimberley Wells (centre) on the Podium at the 2013 nationals.
The first time I remembering hearing the name Kimberley Wells was when I was watching the Bay Crits on television earlier this year. She won against many of her highly fancied rivals. The second time was when I saw her live, racing in the Women’s Cup at Unley in Adelaide during the Tour Down Under where she also won. So I wasn’t at all surprised when Kimberley made contact with me from her new base in the US. Here’s the story in her own words.
Why did you start cycling?
I am 27 years old now and fell into cycling throughout University in Far North Queensland. I came back from a year in the UK/Europe working and travelling and bought a road bike a week before I started Uni, aged 18 years. Initially I used it to get around town, but over a few years became more involved in bunch riding, the Townsville Cycling Club then some local racing, progressing to having a coach. I knew I wanted to go further with the cycling, but there were significant challenges doing this as a medical student in the far reaches of North Queensland without a road map to success. After graduating University in 2009 and following my boyfriend to Canberra I started ramping up the riding/racing, working towards becoming a full-time athlete in 2012.
One of the skills it took me quite a long time to master when I started road cycling was following closely behind the wheel in front of me. I was not confident about my own ability and bike skills and so I sat back and watched from afar. It was only with the encouragement of others that I practiced and slowly built my confidence. I think generally men are quicker to master these types of skills, but women have just as much ability once we know how and have the confidence.
Drafting is an important skills that is well worth learning if you want to maximise your enjoyment of riding out on the road. It’s actually quite exhilarating to be whisked along in a group and to feel like you are part of a ‘team’.
A month or so ago I was contacted by two inspiring American women who are training for an ‘ultra’ cycling event called Race Across America. It’s a 3,000 mile or 4,828 km ride that has to be completed in nine days.
I always thought that undertaking a long ride like Melbourne’s Around the Bay which is 210 km was a pretty impressive feat. That was until I heard from Kacie & Dani.
I asked them a few questions about their quest.
Elsa von Blumen on her high wheel bicycle
As well as being a keen cyclist, I am also a lover of social history and when I get to combine two things of interest I’m pretty content.
I have a great book called Wheels of Change by Sue Macy in my home library and thought I would share a story I enjoyed.
If you think that female cyclists in the past 20 or so years have been real trailblazers then think again, because the true trailblazers where the women that were racer bicycles way back in the late 1800s.
An early American racer Elsa von Blumen of Rochester New York saw herself as a role model for good health, particularly for women. She was quoted as saying in an article for The Bicycling World in 1881:
“In presenting myself to the public in my bicycle exercises, I feel I am not only offering the most novel and fascinating entertainment now before the people, but am demonstrating the great need of American young ladies, especially, of physical culture and bodily exercise.
Women’s S-Works road shoes
A lot of women tell me that they are nervous about riding with clip-in pedals because they fear falling off and injury themselves or worse still embarrassing themselves. I’m really lucky that my partner coerced me into riding my road bike with clip-ins from day one and I never looked back. My suggestion is that you view the step-up from a flat platform pedal to a clip-in system as an important one, an indication of growing confidence in your bike-handling ability.
So to make it a bit easier here’s some background information about clip-in pedals and the different types and some tips to get started. I’ll focus mainly on road pedals and cleats because that’s what I know. There are however different systems available for mountain bikes and other types of riding.
There are some good reasons why you might want to become more attached to your pedals. Clipping in can stop your foot slipping off when applying power, help align your foot to ensure maximum efficiency, and potentially aid your pedal stroke by allowing you to pull up on the pedal as well as push down.
The LACC Women’s team and junior Pixies.
I’m particularly happy this week to tell you about a new women’s race team and development squad being launched by my own cycling club – Lidcombe-Auburn Cycle Club (LACC). The new squad is under the leadership of cycling coach and LACC member Donna Meehan and I’m lucky enough to be the Team Manager.
Donna who has taken on the role of Directeur Sportif (or team director) describes it as a milestone event for the cycling club.
To officially launch the team, an event was held at The Quad Café at Sydney Olympic Park last Friday night.
Donna said of the new team and development squad, “LACC has been around for more than 90 years and this is the first time there’s been a women’s race team formed.
Late last year I was at an event staged by Australian Cycling Executives (ACE) and Annette (Nettie) Edmondson was a special guest. I was fortunate enough to have a chat with Nettie and asked her if I could interview her for Women Who Cycle. Here’s the result:
Q: How old were you when you started riding? What got you started?
I was 13 years old when I was selected for cycling by the Talent Identification Program at the South Australian Institute of Sport after they tested a range of students for their physical attributes and capabilities. I had never considered cycling as a ‘sport’. I saw it more as a hobby and didn’t actually know there was a whole ‘racing’ world out there. I gave the Talent Search’s year-long track and road program a crack, really enjoyed it and here I still am today!
Me in the Pink Triathlon
If you going to do any physical training then you need to have a goal because without one you’ll come up with lots of excuses and never really get anywhere.
A great way to set a goal is to sign up for an event. It could be anything from a short fun cycling event like Sydney’s Spring Cycle (55 km) or Melbourne’s short version of Around the Bay (50 km option), right up to a serious level race. The key is to select an event that will challenge you but won’t break you.
I actually took up cycling four and a half years ago to participate in a charity bike ride – The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Ride for a Cure that is held in the Barossa Valley, SA in January every year. I’ve recently completed my fifth JDRF ride. The first three years I completed the 80 km course and not surprising it got easier every year. The fourth and fifth times I upped it to 160 km and once again the second year was easier than the first, particuarly from a mental perspective.