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Author Archives: Nicola
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.
I confess that I know very little about wheels so when my friend and fellow bike rider Tegan Cox offered to write a guest blog post I coudn’t refuse. Over to you Tegan……..
Wheels. Bikes come with them so why do they need any further consideration? I know when I started riding a bike I didn’t have an opinion on what went on beneath me. Then I started in triathlon and the bike bling in transition was clear indication that wheels are not just for turning and keeping your face off the ground.
Most entry-level bikes come with solid but somewhat heavy wheels that are not necessarily performance orientated. You might look at going for a more expensive, lighter wheel if you want to find some speed and time advantages, make going up hill easier.
For triathlon and time trialling you might look for a deeper rimmed wheel for improved aerodynamics, which may (or may not in my case) deliver speed advantages and improved efficiency.
Or you might just want something that looks and sounds awesome.
I’m a relatively short woman at 160 cm (5 foot 3 inches) but I’ve met quite a few female road cyclists who are shorter than me and one of them mentioned to me that she and other short stature women have trouble finding bikes to ‘fit’.
A lot of people are dubious about the whole women’s specific bike concept and question whether it’s just marketing hype but I’m a real believer in the philosophy. Read my past posts on this subject and make up your own mind. From my perspective the women’s specific bike becomes more important the shorter you are, so women who measure in at 5 foot or below should really consider a women’s specific bike. Thankfully plenty of bike manufacturers have responded to the short end of the market and many produce 44 cm bikes.
To give you an idea of the sizing Specialized produces a sizing chart which suggests that a 44 cm Dolce, Ruby or Amira (the women’s specific road bike models) will suit a women who is 143-152 cm or 4”8’ to 5”0’.
When I first started riding about four and a half years ago I just avoided hills as much as I could. Then one day it struck me that hills are just one part of cycling that should actually be embraced. After all, usually when you climb up a hill you get to whizz down the other side!!! And these days I often ride up a small rise that I once considered to be a hill, so there’s definitely been progress.
I also thought that when I started riding a road bike there was no particular technique to riding up hills, it was simply a matter of suffering and putting up with the pain in your legs and shortness of breath and hoping it would soon be over. I was definitely wrong about that, so here’s a few tips that I’ve picked up from various fellow riders and from my own research:
One of the great benefits of writing a blog about women’s cycling is that I get to meet (at least by phone and email) some great female cyclists who are completely dedicated to the sport and reaching their potential.
I was recently contacted by Australian female pro cyclist Joanne Hogan who has given up her nursing career to ride her bike as a professional. Jo didn’t actually contact me direct, it was her marketing manager (pro bono) Eliza who made contact on her behalf and she suggested I might like to talk to Jo about her new website http://www.thehealthycyclist.com.au/
The new website is a collaboration between Eliza and Jo and reflects their common interest in health and wellbeing and Jo’s love of cycling. The content on the website is quite extensive and from my own experience I know it would have taken many hours of work.
A couple of weeks ago, keen cyclist and occasional writer Andrew Stephen contacted me and offered to write a guest blog post for Women Who Cycle. I jumped at the opportunity to bring you another perspective on women’s cycling. Here’s Andrew’s thought provoking interview of some adventurous young female cyclists………..
A few years back two women quit their jobs, left Minnesota and their families, and took off on the bike tour of a lifetime from Portland, Oregon to San Francisco, CA (about 650 miles or 1,046 km). We spoke to them about struggling to shed the myths of female safety on the road, overcoming heartbreak and addiction, assuming new moral codes – the reality of touring for young women in search of the unknown.
I’m writing this on my return flight from Adelaide after spending a week enjoying Australia’s own UCI cycling event, the Tour Down Under. For those of you who don’t already know about it, it’s a six day professional men’s road racing event held every January centred around the South Australian city of Adelaide.
It was my sixth visit to the southern capital for the race and it’s great to see it continue to grow in popularity with lots of locals coming out in support as well as interstate and international visitors.
For me it has always consisted of two key components – the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) ride in the Barossa Valley and the Tour Down Under itself.
When I first started doing long rides, my training and preparation was almost entirely based on my physical readiness. I’ve always understood the big role that mental preparation plays for elite athletes but I never thought I had anything in common with them.
After four years of cycling, I’ve done quite a few charity rides and a small amount of racing and I always get very nervous beforehand. But I’ve never known how to overcome it except to just accept that it happens and live with it. I’ve also thought that my anxiety was more a female trait so I was interested to hear pro cyclist Luke Durbridge in an interview after he won the National road race championship last week say that he was shaking on the start on the start line because he was so nervous. It made me feel less alone.
I recently came across a new UK website called Total Women’s Cycling which is packed with lots of great articles and reviews about women’s cycling. I asked them if I could re-publish one of their articles by Jo McRae and they agreed that I could re-publish the first few paragraphs and a link to their site. So here it is. Some great tips on how to become a ‘serious cyclist’. Enjoy……..
Lots of us are active and cross-train effectively, putting cycling in the mix with a range of other activities and forms of exercise. If you believe in being healthy and active you may change your exercise routine from one activity to another to keep things interesting or to stay motivated. But if you are new to training specifically for cycling it can be difficult to pick the bones out of the fitness information out there.
So what do you have to do to cross that line and become a ‘cyclist’ rather than a mere fitness enthusiast, and what difference will it really make?
First of all it sounds obvious, but you have to be riding a bike regularly and it needs to be your main form of exercise. Look at the amount of time you have for exercise and other activities in your week and make sure you spend two-thirds to three-quarters of that time riding a bike.
The Women Who Cycle blog has been running for nearly a year and a half now. When it began in August 2011 I wondered if I could find a new topic to write about every week but amazingly they continue to flow. I guess when you’re really interested in a topic like me it becomes endless.
To celebrate the start of the new year I commissioned a logo for the site. Up until now there’s been no logo or attempt at branding the site and I’m hoping that my regular readers approve of the new look.
This step in the evolution of Women Who Cycle made me reflect a little on the whole area of brand and image management. I’m actually a public relations consultant in my working life so I have spent many years helping others develop a public persona, most of these are organisations but there’s also been individuals.