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Category Archive: Cycle groups
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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’.
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.
I’m not sure how other cyclists define a long ride but for me it’s anything over about 100 km. For others, it could be many hundreds of kilometres or even as short as a 50 km ride like Sydney’s Spring Cycle.
In planning my training program, I firstly factor in that I ride on a regular basis, usually about four times per week with a total of around 150 km so I’m fairly ‘bike’ fit. However the ride I’m undertaking in about four week’s time is 160 km (or a century if you’re from the US) so for me that means I have to undertake some extra training. I’ve done the same 160 km ride a year ago so I know what to expect but this time I’d like to do it better and improve on my time.
Most things I’ve read on this subject and other more wise individuals say that you don’t need to ride the full distance in training but you do need to up your kilometres and get some extra ‘kms in your legs’.
A couple of weeks ago I was enjoying my usual Saturday morning ride with a bunch of friends and a car came up behind me and beeped aggressively to indicate that she thought I should get out of the way and let her pass. Legally I was in the right, but I decided to move across so that she could get past and leave me alone.
Many cyclists, and particularly women are not keen about riding on roads because they are quite legitimately worried they’ll be hit by a car.
So as a consequence I thought I’d share my thoughts and experiences on this very important subject in the hope that both drivers and cyclists might read it and learn.
I’ve just returned from an awesome long weekend in country NSW where I learned so much about bike riding in a short space of time.
The four day event, organised by Donna Meehan under the auspices of Cycling NSW was held in the central western NSW town of Bathurst and was attended by about 30 women who all have one thing in common – a love for cycling.
It was informative, fun, exhilarating and exhausting and ran from Friday morning to Monday mid-morning.
As you would expect with 30 women we all came from different backgrounds and varied in age from early 20s to 60s so a great mix of people to learn from each other. Most were from Sydney in various locations but there were also participants from Canberra and Bathurst.
A couple of weeks ago I met with Barry Kenyon from Bicycle NSW who has the very fancy title of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Director (not dissimilar to what I do for a living). His organisation of which I’m a paid up member represents cycling in all its forms.
I’ve always been a little confused about what Bicycle NSW (and its equivalent interstate counterparts) does as opposed to Cycling NSW (and its national body Cycling Australia and equivalent state counterparts) so I started our chat by asking Barry that question.
In short Bicycle NSW represents cycling in all its forms – leisure, commuting, sports and cycling tourism, while Cycling NSW focuses on the performance or racing side of cycling. Within the charter of Cycling NSW is a mandate to create a better environment for cycling.
So Barry’s organisation is focused on advocacy where a key role is to represent its members and voice their concerns to government to guide policy to influence the building of infrastructure in the state of NSW.
I was lucky enough to spend the month of July in beautiful France and part of that trip was following the Tour de France from Stage 6 until the end. One of the great things about the Tour de France is the camaraderie that exists amongst all the cycling fans waiting by the side of the road each day.
That’s how I found out about the Austin Flyers which is a women’s only cycling club based in Austin, Texas in the USA. Jessica who is a member of the club came up to me and asked if she could have her photograph taken with our inflatable kangaroo, Daisy and of course I said yes. I noticed that Jessica was wearing a T-shirt with the club name on the front and asked her about it. That resulted in us exchanging details and me contacting her when I got home to write this blog post. So with Jessica’s help I posed some questions to club president Kate Sherwin and here’s her responses:
I think it’s only fitting that I should share my own story first. The accident I had on Sunday was not the first time I’d fallen or crashed off my road bike but it’s certainly the hardest I’ve hit the ground.
I’ve been riding for nearly four years and in that time have had about six ‘crashes’, all of them at low speed, some were ‘unclipping incidents’ where I failed to get my foot unclipped from my pedal and others involved obstacles.
I’m really excited about attending a women’s training camp in October to be held over four days and three nights in one of my favourite country towns of Bathurst, NSW.
I hold a little soft spot for Bathurst because it’s where I attended three years of Uni to study communication back in the 80s. Wonderful town and I’m really looking forward to returning there in October.
Cycle coach Donna Meehan and a group of female coaches have got together to organise a four day training camp to be held from Friday, 26 to Monday, 29 October 2012, aimed at women who are interested in racing and recreational cycling.
Last year I was lucky enough to attend a race/ride skills weekend organised under the auspices of Cycling NSW with coaches Donna Meehan & Jenny Triggs. Both women are accredited coaches but more importantly both are passionate about encouraging women to improve their cycling skills. They acknowledge that women learn in a different way to men and therefore the workshop is just for women.
This year they are running a similar one day workshop on Saturday, 16 June at the cirterium track at Dunc Gray Velodrome in Bass Hill aimed at giving women the skills and confidence to be able to compete at club level races and beyond. I’ve signed up again because although the content may be similar to the last one, I’m sure there’s always more I can learn.
You might be reading this and thinking that you’re not a racer but this day will give you some of the basic skills and will help you determine if racing is worth a try. When I started riding I had absolutely no interest in racing but the idea has grown on me and I’ve given it a go quite a few times. You really won’t know until you try. Who knows, you might love it.