Subscribe to posts
- Bike fitting
- Bike maintenance
- Bike skills
- charity bike ride
- Commuting by bike
- Cycle groups
- Cycle racing
- Cycle tours
- Cycling Club
- Cycling Club racing
- Cycling journalism
- Image management
- Indoor trainers
- Lycra cycle clothing
- Olympic Games
- Pedal stroke
- Product reviews
- Professional cycling
- Track cycling
- Women cycling
- women specific bike
- women's bikes
Category Archive: Cycling Club
Subcategories: No categories
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’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.
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.
I know that insurance is not exactly everyone’s favourite topic and it certainly isn’t mine and it’s also a ‘grudge’ purchase but if you’re going to spend a lot of money buying a beautiful bike, and spend lots of time riding it, then you need to think about insurance for both the bike and yourself. Thank you to Kate Bates for suggesting I write about this important subject.
I’m certainly not an expert on insurance so what you’re about to read is my opinion and not a recommendation, but I’m happy to share what I’ve learnt to benefit both female (my key audience) and male cyclists because the information applies equally.
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:
A question I’ve pondered a few times over the past few years since I took up cycling is whether I would benefit from some help from a coach. I remember discussing it with a few fellow cyclists a year or two ago and we concluded that it might spoil our fun. This is because other people we know who have been ‘coached’, always seem to be off doing serious training sessions, rather than enjoying the company of their mates on social rides followed by the mandatory cafe visit.
Well I’m pleased to say that I’ve changed my mind on that one and I now think I can have both. I chatted with Donna Meehan who is a cycling coach about it and she’s enlightened me. So next time I have a big goal I’ll be heading off to consult Donna.
The best way to describe coaching is to use a few real life examples and talk about how coaching has helped or could have helped. So let’s start with Donna herself. She started riding to lose weight when she was in her mid-thirties and by 40th birthday she was well and truly hooked. She recalls her favourite presents were her SPD pedals and diamond earrings.
I must confess up front that I’m no time trial expert. In fact I’ve only ever done one individual time trial and that was with absolutely no special preparation or specific training. However, my Club Championship ITT is coming up and I thought I’d give it another go and in the process educate myself about how to prepare for one.
My first and only ‘race of truth’ was last year for the LACC Club Championship. I literally decided the day before that I would go along to Penrith Regatta Centre and give it a crack. Sadly for the club, but good for me there weren’t a huge number of participants so I found myself with only one rival in the Masters Women’s category and Joanna was/is so far above my league that I just focused on my own ride and knew my time would be way behind hers. It also meant that I was guaranteed a second place if I finished the race and I proudly display my medal to prove it. Would you believe this is the only trophy or medal of any kind I’ve ever received in a sporting competition. I have lots of fun run, bike event participation medals but I’ve never actually been awarded a place in anything ever before.
This year I will again ride LACC’s Club Championship ITT which is a 20 km ride around the Penrith Regatta Centre. I doubt that I’ll win, particularly if Joanna is there again, but I might be lucky enough to score a place again. For the record I did the 20 km last year in 39:06 so that’s what I’ll be aiming to beat.
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.
I don’t know about you but I’ve always thought of Cycling Australia as being in existence to support elite level cyclists. So it was a pleasant surprise to meet two great women who work there, and to hear about the plans to provide a greater reach.
Emma Rickards is the National Coaching & Development Coordinator and Alexandra Bright, the National Participation Coordinator.
I spent an hour and a half with them yesterday to hear about a fundamental change happening not only in their organisation but in others as well.
Alex explained to me that Cycling Australia has adopted the slogan “We are cycling start to finish” which means that as an organisation they are looking at all disciplines – road, track, MTB and BMX and at all levels of cycling. It’s simply about getting more Australians to ride bikes whether it be commuting, leisure, touring, exercising, racing or just ducking down to the shops.
It’s great to see the state of NSW getting behind women’s only grades at club level crit racing. For those who don’t already know a criterium, or crit, is a bike race held on a short course often held on closed streets. The course is short, usually less than 5 km, and is a closed circuit, where riders complete multiple laps. Riders typically race for a given length of time, then complete a specified number of laps.
Last week I had a chat with Donna Meehan of Domestique who is the driving force behind the initiative. Donna is working with Cycling NSW and three Sydney clubs – Sydney Uni Velo (SUVelo), Lidcombe Auburn Cycle Club (LACC) and Southern Cross Cycle Club (SXCC).
It all stems from a survey conducted earlier this year by Cycling NSW to gauge the level of interest in women’s only grades in races. There were a number of options proposed and the most popular was a monthly weekend race in the Sydney area with A and B grades.
That’s exactly what they’ve delivered with this program listed below.