climbing hills on a road bike

A women’s guide to climbing hills on a road bike

When I started riding a road bike about seven and a half years ago, I had no idea there was a right way and a wrong way of climbing hills on a road bike. I just rode up them and put up with the pain in my legs and lungs. In some cases I even avoided the steeper ones by riding a different route. Over the years I’ve learned about the physical side of hill climbing but only recently have a focused more on the mental side of climbing. In doing this I’ve realised that my negative thoughts are the

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Me on my beloved Specialized Amira.

Female cyclists – Don’t let MAMILs intimidate you

I must confess that this week I’m struggling a bit to write a blog post. I have a great list of potential topics I wrote last week (thanks to an online course I’m currently undertaking) but I’ve just read through it and nothing inspires me. So you’ll have to excuse this week’s rather short and not overly focused offering. One thing I’ve noticed about the many women I speak to about cycling in the bike shop where I work is that many of them feel a bit intimidated by other (particular male) cyclists. They often say ‘oh, I’m not a

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Road pedals, cleats & shoes

Every woman’s guide to riding with clip-in pedals

I work in a bike shop and I often get asked about clip-in pedals from both men and women. But it seems that the women are a little more nervous about the idea. They fear falling off and injurying 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. 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

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Good news for female cyclists – Fitter legs = fitter brain

If you read this blog regularly you’ll know that I’m keen on stories about brain health and ageing and this story I came across at www.biospace.com resonated strongly with me. Here’s a slightly edited version of the report…… Researchers at King’s College London have found that muscle fitness as measured by power in the legs is strongly associated with an improved rate of ageing in the brain. The findings, published in a journal called Gerontology, suggest that simple interventions, such as increased levels of walking (and let’s assume cycling), targeted to improve leg power in the long term may have

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Tips for women preparing for a 100 km plus ride

I’ve signed up to do the Cadel Evan’s ride in late January next year, a mere eight or so weeks away so I really need to start focusing on my training. I’ve done a few long rides in the past including the JDRF Barossa ride which is 160 km, and Melbourne’s Around the Bay which is 210 km, so I know I can ride the 111 km I’ll be required to complete. But I know I’ll enjoy the ride a lot more if I undertake sufficient training. I also know that after the Cadel ride I’ve also got a few

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Great events happening for female road cyclists

Last year Cycling Australia undertook some research where they spoke to about 2,500 female cyclists who were either members of Cycling Australia, and therefore a cycling club, or keen leisure road cyclists. In this research the women who responded identified the majority of their riding is completed alone, but there was a clear desire for riding with other women of similar ability levels. I remember reading that at the time and feeling a little sad, and hoping that the sort of activities I get involved in like the Cycling NSW Women’s Commission will help over time. I’m really pleased to

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Every woman’s guide to descending on a road bike

I’m a huge fan of continuous improvement and lifelong learning and these principles apply to developing bike skills for both women and men. One skill which many female cyclists struggle with is descending. I think it’s because we are fairly risk averse and when we feel like our bikes are going too fast the temptation is to grab the brakes. I know I’ve still got a long way to go with my own descending skills so I’ve done a bit of research and borrowed from experts to bring these descending tips together. Familiarise To start, familiarise yourself with the condition

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Great news – Cycling improves your brain health

I recently read an interesting article about how cycling is great for your brain health. I find this area of study quite fascinating. It seems that only 10 or 15 years ago, the learned professionals in the study of the brain were saying that our brains are relatively unchangeable and simply deteriorate as we age. Now it seems there are lots of people saying that the brain is far more malleable than we originally thought and I think it’s great news. So I’ve plagiarised the article I read and provide a summary here. I also found that undertaking a simple

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Practice mindfulness while you are cycling

I really love the concept of mindfulness but I often struggle to do it. Mindfulness to me is about focusing on the present moment, instead of dwelling on the past or fixating on future events. It’s about being present, even if it’s not something that brings you pleasure. Mindfulness and cycling go hand-in-hand and here’s why you should practice it while riding: It will keep you safe Being mindful while you’re riding a bike ensures that you are aware of potential hazards along the way. Depending on where you ride the hazards could be potholes, rubbish/glass on the road or

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Every woman’s guide to bunch riding

Earlier this year my cycling club LACC started a women’s only bunch ride which I was asked to lead. It started out as part of a pilot program for women’s bunch rides under the auspices of Cycling NSW, and when the pilot program concluded at the end of March, the regular participants voted to keep going with the weekly ride. I was very happy to continue with it and get real buzz out of encouraging other women to learn more about road cycling and riding in a group. It’s a straightforward ride, just four short laps around Sydney Olympic Park,

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