Category Archives: Women cycling

Good news for female cyclists – Fitter legs = fitter brain

Leg powerIf 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 an impact on healthy cognitive ageing.

Scientists studied a sample of 324 healthy female twins over a ten-year period from 1999, measuring various health and lifestyle predictors. Researchers were, therefore, able to control for genetic factors affecting changes in cognitive function.

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Upcoming 2016 events for female cyclists in NSW

Melanie Reiter (foreground in white) in actionI’m a member of Cycling NSW’s Women’s Commission which I joined earlier this year. By way of background, the Women’s Commission (like a committee) works “across the sport of cycling in NSW to ensure the development of policies and initiatives which promote participation amongst women and girls of all ages into the sport and recreation of cycling”.

I must admit that I wasn’t sure if volunteering for this role would be a complete waste of time and we’d just sit around ‘shooting the breeze’, but I’m pleased to report that the focus is on action and getting events happening. Here’s a brief summary of the main initiatives for 2016.

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Exciting women’s pro road racing cycling calendar for 2016

Chloe Hosking 7I know I said last year was going to be an awesome year for professional women’s road cycling and 2016 is shaping up to be even better. Here’s a few races that you should definitely follow this year. Unfortunately we won’t see too many of them on TV in Australia but you can keep up with them, and other races via social media and various internet sites. Cycling Tips Ella has great coverage of women’s racing as well as Prowomenscycling.com.

6 May to 8 May – Tour of Chongming Island, China

This event is the first multi-day event of the Women’s World Tour. It consists of a two day stage race, and a stand alone race that in previous years has served as a Women’s World Cup round. The terrain is pretty flat, making this a race for a team that works together to protect their sprinter.

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Every woman’s guide to buying a bicycle helmet

Specialized PrevialIf you buy yourself a bike, the most obvious and necessary accessory item is a helmet. That particularly applies in my homeland Australia where bicycle helmets are compulsory for all cyclists. The laws were introduced in Australia in the early 90s and despite the ‘trailblazing’ our various governments thought they were doing, there aren’t many countries that have followed. But I’m not here to debate helmet laws (even if I don’t personally agree with them – we should have the freedom to decide for ourselves), but I do accept that the law states I must wear a helmet so I comply.

So what should you look for when you’re buying a helmet. Here’s my buying tips:

Buy it from a reputable retailer

Helmets are like shoes, you should try them on before you buy them because even if you know your size they will inevitably fit differently depending on the brand and model you choose. Visiting a local bike shop will give you the opportunity to receive advice from a trained person and try on a number of different options.

There are also plenty of options available so you might want to visit a few bike shops to find the perfect fit and look for your needs.

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A female cyclist’s guide to committing to a New Year’s resolution

SMART Text written on notebook pageCommitting to a New Year’s resolution is a favourite blog topic of mine. I’ve written a post about it for the past couple of years because I really like to share what I’ve learnt about goal setting, and what we fickle humans need to do, to really stick to our commitments.

The reality for just about all of us, is that New Year’s resolutions are really difficult to stick with. So many other aspects of our lives just get in the way, sometimes we also experience crises in our lives which throw us off track. The best way to ensure our greatest chance of success is to be realistic about what we can achieve.

When I worked in corporate life I learned about SMART goals. They are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. There’s actually a few different versions of “SMART” but this is my preferred one.

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Last minute Christmas ideas for the female road cyclist

Specialized gloves 2There’s only three shopping days left before the fat man squeezes himself down the chimney. If you’ve left your shopping until now, here’s a few ideas for that ‘hard to buy for’ female road cyclist, most of which you should be able to track down in time.

Specialized Gel gloves

You can never have too many pairs of cycling gloves. Even if you wash them regularly, gloves eventually wear out and need to be replaced. The Specialized Gel women’s gloves are sold in Specialized dealers all round the world so you should be able to pick a pair up at around $45. They come in black/white, black/white/teal and black/pink.

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Tips for keeping your favourite bike safe from thieves

Bike theftYou can’t eliminate the chance of someone pinching your prized bicycle, but you can minimise it with an appropriate lock or security device. I know it’s not the most exciting subject but it’s really important to keep you bike secure. Bikes that are not well secured are really easy to steel because the thief can ride away from the scene fairly swiftly, and even if you see them disappearing with it, you won’t be able to catch them on foot, particularly in your cleated bike shoes.

I work in a bike shop and I’ve heard many sad tales from customers who lost their whole bike to theft, but also parts of their bike like wheels and seatpost/saddles. There’s nothing more useless (or annoying) than a bike without wheels or a seat.

So here’s a few tips for minimising the risk:

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What should I buy a female roadie for Christmas in 2015?

Every year I put a women’s cycling Christmas gift guide together of things I like. I often include things I’m buying for myself for Christmas, or that I already own. I figure if I like them then other female roadies will too. So here’s 2015’s selection, complete with links for where you can buy them.

christmas-bamboo-bicycle-tree-decorationsChristmas decorations

I’m a Christmas decoration tragic and my list wouldn’t be complete without a bike theme bauble. This year’s can be bought from UK website notonthehighstreet.com and they’re made of bamboo.

 

bicycle-scarf
Bicycle scarf

I’m also a scarf tragic and have a draw brimming over with plenty of them. This one appeals to me because the bikes are fairly subtle. Once again I found it on notonthehighstreet.com

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Should I buy a road bike with disc brakes yet?

Diverge Comp

My new Diverge

I’ve recently bought myself a new road bike with disc brakes. It won’t be replacing my beloved carbon road bikes (yes I have two of them) which have caliper brakes but it will suit another purpose – commuting to work, short trips here and there, and maybe even some off-road riding. I chose to buy the Specialized Diverge because it has the ‘go anywhere’ capability and while I’ve only ridden it once I’m already in love.

The hydraulic disc brakes are probably the biggest difference this bike has with my others so I thought it was worth a blog post to outline what the future might hold for disc brakes on road bikes. The disc brakes have a really firm feeling about them. By way of comparison my five year old road bike has Ultegra brakes, and my year old road bike has Dura Ace brakes, and the Dura Ace ones are significantly better than the old Ultegra brakes. The disc brakes feel just that bit more responsive and solid that the Dura Ace.

In my experience female riders are a little more risk averse than their male counterparts, particularly on long descents, so I think disc brakes on road bikes are going to suit a lot of female road riders.

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Tips for women preparing for a 100 km plus ride

Me in action on a previous 100 km plus ride

Me in action on a previous 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 other 100 km plus rides early in 2016 which I’m committed to ride, so the training won’t be a once off. It’s a great incentive for me to get really focused on my fitness and even my riding skills.

From my past experience I know there’s a few things you should do to prepare. Here’s my tips:

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