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Category Archive: Women cycling
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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.
Happy New Year. I thought I’d kick off 2013 with the important subject of bike maintenance. The information here is based on what I’ve learnt during the past four years that I’ve been riding, tips I’ve picked up while working in a bike shop (my recent part time job), from my very practical partner Phillip and from a helpful session on bike maintenance run by Andrew McLean known as Macca from Cannondale on the Bathurst bike camp I attended back in October.
You need to check your tyre pressure regularly (at least once per week) and pump them up. For this task you should invest in a good quality floor pump with a gauge. It will spend most of its time in your garage but occasionally go for a road trip in the boot of your car. All road bike tyres have the recommended PSI printed on the side wall of the tyre so make sure you follow the advice to get the best performance and safest ride. If the roads are wet you should let about 10 per cent of the pressure out to give you more grip on the road.
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’.
Ride early and late
I do most of my riding early in the morning. There are a number of reasons for riding early but one of them is definitely sun exposure and heat. You’ll also avoid traffic if you ride early in the day. But if you can’t ride early in the morning then try a twilight ride to avoid sun exposure.