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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woman who rode the Giro d’Italia

The woman who rode the Giro d’Italia

It seems appropriate that during the great race in Italy, we reflect on the only woman who rode the Giro d’Italia. She was a very plucky Italian cyclist named Alfonsina Strada who rode the 3,613 km Giro d’Italia way back in 1924. She’s the only woman who’s ever ridden one of the grand tours alongside the men. Here’s my abridged version of her story. Alfonsina was born in northern Italy in the late 1800s and won her first bike race at the age of 13, winning a live pig. When she was 24 she married Luigi Strada, who give her

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feel safe on Sydney's roads

Is it safe to ride a bike on Sydney roads?

Lots of women tell me that the reason they don’t want to ride a bike is because they don’t feel safe on Sydney’s roads. Therefore they seek out opportunities to ride on bike paths so they can avoid interacting with cars. Interestingly the more experienced I become as a cyclist, the more I prefer riding on the road, rather than bike paths. I find that most Sydney bike paths (and there aren’t that many of them) are cluttered with pedestrians listening to loud music via small bud earphones, dog walkers, slower bike riders and small children on bikes. All of

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Muslim women cycling

Sydney group gets Muslim women cycling

Like many female cyclists I’ve read stories about the barriers women in middle eastern countries have overcome to ride a bike like this all women’s cycling team in Afghanistan. But I’ve never really thought about the barriers that confront Muslim women in Australia and other western nations, and prevent them from enjoying simple joys like cycling. A couple of months ago I met a young Muslim women called Assmaah through the shop where I work and have since seen her out on her bike. She told me about a group of primarily Muslim women cyclists called Sydney Cycling Sisters and

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Yes there is such thing as a female bike mechanic

I always love hearing about women who are working in male dominated fields so it seemed appropriate to interview a female bike mechanic for a Women Who Cycle blog post. I must confess that I actually work in a bike shop myself but I’m not a bike mechanic (I can hear my bike mechanic colleague Macca sniggering while her reads this!). I do pump up a few tyres and I’m ok at diagnosing basic problems but my mechanic skills are pretty rudimentary.  So I had to rely on a Google search to track down Marty Caivano, who works at the

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Women's bike ride

How to organise your own regular women’s bike ride

I’ve been riding a road bike regularly for about seven and a half years, and I’m realistic enough to know that I’m definitely in the minority. I’d guess that only about 10 per cent of regular road bike riders in my own home city of Sydney are women. But that doesn’t hold me back. In fact it only encourages me to keep riding and attempting to get more women to join me on a women’s bike ride. It would also be unrealistic for me to think I could do all my riding in the company of women or that I’d

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Overcoming mental barriers

How to overcome mental barriers to become a better cyclist

When I first started riding a road bike about seven and a half years ago I had to overcome both physical and mental barriers to cycling. I hadn’t really ridden a bike since I got my drivers’ licence when I was 17 years old, so I wasn’t bike fit and I didn’t have any bike skills. But it didn’t take me too long to get my physical act in order. I soon learned that my real barriers were mental ones – Could I really ride that far? Did I look ok in lycra? Was I good enough? Is this an

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female pro cyclist

Female pro cyclist Kimberley Wells focused on a huge year in 2016

One of the many topics I love to cover in my posts is the world of the female pro cyclist. They receive so little coverage compared to their male counterparts that I feel it’s part of my responsibility to help. Plus I really love to interact with them. I first spoke to Kimberley Wells three years ago so thought it was about time we caught up with her. Kimberley and I exchanged a few emails for this interview…..   Q: What are you up to Kimberley? A: Racing up in Belgium at the moment. Ran 7th in the Dwars Door

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Women can fix bikes

Easy bike maintenance that will save you money

Undertaking regular bike maintenance is a topic that applies equally to female and male riders but this post is directed more to women who often think they aren’t very good at things like easy bike maintenance. And that simply isn’t true. You don’t have to be a man to learn some basic (or even more advanced) bike maintenance. Women are just as capable, or perhaps even more, than men at keeping their bikes in good working order. Keeping your bike running well can actually save you money because the parts on your bike will wear better and need replacing less

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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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