when solo riding just wont cut the mustard

Like a lot of people, I get up every day put on my clothes and ride my bike to work. That’s roughly an hour of solo cycling every day. It could be that getting out on your own and clearing your head is exactly what you need, but sometimes the whole experience can be enhanced by adding a few like-minded mates.

Enter, the weekend ride

photo

(this is currently how I look when I commute, might explain why no one will ride with me)

A long weekend ride can provide the perfect antidote to week of commuting, allowing you to explore new places, improve your endurance and even work on those climbing legs if you’re that way inclined. Sounds good right? I was desperate to get back on my bike after the Marathon but as a fairly inexperienced and frankly pretty rubbish cyclist, with no cycling mates (excluding my Dad) I was genuinely at a loss to who I could possibly rope in to this party.

To improve my cycling I eventually ended up doing a serious amount of suffering at the hands of my Dads clubs the Kingston Wheelers. The fear  (and most definitely the reality) of being dropped in the middle of Surrey with no Garmin has definitely contributed to improvements made this year in my own cycling but I can totally see why this type of environment would not appeal to everyone.

Luckily this is no longer the only option! I just wanted to let any other lady cyclists out there, particularly those who don’t feel ready/just don’t want to ride with a serious carbon/lycra clad cycle club, but who do want to take on the challenge of a longer ride that there are now some brilliant options available.

So in no particular order, some rides I wish I had known about when I looking to ride a bit further and make some cycling pals.

1. VeloVixen Rides

Run by the guys behind the VeloVixen website this is one that I really wish had been about when I was looking for people to ride with.
velovixen
The VeloVixen rides caught my eye on Twitter when I saw Laura was planning to attend one and after visiting their Facebook page I predict they are on to a bit of a winner.

 “VeloVixen Rides are designed to help women cyclists at all levels get out on the road and overcome obstacles that often get in the way of that. The atmosphere is fun, welcoming and as challenging as you want it to be. And routes are beautiful and accessible.

You pick the riding group that’s right for you. You’ll be amongst kindred spirits, many of whom have been left feeling isolated, intimidated or simply bored by existing clubs. And plenty who’ve simply never been part of a club. We want to break down the barriers that stop you from experiencing the fun of riding in a friendly group”

The next ride is on Sunday 15th December and once you have joined the event on Facebook and filled in the required questionnaire you are good to go.

2. Breeze

Another one brought to my attention through Twitter is the British Cycling Breeze Rides. Perfect for beginners and seasoned bike riders alike the British Cycling’s Breeze initiative is designed to get more women out and riding their bikes for fun. The lovely @PTMollie is leading a ride on the 7th December which you can sign up to here. There are however hundreds of different rides suitable for all abilities going on all across the country.

3. Rapha Cycle Club

rapha
Last but by no means least the Wednesday Evening Women’s ride from the Rapha Cycle Club in Brewer Street (worth visiting for the coffee alone).

Not a weekend ride but if you are looking for some company during the week or just to throw down a few laps of Regents Park this is the one for you. Everyone I have ever met from Rapha has been absolutely lovely and I have heard some great things about the Women’s rides so I would definitely get down there and check them out for yourself. If I didn’t work way out West I would be there in a heartbeat.

I have also noticed recently that they occasionally run longer weekend rides so if you can’t make it on a Wednesday watch out for those!

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