Ladies Cycling in Northamptonshire
Come on Ladies, it’s really not that scary! According to studies and from my own experience of talking to Women, the two biggest factors that put them off cycling are Fear and lack of confidence. The most common phrase I hear from Women when discussing cycling is “I’m too scared to ride on the roads with all the traffic”, sure I get it, we all know the roads are getting busier and busier and people have less and less patience nowadays but is this the only reason that’s putting you Ladies off taking to two wheels and filling your lungs with fresh air? Ladies Cycling in Northamptonshire is on the increase, so let’s see if I can change your minds!
My day job is as a Bikeability Instructor, teaching the primary school children of East Northamptonshire road safety and cycling proficiency, and it’s mostly all about where and how best to position yourself on the roads and your ability to make some good communication with other traffic, mostly in the form of eye contact, the other part is all down to confidence and how you convey this to car drivers. You’ve got to think of it pretty much in the same way as you would drive a car. Like everything these things come with practice and what better way to do this than in a group of other like-minded people who can offer you help, advice and encouragement.
Next let’s talk about this self-confidence issue, now this is a tricky one as it can cover so many aspects of getting in to any new hobby or sport but my guess is that most women would naturally be worried about their body image and are they going to look like a wally dressed from head to toe in Lycra – well Lycra isn’t compulsory but I would always recommend you wear padded shorts (more of this later) even if it’s underneath a pair of jogging bottoms to begin with. I’m also guessing that a lot of women would feel extremely intimated about walking into a bike shop or to introduce themselves at a club ride. My experience of bike shops has never been intimidating and in lots of larger stores now you often find girls working in them specifically to help the ladies out. My advice would be do some research before so you have a little idea of what you are looking for. And as for the club ride, at VeloElite you would always receive the warmest of welcome’s. We are a big cycling club with a huge range of abilities from our lovely 83 year old Terry who leads the novice rides to our Elite Race team. What we lacking though is definitely more chicks!!
“But isn’t it like really expensive” I hear you say! Well I’m not going to deny that yes cycling as a hobby can be more expensive than rearing a small child but it can also be done on a budget if you go about it the right way. Essential equipment is obviously a bike, a helmet, some padded shorts or tights (you will never enjoy a bike ride with a sore backside – believe me!) and maybe a cheap cycle computer (so you can see how far you have been.) If you are a complete beginner to this you may be able to borrow a bike from a friend and there are definitely bargain’s to be had on Ebay and second hand cycling pages on FB. Of course if you fall in love with the sport it’s only natural that you want to upgrade your bike, have all the proper clothing, eye wear, shoes etc.
And finally the “but I won’t be good enough or quick enough” excuse. Now this one was always my favorite and stopped me from joining the club at the same time as my Husband. It wasn’t until one day a friend from the club came round and convinced me to go along and ride with Hitesh (a club legend) I’d heard a lot about his journey into cycling and thought well if he’s braving enough to do it then so am I – so I did and I’ve never looked back. From the most un-sporty and uncompetitive teenager to taking up my first proper hobby at 36, I was hooked. I really doubted my ability as a bike rider in all honesty for the first couple of years of riding even though I had progressed nicely. So yes, I’ve had all these feelings and apprehension’s that some of you reading this might have right now but I can honestly tell you that being part of a club and part of a community (which it definitely is) is the best thing I have ever done. I am out almost every weekend as well as rides in the week when time allows and in the spring and summer I do TT’s – Yes, this is that un-sporty/uncompetitive girl talking here!! Also the friendships I have made in the last 4 years are ones I’ve made for life and the feeling I get when I get on that bike and ride (especially with those friends) are unparalleled.
So if I’ve caught you reading this (and of course this does apply to you Guys as well) and your thinking “Yes, I’d love to give it a try” then come on down on a Saturday Morning and give it a go. If you’re a complete novice then we’ll get you with Terry who will look after you or if you’ve already got a good fitness base and think you may be able to ride a little longer then myself or someone will try and pair you with the correct group. I may even run some “Breeze Rides “(women only) if the demand is there.
And I almost forgot to tell you the most important thing! Its pretty much obligatory that when you’ve finished riding you spend an equal amount of time as you did on the ride in the café eating cake and drinking coffee….See, nothing scary about it!