Winter in the UK isn’t the time most people decide to get a bit more serious about their cycling. Instead of cleaning the bike and putting it in storage, I’ve been getting it out more than ever and really enjoying it.
A few weekends ago I headed out with Mollie on a Breeze ride. Designed to get more women cycling the Breeze Network organises various rides around the UK. This one was set up as a challenging ride from south London out into Kent and back. It was a nice ride on a nice day and a good chance to brush up on our road riding skills.
Keen to push my cycling skills a bit more, I signed up for a Velo Vixen ride. Set up by the lovely Leyanne & Phil it’s a cycling club for women who don’t want to join a cycling club (…yet?). They organise a few rides every month and there are always varying skills on the ride from speedy-hill-loving-ladies who push the front of the pack, to those who want to go out for some fresh air and a fun cycle on the country roads.
Last Sunday we met at the station in Croxley and quickly found ourselves on the country roads. I spent the first few miles chatting with the other ladies on the ride and considering most were looking most forward to the coffee/cake stop half way – I was sure I had found the right group.
It was a beautiful route around Hertfordshire & Buckinghamshire and when the weather took a turn for the worse the group didn’t put up any complaints and kept going at a steady pace. As with any new sport I try I tried to soak up as much information and tips as possible, so here are the things I wish I had known before I set off:
- Cycling in a group can be intimidating with a club – but if you learn a few of the basic signals and watch what everyone else is doing and you’ll be fine.
- If there is a chance of rain you’re much better off wearing your waterproofs than not. Don’t risk it when cycling – there’s no avoiding the rain on your bike.
- You don’t need a backpack. Use your cycling pockets wisely and get a small bag for under your saddle.
- Wear overshoes. I didn’t. My feet were soaked.
- Those funny clear glasses that cyclists wear? Turns out when it’s pouring rain and you’re going downhill and can’t see those would be really helpful.
- Talk to everyone! Cycling 2×2 is safe (as long as the road isn’t too narrow), fun, and helps the miles click on.
If you want get on your bike in the new year and challenge yourself with a longer ride in great company check out British Cycling’s Breeze Network or the VeloVixen Rides.
sounds like soooo much fun! Hopefully in the new year my work schedule will allow me to get to one or the other oft these! …and thanks for the tips! you know I’m still learning so it’s all vital information to me! I got a puncture in the rain and apparently I was told it’s more likely! learning curve!