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.