Everything You Need to Know About Joining a Women’s Cycling Club
Many ladies prefer women’s cycling clubs because men’s clubs can feel a bit intimidating and, if you’re the only woman, even a little lonely. If most of your closest friends are women, it’s only natural that you’d feel more comfortable around other women.
There are also some physiological differences between men and women to consider. If you’re looking for a training ride, it can be frustrating trying to match the mens’ speed, even if you’re a proficient cyclist. Of course, it’s great to push yourself - as long as you’re having a good time.
Here’s everything you need to know, including how to find the right cycling club for you, our favourite women’s cycling clubs in London, and how to prepare for your first group ride.
Finding a Women’s Cycling Club
One of the best things about cycling is that you can do it however you want. You can go to a park with your kids, enjoy relaxed rides chatting to your partner, or do a solo ride to clear your head.
Or, if you’re the social type, you can join a women’s cycling club.
Here are some things to consider when looking for a women’s cycling club:
- What are you looking for? The atmosphere at a social ride will be very different to a training ride, so make sure you know what you’re getting into.
- If you’re looking for something specific (e.g. clubs for mums, non-binary clubs, beginners clubs) take some time to research if there’s a club that matches your unique needs.
- Check out potential clubs’ social media pages. It should give you a good idea of what the club is like.
- If you try out a club and don’t like it for whatever reason, don’t feel guilty about leaving to try another one. Ultimately, you’re doing this for yourself and club rides should be something you look forward to.
- If you can’t find a women’s cycling club that matches your needs and schedule, consider starting your own with some like-minded friends. All you need is a group of passionate female cyclists!
Women’s Cycling Clubs in Queensland
Cycling Mums Australia
Founded in 2016 by Natalia de Clercq, Cycling Mums Australia inspires, encourages, and empowers women to take to the road on two wheels and carve their own way in the male-dominated cycling community.
Their next upcoming event on 13 March is a happy, chatty social ride in Shorncliffe that ends with a stop for delicious pastries. If you want to join in, check out their event page on Facebook here.
WOW (Women on Wheels)
If you love the outdoors, want to improve your physical and mental health, and make some friends along the way, WOW (Women on Wheels) formed to create an encouraging and supportive group for women of all skill levels to enjoy mountain biking.
The members of the club all remember what it was like to be beginner, and they welcome newcomers with compassion, patience, and a passion for the sport.
To keep up with announcements and events, have a look at their Facebook page.
Women’s Cycling Clubs in NSW
WOMEN at Sydney Cycling Club
While the Sydney Cycling Club is a mixed-gender club, their WOMEN initiative seeks to close the gender gap by encouraging more women to ride. Whether you’re a beginner, want to train for a specific event, or start racing competitively, they offer something for all women.
Beginners can join in for their social rides or skills courses, and those who have a competitive streak can join in their Club Championship women’s category and ride with powerhouse female cyclists who have an impressive list of titles behind their names.
Are you keen to learn about road cycling? NSCC Ladies covers everything you need to know, from riding in bunches, racing, and getting connected with other female cyclists.
Their mission is to get more women involved in cycling and, even better, most of their training rides usually end at the coffee shop! Along with their group rides, they also offer skills clinics where you can learn bike handling, safety, and tips for race preparation.
If you’re interested in joining them, you can have a look at their ride calendar here or keep up with their latest news by requesting to join their Facebook page.
Women’s Cycling Clubs in Victoria
Ladies Back on Your Bike
Ladies Back On Your Bike was founded in Melbourne in 2016 as a female cyclist group that welcomes cyclists of all levels. They offer different groups that cater to various levels of cyclists, as well as local and international cycling tours.
These are some of the Ladies Back on Your Bike groups you can look forward to:
- Road Rides: Join one of three groups to improve your cycling skills and make new friends.
- Path Rides: Enjoy 2 - 8 hour rides that usually end with a picnic or cafe stop. These rides also offer three different levels based on your skill and speed.
- Private & Group Lessons: If you want to build your confidence on the bike before joining the group rides, you can take part in private lessons or group lessons with a maximum of three cyclists to one instructor.
Bayside Cycling Club
If you’re looking for a female cycling club that gives you the chance to try a little something of everything, the Bayside Cycling Club might be your perfect match. They offer rides throughout the year, road rides, gravel/off-road rides, weekends away, local trips, and international tours.
Here are some of their upcoming rides:
- 10 March 2022: A 60km ride starting at 3:30PM.
- 11 March 2022: Black Rock to Mornington at 10PM.
- 11 March 2022: Torquay to Aireys Inlet at 11PM.
They have daily rides for three skill levels, so you’re sure to find something that matches your speed and schedule.
How to Prepare for Your First Club Ride
Once you’ve found a women’s cycling club you want to join, get in touch with the organiser or leader. Many larger clubs will have various rides based on speed and distance, so don’t be afraid to ask if you aren’t sure which ride will be most suitable for you.
Be honest about your ability so that they can suggest a ride. If they only offer one ride and it isn’t suitable for you, ask if they can recommend another club.
Here’s how to prepare for your first club ride:
- It goes without saying - be on time. Even better, be a little early so you don’t need to rush through introducing yourself.
- Check your tyre pressure, brakes, and shifting before the ride.
- People will always be willing to help, but go into it as self-sufficient as possible. Make sure you carry the same tools you would when riding alone, and be sure to bring enough water and a snack or gel bar.
- Take some cash with you. If you’re venturing out of the city, the cute little coffee shop you stop at might not accept cards.
- Ride either single file or two abreast. Take a look at what the other cyclists are doing and do the same.
- When riding, be consistent. Don’t brake suddenly or make sudden moves.
- Ride with the group’s pace. If you find you’re faster than the rest of the group, hang back a little - you can always look for a faster group next time. If you’re slower, don’t get nervous about it. If you’re on a social ride, they’ll give you some time to catch up.
- If you’re not on a no-drop ride, make sure you can find your own way home if you need to.
- You don’t need to be the fastest or most outgoing to make friends and have a great time, so relax and enjoy the ride!
Staying Safe as a Female Cyclist
The unfortunate reality is that women have to take additional safety measures when cycling, especially if they’re alone or with other women.
In countries like the Netherlands or Denmark, where there’s a high level of bike safety, more than 50% of cyclists are women but globally, in countries that lack bike infrastructure, women are less likely to cycle. It all comes down to one thing: safety.
Here are some steps you can take to cycle safely:
- Always ensure that someone knows what your route will be and what time you expect to be home.
- You should always have your phone on you, and make sure it’s fully charged.
- Make sure you know how to get yourself home if you have a mechanical. This might mean practicing at home, knowing the public transport routes to get home, or having a friend you can call for help.
- If you’re riding alone, stick to populated streets in areas you know well even if you tend to prefer quieter rides.
- Listen to your intuition. If you feel uncomfortable or like someone is following you, ride to a busy area or coffee shop then call a friend or approach someone for help.
- If a stranger tries to wave you down, remember that you’re not obliged to stop or have a conversation with anybody if you don’t want to.
- Even if nothing happened, don’t be embarrassed to report suspicious behaviour to your local authorities and community groups. Speaking up could help protect a fellow female cyclist in future.
- Cover yourself and your bicycle with cyclist liability cover and bicycle insurance from Velosure.