This June, on my 27th birthday I was given a brand new bicycle. The first time I took it for a ride, with the warm, summer breeze on my face and that familiar feeling of absolute physical freedom, I was instantly 10 years old again. (That is, until my body quickly reminded me that I was most certainly not 10 years old…)
From June to late July I only went on a few bike rides, mostly as I was surprised by how very different cycling as an adult woman felt, rather than as a fearless kid on a purple bicycle and homework to avoid. My interest in cycling increased tenfold, however, after watching female athletes like Lizzie Artmitstead, Victoria Pendleton and Laura Trott win medals cycling in the Olympics. It was like a firework went off in my head. “I want to do that!”
Suddenly, all I thought about was cycling, and I wanted to get more involved in it from a fitness perspective, and as a hobby. Unfortunately, information on cycling aimed at women is quite rare, as women’s professional cycling is still fighting for TV time, and even sponsorships for its teams. You can therefore imagine my absolute joy when I heard about Cycletta - the UK’s leading series of women only bike rides, which welcomes women of all abilities.
It was so refreshing to find an organization that was not only female-focused, but understood that not all women want to slowly meander through town on a step-through Pashley that only has three gears. (Which there’s nothing wrong with, of course!)
In their own words:
“Cyclettta was created to inspire women to take up cycling. Designed to provide women with enough of a challenge, while remaining achievable and accessible to all. The events will encourage women to take into consideration their current level of fitness, whilst learning the basics about training, equipment and apparel. We believe by creating a cycling event series for all women and ability levels, we’re filling an existing gap in the market.”
Cycletta was launched by (my ultimate girl crush) Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton, and each year, there are seven Cycletta events set in scenic venues around the country, featuring both 40km and 80km routes. The best part about it, however, is that last year 70% of the participants in Cycletta had never taken part in a cycling event before. How’s that for progress?
Victoria Pendleton has created a training programme for beginner, intermediate and advanced cyclists who are looking to train before a Cycletta ride. When I saw this training plan on Cycletta’s Facebook page, I knew that it was a sign - it was time for me to challenge both my body and my mind and sign up for a Cycletta event!
I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be riding in my first ever cycling event on the 21st of October, at the Cycletta New Forest. I’m currently on my fourth week of training, and I absolutely can’t wait to cross the finish line. It’s absolutely amazing how much my body has changed just in the last month or so of going on regular cycle rides.
If you’re interested in signing up for the New Forest race, there’s still time. Or, if you’d like more information on Cycletta you can check out their website,Cycletta.co.uk, follow them on Twitter as @Cycletta or give them the thumbs up over on Facebook.com/Cycletta.
Image © Cycletta