Breaking free from traditional co-ed cycling clubs, female cyclists around the world have started forming their own clubs in order to “participate in less-threatening, more inviting groups…”, as stated by Women Bike Chicago member Elizabeth Adamczyk.
Finding these close-knit communities has become easier in recent years as there are growing numbers of organizations, mobile apps, and Facebook groups out there. Organizations such as Touring Cyclists Club, UCI Women’s Team, and Get Women Cycling strive to connect current and prospective members in order to create unique and diverse opportunities.
Women tend to seek out women-only cycling clubs simply because they prefer leisure rides over race-like training rides, which typically elicit unwanted competition and even feelings of intimidation. Cyclist and Chester Fabulous Ladies founder Sue Booth tells Total Women’s Cycling: “I think a women-only environment is more supportive – women are more likely to come out with other women, as I think they feel very intimidated by a male dominated, usually racing orientated, club.”
When you are surrounded by women who all share the same passion, it’s bound to spark new friendships which in turn prompts unwavering support and boosts confidence. Booth says “I usually come back on a Saturday morning with a really warm glow, happy feeling…I like meeting new people but also as faces become familiar they become more like friends.”
Another factor that leads one to join a women-only club is scheduling. Male-led groups are known for their all-day rides but as many of the women riders have families and careers, this makes it difficult for them to participate or keep a consistent riding routine. Women are more likely to schedule shorter rides on weekends or in the mornings, thus allowing them to attend rides more frequently and actually enjoy them.
Writer and cyclist Julissa Treviño says: “If women are more inclined to ask questions, feel more confident, and ultimately ride more often when they’re with other women, there’s hope that women-specific groups can help minimize the gender disparity down the road.”
So, if you wish to ride in leisure, make new friends, become part of a close-knit community, boost your confidence while learning at the same time, you know what to do! [Let us know in the comments why you joined a women-only cycling club and why you would recommend it to others.]