There’s a certain buzz, a certain thrill to learning to ride a road bike. The challenges arrive from all angles; the clipless pedals, super-skinny wheels, teeth-gritting on the ups, and ah, the white knuckles on the downs.
together we ride
Riding alone promotes a special feeling of ultimate freedom, but ride with a group and you’ll discover the ultimate joy that the shared journey to ciclista stupefacent brings with it. Riding with others helps you to learn new routes and skills and exchange knowledge and stories. But group rides, especially where men are in the majority, can be a little daunting at first; seeing you set off in trepidation to your local ride club with pesky thoughts of ‘will I get dropped?’.
But NGNM isn’t about to suggest you wheel-up to a female-only group to simply avoid cycling with men; we believe that both solo cycling and cycling in mixed groups have an important place in riding. However, all-women groups can go some way to helping you ‘dip your toe’ into group riding if you’re just starting out, or deliver a special kind of support and camaraderie to push even the most experienced riders further — and that’s not all.
the all-female cycling group
A gathering force and a support network for new female cyclists is growing the world over. From Milan to Sidney, women on wheels are encouraging, talking, creating communities and riding, riding, riding.
‘There’s a particular magic in the all female group ride.”
Whether it’s sponsored initiatives, organised groups or just a few friends meeting up for rides, there’s more opportunity to ride with other women now than ever before. NGNM knows that time on your bike is your time for you, and that riding solo is oh-so-good, but here’s the why there’s a particular magic in the all-female group ride.
get ready to be inspired
It’s time to bring the grit but banish the bravado.
Female cyclists often share a desire to be strong, free and independent, and all this can be an inspiring force to be around. You’ll get to know how to be self-sufficient in deflated times, how to stay rubber-side down in the rain, how to navigate the city traffic and the best bit — how to get into any type of cycling that excites you; from hill climb season to Haute Route, cycle sportive to Sunday saunter.
But herein lies a surprise; group riding with other women can be so inspiring that before you can say ‘Giro Rosa’, you’ll be pinning a race number to your rear pocket surrounded by bright young whippets on rollers, with a bewildered expression on your face and a strawberry energy gel tucked up your shorts at the local Cat 4 women’s race.
You have been warned!
the thrill of the new skills
Not only will you learn about the ins and outs of cycling from more seasoned roadies, you’ll also learn how to group ride. The technical aspect of group riding is a fun skill to master; there’s a thrill in learning to get your group looking as slick as your kit, to learning good etiquette, and to accomplish the art of signaling for hazards with your left had behind your back without so much as a micro-wobble.
Learning good group skills requires attention and determination, but the best way to learn is to simply get stuck in. You’ll learn to ‘hold your line’ which, depending on the road width, terrain and traffic, means you’ll either be riding neatly two-by-two or in single file, and unless you’re taking your turn to break the wind on the front, you’ll be closely following the wheel in front, known as drafting.
You’ll also be providing a warning for hazards to your fellow riders by way of hand signals and phrases, unless you’re at the back. Well-formed group riding looks pretty cool and can provide a great basis for chewing up the long miles with an abundance of wheel-sucking, energy saving joy, whilst providing a great foundation for the thrill of bunch riding for when you get sucked into racing…
you'll have a blast
Aside from learning more about cycling, group rides are (obviously) great for the social aspect. On any group ride, stories are swapped, routes are discussed, the cafe is anticipated and new names are learned. And here’s the thing, something wonderfully unique happens when the ingredients of a group ride come together; sometimes in the most unlikely of circumstances — those days that you just don’t feeling like going out will often be the ones that turn gold.
The sense of achievement, the endorphins, the vitamin D and the exhilaration mingle together, and frankly, things can get a little euphoric. When we’re riding with other women with an equal love of wheels, we open up, we’re the best version of ourselves, we talk about the good, the bad and the ugly — often with hilarious consequences. These wonderful highs are shared together along with the occasional lows.
“You’ll find yourself with a special kind of shared support both on and off the bike.”
You’ll often find yourself with a special kind of shared support both on and off the bike — there’s nothing quite like that reassuring feeling of always having someone watching your back; that magic that selfless help is able to establish among cyclists, as if there’s an untold script that privileges safety and wellness above all else. No one talks about it, but it’s always there. It pours out at just the right moment.
bigger & better
Women’s groups are growing organically all over the world, it just takes one or two people to start a cycling community on social media, so if there’s not one in your area already, don’t be afraid to pioneer your own local ride club. NGNM is offering women's ride across Europe (London, Bristol, Milan, Provence and Amsterdam for the moment), check NGNM Strava Club for all the infos and join us monthly.
Once you’re cycling with other women on a regular basis, you will feel part of a growing, amazing community; locally, nationally and globally, both on and off the bike.
No Gods No Masters, because with a small leap of faith you are empowered by other women to become stronger alone and stronger together, making you feel as though even the sky is no limit!