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Here come the girls

This article has several hyperlinks within the text, to help readers to follow up on the resources mentioned by Helen, and available to women wanting who want to take up or to develop their cycling.

Since getting more seriously in to cycling, I have been thrilled to see the number of female riders in my local group increase, to the point where we now regularly host ladies only rides and are beginning to coax more of the spouses of the male contingent out on to two wheels too.

And what’s even better is that I know this increase is not unique to Yaxley Riders, with initiatives like #thisgirlcan and British Cycling’s Breeze Champions, women everywhere are being encouraged to get active, and this is something I am fully behind. In my area, the newly created Women’s Eastern Racing League have been laying on some brilliant race training sessions, aimed at giving new riders an introduction into the kind of skills needed to ride, and to encourage greater participation in the races around the region. They're doing their utmost to promote races and to get event organisers to put on races specifically for the lower category riders, creating an environment far less intimidating than the prospect of having to compete with much more experienced cat 1 & 2 riders.

Through WERL, along with seven others, I took part in a recce ride for a race route that the ladies would be racing on a few weeks later; one of the ladies remarked that in all the years she’d been riding, excluding race events, that was the first ladies only ride she’d ever been on and how nice it was to see.

It’s fantastic that there’s greater coverage of women’s race events - still not as much as the men’s, but it’s a start. There are groups like Neutral Service and Racing Chance working to support ladies in to competition, to promote equal prize funds for female riders from local races all the way through to the big events; to encourage more women’s only events, more events for lower category racers that aren’t so intimidating as racing with the big guns. So far I’m only on the cusp of it, but it’s exciting to see such opportunities opening up. The women in my cycling group who once inspired me to better myself, to keep up with them, are now great friends and regular riding companions. is another avenue for womens cycling to expand through. The simple ethos of 'cycling for all', across all genres, and at all standards, is something that I wholly believe in - like the rest of the team. 2015 and beyond will be exciting for the team here, as we use our own experiences to encourage and support new riders out on their bikes. 

With all the encouragement I’ve had I feel like I need to give something back, to be able inspire others and support them through their efforts to improve and it’s a privilege to be able to do so in a time with so much positivity around ladies cycling. Long may it continue!