Since the ladies inception in 2008, we have evolved as a group, and I hope we welcome all types of rider for leisure rides, including people who are or are becoming more competitive. The faster further riders still come back, and there are of course the links to other events held by Chester & North Wales CTC. Through the Facebook community, members also meet together to join rides such as sportives and cyclettas, even if not organised by Cycling UK.
I have also seen a growth in ladies cycling and events generally - not down to me, although I do think Cycling UK were ahead of the bunch with the Five Miles to Fabulous which springboarded the Fab ladies. We held our first evening event in the Bike Factory (aimed at women) in 2010, and after a couple of these the Bike Factory organised their own, as did other bike shops around the country.
Trek were the first bike company I am aware held women's evenings, Chris from Trek came in 2014 to talk about women's anatomy, and specifically saddles and shorts (we disagree on bib shorts!). Rapha started to hold an annual Women's 100, to encourage the international women's cycling community.
The latest addition to the women's cycling sphere is Specialized, with their 'Further, Stronger, Faster' series. Held at their concept stores, I was asked in March to have a stand to advise or talk about routes and route planning; the format of the evening was small interactive stands on a variety of topics including nutrition, clothing etc - anything relevant to cycling. The events continued through the summer, and I was asked to help at the July one - Carl's words were 'would you like to be a guinea pig for the bike fit' (I prefer the term 'model'!).
A good turn out again, met with fizz (or coke/orange/water) and a few nibbles. Familiar faces and new; and a chance to meet other women who are making their mark in Chester.
Laura is the new 'Specialized' ambassador (I did apply but was not successful - which is fine as I am kinda busy really!). Laura lives in Staffordshire, and so covers the Stafford, Birmingham and Chester stores. Expect to hear more from Laura as she is organising local rides for women.
Amanda started with the Fab ladies in June 2012, and completed Breeze training a while ago. She is re-launching midweek rides - looking to a Friday, and I think she is aiming for the first Friday in the month.
Mark talked a group through a bike fit.
I had a fit before I bought my latest bike in 2014; and so could relate to the fit process. He started with measuring my feet using a heat sensitive pad, showing your instep and foot arch, and indicating which insole will support your foot more.
There was also a saddle measure, after sitting on a memory foam pad it clearly shows where your 'sit' bones are, and so what size saddle is best. Glad to see the measure went wider than my derriere; and also that my hardy Brookes Saddle is the correct size for me (good job after 20 years!).
It is an expensive experience, at £220, but lasts about 1 1/2 to 2 hours and includes a month check up to see how it is working. You bring your bike and after measuring will adjust your bike or suggest changes that can be made. It is well worth it to be honest, because it can make such a difference to your comfort and also performance.
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- Which group should I ride with?
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- How to fix a puncture and other useful tips
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- Bridges Weekend 2010
- Clun Weekend 2011
- Ravenstor Weekend 2012
- Route 5 Weekend 2013
- Dufton Weekend 2014
- Slaidburn Weekend 2015