Why Women’s Only Cycling? Cycling Camps just for women are becoming more and more popular as more and more women across the globe take up the sport and seek a female-friendly environment to improve bike-skills, confidence and fitness in the company of like minded women. But what makes a women’s only cycling experience unique & […]
Why Women’s Only Cycling?
Cycling Camps just for women are becoming more and more popular as more and more women across the globe take up the sport and seek a female-friendly environment to improve bike-skills, confidence and fitness in the company of like minded women. But what makes a women’s only cycling experience unique & why consider trying it?
Meet Our Female Cycling Guides
We caught up with three women who work as guides on the Eat Sleep Cycle Women’s Cycling Camps in Girona & the Pyrenees to find out first hand about what makes a women’s only cycling experience so special.
Cheynna: Camaraderie & Support
Hello! My name is Cheynna Treto Sutherland and I am originally from southern California. I visited Girona frequently when I was a university student in 2003 and 2004, but we moved to Catalunya permanently in 2011 as my husband is a professional cyclist and this seemed like a great place to be based.
I have been a cyclist since 1988–over 30 years! My favourite ride in Girona is the coastal loop over Sant Grau. Is there anything more beautiful than the Mediterranean? I have been fortunate to ride my bike on five different continents, but my favourite place to be is right here in Catalunya. We have it all–the Pyrenees, the coast, rolling hills, fast descents. I can’t think of anywhere else in the world I’d rather be.
I love being a guide and sharing my cycling knowledge with women. This can be an intimidating sport for anyone and the ESC Women’s Camp has a sense of camaraderie and support that you will not find elsewhere. Female guests, female guides, female support. It creates a sense of community that is often lacking between women. I leave this camp feeling energised and motivated from the amazing female energy and I think more events like this would encourage women to get involved with the sport of cycling.
Nicole: Less Testosterone!
Where are you from originally?
I am a life long expat born to Dutch and South African parents. I grew up in the Middle East, before moving to the UK then Catalunya in 2006.What brought you to Catalunya ?
My husbands job, he was a pro cyclist till 2014How long have you been a cyclist for?
About 13 yearsWhat is your favourite ride in Girona?
I love the roads around Esponellà/Crespia and Mare de Deu for a big day out.If you could ride your bike anywhere in the world where would it be?
I have been lucky enough to ride in some beautiful places. But I am always happiest riding in Catalunya.How do you think guiding women differs?
Less testosterone! Jokes aside, I haven’t encountered much difference to date. Everyone I have ever guided as always wanted the same thing, just a great day out on the bike.What do you think would encourage more women into cycling?
Groups like the ESC Sunday girls ride are a perfect introduction. And if it is roads that make you nervous the new craze of gravel riding is brilliant way to start.
Louise: More Fun!
Where are you from originally?
I’m from Kent in the UKWhat brought you to Catalunya ?
I wanted a change of lifestyle and to try and reach my potential as a cyclist. Girona was an obvious place to be based with the great climate, beautiful roads & welcoming community.How long have you been a cyclist for?
Since birth! My parents are both cyclists so a bicycle has always been a way of life for me. I began with cycling to school and then got into cycle touring – it’s a great way to discover new places. I started racing a bike in 2014.What is your favourite ride in Girona?
I have to agree with Cheynna, you can’t beat the coast road, especially at this time of year when the Costa Brava is empty.If you could ride your bike anywhere in the world where would it be?
I’d love to cycle in South America but, as Nicole says, the cycling is really hard to beat here in Girona. For my work I’m lucky enough to travel and ride in new locations – in the last couple of years I’ve been riding in the Pyrenees, North Spain & Gran Canaria and have seen some truly incredible roads & landscapes.How do you think guiding women differs?
Groups of women always have more fun than groups of men! Even when groups are pushing themselves on a climb the atmosphere is always less serious (even if it can still get competitive!) and women tend to be much more supportive of one another. Women are also way more willing to learn and actively want to improve their bike skills. Women tend to underestimate their abilities and strength on the bike whereas men often think they can achieve more than they’re capable of. Some of the strongest climbing I’ve seen on our tours was on last years Women’s Pyrenees Camp – every single rider was nervous about how they would cope in the mountains and worried about being last, but the group rode the most consistently out of all the groups I’ve led in the mountains & maintained a solid average speed for the whole week. (Comparable groups of men tend to ride faster for the first couple of days then slow to a crawl by the end of the week!)What do you think would encourage more women into cycling?
I think accessible women’s only rides, access to a bike & friendly advice & guidance from fellow women all have a huge part to play. As Cheynna says, cycling can be a very intimidating sport which requires a significant initial investment in bike & kit as well as a way of learning routes & basic mechanics such as how to fix a puncture. There are so many barriers to getting started that a supportive group for beginners can have a huge impact. It’s also important to get the message out that it doesn’t matter what kit you wear or what bike you ride – anything with wheels, comfy clothes & a helmet is all you need to get started.
Finding a Women’s Only Cycling Group
It can sometimes be difficult to track down other women to ride with. Whilst mixed groups are common and most places have their own cycling club, lots of women start out cycling solo & continue riding alone. If that sounds familiar it’s worth trying to track down some company as finding a group has loads of benefits. For example you can learn how to ride in a group, get a little shelter from the wind, enjoy a good chat and learn new routes. It’s also great to have some moral support in-case of a puncture or mechanical. But, how to find them?
Strava – it’s worth having a look at the women’s leaderboard for segments on your regular rides – it’s likely you’ll find local women there and you can get in touch via leaving them a comment. You can even contact those who are riding at a similar pace to you!
Sign up to a women’s only camp – if local ladies are proving difficult to track down look for a women’s only cycling camp. A week surrounded by women who love cycling can be super motivating and you may find yourself some cycling friends for life.
Join your local cycling club – ok, so this is likely to be full of men but you’re likely to meet some women too. You only need one partner in crime to start your very own local women’s ride!
Social media – if someone in your area is running a women’s cycling group it’s likely to be on facebook, instagram or twitter. Try searching #womenscycling and see what you can find!
Women’s Cycling Camps
If the above has piqued your interest for a trip in the sole company of other women who cycle then we’ve got the perfect tour for you. Check out our Girona Women’s Camp to enjoy the best of Girona’s roads or take a look at our Pyrenees Women’s Camp for a true climbing adventure. If interested give us a call now on +34 972 649 131 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to give you more info about it!
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