Women’s cycling

FeaturedWomen's Cycling

The Vamper.cc top ten list of women’s cycling quotes

Beryl Burton women's cycling- Beryl Burton
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At Vamper.cc we love a good inspirational quote: we are pretty sure it is genetic, passed down in Victoria’s DNA by her father, a great lover of a motivational phrase.

Here we bring you our top ten favourite quotes from women cyclists:

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Running would be much better if they invented a little seat to sit on and maybe some kind of platforms for your feet to push and… Oh wait.”

– Liz Hatch

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 The bicycle is just as good company as most husbands and, when it gets old and shabby, a woman can dispose of it and get a new one without shocking the entire community.

– Ann Strong

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The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.

– Iris Murdoch

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It (cycling) really is all about believing in yourself: 80 per cent mental, 20 per cent physical.

– Victoria Pendleton

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Embrace your sweat. It is your essence and your emancipation.

– Kristin Armstrong

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I began to feel that myself plus the bicycle equaled myself plus the world, upon whose spinning wheel we must all learn to ride, or fall into the sluiceways of oblivion and despair. That which made me succeed with the bicycle was precisely what had gained me a measure of success in life — it was the hardihood of spirit that led me to begin, the persistence of will that held me to my task, and the patience that was willing to begin again when the last stroke had failed. And so I found high moral uses in the bicycle and can commend it as a teacher without pulpit or creed. She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life.

– Frances E. Willard

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I’ll tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world. I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a bike. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammelled womanhood.

– Susan B. Anthony

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The only thing that I can do – and the only thing that I’ve always done – is to ride my bike fast and get my head down and control the things I can control.

– Lizzie Deignan, née Armitstead

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You know, bicycling isn’t just a matter of balance,” I said. “it’s a matter of faith. You can keep upright only by moving forward. You have to have your eyes on the goal, not the ground. I’m going to call that the Bicyclist’s Philosophy of Life.

– Susan Vreeland

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(The bicycle) makes me independent in a way no other form of transport can – it needs no fuel, no documents and very little maintenance. Most importantly it goes along at the right speed for seeing everything, and as it doesn’t cut me off from my surroundings, it makes me a lot of friends.

– Bettina Selby
FeaturedNewsWomen's Cycling

Jasmijn Muller to attempt LEJOG solo women’s record – and 1,000 mile cycling record

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Photo credit: Le Col

LEJOG is a well known cycle touring challenge covering the length of Great Britain from Land’s End to John O’Groats. It’s a fair challenge – I daresay plenty of us would think twice before riding the standard challenge over nine days.

But we would think more than twice before riding the length of the country in a little over 2 days. Indeed, the prospect of that challenge would seem more like an impossible feat rather than an achievable challenge.

It’s a good thing there are women like Jasmijn Muller in the world, who will seize such a challenge with both hands.

We spent Bank Holiday Monday meeting Jasmijn and listening to her story. It left us awestruck.

Jasmijn Muller LEJOG

In 1954, Eileen Sheridan set a LEJOG record of 2 days, 11 hours and 7 minutes – a challenge which stood for decades. In 2013, Jasmijn heard Eileen speak about her record at an event in South West London – an encounter which inspired her tremendously.

Listen to Jasmijn talk about why she is embarking on this challenge:

Since that encounter, a signed picture of Eileen has been positioned on the wall above Jasmijn’s turbo trainer to inspire her to train hard and achieve her own long distance cycling goals.

the same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances

Jasmijn hopes to break the current solo women’s record for LEJOG of 52 hours and 45 minutes, set by Lynne Biddulph in 2002. That record has stood unchallenged since 2002, but Jasmijn believes that she can break it – and while she’s at it, she intends to keep cycling for the 1,000 mile record which currently stands at 64 hours and 38 minutes. It’s safe to say that regardless of whether Jasmijn succeeds in breaking the record, it will be a phenomenal endurance feat. I can’t imagine even staying awake for 64 hours – never mind cycling for that length of time.

Jasmijn Muller LEJOG
Image courtesy of Le Col, Jasmijn’s clothing partner for her LEJOG record challenge

My biggest question for Jasmijn was about the physical implications of such a challenge – specifically, is it a case of powering through the pain, or are there steps to take to avoid it in the first place? On a 1,000 mile ride all I can think is that the saddle pain would be unbearable. You can here what Jasmijn had to say about pain and the prevention and treatment of saddle sores here:

Jasmijn’s LEJOG/1000 mile ultra endurance challenge will take place in September, though the starting date is a movable feast which is dependent on the weather. To break the LEJOG solo record, Jasmijn will have to keep going like the famous Duracell Bunny she references in her blog, duracellbunnyonabike. It is a challenge of physical and mental power and endurance, and it is also a challenge which relies on meticulous planning and execution by her whole support crew if she is to succeed.

There are a few ways to get involved if you want to support Jasmijn in this amazing challenge. One way is to buy one of the official LEJOG record caps: emblazoned on the peak is the message, ‘BE THE EGG’, Jasmijn’s mantra when the going gets tough: “the same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances”. Jasmijn would be thrilled to see these caps along the LEJOG route and the proceeds from cap sales will help to finance the record attempt. All surplus will go to Cancer Research UK.

Jasmijn Muller LEJOGYou can also donate to Cancer Research through Jasmijn’s Just Giving page.

You can follow Jasmijn’s preparations through her blogFacebook page and her dedicated LEJOG Record website. During the LEJOG record attempt, you will be able to follow her progress 24 hours a day through live tracking software. Followmychallenge will be showing Jasmijn’s progress on a map, including elapsed time and distance, weather data and her performance against the existing record. Check back here, too, for our updates.

Jasmijn’s top tips for avoiding saddle sores:

Even if you are using your favourite chamois cream, your favourite bibshorts and your favourite saddle – and even if they have all been comfortable in the past – it’s no guarantee that you’ll stay comfortable.

  1. Don’t be tempted to shave. Some people are ok waxing, but you are probably better off leaving things natural and avoiding any chance of follicles getting infected;
  2. Try using an antiperspirant roll-on in the week before a big ride to help prepare the skin;
  3. Mix it up in the saddle – don’t remain in the same position all the time. Sit up straight for a while, and pedal out of the saddle on climbs; 
  4. If you are able to do so, change your shorts. Sweat build up can be a real problem, so if you have the chance to change into fresh shorts, take it;
  5. If you do get a saddle sore, seek treatment as quickly as possible. 
Women's Cycling

Legal & General Real Assets pedElle 2017 prepares for its biggest ride yet

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Business networking and fundraising charity Club Peloton’s charity cycle challenge for women in property, the Legal & General Real Assets pedElle 2017, is almost ready for its grand depart. Bringing together women in the property industry to network, ride and fundraise, the fifth edition of the event will depart Porto for Lisbon this Thursday, 18th May.

It will be the largest pedElle ever, with a record 43 women from architecture, planning, investment and property management coming together to ride and fundraise for a number of charities, including Coram, the UK’s first and oldest children’s charity.

The cyclists will ride 500km and climb almost 8,000m in three days, completing the challenge as one peloton. After leaving Porto on Thursday they will arrive in Lisbon on Saturday 20th May. The route will take them inland, with stopovers at the cities of Viseu and Leiria, and through the beautiful Douro valley. Along the way, they will benefit from a pro rider experience, with full crew support in the form of lead car, mechanics, paramedics and sports injury therapists and a luggage van.

The cyclists will collectively be aiming to raise £40,000, two-thirds of which will go towards Coram Adoption, which finds safe and loving homes for some of the UK’s most vulnerable children, including those who have suffered from abuse and neglect since birth. In addition to fundraising, the ride provides a perfect opportunity for networking, as the challenging and gruelling three days of cycling will engender a sense of support and camaraderie, for which Club Peloton’s events are well known.

Last year’s event raised a whopping £25,000 – you can read more about it here.

60 Seconds

Interview with the Vamper: 60 Seconds with Fierlan founder Lucy Gardner

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This week, we caught up with Lucy Gardner, founder of boutique women’s cyclewear brand Fierlan. Lucy launched Fierlan in 2013 and the brand is gaining a reputation for sleekly styled, high performance road wear that is far removed from the ‘pink it and shrink it’ school of design. We were particularly impressed by Fierlan’s chic and innovative Three-Quarter Cycling Tights which swiftly became my between-season cycling tights of choice. They’re still the chicest bib tights I’ve seen with their crossover top and flattering cut.

1. Lucy, who or what inspired you to ride?

My dad is a roadie and to be honest, to begin with I was embarrassed by his MAMIL ways and pretty resistant to cycling!

So, initially it was First Bus and their ridiculously expensive bus fares… I borrowed my mum’s bike (it was so heavy it was nicknamed the Station Wagon) to get home from the pub after the last bus.

Then I got a lighter bike, and started riding the long way home from college… Before I knew it I was riding for fun…. Going longer and longer distances, it wasn’t long before I was introduced to the Lycra life, and cycling shoes… And it all went from there!

2. What sort of cycling makes you happy? Where do you like to go?

There’s not many feelings that come close to a warm day with a slight breeze and cycling along the coast, or through the countryside to a nice country pub!

Yorkshire Velo Tours
We couldn’t agree more. Cycling through beautiful countryside en route to a good lunch stop is what it’s all about!

3. If you could go for a bike ride with anyone at all, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

I’m going to go with any Victorian ladies who were into cycling… I’d be great to see how much more fun they’d have on bikes sans bloomers / corsets… Can you imagine riding in that?? Bonkers.

women_bicycle_1901
Could this be the Fierlan Fusion RT Team of 120 years ago? We can’t imagine cycling in those heavy long skirts was much fun when attempting a QOM! Photo Source: The Online Bicycle Museum

4. In 2016, who do you think gets a better choice of cycling kit: men or women?

At the moment, women are held back by the variety of kit on offer. Key pieces from different brands are using the same patterns, and smaller companies can get caught in the trap of using factory templates in order to keep costs down and compete with the big guys.

That’s one of our biggest challenges, we don’t want to compromise on design or materials, so finding all this within a competitive price takes a lot of time.

Anyway, I’m going to say men still have the best range in terms of fit, styling and performance – and price.

5. How far into the women’s cycling boom do you think we are?

I think we’re getting there. I don’t think we’ve reached the peak just yet… I’m sure the Olympic results are going to inspire a lot of ladies! I’m expecting to see more interest in track cycling, and I’m definitely sensing an increase in interest in racing and TTs.

I think the growth now is going to be in performance and sport rather than commuting.

I think there are probably a few barriers we need to break down to get more women into cycling as a sport though… The big one for me is time, I’ve got a toddler, a dog and a full time job – it’s pretty hard to make the hours work to go out on a ride. I just focus on keeping my fitness up as best I can in the time I have so when I can get out on the road it’s still fun!

Fusion RT Fierlan 2016 Kit
The Fusion RT Fierlan Team. From left to right: Jenny Holden, Angela Hibbs, Elizabeth Malins, Ashleigh Fraser, Lizzie Stedman, Fiona Hunter Johnston, Ellie Campbell and Jenny Hudson

6. What has been your cycling highlight of 2016 so far?

Everything to do with Fusion RT! (Fierlan sponsored the pro women’s team at the start of the year)

Financially, it was a crazy decision – I’m still waiting for the telling off from my accountant… But it’s been SO rewarding. I’ve learnt so much from them and they’ve really helped to refine our products, and the wealth of knowledge they’ve provided for our blog is out of this world.

7. What song is guaranteed to get you in the mood for a ride, no matter what time you went to bed?

The Chain by Fleetwood Mac, just makes me want to go fast….

8. And finally: what’s in store for Fierlan? What can we expect to see from you in the coming year?

We’re developing new kit, and new colour ways… We’re super small, but the passion and the drive is still there. We’re going to keep ticking away!

 

NewsWomen's Cycling

Team Africa Rising forms with ambition to change the face of women’s cycling for Tokyo 2020

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In exciting women’s cycling news, we’re pleased to report that the formation of the first all-African women’s UCI team has been announced. Team Africa Rising will race professionally for the 2017 season and will also sustain a rider development program across the continent.

Team Rwanda Cycling has been working across the African continent for almost 10 years and its main project has been the development of the highly successful Team Rwanda men’s national cycling team. In a relatively short space of time, Team Rwanda has become a respected name in road cycling and delivered several riders into the pro peloton.

There were only three women from Africa and not one woman of color in Rio and we are dedicated to getting nearer ten on the start-line in Tokyo! It’s time to literally change the face of world cycling.

Through their work in Africa, Team Rwanda Cycling have been aware of the rising tide of female cycling talent on the continent.

Sporting Director, Team Africa Rising Kimberly Coats said: “When I watched the Olympic women’s road race a few weeks ago and saw so few women from Africa, I knew it was time. Our goal at Team Africa Rising has always been to raise the level of cycling in Africa for men and women and when I saw how great the women were at our recent training camp, I knew we should now put a marker down and start getting African female talent into the same world.”

The focus isn’t only on winning: it is also to inspire women all over the world, women of colour, women from wide ranging cultural backgrounds, that they can be involved in sport and can achieve great things.

“We firmly believe these women can begin to race against the best talent in the US, Europe and Asia to demonstrate the potential of African cycling. We have seen with Team Rwanda how a dedicated, well-run program can flourish on this continent to allow riders to then go to the international scene and compete with pride.”

Team Africa Rising will consist of women from Rwanda, Eritrea and Ethiopia with several cyclists from other countries in consideration. The total squad will employ 10-12 cyclists and be coached by ex-US pro rider Sterling Magnell, who has been working with these riders and the Team Rwanda peloton in recent years.

The team will be based in the US for the first half of 2017, giving them access to additional coaches, bike technology and sports medicine through a partnership with Mission Sports Group.

The focus isn’t only on winning: it is also to inspire women all over the world, women of colour, women from wide ranging cultural backgrounds, that they can be involved in sport and can achieve great things.

Kimberly finished by saying: “The sport of cycling for women is growing rapidly and hopefully sponsors will see the long term potential for supporting women’s cycling. The women from these countries in Africa will bring a whole new dynamic to the sport. We must help these women improve their opportunities and thereby their lives. There were only three women from Africa and not one woman of color in Rio and we are dedicated to getting nearer ten on the start-line in Tokyo! It’s time to literally change the face of world cycling.”

Team Rwanda Cycling are actively looking for a lead sponsor for the team and several other opportunities exist to work with Team Africa Rising in terms of equipment and support of the team. Please contact Kimberly on africarisingwomen@gmail.com for more details.

SportivesWomen's Cycling

Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club celebrates success with region’s first women’s charity sportive

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Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club celebrated its first women’s charity sportive on 14 August with over 300 riders joining organisers Kate Horsfall of Wetherby,  Judith Worrall of Thirsk and Ali Tiffin of Leeds in an event which has raised around £11,000 for women’s cancer charities.

The sportive was supported by Carlton Lodge Activity Centre in Thirsk and All Terrain Cycles of Wetherby, as well as lots of other companies who contributed to this event, and more than 50 volunteers, many from YLCC and their friends and family, who marshalled and helped out at the sportive.  The event raised funds for Women v Cancer which comprises Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Cervical Cancer and Ovarian Cancer Action.

Female cyclists from as far afield as Ireland and Falkirk travelled to Carlton Lodge Activity Centre in Thirsk to take part in one of the three rides: a 30 mile ‘Cuppa tea and a piece a cake’ ride; a 60 mile ‘Reet Gud Ride’; and a 103 mile ‘By Eck Tha War Ard Ride’ route.

“It was an absolutely fantastic event which was even better than we expected – we filled every place, raised a staggering amount for women’s cancer charities and ate lots of cake!” said organisers Kate Horsfall and Judith Worrall.

“The sportive was everything that we wanted it to be, attracting riders of mixed abilities, but all with a common love of cycling. While we appreciated the many men who helped at the sportive, we felt that the rides really benefitted from being a ladies-only affair.  Our cyclists felt happy to give it a go, even if they hadn’t done a sportive before, and it was an extremely friendly event.

Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club
Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club sportive organisers Kate Horsfall (left) and Judith Worrall

“We’d like to thank everyone who helped to make it such a special day including our riders, volunteers and our many sponsors.  A big thank you to Carlton Lodge Activity Centre and their staff for hosting the event, it really was the perfect venue and to All Terrain Cycles for their ongoing support, from helping us to set up the club 18 months ago to providing equipment and mechanical help on the day and, it wouldn’t have been possible without them both.”

Tony Booth, managing director of All Terrain Cycles, which has bike superstores in Wetherby and Saltaire, says: “Congratulations to Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club for putting on such a magnificent event.  It was great to see so many ladies taking to two wheels in aid of such a good cause and no doubt the sportive will be even bigger and better next year.”

The event was supported by a number of local businesses including Carlton Lodge.  David Sharpe, chief executive of the activity centre agreed to stage the sportive which has also attracted sponsors including Yorkshire Tea Room, Yorkshire Tea, Office Solutions, Heck Sausages, Paynes Dairies, Masham Sausages and Chia Bars which donated cakes, tea, sausages, energy bars, milk and office supplies.

The women’s charity sportive will be held again next year on the 20th August 2017 and details will be released via British Cycling events at the beginning of September.

Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club meets at 10am most Sundays at All Terrain Cycles on Audby Lane, Wetherby.  Anyone interested in joining the club should visit YorkshireLass.cc.

Women's Cycling

Cycling goals: this weekend’s attempt at West Lane was better, but not good enough

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Our summer holiday was supposed to be a week of cycling in North Yorkshire. Things didn’t go quite according to plan: if you read my previous post about taking part in the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, you’ll know that we spent the next four days hobbling around with bad knees, hips, calf muscles and blisters… And, typically, the weather was glorious while we were barely able to put one foot in front of the other, and turned cold, wet and windy the moment our muscles eased up. Holidaying in the UK, eh!

We were determined to fit in at least a couple of rides before we headed home, though, and one route we particularly wanted to try was a short, sharp, circular route close to where I grew up.

West Lane Sutton-in-Craven

About a month after I bought my first road bike in early 2015, Matt and I entered the Petit Depart cycling event in Skipton. The day before the ride, we thought it would be a good idea to have a go at a couple of Yorkshire hills, to acclimatise. (Bear in mind that at this point, I’d only ridden a few miles around London and a lap of Richmond Park…)

Could it really be that hard to get up in one piece?

We decided to do a quick spin around the local area, out through Sutton-in-Craven, over the tops to Cowling (and we actually intended then riding on to Lothersdale). A cursory glance at elevation on the route made us aware that there was a bit of a climb out of Sutton, but we didn’t think too much about it. Well, within 10 minutes of leaving the house, we were on West Lane, attempting to climb out way out of the village. It’s a long pull, averaging 9.5% with a maximum 22.2% gradient, and I was such an inexperienced rider that I didn’t even know how to change from the big cog to the small cog.

 

West Lane Sutton-in-Craven

 

I slogged my way up the first bend, and then, convinced I was just going to topple off if I didn’t dismount, staggered off the bike. I huffed, and puffed, and sighed, and wondered what on earth I was doing, trying to cycle anywhere in Yorkshire. I had another attempt to go a bit further, but my legs couldn’t stand it. Within a few metres, I’d decided there was nothing for it but to get off and push.

I pushed my bike all the way up West Lane.

When we arrived home, I looked at Strava, and was amazed to see that I had a trophy for West Lane. What?!

Well, it turned out that only nine women had been foolish enough to attempt it, and I was the slowest. (By a very long way).

West Lane Sutton-in-Craven
A third of the way up, and I was already sweating…

Realising that other female cyclists had actually managed to ride the whole thing made me want to try it again at some point in the future.

Fast forward 15 months, and we decided to have another crack at it. I’m a much more experienced cyclist now, with a lot more hill work under my belt. Could it really be that hard to get up in one piece?

Well, yes, as it turns out.

It’s really easy to kid yourself that you’re a decent cyclist around London.

Even taking it slow and steady, I didn’t make it to the top in one go. In fact, I stopped three times to catch my breath. Three times! But, the big difference this time was that I did actually succeed in pedaling to the top. It might have taken me a while, but it felt like an achievement to get up there nevertheless.

West Lane Sutton-in-Craven
It’s worth the slog, if only for the laughter at the top when you turn on to Dick Lane…

The next time we head up to Yorkshire (which is never as frequently as we would like), I’m going to have another crack. Before the end of the year I want to be able to make it up there with just one stop. This time next year, I intend to ride all the way to the top without stopping at all! (I might need a different gear ratio. A poor workman blames his tools, I know, but the fact that I was riding on 11-28 this time, rather than my old 11-32, didn’t make it any easier. I love my new bike, but for comparative purposes it would have been interesting to have ridden it on my old steed. I missed my granny gear!)

It’s really easy to kid yourself that you’re a decent cyclist around London. It’s only when you head out to some real hills that you realise you’re not anywhere near as strong as you need to be. I’m still last on the list for that segment: 16th out of 16. Before 2016 is over, my cycling goal is to improve on that. And next year, I’m making it in to the top ten!

When I can scale West Lane, I’ll feel like a real cyclist. #CyclingGoals

60 SecondsFeaturedWomen's Cycling

Interview with The Vamper: VeloVixen answer our 60 seconds of questions

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In the first of our 60 Second Interview series we pose our questions to the husband-and-wife co-founders of women’s cycle-wear retailer VeloVixen: Managing Director Phil Bingham and Strategic Director Liz Bingham.

1. Who or what inspired you to ride?

Liz – I actually went ages without riding a bike – I used to get around Cambridge on two wheels at uni, but then went 15 years without cycling until I ran into Phil. He was planning a bit of an adventure on bikes (well, a year and a couple of continents, actually) so I threw caution to the wind and never looked back.

Phil – My 1980s Raleigh Grifter was formative, of course. Years later, a work mate and fellow commuter callously tricked me into signing up for the 1998 London Triathlon – at a time when you still racked your bike amongst pre-Excel Docklands tumbleweed. I soon worked out cycling was the best bit of triathlon and have loved it ever since. Annoyingly, Lance Armstrong was my biggest inspiration for years. Less said about that the better.

2. Tell us about your current favourite ride: where do you like to go?

Liz – My rides are restricted to what I can fit in between the demands of two young daughters and VeloVixen, but Oxford’s one of the great cities for cycling. There are plenty of child friendly tow paths and tracks and we love the Isis Farmhouse for a pitstop.

Phil – Locally, I’m a big fan of the Chilterns – on the odd occasion that juggling a business and family allows me to escape! The roads around Hambleden are a great combination of sharp climbs, quiet roads and quintessentially English views. And they do a mean flapjack in the Hambleden shop.

Liz – Looking further afield, I think we’re agreed that the most extraordinary parts of our ride through the Americas in 2010 included the high Bolivian Andes, the San Juan Islands off Seattle, the Californian cycle paths, and so much of Argentina.

Phil – Our best descent was almost 3 miles vertically down to Arica in the North of Chile. We freewheeled for nearly 30 miles. And anywhere with a tailwind.

3. What is your favourite piece of cycling kit, and why?

Liz – I can’t get enough of the new Anna’s Legs padded cycling leggings at the moment. We finally lured Anna Glowinski back into designing kit. She’s got this amazing knack of designing gear that works brilliantly on the bike but that you can use for normal life too.

Phil – I’d find it hard to look beyond any decent quality merino jersey for this – it’s my dream material, so clever at not letting you get too hot or cold, and perfect for longer rides because it never gets whiffy!

4. In 2016, who do you think gets a better choice of cycling kit: men or women?

Liz – Just a couple of years ago, I’d have said it wasn’t even a debate. But women’s kit is catching up so fast that you can almost feel the playing field levelling. We often hear from our suppliers that within just a couple of years they’ve shifted the balance of their ranges from 90:10 in favour of men to more like 70:30 or even 60:40.

Phil – … And hardly a week ever goes by without another supplier approaching us to stock them. It’s very flattering and it makes our job of picking the best pretty challenging – but really fun! What’s so refreshing is the number of seriously talented female-led, UK-based teams producing top quality gear.

Liz – … but to sound a note of realism, many parts of the cycling world remain pretty… how would you say?… traditional! We’re not there yet, but progress is good.

 

Velovixen
The VeloVixen Co-Founders making friends with the Bolivian drugs police in 2010.

5. How far into the women’s cycling boom do you think we are?

Phil – In many ways, we’ve only skimmed the surface. Yes, there’s been a huge take-up in the last few years amongst women, but many are still put off by the perceived obstacles that – we think and hope – are now receding.

Liz – Ultimately it’s all about ‘normalisation’ – when riding a bike becomes just part of life for most people, we’ll have proper foundations in place. That takes a generation of infrastructure and attitude change across cities, but as it happens more and more people will become passionate about cycling. The Olympics help too! Another thing that will extend the boom is breaking down stigmas – both the male vs. female issues within cycling and the ‘cyclists’ vs. non-cyclists thing more broadly. We’re definitely getting there, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Now’s the time to get on board!

6. What cycling trends do you think will be big in the next 12 months?

Liz – Loads of clubs are opening up to the idea of mixed groups without the snobbery or female groups for women who feel more comfortable in that atmosphere. At last clubs are cottoning on to the idea that women can add something, which is fab.

Phil – We also keep hearing how ‘bike packing’ is the new backpacking. Speaking from experience, there’s nothing that beats the joy of spending a few days, weeks or months living with your world on your bike, so we’re excited about the trend.

Liz – We’re also sensing more and more people moving away from the mainstream firms for their kit – the quality of smaller designers is now so good, and people increasingly like to wear things that give them a real sense of identity.

Velovixen
Phil and Liz waving the VeloVixen flag at the start of the 2014 Tour de France at Harewood House

7. What has been your cycling highlight of 2016 so far?

Phil – I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was our our first outside investment coming to fruition, back in the Spring. That’s let us make plans for the years to come and was a real feather in the cap of women’s cycling generally – that an established investment firm thought it’s a sector worth committing to. I also loved seeing Chris Froome running up Mont Ventoux – you just knew as you watched that this was an iconic moment in the making.

Liz – I’m torn – September’s VeloVixen Women’s Cycling Hub at the Cycle Show is shaping up to be a pretty big breakthrough for women’s cycling at a mainstream event – it’s a massive chance to really put women’s cycling on the map! That record prize pot for the Ride London girls was also a really hefty moment for women’s cycling. And it was validated by some fantastic racing to earn it.

8. And finally: what three tracks are guaranteed to get you fired up for a ride, no matter what time you went to bed?

Phil – My best moment on a bike came on Mont Ventoux in 2013 – and that was at least 50% down to one Mr Deadmau5, whom I can’t thank enough.

Liz – Oddly, you’re not mentioning how you much faster you went when you borrowed my iPod and listened to the soundtrack of Wicked for an afternoon in Patagonia in 2010.

Phil – Ah. Thought I could keep that one quiet.

Liz – But we’re both agreed on Eddie Izzard – not music, but we synced our iPods to listen to the great man on some of the biggest climbs in the Andes and laughed in unison even when the air got thin.

Cycle ClothingReviewsWomen's Cycling

Löffler women’s cycling jersey review: Gore 1beats2 Windstopper technology provides effective wind protection

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I’ve been trying out the Löffler Windstopper FZ women’s cycling jersey. The jersey features a Gore 1beats2 Windstopper membrane, making it windproof, water-repellent and breathable. It’s been such a mixed summer in the UK – particularly in the north – that a windproof jersey has been surprisingly welcome, despite it being August.

The Gore 1beats2 Windstopper laminate is designed to work best at temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees, so for less-than-perfect British summer days and early autumn, it’s ideal. It was developed to help protect cyclists against the cold and the wind, without having to add extra layers. Windstopper jerseys are designed to keep riders comfortable from dawn to dusk on the bike without the need for adding jackets and gilets. They’re said to provide the same thermal insulation as the combination of a regular jersey plus breathable windbreaker jacket while weighing up to 35% less than the two together.

Gore 1beats2 Windstopper

Löffler is not a well known brand in the UK cycling market but this Austrian cycle wear company makes serious, sensible bike kit. It might not set your heart racing, but it performs solidly.

I can’t say that I have been all that interested in short-sleeved windproof jerseys before. I was of the opinion that if it was cold enough to need a windproof garment, it would probably need long sleeves. Testing this has actually made me realise that there is a place for short-sleeved windproof jerseys, after all. We’ve had a lot of windy weather this summer and – to get all up close and personal – does anyone else find that cycling on windy days causes really sore nipples? It doesn’t have to be a cold day for me to be in some serious discomfort if the wind is up. So, for that reason alone, I take back what I said. Short-sleeved windproof jerseys might have a place in my cycling wardrobe after all.

Gore 1beats2 Windstopper

I’d be lying if I said the Löffler Windstopper jersey excited me; it’s a very functional-looking piece of kit. But, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the photographs: I actually think it’s quite flattering, and it was very comfortable. I like the stand-up collar – again, good for keeping draughts out – and the fabric feels nice. As autumn approaches, it will be useful paired with arm warmers (more on those later).

However, it’s a bit lacking in design features. It only has one pocket, a rear pocket which zips. It’s generous enough to fit my enormous Sony Xperia Z5, but there isn’t enough storage for inner tubes, bananas and the like. I would also expect a bit more reflective detailing on a very functional garment.

Gore 1beats2 Windstopper
The jersey would benefit from more pockets and reflective detailing

It’s a fast drying jersey which is remarkably breathable considering how robust the fabric feels. Wind is blocked really effectively, and sweat is wicked away nicely. The jersey is stretchier than I expected, though a little bit short in the body and prone to riding up. Another inch in length and a stickier silicone grip strip on the hem would be useful.

If you’re looking for a good quality, windproof jersey for commuting, the Löffler Windstopper jersey is a decent buy with excellent windproofing thanks to the Gore 1beats2 Windstopper technology. However, future iterations would benefit from additional pockets and reflective details.

Gore 1beats2 Windstopper

A word of warning – sizing is quite small. I usually wear size medium jerseys but this one is pretty snug, and I would be more comfortable in a size large. (I’m 172cm and weigh 69kg).

I have also been testing the Löffler Windstopper Softshell Light Arm Warmers, when I can wrestle them off Matt who is particularly taken with them. In the summer it’s unusual for me to reach for arm warmers as I’m quite a hot blooded sort – but Matt’s clearly spent too long in the south of England and feels the need for warmth on early morning rides, no matter what time of year!

Gore 1beats2 Windstopper
The reflective detail is effective, but it should feature on both arms for better visibility

The Löffler Windstopper Softshell arm warmers are really nice to wear. They are lined with Thermo-Velour for warmth and it is really soft and cosy – lovely against the skin. They stay put, and they are very lightweight and flexible – no bunching inside the elbows.

The reflective logo on the left arm is really bright, but it’s a shame it isn’t on both arms. We’re not huge fans of hi-vis cycling kit, but as bike commuters we are very big fans of reflective detailing.

Women's Cycling

Success for Club Peloton as pedElle women’s cycling event raises £25,000

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Earlier in the year we brought you rider interviews with some brilliant female cyclists who were in training for the Club Peloton pedElle 2016 cycling challenge. The event was a great success, which raised a brilliant £25,000 for Club Peloton’s principal beneficiary, children’s charity Coram.

The cycling challenge, which was open to women working in the property industry, was a resounding success for the cyclists as well as the charity. The three-day pedElle 2016 event was one of extremes: extremes in the weather, extremes in cycling terrain, and extremes in emotions.

25 women from the UK property industry, including Sam, Sarah and Yvonne (who you may remember from our rider interviews earlier this year) set off from the picturesque city of Salzburg on 24th May. The riders faced the prospect of a challenging 425km ride over three days. (At nearly 90 miles a day, that’s some serious exertion).

Club Peloton pedElle

The first day was one of the most challenging rides that most of the cyclists had ever ridden: a 26km long mountain climb over Austria’s highest pass, the 2,500m high Grossglockner pass. Things weren’t helped by the weather; it may have been warm and sunny in the valley bottom, but it grew progressively colder and wetter as the elevation increased. A snow storm at the top finally put paid to the rest of the day when the mountain pass was closed by the local patrol.

Club Peloton pedElle

The second day, from Lienz to Udine, featured two tough climbs – but the weather was, at least, more cyclist-friendly. The satisfaction of riding to the top of another pass and crossing the Italian border was rewarded with cheering, hugs and tears of joy – followed by a sweeping descent in the sunshine.

Club Peloton pedElle

 

Club Peloton pedElle

The third day, from Udine to Venice, was a marked contrast: a completely flat run into Mestre, buffeted by crosswinds and headwinds. Buoyed by the tantalising promise of Venice and the Architecture Biennale, the pedElle group arrived tired but jubilant.

Club Peloton pedElle

This year’s pedElle saw the riders face personal demons and incredible challenges but not only did the pre-event training pay off for everyone, but the support and camaraderie that everyone provided for each other throughout meant that everyone completed the ride.

Club Peloton pedElle

Yvonne summed up her experience, “If you want to experience new depths of confidence brought about my pushing yourself to the limit whilst being supported by a peloton of outstanding women in scenery that will take your breath way – you have to join us next year!”

SportivesWomen's Cycling

The Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club announces women’s charity cycling event

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Yorkshire lasses Kate Horsfall of Wetherby and Judith Worrall of Thirsk are inviting women who cycle to the first Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club charity sportive on 14 August. 140 entrants have already signed up and just 160 places remain.

Supported by All Terrain Cycles and the ladies of the Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club, the sportive is being held in aid of Women v Cancer which comprises Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Cervical Cancer and Ovarian Cancer Action.  Starting from Carlton Lodge Activity Centre in Thirsk, the event is organised through British Cycling and offers three levels of difficulty: a 30-mile ‘Cuppa tea an a piece a cake’ ride; a 60-mile ‘Reet Gud Ride’; and a 103-mile ‘By Eck Tha War Ard Ride’ route. All riders will be awarded a medal and a piece of cake when they finish!

The Wetherby-based cycling club was launched in March 2015 with support from All Terrain Cycles, which has stores in Wetherby and Saltaire.  One of the few women’s cycling clubs in the region, the Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club has proved hugely popular as growing numbers of women have taken up the sport.  As part of its commitment to promoting cycling in Yorkshire, All Terrain is supporting the sportive by helping out with equipment and mobile mechanical support as well as supplying energy gels to help keep the cyclists’ wheels and legs turning.

Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club

“We’ve had a phenomenal response to our first charity sportive – originally, we were hoping for about 50 entrants, but take-up was much stronger than we expected, especially on the longer routes. Our fun and friendly members are getting really excited to be riding and encouraging ladies on the day, as well as manning feed stations and marshalling the routes. Word seems to have spread and we’re optimistic that by August all 300 places will be filled,” says Kate.  “We think the event is proving particularly popular because it’s one of the few ladies-only sportives in Yorkshire and we’re offering rides for all abilities – and, of course, there is the promise of cake at the finish line!”

Jude adds: “We are really grateful to All Terrain Cycles for their ongoing support, from providing our fantastic club kit and sponsorship to giving us a friendly welcome as we set out on our rides on a Sunday morning, we couldn’t have done it without them.  Thanks to their support, we’re looking forward to a successful event and hoping to raise lots of funds for three wonderful women’s charities.”

Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club

Tony Booth, managing director of All Terrain Cycles, says: “It’s great news that with over two months to go, almost half of the places on the YLCC sportive have already been taken.  It’s such a friendly, welcoming club that it’s no surprise that the event is attracting so many cyclists – any ladies planning to take part should enter soon or they may have to wait until next year.”

The lunch stop will be at the famous Mousey Thompson shop and café for the participants doing the 60 mile and 100 mile routes.  The ride will be well signposted with marshalls at points along the route, mechanical assistance will be provided by All Terrain Cycles and there will be well stocked feed stations.

The event is being supported by a number of local businesses including Carlton Lodge, where Judith works.  David Sharpe, chief executive of the activity centre agreed to stage the sportive which has also attracted sponsors including Yorkshire Tea Room, Yorkshire Tea, Office Solutions, Heck Sausages, Paynes Dairies, Masham Sausages and Chia Bars which are donating cakes, tea, sausages, energy bars, milk and office supplies.

Yorkshire Lass Cycling Club meets at 10am most Sunday’s at All Terrain Cycles on Audby Lane, Wetherby.  Anyone interested in joining the club, taking part in the sportive or who would like to be a sponsor should visit: www.yorkshirelass.cc or to enter the charity sportive, visit British Cycling. For any questions about the sportive or accommodation for the sportive, please contact yorkshirelasscc@hotmail.com.

FeaturedWomen's Cycling

The cycling community – and why we all need to up our game to foster one

Ready for offAn encouraging turn out at Loseley Park - women's cycling is gaining traction, in part thanks to events like the Macmillan Cycletta.
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It’s an exciting time to be involved in women’s cycling. We visited Spin London over the weekend and it was brilliant to see so many women’s cycling brands – and plenty of other brands keen to launch a women’s cycling range soon. It’s really encouraging to see so many women’s rides being organised, and to hear such a buzz about an emerging women’s cycling community.

Exciting times indeed.

So why do I feel like there’s something missing? Why does this new and vibrant women’s cycling community feel a little bit empty?

In fact – why do I feel like quite a lot of female cyclists aren’t on board with the idea of community at all?

I cycle a lot. Usually with Matt, though not always. I rode in a Macmillan women’s sportive, on my own. I thought I might be able to buddy up with someone, or find a nice group to pedal with for a few miles. But nobody seemed to be playing ball. Solo cyclists kept their heads down while groups and pairs seemed curiously closed. Don’t worry, I wasn’t planning to sit on your wheel and coast along. I was just going to pass the time of day, and maybe take the wind for a while.

Can you only ride with other women if you join a cycling club? If you’re not on a club ride, are you obliged to ride alone?

Has the sudden growth of cycling fractured friendship and community?

Beyond that – does cycling actually need to be segregated? Am I alone in wanting cycling to feel like an inclusive community, rather than disparate gendered groups? It feels increasingly like there are two camps of women’s cycling: one is fiercely Alpha and competitive while the other seems entrenched in cake and not breaking too much of a sweat. Where do I fit in? I’m happy to break a sweat. I want to ride with women, but also with men. I want to reap the rewards of a tough ride – sometimes I might want a piece of cake, but sometimes I might want a refreshing pint and a bowl of chips. I don’t want to feel like I’ve let Women’s Cycling down if I get dropped, or if I feel like I’m dying and decide to get off and push. But nor do I want to feel like my place has to be a 12mph café ride with cake stops. A true community should be supportive of everyone’s differences, shouldn’t it? A community should be understanding and encouraging – not looking down its nose if you chose not to ride when it was bitterly cold and wet. Nor should it be unapproachable for members who want to learn more and take on new challenges.

What community is that? The cliques of riders sticking firmly in their groups, determinedly not making eye contact with cyclists they don’t know?

Matt is always keen to ride around Richmond Park. I asked him why he liked it so much, and he replied that he liked being part of the community.

What community is that? The cliques of riders sticking firmly in their groups, determinedly not making eye contact with cyclists they don’t know?

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve ridden around Richmond Park and stopped for coffee at Roehampton Gate. But I haven’t lost count of the number of times a fellow cyclist has spoken to me there.

Once.

In all the times I’ve parked my bike up and bought a coffee, just one cyclist has spoken to me.

Am I naïve to think we should all be making more of an effort to get along with each other because we have a mutual interest?

I suppose all of this leads to a bigger question than one about women’s cycling; it’s really about the existence of a true cycling community. Has the rapid explosion of cycling in recent years damaged the notion of a cycling community? Has the popularity of cycling grown too quickly for its own good? How can we nurture cycling, and cyclists, and a cycling community? How can we all become better custodians of cycling, encouraging others and setting a good example rather than developing cliques and critiquing newcomers?

Am I naïve to think we should all be making more of an effort to get along with each other because we have a mutual interest?

Is it wrong to think that it’s perhaps not very surprising that motorists and pedestrians aren’t madly keen on us when, frankly, it feels like we’re not madly keen on each other?

So, I’m issuing a call to arms. I’m issuing a call to all cyclists, male and female, cake-eating, beer-drinking, fast, slow and everything in between: let’s show some solidarity. Let’s smile at each other. Let’s call a friendly greeting, or nod or wave. Let’s pass the time of day with all the other people who love the same thing we do.

The next time you pass a fellow cyclist, let them know you’re part of the community – and that they are, too.

Chapeau.

Cycle ClothingWomen's Cycling

The quest continues: Victoria shares her pick of cool women’s cycling kits

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Women’s cycling is going from strength to strength and it’s heartening to see more apparel designers launching expanded collections for female cyclists. I’m sure I’m not alone, though, in feeling that women’s cycling clothing is all too often still a bit of an afterthought. If you’re struggling to find kit as cool as you are, read on, because I’ve made it my mission to share all the cool women’s cycling kits I can find. You’ll find more good stuff here and here.

And don’t forget that the coolest kit of 2016, the Vamper.cc kit, is available in both men’s and women’s sizes. Register your interest here!

 

Hors catégorie socks – This is Cambridge

cool women's cycling kits

These glorious socks from This is Cambridge are just fah-bu-lous. I ordered a pair to coordinate with my pink Bont shoes… The socks feature Meryl Skinlife® which is a high performance yarn containing antibacterial properties which maintain the natural balance of the skin, reducing odours. What’s more, they look incredibly cool with a 15cm cuff, making them ideal for cyclists seeking a performance sock with top notch style. They’re £13.50.

 

Vision Cycling Jersey – Polaris Bikewear

cool women's cycling kits

We’ll be publishing a review of this soon, but in the meantime, I can tell you that it’s great. The Vision Jersey is a women’s specific performance jersey made from a fast wicking fabric to keep you dry. Polaris has a co-ordinating pair of waist shorts (as regular readers know, not usually my preferred choice – but so far, I’m liking them…) so the half zip on the jersey is no problem. There is plenty of storage, too, with three rear pockets including a zipped security pocket. If this aqua blue shade ain’t your bag, it also comes in fuchsia pink and regal purple. I really, really like this jersey. It’s available for £64.99.

 

Women’s Wind Cheater/Core Gilet in WaterCOLOUR – The Pedla

cool women's cycling kits

Ok, ok. Y’all know I’m a sucker for a bold floral print. What can I say – I must be the Mary Berry of the cycling world… But this women’s specific wind cheater gilet from The Pedla is gorgeous and utilises an advanced Italian WINDTEX windproof membrane for performance. It is designed with front shield-style paneling to insulate and protect you from wind and light rain while the rear panelling uses quick-drying microfibre material which is soft, breathable and moisture wicking. It’s a beautiful way to add a dash of summertime to your cycling wardrobe. It’s priced at AUD $196.

 

Women’s Bodyline SS Slipstream Jersey – Stolen Goat

cool women's cycling kits

It doesn’t always have to be floral for me to like it. This Slipstream jersey from Stolen Goat makes it into my list of cool women’s cycling kits because it’s super chic and the colours rock. I like it a lot. You can order it for £60.

 

Aloha Jersey – Babicicool women's cycling kits

We’re back to florals! But this time, tropical ones. The Aloha jersey features a beautifully designed Hawaiian tropical pattern. Illustrated with amazing detail and constructed from high performance textiles, Babici expects this to be its most popular jersey of 2016. I’m sorely tempted. It’s priced at AUD $190.

 

Body Geometry Gel Women’s Glove – Specialized

cool women's cycling kits

I know what you’re thinking. Why is this in the list of cool women’s cycling kits? It isn’t a very exciting piece of kit. Where’s the bold design? What’s so cool about it? Fine, I admit it: they’re not going to set your world on fire. But take it from a women’s cycling glove afficionado: these are excellent summer cycling mitts. The padding is second to none and the fuchsia detailing is bolder than it looks in pictures. I bought a pair in Sigma Sport a couple of weeks ago, and I’m really pleased with them. Very good gloves indeed. You can buy them for £25.00.

 

Polka Dot Blue Women’s Cycling Gloves – Stolen Goat
cool women's cycling kits

You need a bolder glove? You want more than performance – you want pizzazz? Well, these mitts from Stolen Goat have got it. Super duper polka dots (bang on trend, if you care) and aero styling so that nothing can hold you back from that Queen of the Mountain. CUTE. And yours for £29.50.

 

Women Summer Jersey Checked Yellow – La Passione

cool women's cycling kits

“Every peloton has a leader, but not every peloton has a stylish leader.” Too true, La Passione! I was torn over which colourway to show you from the new La Passione range. I finally decided that yellow jerseys for women are few and far between, and this shade is so deliciously sunny and summery that it deserves a place in the list. I also like this description from the brand: the jersey “is not only perfectly suited for any female Tour de France winner, but equally for anyone with style and a winning attitude in cycling.” Sold, to the lady in Lycra. £53.00.

 

Boels Dolmans SL Pro Women’s Short Sleeve Jersey – Specialized 

cool women's cycling kits

I saw a cyclist wearing this kit in Richmond Park last weekend and it looked cool AF. The colours are amazing and I love how unapologetically bold it is. Super modern and super cool. The VaporRize knit fabric construction is ultra-soft and breathable and, combined with Coldblack fabric, it’s a great jersey for hot days out on the road. Yours for £90 from Sigma Sport.

 

Empire Women’s Road Shoe – Giro (at Sigma Sport)

Coolest women's cycling kit

Finally – we all know how important the right shoes are, and no list of cool women’s cycling kits would be complete without some good footwear. These are not cheap. But they are pretty. Glossy black with that petrol-hued logo and vibrant turquoise laces, the carbon-soled Empire Women’s Road Shoe by Giro is hot to trot. Love them. They are priced at £229.95

 

Women's Cycling

Chorizo, wet weather training and saddle comfort: tips from the pedElle 2016 riders

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Last month we brought you the first of a three-part series of exclusive interviews with three riders participating in the Club Peloton pedElle 2016 women’s cycling charity event. PedElle 2016 is a three-day, 425km ride for female professionals from the property industry.  

We have partnered with Aspire PR to bring you this series and we’re thrilled to be catching up with riders Sam McClary, Sarah Jenkinson and Yvonne Smith ahead of the event which begins in Salzburg on Monday 23rd May. Read on for their training strategies, fueling tips, secrets to comfort in the saddle and more…

 

pedElle 2016 Rider Profile: Sam McClary

pedElle 2016

 

Sam, with less than a month to go before pedElle 2016 begins in Salzburg, how do you feel?

Desperately looking forward to getting out of the office and having only to worry about turning my legs and pedalling. If I’m honest, I probably haven’t cycled enough but hoping there’s some good muscle memory left in my legs from earlier in the year and last year’s adventures.

 

What kit will you be taking? What brands/favourite items do you rely on for comfort and performance in the saddle?

I have some AMAZING kit from Betty Designs which I love. And always get comments on. And people asking if the Kick Butt on, well, my butt, is an instruction. It’s great kit though. Not only does it look cool, the fit is great and the chamois is just right – not too much, not too little.

 

What do you use in the way of training aids – for example, power meters, rollers, turbo trainers? Do you have any tips for keeping up training in poor weather?

I don’t use any kind of training aid, which is weird because I love gadgets. Because I’m not racing anymore and just exercising for adventure and challenge I tend to just use how I feel as a training aid. If you can be honest with yourself about how hard you are (or aren’t) training then I think that is a great life skill. Tips for training in poor weather? Man up! Skin is waterproof.

 

Apart from chorizo (!), how do you plan to fuel yourself on the pedElle 2016 ride? What are your top tips for maintaining energy levels – and is there anything you avoid?

Is there anything else apart from chorizo? For the sake of friendships and potentially garlicky burps, I will also use other fuels. I’m really quite anti gels and the like, however, so for me it will be dried fruits – dates and prunes are my favourites – seeds (I can’t do nuts) and some dark chocolate for those dark moments. I’ll also have a greens drink in the morning and pop a vitamin c tablet in my first bottle on my bike. Recovery – apart from wine and Aperol Spritz (a traditional PedElle tipple) – will be a protein shake or chocolate milk. Not just to rebuild muscle, but also because it is a tasty treat after a long, hard ride cycle.

 

One of the biggest challenges on long multi-day rides is saddle discomfort. As an experienced pedElle participant, what is your advice to first timers for avoiding saddle pain?

Investing in a good saddle that works for you and finding the ideal pair of shorts is the key when dealing with saddle pain. Making sure you have been fitted on your bike and using correct form will also help alleviate any discomfort. And getting out of the saddle for a little wiggle never hurts. And of course, sometimes you’ve just got to break everything (EVERYTHING) in a bit.

 

pedElle 2016 Rider Profile: Sarah Jenkinson

pedElle 2016

 

Sarah, with less than a month to go before pedElle 2016 begins in Salzburg, how do you feel?

I’m feeling excited! We had a great training ride a couple of weeks ago in Surrey where 12 PedEllers turned up. There was a fun and supportive atmosphere in the group and lots of giggles. My knees have been feeling a little sore, especially as I’ve been doing more running recently too. So I’ve (slightly grudgingly) started some strength and conditioning sessions to strengthen everything up before the ride. This is particularly important now that we’ve been informed that the first day has 4000m of climbing over 180km with a few 20% gradients…!

 

What kit will you be taking? What brands/favourite items do you rely on for comfort and performance in the saddle?

Hopefully the sun will be shining so it will just be a case of shorts, jersey, sunglasses and a cap! I’ll probably take my Velotoze shoe covers in case it rains ­ I just love these. They’re like a swimming cap for feet and come in lots of bright colours. Lightweight and look good!

 

What do you use in the way of training aids – for example, power meters, rollers, turbo trainers? Do you have any tips for keeping up training in poor weather?

I’m pretty old school; a map and a bike. I don’t really like gyms or spin classes, so tend to just get on with it good weather or bad.

 

How do you plan to fuel yourself on the ride? What are your top tips for maintaining energy levels – and is there anything you avoid?

I try to eat natural foods where possible and just keep eating and drinking every hour. I avoid gels after a bad experience in a triathlon. A few of the ladies have been exchanging flapjack recipes in the run up to the ride and I think home made energy foods are always a great shout! In terms of recovery drinks, personally, I find the best is a cold beer!

 

One of the biggest challenges on long multi-­day rides is saddle discomfort. As an experienced pedElle cyclist, what is your advice to first timers for avoiding saddle pain?

Invest in a good saddle! I have a female specific saddle -­ a Selle Italia Diva and have used it on many long distance trips including a cycle across America. This combined with a decent pair of padded shorts (I use various brands including dhb, Liv and Rapha) should be fine. Of course, sitting in any position for 8+ hours will always lead to some discomfort but I have never really had any big issues.

[This just goes to show how the only way to find the right saddle for you is to go for a saddle mapping session – the Selle Italia Diva was hellish for Vamper’s Victoria but clearly the right saddle for other cyclists. Read more here.]

 

pedElle 2016 Rider Profile: Yvonne Smith

pedElle 2016

Yvonne, with less than a month to go before pedElle 2016 begins in Salzburg, how do you feel?

I am taking the training very seriously as I want to be able to complete the event and not pick up any injuries. PedElle provided me with the programme and it is achievable if you are single-minded with a great husband (shout out to Julian!). Once a week, I go to a spin class and another day will cycle to work and back (50 miles round trip).

Over recent weekends, I have done different rides both days to get some variety. Sometimes endurance and sometimes hills and last Sunday was both! I got up Ditchling Beacon without stopping for the first time and I was thrilled. The family is still planning, accompanying me and encouraging me. Mentally very positive – need to keep pedalling!

 

What kit will you be taking? What brands/favourite items do you rely on for comfort and performance in the saddle?

I haven’t found shorts with sufficient padding yet! I have received the kit list so will go through that and borrow off my daughter Hannah or wander down to the many cycle shops in the West End. To reward my efforts I have bought a Queen of the Mountains T-shirt and one with “Girls on bikes – keep up” for relaxing in the evening. I have promised to ditch the rucksack with all the extra layers, tools, torch, whistle, food, book (in case I get a puncture and have to wait around) etc. as I become more confident.

 

What do you use in the way of training aids – for example, power meters, rollers, turbo trainers? Do you have any tips for keeping up training in poor weather?

What’s the saying – “There is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing and equipment”. I have only given up once and that was in Storm Kate. I love being outside and as I have a dog, you get used to carrying on regardless.

 

How do you plan to fuel yourself along the pedElle 2016 route? What are your top tips for maintaining energy levels – and is there anything you avoid?

I have actually started snacking on chorizo [like Sam!] when cycling and I prefer it to sweets. I don’t really have a sweet tooth. I have also bought Nuun rehydration tablets to add to my water bottle and these are not too sweet either. The usual – wine gums and Jelly Babies give you a lift and help you face the hills. I am ravenous a lot these days!

Multiple long days in the saddle can be quite uncomfortable. What is your strategy for staying comfortable on your bike over long distances?

I mentioned this earlier. I have bought chamois cream but when you are tender it stings like heck! Still looking for a solution and it’s one of my favourite topics of conversation with female cyclists at the moment. During the ride I move back onto the saddle going downhill and forward going up and this helps the balance and also gives a little relief to the under area!

 

 

In addition to paying an entry fee, the riders commit to raising a minimum amount for a number of children’s charities including Coram. To date, Coram has received £500,000 from Club Peloton events, making it Coram’s largest corporate partner. The funds raised by pedElle 2016 will go towards Coram’s adoption services, helping vulnerable children find stable, loving families.