All of this might sound like a lot of work – and it is – but in Bee’s opinion, it’s worth it.
“The rewards are seeing women succeed at cycling – so many come along despondent at not being able to keep up on mixed rides and are so delighted to find a group that is happy to ride at 13mph. No one gets dropped, and that’s the key policy which gives a lot of people confidence to join.”
Competition is there within the club for members who are looking for it – and Bee added: “Several have gone on from complete beginner up through to racing and time trailling.” This year the club are looking at running their own Time Trials for members, too.
She added: “I look around the car park on a summers day, or in training camp – and see a sea of pink [the club’s kit], women chattering excitedly about riding their bikes, and the adventures they will have, the doors that they have opened- it’s just totally amazing to see what they can achieve. I feel so proud of all their achievements, and so delighted that they are all so supportive of one another, at whatever level they want to ride. If we could bottle it we might have a magic formula!”
Kent Velo Girls is an exceptional club, but there are hundreds out there, each managed with the help of dedicated members.
For those considering becoming part of a cycling club, Bee was hugely encouraging, explaining: “Women email me all the time saying that when they are fitter they might join. I always reply with a ‘join now’ answer, and let us help you get your fitness, and develop as a cyclist at the same time. It’s amazing how joining a group of like-minded people, getting some club kit and actually riding regularly and having fun (so you want to do it more!) makes you feel like a ‘real cyclist’ – and in no time at all you are riding like one too!”
Tempted? Read Adele Mitchell’s account of her first road cycling club ride.