Training camps just for women
Spring is almost here and for many cyclists that means it’s time to log some long rides in warm weather - abroad or in the UK.
You could pull together a group of friends, book yourself a chalet with bike parking facilities, and jet off with your own agenda – but purpose designed training camps offer a deluxe experience.
On a package training camp you'll benefit from perks such as expert advice seminars, coach led rides, full catering and added bonus’ like spa access, massage and mechanical assistance.
Regardless if you're a seasoned road racer, or a novice, there's a training camp out there for you - we've found catered packages for riders of all levels.
Most of these are for roadies, but mountain bikers should skip to page five for the Wildcat experience whilst those that enjoy both styles might enjoy PyrActif's offering on page four.
Spain: Sport Active Mallorca Women Only Cycling Week
Mallorca has quickly become known as the cycling Mecca – top pro teams choose to pack in their base miles on the sunny Spanish island that provides great cycling conditions in the spring season.
This Sport Active women’s only week promises advice from top coaches in an unintimidating environment for women of ‘medium fitness’ to train together from 4 to 11 April.
A full itinerary is outlined in advance, with four three hour training rides and an easy flat day to finish off the week, and seminars in the evening.
Coaches Martin Birney and Trudy Brown, former silver medallist at the National Road Race Championships and Northern Ireland’s Time Trial Champion, are on hand throughout the week to help develop each rider's technical skill, knowledge level, and physical fitness.
For €667 you get seven nights at five star hotel Aparthotel Viva Tropic, six structured bike training rides and seminars, transfers, access to the hotel Spa and gym, plus transfers and a complimentary jersey.
Lanzarote: Up and Active Women’s Only Bike Week 2015
Up and Active run triathlon, swimming and cycling training camps under the guidance of Tanja Slater, ex-pro triathlete and road racer.
The women’s only bike week takes place in Playa Blanca – on the sunny island of Lanzarote. Known for being, from time to time, rather windy, Lanza will provide a challenge with plenty of climbs to explore.
Coaches and professionals at the camp include ex-pros Tanja, Sian Brice, and Charlotte Tomkins, who lead rides that cater for beginners through to intermediate cyclists. Physiotherapist Anj Coia and body balance instructor Damien Cassidy are also on hand.
The four star hotel, Rubimar Aparthotel, sits beside the sea, with a coastal path and coffee shops to facilitate easy ride starts.
Designed to help women develop their technical riding skills, technique, fitness and confidence, there are structured training rides, some double ride days, and stretching workshops.
The week takes place from 30 April to 7 May, and costs £660 for a twin room, or £760 for a single room – which covers accommodation, transfers, coaching, meals and drinks.
France: PyrActif Pyrennes Women's Only Training Camp
PyrActif offer three and seven night women’s only training camps from a restored French Farmhouse in the Pyrenees – home to some of the most celebrated climbs of the Tour de France.
Founded in 1994 by keen cyclists Steve and Brenda Mead, the camps are less structured than others, with less formal coaching and a focus on fun and logging miles in beautiful, hilly surroundings.
The week is fully catered, and all rides are led or supported by a following vehicle. The itinerary can be dictated by the riders – with routes designed for anybody from a novice to the French Cols to the experienced racer.
Optional Mountain Bike excursions can also be organised, plus basic bike maintenance workshops, and the group can opt for a spa day in the middle of the week for pampered recovery.
Three nights will set you back £419, and seven nights costs £599 per person, tour dates are arranged on request if you can get a group together you can choose your perfect week.
Scotland: Wildcat Bike Tours Women’s Mountain Bike Skills
Why should roadies have all the fun?
Wildcat offer women's only mountain bike skills training weeks for novices through to experienced riders from their base in Stirling, Scotland.
Camps are hosted at a Highland Guest House, in Speyside, and the week includes skills training on all manner of techniques – from cornering to bunny hopping and river crossings, to bike setup and maintenance advice.
The seven day trip includes daily rides which are set in accordance to the groups fitness, usually ranging from 15 to 30 miles in the beautiful Cairngorm Mountains area. Riders are led by qualified MTB leaders and experienced riders, John Fulton, and Brigitte Lucas.
Tours are scheduled for groups of six or more, and prices vary so you’ll need to make contact and outline your needs to get a quote.
Californa: CCSD Women’s Road Cycling Training Camps
Cycling Camps San Diego host a series of women only 4 day trips in California and Virginia, with level 1-2 rides varying from 30 to 50 miles, and level 2-3 rides accumulating up to 75 miles.
Each day begins with an 8.30am briefing, followed by a seminar before rides begin. These are fully supported with an accompanying vehicle, with specific skills demonstrated and practiced.
The afternoon offers the opportunity to chat to coaches, take part in cooking and yoga demos, or take a nap, before an evening group meal at a local restaurant.
Camps cost $150 a day and include food, coaching, product samples and saddle loans, and a sports massage for every rider.
France: Velo Vercors WOW Women's Only Week & Weekend
The Women’s Only weeks hosted by Velo Vercors are all about providing an opportunity for women to get together and improve their fitness and stamina in a social environment.
The area promises Alpine climbs and descents in the beautiful Vercors National Park, beginning with a 27km flatter ride, and building to longer 60km hilly rides, with a 100km flat ride on the final full day.
Each day there are two rides – a faster paced group, and a more leisurely group, and evenings are a blissful affair of home cooked meals and local wine.
Rides promise to reveal stunning views - peach and apricot orchards, waterfalls and rivers, mediaeval villages, and the spectacular Combe Laval - Europe's largest gorge.
A full week (9 to 16 May) costs £635 per person, and includes accommodation, five accompanied rides, food and transfers, whilst four nights (7 to 11 May) will set you back £530, or £630 with bike hire.
Kent: Stay At Home Training Camp
Now for something completely different - because we know not everyone can hop on an aeroplane and leave home behind.
The Kent Velo Girls Stay at Home Training Camp is a week of training, in Kent, starting this Saturday 14 March.
Each day costs just £20 for those not members of the club, and rides are based around family commitments and the school day – so you’ll only need to book the week off work!
The goal is to get some big spring miles in, make big fitness gains, and learn from experienced riders within the group.
Riders will need to have completed several three hour rides to be comfortable with the volume, and there are six days of riding, starting on Saturday, with a rest day on Tuesday.
Every group is headed up by an experienced leader, starting from Hilden Park, in Kent. The camp is open to all, and there is local accommodation if you wish to travel.
Women's only training camps offer the chance to ride without whiffs of testosterone or male egos poking their noses in, but if you're after the unisex experience, we've rounded up 8 mixed sex camps that might be right up your street.