I suppose my story starts at a point before I started cycling.
The reason for this is that I think I have always wanted to cycle but the idea of choosing and buying a bike with no knowledge of the sport seemed impossible, I was also scared to go out on my own and joining a club as a complete novice seemed not just intimidating but almost undoable.
A colleague at work had told me about “some women in your area that you could ride with” and that is how I came across a community of cyclist called BellaVelo. In August 2017 I bought my bike, and it looked lovely sitting in the bay window where it lived for the next eight months. It was in May 2018 that I finally braved up and joined a beginner’s ride. To put this into perspective, at this point I had never pumped my own tyres on my bike, let alone changed one.
I signed up for Ride London for many reasons, but it always seemed a bit unreal. So, in spite of all the training and preparation, there was a definite feel of 'how did this happen' as I cycled up to Richmond station at 5am.
The Olympic park was buzzing but dry and the forecast of day-long drizzle seemed, thankfully, to be wrong - for long enough for some riders to leave their jackets on the kit bag lorries. Unfortunately it turned out to be incorrect in totally the wrong way. The rain started soon after the loading pen closed and we started moving round the park - by the time we reached the start line and were being asked to choose our starting music it was getting pretty wet and I was shivering, even with a jacket. This was more than just drizzle.
BellaVelo are famed for their friendliness and amazing community vibe. Hot Chillee are famed for their expert Ride Captains so we have asked them to teach group riding skills as well as how to pace rides to our prospective BV Ride Leaders (RL). A Saturday session led by them on 12th Jan will combine some theory with a short group ride followed by a Q&A. For this and for future sessions each BV Ride Leader will be paired with their own HC mentor. Alongside this same mentor, and with the aim of putting what you have learned into practise, you will also be needed to assist on two HC monthly rides.
We are absolutely stoked to announce that British Cycling has been paying attention to what BellaVelo has been doing for women’s cycling, the speed of our growth and size of our membership. They want to partner with us and, going forward, will be subsidizing all our ride leader training which will allow us to run a more extensive, more structured club ride programme in 2019. They have offered a discount of over 50% for their Level 1 & 2 Ride Leader qualification specifically for Bellavelo. This is where you come in!
April is a strange time for me as a cyclist. Apart from not having a clue what kit to wear on the bike because of the unpredictability of the Great British Spring, it’s a month I find myself thinking back to what I was doing this time a few years ago. I find myself thinking about how much my life has changed because of cycling.
April 2014 – At this point in my life I wasn’t a cyclist. I played netball and went on the occasional jog, I’d always liked being active. But by the time April came around in 2014 I’d been pretty much immobile for months.
by Holly Seear
There are lots of minor reasons why you should keep away from the curb, such as;
For All the firsts …...cycling is the one.
I’ve been cycling properly for almost 2 years exactly. Prior to that I had owned a road bike for about 6 months but not done more than my 3 mile commute or the odd lap of Richmond Park. 50 miles seemed incomprehensible – even though it was a distance I had previously run, the thought of cycling it, blew my mind.
Over the past 2 years I have experienced so many firsts. From my first ride with cleats (around the bandstand on Clapham Common) to my first “cleat fail” as I collapsed into a heap at some traffic lights after failing to unclip.
by Lisa Tolley
Why did I decide to ride ‘Chase the Sun’? I think, I just liked the title, it seemed really cool, so I signed up and didn’t really think about what it might entail.
I was into mountain biking until my early thirties, then 6 years ago, after having kids, I bought a road bike and since then I just keep looking for the next challenge. “Chase the Sun’ seemed unique; ride across the country from the Isle of Sheppey to Burnham on Sea, in one day, coast to coast, east to west, dawn to dusk; cycling a total of 330km.
By Relve Spread
This was my first cycling trip with BellaVelo or, indeed, any cycling club. For lesser mortals, the coordination of thirty women of varying ages, needs, and abilities to the New Forest would have resulted in sheer terror, panic, denial. For others, like our awesome trip leader, Lottie, it was deftly executed with German like precision.
by Esra Parr
Having only started riding my road bike again a year ago after about 30 years of pottering about on a hybrid with regular pedals, I started riding with BellaVelo last July. I enjoyed the regular rides and the social evenings, but it was with some trepidation that I booked on to their training camp to Mallorca. I was very much encouraged to do it, and was told that all abilities would be catered for and that I’d be ‘fine!’. Isn’t that what everyone says?...