I’ve always liked cycling and have been a spin class devotee for several years. I’ve also had various hybrid bikes and guess you would have described me as ‘a fair-weather cyclist’. Then last October I decided to get a road bike through my work’s cycle to work scheme. The bike was a very nice addition to my dining room until March, and the fairer weather, when I decided venture out to Richmond Park. After weeks of park laps I made an online plea for cycling buddies and a member of BellaVelo suggested I went on a ride with them. Since then I’ve faced and conquered various ‘firsts’ - getting out of bed at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday (eek!), rocking up at Richmond Park to meet a group of strangers (eek!) and mastering ‘clipping in’ (double eek).
BellaVelo and ride for InternationEll2
2019 was my third year in a row of the Tour of Flanders. There's something about this weekend that keeps me coming back for more. It's certainly not the most picturesque of countryside but it has charm. I think it's more about the energy of the weekend. There's so much drama, excitement, passion, fun and a few tears packed into 48 hours, it's like a whirlwind!
Although my journey on a road bike started just one year ago, I suppose my cycling story goes back to my teenage years. Back then I spent all my time in the pool! I trained up to 8 times a week (three mornings before school) and reached a respectable county / regional level. Exams took their toll, and sadly I gave up, but I guess my passion for competition and sport never died.
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.