Everything You Need to Know About Joining a Women’s Cycling Club
Many ladies prefer women’s cycling clubs because men’s clubs can feel a bit intimidating and, if you’re the only woman, even a little lonely. If most of your closest friends are women, it’s only natural that you’d feel more comfortable around other women.
There are also some physiological differences between men and women to consider. If you’re looking for a training ride, it can be frustrating trying to match the mens’ speed, even if you’re a proficient cyclist. Of course, it’s great to push yourself - as long as you’re having a good time.
Here’s everything you need to know, including how to find the right cycling club for you, our favourite women’s cycling clubs in London, and how to prepare for your first group ride.
Finding a Women’s Cycling Club
One of the best things about cycling is that you can do it however you want. You can go to a park with your kids, enjoy relaxed rides chatting to your partner, or do a solo ride to clear your head.
Or, if you’re the social type, you can join a women’s cycling club.
Here are some things to consider when looking for a women’s cycling club:
- What are you looking for? The atmosphere at a social ride will be very different to a training ride, so make sure you know what you’re getting into.
- If you’re looking for something specific (e.g. clubs for mums, non-binary clubs, beginners clubs) take some time to research if there’s a club that matches your unique needs.
- Check out potential clubs’ social media pages. It should give you a good idea of what the club is like.
- If you try out a club and don’t like it for whatever reason, don’t feel guilty about leaving to try another one. Ultimately, you’re doing this for yourself and club rides should be something you look forward to.
- If you can’t find a women’s cycling club that matches your needs and schedule, consider starting your own with some like-minded friends. All you need is a group of passionate female cyclists!
Women’s Cycling Clubs in London
Velociposse describe themselves as “chill, fun, friendly and supportive” group that welcomes beginners, people of colour, non-binary people, trans people and people with disabilities. In acknowledging the elitist vibe that some cycling clubs have, they’ve made it their mission to make everyone feel at home.
Established in 2015, they currently offer a monthly no-drop ride, a Regent’s Park intro session (only in summer), and give members the opportunity to arrange ad-hoc rides on their group chat. They also offer weekly skills sessions where you can improve in a relaxed, no-pressure environment.
Based in SW London, Bella Velo welcomes everyone from beginners to experienced cyclists. They believe everyone who joins them should feel included, and are passionate about encouraging female cyclists.
Here are some of the rides you can join with Bella Velo:
Wednesdays at 7PM: Social laps (April - September)
Thursdays at 9:30AM: Social laps and coffee (All year)
Interval Sessions (April to September)
Tuesdays and Fridays at 6:45AM
Join in for fun rides to somewhere new.
BellaVelo Club Rides
Saturdays at 8AM (8:30AM in winter)
Cycle Club London is an independent cycling club in London with a focus on creating a warm, inclusive atmosphere. While it’s not a women’s cycling club, their CCL Women’s division offers a range of women’s-only club rides and skills sessions.
Here are some of the rides they offer:
Skills Sessions (Intro)
Wednesdays at 6:30AM
Skills Sessions (Advanced)
Thursdays at 6:30AM
Monthly Women’s Ride
Their monthly social rides are available to non-members who want to get a feel for the club.
How to Prepare for Your First Club Ride
Once you’ve found a women’s cycling club you want to join, get in touch with the organiser or leader. Many larger clubs will have various rides based on speed and distance, so don’t be afraid to ask if you aren’t sure which ride will be most suitable for you.
Be honest about your ability so that they can suggest a ride. If they only offer one ride and it isn’t suitable for you, ask if they can recommend another club.
Here’s how to prepare for your first club ride:
- It goes without saying - be on time. Even better, be a little early so you don’t need to rush through introducing yourself.
- Check your tyre pressure, brakes, and shifting before the ride.
- People will always be willing to help, but go into it as self-sufficient as possible. Make sure you carry the same tools you would when riding alone, and be sure to bring enough water and a snack or gel bar.
- Take some cash with you. If you’re venturing out into the countryside, the cute little coffee shop you stop at might not accept cards.
- Ride either single file or two abreast. Take a look at what the other cyclists are doing and do the same.
- When riding, be consistent. Don’t brake suddenly or make sudden moves.
- Ride with the group’s pace. If you find you’re faster than the rest of the group, hang back a little - you can always look for a faster group next time. If you’re slower, don’t get nervous about it. If you’re on a social ride, they’ll give you some time to catch up.
- If you’re not on a no-drop ride, make sure you can find your own way home if you need to.
- You don’t need to be the fastest or most outgoing to make friends and have a great time, so relax and enjoy the ride!
Staying Safe as a Female Cyclist
The unfortunate reality is that women have to take additional safety measures when cycling, especially if they’re alone or with other women. Research shows that female cyclists in the UK are twice as likely as male cyclists to have experienced “near misses” or harassment from motorists, and nearly 30% of non-cyclist women state safety concerns as their reason for not cycling.
Here are some steps you can take to cycle safely:
- Always ensure that someone knows what your route will be and what time you expect to be home.
- You should always have your phone on you, and make sure it’s fully charged.
- Make sure you know how to get yourself home if you have a mechanical. This might mean practicing at home, knowing the public transport routes to get home, or having a friend you can call for help.
- If you’re riding alone, stick to populated streets in areas you know well even if you tend to prefer quieter rides.
- Listen to your intuition. If you feel uncomfortable or like someone is following you, ride to a busy area or coffee shop then call a friend or approach someone for help.
- If a stranger tries to wave you down, remember that you’re not obliged to stop or have a conversation with anybody if you don’t want to.
- Even if nothing happened, don’t be embarrassed to report suspicious behaviour to your local authorities and community groups. Speaking up could help protect a fellow female cyclist in future.
- Cover yourself and your bicycle with cyclist liability cover and bicycle insurance from Sundays.