Ladies — Did you ride?
Yesterday women across the country hopped on their bikes and rode in events hosted by Specialized for Women’s Ride Day. I headed out with a friend to Spokes in Asbhurn to join more than 100 others and had a great time. It was my first just-for-girls event.
I’ve mentioned the incredibly fit chick who rode past me while I was barely able to walk my bike up a hill at my first Livestrong event and how she motivated me to get into shape like her. Well it’s hard for me to judge how I’m doing when I ride primarily with guys. At 103 pounds I’m tiny for women; forget about competing with men!
So I thought that by doing the Women’s Ride Day event I might be able to get a sense of how fit I really am now and also maybe make some new friends along the way.
Spokes offered two categories of rides: a fifteen-mile recreational ride and a twenty-five mile fitness/century-training ride. I chose the longer one. Within each category we were set off in groups of ten to twenty with a leader and a sweep (no woman left behind!).
The recreational riders ranged from first-time event riders needing assistance putting their helmets on correctly to avid townie riders to even one ElliptiGO rider. Everyone stared in amazement at her “bike.” My friend noticed that the ElliptiGO had carbon fiber components. Nice!
Our fitness ride was advertised as 14-16 mph, and honestly I wasn’t sure how I’d do with that. I’ve been riding my hybrid a lot more than my road bike this “winter,” and I thought maybe I’d be huffing to keep up. Not an issue. I fit right in.
Early on in the route the one man joining our crew told me he loved my bike — a Specialized Amira in black with neon green accents. Turns out our guy was the Specialized regional rep. It’s not a coincidence that this women’s day was a Specialized creation. I believe they make the best women’s bikes around. He asked if I am a sitting or standing climber and I mentioned that I have traditionally sat, but since losing so much weight this year I’m finding the need to stand more. He said that my bike is built for standing. So I played around with it on the few climbs we faced, and I loved it. I climbed with ease and with speed. A new technique to work on this season. Fun!
I usually feel a bit intimidated when I ride with a group and Tommie and I will break away from the pelaton to ride on our own, but I found yesterday’s environment to be so mellow and friendly that I stayed with the pack the whole time. I reconnected with one rider that I had actually met a couple years ago at the Spokes in Alexandria, and I chatted with others about things like pedaling techniques, clips vs cages, work, and family. One rider’s husband and children cheered from the side of the road as we passed them at mile twelve.
A number of the women asked if Spokes leads rides like these more often (they do!), and that made me smile. I hope that yesterday’s ride inspires them to get out on their bikes more. Cycling might have started out as a man’s sport, but it’s perfect for women too. And with the summer-like winter we’ve been experiencing in the northeast, there’s never been a better time to ride than now.