I love suffering in a pack of male riders. I’ve even been told that I “ride like I have balls.” But sometimes a girl yearns for a break from the boy’s club and some time with her own species. Maybe it’s the lack of ball-busting and talks/displays of bodily functions, but there’s just a different vibe in a group of women. Men might think we’re non-competitive, but some of the best women’s rides display all the friendly attacks and quad-busting efforts of a testosterone fest. While men’s rides are a dime a dozen, finding a good group of women to ride with can be a life-long search. Here are some tips to find your own group.
Strava is cycling’s Match.com
I laughed when a female friend jokingly told me how she “picks up women on Strava.” But think about it. You can search for nearby riders and then follow them to see how much they ride or race. Find women with similar average speeds, terrain and distance preferences and then communicate directly with them. If someone keeps stealing your QOMs, don’t view them as your nemesis, but as a potential training partner. Go out on a limb. Give kudos and suggest meeting up for a ride. Think you’re a creepy stalker? No way. You’re just Strava savvy.
Befriend your local shop
Chances are good that other women at your LBS are also looking for women to ride with. A good LBS doubles as a match-maker. They’ll suggest other B-riders or, with some nudging, they can be the cohesive force that brings other females together for an organized ride. At the very least, they should have some way to post, either online or at the shop, that you’re looking for women to train with.
I caught wind of a women’s ride for national women’s ride day last year and, knowing very little about the ride, I showed up. The ride turned out to be nothing short of awful. No one called out potholes, people rode over sticks and twigs, sending them flying and several women veered directly in front of turning cars. While I was glad these women were gung ho about cycling, I was happy to leave with my collarbone and bike in tact. On the way out, I happened to mention to one of the women who worked at the shop (but wasn’t on the ride) how I was looking for more serious women to ride with. It turns out that she was too and we ended up riding together later that month and had a great time.
Do it yourself
Every group needs an organizer. Push that fear of failure aside and start your own ride. Advertise at local shops, gyms or on a cycling forum. Look into forming a Meetup group for women or starting a women’s ride through a cycling club. Yes, you may be riding solo for the first couple of rides, but talk it up and stick with it. Chances are your hard work will pay off in the end.