In May we hosted Vélorina’s cycling school in the Lab & Store. A cycling school for female beginners in the cycling world. Aimed at women, who would like to start cycling, but who needed help getting started.
On the cycling school, the women learned everything they needed to know when starting cycling: to sit on a road bike, ride with click pedals, to ride safely in a group and a whole lot more.
Katrine from Vélorina is in this blogpost taking us with her back to the first edition of United Cycling’s Cycling School for Women.
An Introduction to the World of Road Cycling
It was with excitement and slight nervousness that we, United Cycling ambassador Katrine and Pro female cyclist Michelle, welcomed the participants of the first Vélorina Cycling School for Women.
We had a full three-day program ahead of us covering mechanics course, clothing workshop, safety of riding in groups, and a lot of cycling of course. We wanted to ensure that the participants had a thorough and inspiring introduction to the world of a road cycling.
Participants ages ranged from 18 to 60 years and varied in entrance level from very beginner-I-don’t-have-a-road-bike-and-I-have-never-tried-click-pedals-before to the level best described as: I’m-used-to-my-road-bike-just-have-so-many-questions.
Our strategy was to demystify the cycling world and culture and to rub off our passion for cycling in a forum where the lines between instructor and participant were thin. We wanted to show that road cycling is fun and social, and we were determined to manifest that cycling is for all women at all ages, and it is never too late to get started.
So, with this we opened the door to the canteen at United Cycling, Lynge, where the course was located. It was Friday morning and it rained heavily – not really the cycling weather we had hoped for. Although we preach that no weather should hold you back from cycling, this day was not the day to practice what you preach. The pouring rain forced us to stay inside, so that the first day of the course became a full theory day.
After getting to know each other we talked through how to ensure safety when riding in a group; how to communicate efficiently and unambiguously. We also talked about what to think about when riding a road bike among cars and other users of the road. Stories were shared, and questions were asked, so that the group was prepared for the group ride the following day.
After a lovely lunch we moved on to a clothing workshop where we dug into the world of lycra, shoe covers, bibs and helmets. This was followed by a session of “everything we do not talk about”. Here we opened up about the more embarrassing challenges that female riders (as well as male riders) may experience, and that we might be reluctant to talk about.
Surprised by how fast the day had gone by, we wrapped up the day with hope of better weather the following day.
A thick fog covered Lynge the next day, but to our great relief the fog cleared and allowed us to begin the day with a course in mechanics led my Michelle.
The last thing that should stand in the way of getting anyone out on the road is a dysfunctional bike.
The participants were taught how to maintain the bike, change a tire, tube, and chain, how to attach pedals, and much more. We were surprised by how engaged the participants were and how eager they were to lean, meaning that this mechanics session ended up taking all our time until lunch.
As lunch was served the sun broke through the clouds and refueled we were all ready for some riding.
A couple of friends of Vélorina showed up to join the ride and to add the social aspect of cycling.
However, before we could head out we faced the challenge of one participant who needed to learn how to ride with click pedals. This was easily done as two experienced riders who helped her, while the rest of the groups practiced technical skills like picking up a bottle from the ground while riding, riding with no hands, and track stand.
In no time we were all ready to go and set out for a 40K ride around Høvelte, Kettinge, Birkeød, and Bregnerød. We held a refueling stop at Kettinge, to talk about how it was going, and to have some snacks and a coke.
Returning home everyone had a big smile on their face and the ride was celebrated with cake in the sun before we left to commence the next day.
After lunch, we rode to the old airbase in Værløse, where we practiced how to ride fast on the bike, how to sit more aggressively, how to follow wheels, and dealing with crosswinds. We ended this session with a competition to keep up with Michelle for as long as possible to get acquainted with the feeling of pressuring oneself on the bike.
After taking the beautiful road through the forest home to Lynge, we had a coffee and a small debriefing session where the participants praised the course and gave really good feedback for future courses.
We said our goodbyes and felt proud, tired, and happy about the first Vélorina Cycling School for Women. It could not have been done without the help of all the sponsors and friends in the cycling community.
Hopefully, this will not be the last.