Women in Sports Week

Southend Wheelers’ invites women to join them for a bike ride this Sunday

Today (19 June 2017) marks the beginning of Women’s Sports Week and on Sunday 25th Southend Wheelers is doing its bit to change the culture of cycling and get more local women out on their bikes.

At present, three times as many men cycle compared to their female counterparts, and research shows that gap is increasing. However, studies show that women would like to cycle more.

“You only have to look at a typical spin class in any of the local gyms and you can see that the participants are predominantly female,” says the Wheelers’ General Secretary Jane Harris. “This suggests that they like the idea of riding a bike, and in the company of others, but may not be aware that they can get outdoors and experience the joys of cycling in the nearby countryside.”

“To celebrate Women in Sport Week and encourage more women, of all ages, to take up cycling we’re organising a series of rides from our base at Canewdon Village Hall this Sunday. Whether you're a total beginner, looking to ride more regularly, or improve your competitive skills, we’re here to help you achieve your goals.”
Starting from 10am, the club will welcome newcomers and provide social, non-competitive rides around the quiet lanes of Canewdon.

The routes have been specifically chosen to encourage women to have a go at cycling or enable women who currently cycle to meet other cycling women. The rides vary in length, from 4 to over 20 miles, but can be as long or short as each participant fancies.

Every ride begins and ends at Canewdon village hall, where tea, coffee and every cyclist’s favourite - cake - will be provided. The hall is located on Lambourne Hall Road, SS4 3PG and is complete with toilet and changing facilities, plus easy car-parking.

I’m a Cyclist

Originally from Sheffield, Catherine Rushton lives in Rayleigh and works in London. She uses cycling to exercise and enjoy the freedom of fresh air as escapism from her Global Knowledge role with EY (Ernst & Young) and busy parenting demands of two young children  

How long have you been riding a bike?

Just over a year … I really enjoyed spinning classes and a mountain biking friend encouraged me. I bought a Hybrid bike last march, got the bug and bought a road bike last September

What attracted you to Southend Wheelers?

I loved the idea of the camaraderie of a club. Previously I had only ridden alone, so was keen to find some cycling buddies to ride with

How has being a member benefited you?

Joining the club has by far exceeded my expectations. Everyone is so friendly and encouraging. I have tried new things I would never have considered before, for example our club road race which was great fun! The club has exposed me to more levels of cycling as a sport but the absolute biggest benefit is how lovely everyone is. I was worried I may feel intimidated as I am not very fast! But quite the opposite, I think everyone I have met at the club embodies the saying “A good cyclist is one who encourages others to cycle”

You recently took part in the club’s annual road race, what was that experience like?

It was great fun! Totally relaxed and it really felt like everyone could have a go. In amongst the fun I learned a lot, both from circuit riding and watching others. As always everyone in the club encouraged each other with cheering and by recognising every achievement, from winning to just getting round the course. It really felt like everyone coming together for a fun day out and great sport. Considering I joined the club solely for the leisure cycling side, believing there was nothing in the racing calendar I’d be appropriate for, I can’t wait for next year!?

Have you set any particular goals for this year or beyond?

Yes, I would like to do the Tour de Yorkshire sportive in my home county, although need to improve on those hills! I’d also like to ride 100 miles. Perhaps next year at Ride London to raise money for (the premature baby charity) Bliss. Both my children were premature, so my husband and I do something each year to fundraise.

Favourite route?

Whatever the weather riding along the seafront lifts my soul! I love riding through Leigh-on-Sea, along the seafront and back through Barling and Canewdon. I also did a Cycletta sportive at Woburn Abbey in Berkshire last October, which was 40km and stunning, especially through the park itself.

What do you most enjoy about cycling?

I love the freedom, the fresh air and wind in my hair. It clears my head and lifts my spirits. I also think cycling is a great sport for personal development, in that you literally do it at your own pace. With Apps like Strava and events like time trials you are competing only against yourself, the little win of a new Personal Best is hugely motivating, wherever you are in the pack

What advice would you offer to women considering taking up riding a bike?

Do it! I could never have imagined how much joy it brings me. Absolutely everyone I have met cycling, be it club, through work, or on the road is encouraging and embracing. You will certainly find a warm welcome.

Southend Wheelers' Ladies on Southend Seafront
Andy Merchant as a bonus Lady at the Tour de Tendring
Adrian Cartwright joins the Ladies tour of Suffolk
The Southend Wheelers Ladies in Suffolk


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