I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. Cycling just leaves itself wide open for dirty puns.
I love a long bike ride. I’ve only been cycling properly for a few years, but in that time I have been lucky enough to go on a few long distance rides from London – to Canterbury, to Brighton a couple of times, to Suffolk, and a weekend of riding around Norfolk too. I say ‘lucky’ because I do feel quite lucky to have had the opportunity to go on these rides. It is only by chance that I met someone shortly after moving to London (a bad date actually) who put me in touch with a group of people she knew who were going on a ride to Canterbury. Being new to London and on the lookout for new friends and adventures I met up with them, rode with them and have remained friends with some of them too.
I would never have had the confidence to try a long ride alone and it took a couple of long rides before I felt confident enough to plan one, which I then still rode with friends. Therefore, like I said, I feel lucky to have met the right people at the right time and to have been able to discover part of London’s vibrant cycling community. I realise that not everyone will have had such a lucky time chasing their cycle touring dreams and so I am organising a group ride as part of Rapha’s ‘Women’s 100’ project.
We will be riding from London to Whitstable Bay on July 7th, roughly 100km to the seaside. Feel free to join me.
Rapha is taking 100 women to ride the Etape du Tour on July 7th and is encouraging women across the world to join them by cycling 100km along a route of their own choosing and design. They are promoting the initiative as the “gathering of a global community of women” who can share in those lucky 100s French adventure, but I think it could be so much more. I think it is a chance to promote women’s visibility in cycling and adventuring. This is a chance to not only cycle really far, but also to plot a route, read a map, lead a group, fix your own damn punctures, pack the sandwiches, bake the cakes, and get the beers in when we arrive.
If you have never had the opportunity to try a long ride before, if you don’t have any friends with bikes, or if you don’t have any friends with the the inclination to ride this far then feel free to bunk along with us. We are happy for any self-identifying ladies who are nice and have a bike to join us on the day. I’m plotting a route mainly along B roads to try and avoid busy roads where possible and am planning to go at a leisurely pace that suits whoever turns up on the day. Invite yourself!
Disclaimer: You take part at your own risk. This ride will be totally unsupported, so please bring a puncture repair kit, a packed lunch, and enough money for the train home (unless you plan on cycling back!). We’ll probably have a good stash of tools between us, but be sure to sign up to the Facebook event here and use the comment facility to check who’s got what before leaving that pump at home…
Now the beauty of the Women’s 100 project (is it a project? an initiative? an event?) is that anyone can particiapte in any format, as long as it is a 100km ride – it could be a ride to a fun location and a train ride home, or it could be a loop, an out and back route, or if you’re really stuck for ideas it could be laps of your town. Whatever you choose, consider using this project as an opportunity to gather some friends/colleagues/neighbours together and to plan your own ride. And if you’re in need of help or advice, search out your local cycling club or co-operative workshop and ask for advice – cyclists are geeks who love to share their knowledge and experience!
P.S. I don’t work for Rapha and am not on commission, I promise!