Bike Talk: Why I'm Starting My Own Cycling Group

I live in rural New York. Only an hour outside of the Big Apple in the lush green rolling hills and wide open lakes with scenic views for miles. I have always classified myself as a city girl but I'm much of a valley girl now since leaving the hustle and bustle of the big city. I started cycling in cities and have always advocated for women's cycling there, however, my life is much more different than it was two years ago in the valley and I am noticing a trend in the rural areas that bicycle advocacy does not get to see, the lack of female cycling communities.

In the mid Hudson Valley, we have a cycling club and a few bike shops that serves the entire community. As friendly and inviting they are to the community, female representation lacks and from my perspective, women need to see it to be it. While I do enjoy being part of my local club, volunteering at events and rides, I often travel down to NYC to join women's cycling group rides and events. Often on these rides, I wonder why can't we have this type of community in the HV. Is it that we aren't asking? Is it that we don't have the resources? Perhaps its both and lack of leadership.

Recently, I have been reaching out to a few industries about forming a women's cycling group in the Hudson Valley and got the response I was hoping for. I also took it to Facebook to a local women's group and also got a warm welcome. While reaching out on social media is helpful and reaching out to my local bike shop has been welcomed, there still lacks a broader network of support. This got me thinking, while cities have a lot of support from industry and organizations to support women to be active in their communities, I don't want women in rural America to be forgotten.

It's easy to forget that women in rural or suburban areas care about their communities but we exist and we want a level playing field too. Starting a local women's cycling group seems intimidating, however, I feel that I have the platform, skills, and drive to do it. My goals for organizing group rides is to bring women together and grow women's cycling and exploration all over the Hudson Valley. Being #OUTSIDEISFREE and for women, nature is the most level playing field we have to be free and be ourselves together.

So here I am working to develop a women's cycling community in my backyard. If there is one thing I have learned while being a women's cycling advocate and blogger, it's to stay persistent. If there is ever a place to advocate for cycling, it's in those forgotten parts of the country. I hope you will follow along with me on this journey. More at Hudson Valley's Womens Cycling.

What You Need To Know About La Course 2017

With only a day away, I'm more excited about watching the pro-women race La Course by Le Tour de France than I am about the actual Tour de France. Although this year will look differently than the previous stage in Paris held along the same final circuit on the famed Champs Elysees, having an extra day on the tour is a baby step to what I'm hoping for an extended tour for the future of the women's peloton.

This year, La Course has expanded its format from a criterium held on the Champs-Elysées in Paris to an "innovative" two-day format. They will climb the prestigious Col d'Izoard on stage one on Thursday, July 20, and then will take part in a new time trial format in Marseille, Saturday, July 22, with the riders going off in the order they finished on the mountain.

With these new changes, there have been issues rising to the public view that stems from resentment from cycling fans that women's cycling gets the short end of the stick. Sponsorship, visibility, long-term viability are all issues faced by all professional cycling teams, except that the women's teams have it the worse. While the ASO defends it's changes to La Course, we continually find the women's race piggy backing the men's stages with less support.
So why should we care so much about this race? The Tour is the most prestigious race of the year and a has great platform for promoting the women's pro-peloton. There is no denying that women's cycling is underrepresented in the grand scheme of professional cycling. While women's representation in professional cycling is beginning to gradually change, paving the way for media coverage, equal pay, and support of women's cycling still has a long way to go. As fans, we can help change the game.

How? A while back, I posted about how we as fans can Support Women's Pro-Cycling with resources on the many ways to help. We are in a great time of progress for women's cycling and can do a little more to help make a difference in the smallest ways. Most importantly, watch the women's race. Whether you're watching on tv, online, or in person, showing our support for the women's race is a big win. Promoting women’s cycling and putting on a great show that will fire up the crowds as much as the people watching at home is really what women's cycling wants to accomplish.

How to watch live? Check the listings below and your local listing air time to see how you can watch live and check Pro Women's Cycling on more ways to watch and engage La Course. According to PWC, if you don’t have access to any of these, there should be streams herehere or here.

If the race isn’t broadcasted live in your country, follow along online via La Course by Le Tour, @lacoursebyTDF@UCI_WTT#LaCourse#UCIWWT for live updates.
To get you up to speed, excited, and angsty in a productive way, here are some links to get your enthusiasm flowing:

Cycling Podcast: La Course
The New La Course: Details and Rider Responses
Women and Tour de France: Why we are so much more than cycling accessories
5 Big Things That Need to Change In Women's Cycling
Condoms, chicks and La Course: the Tour de France still has a sexism problem

Join The Ride #Womens100

The Rapha Women’s 100 is a display of collective spirit amongst women cyclists around the world. Since its inception, in 2013, the Women’s 100 has inspired women around the world, to come together to ride 100km all on the same day, July 23.

Whether you live near one of Rapha's Clubhouses or not, there are many rides to join. For those who have never ridden the distance before, Women’s 100 is a chance to expand your horizons. For seasoned riders it offers an opportunity to share riding experience, encourage others and break boundaries. If you can’t find a Women’s 100 ride near you, or if your local ride is fully booked, why not plan your own? Whether it’s you on your own or a whole group of friends, we ride together.

Planning a ride is easy. Plot your route, plan your roll out time, and share it with friends and fellow riders online. Read on for some tips on planning your ride here and learn more on how to ride in groups here.

This year the event coincides with La Course on July 20th, where the Canyon//SRAM pro cycling team will ditch their traditional kits for the new Rapha 100 collection to honor women’s cycling around the globe.

The team will race a striking new design for La Course by Le Tour. Across Canyon bikes, Rapha clothing, Oakley eyewear, Giro helmets and Boa dials, the design is inspired by the Rapha Women’s 100, an annual event designed to inspire and encourage women to ride 100km on the same day across the globe.

La Course by Le Tour starts in Briançon on Thursday 20 July and action can be followed with #LaCourse and #UCIWWT. You can follow La Course by Le Tour for updates and more. Hope you can join and share your ride with #WOMENS100.
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