We spoke to Emma Hadley who is one of the founding members of the Hot Cycles women’s ride, a recent initiative brought about through the work of the team at Hot Cycles and Specialized. Here she explains the what, the how and the why behind it.
The concept for the Women’s Ride was birthed out of a need, a demand for something in the St Heliers area in Auckland. Emma explains. “Hot Cycles were being asked a lot about women’s only rides and could see that there was a demand for this type of bunch ride,” Emma explained. “Hot Cycles approached me to see if I would be interested in running the bunch rides for them and I jumped at the chance. This is something I have always wanted to do as I see so many female riders out riding alone.”
The reason behind is a simple one and it’s all to do with two things: comfort and confidence. “The women’s ride is about giving women the opportunity to ride in a women only group environment where they can feel comfortable and confident,” Emma told RoadCycling. “A lot of the bunch rides are male dominated and this can sometimes be intimidating when you are starting out bunch riding. I know that when I started cycling I was always worried about being too slow and getting left behind so with this ride we stay as a group and no one is left behind.”
Through Hot Cycles and Specialized – who have come on board as a company who have recently really been championing women in cycling – Emma has been given an avenue to open up a great opportunity for women in the area to get out on their bikes in great company and enjoy the ride, the roads and the people around them. Her role in running these bunch rides has led to her becoming a Specialized ambassador, but it’s her passion for what Emma has started which really comes through. “I really enjoy the social side of the Women’s Ride, everyone is so lovely and friendly. I really enjoy chatting to the ladies about their goals and I am keen to motivate them and help them achieve their goals,” she said.
As for what’s entailed it is quite straightforward. Every second Saturday the group leaves from Hot Cycles at 7am, the aim is to ride about 50km at a steady pace. “We stay as a group and no one gets left behind and of course we stop for coffee in a local cafe afterwards for coffee and cake,” Emma said.
We were interested to know who the ride is for a bit more. Cycling is a growing sport with a number of riders shy about the prospect of riding in a bunch full stop, whether with men or women. “This ride is for any female wanting to ride a bike,” Emma answered. “The ride was not aimed to be a beginners’ ride but it does appeal to new and less confident riders. We have had some great feedback from the ladies joining the bunch ride.”
The future is bright for the ride as it gathers momentum, and Emma is hoping that it is something that could potentially grow and evolve. “We are hoping to grow these rides and have two groups going out, one a steady pace and a fast group,” she said. “We also have a women’s only camp coming up early next year and we are also hoping to get a cycling team together for those speedy ladies out there.”
For riders out there who are nervous about the prospect of riding with a bunch of others, don’t know about peloton etiquette or how to ride in a group, here’s what Emma has to say. “This bunch ride is for you if you want to join a like minded group of ladies who enjoy riding bikes. If you are nervous about joining the group then this is the group for you, we are very friendly and can give you lots of advice and guidance for riding in a bunch ride. We have also been running skills clinics and this has given the ladies confidence riding in groups, descending, riding hills and much more.”