I’m feeling pretty much fit to burst at the moment due to the fact that every time I log onto my social channels I see another woman on two wheels, kicking ass and taking names, literally every time (I’m looking at you – Charlie, Alice & Katie – as well as so many others!). Women’s cycling is booming! There are still so many challenges to battle at pro level but when it comes to getting bums on saddles and feet in cleats, on the ground level at least, we’re totally winning! Do I think it can get even better? Hell yeah! But I’m all for celebrating progress where due!
I haven’t been cycling that long, around 4 years to be exact but already in 4 short years, so much has changed for the better. When I first started out, both with triathlon and my career in social media, it felt very much like a scenario that resulted in a solemnly proclaimed ‘never the twain shall meet’. Two totally opposing worlds… One in which I’m covered in sweat and snot, racing around North London at various ungodly (read, dark) hours of the morning and then the other, social media land… Pretty gym selfies, perfectly packaged and ready for consumption.
Whilst I’m still a proponent of decent lighting and composition, it’s pretty flippin’ cool that whilst I don’t show you my sweaty, snotty face at every opportunity I get, there is a shift and a movement where not only are women getting out there and putting the miles in, they’re also documenting it on social media!! And before you say it, this isn’t just about people banging on about how hardcore they are or how much chlorine / how many miles / et al they had for breakfast. It’s about showing the world (via social media) a love for the sport and that cycling is for everyone regardless of age, level of skill or gender. It’s this spotlight on the sport that is really helping to drive participation numbers up, particularly female participation.
I guess what I’m saying here is, go on girls!!!
Now, let’s get onto the kit. It’s a well-known fact that goals are more likely to be smashed if you’re wearing kit that motivates you and makes you feel good. (It’s a scientific fact, don’t try to fight it. Just treat yourself and watch those training sessions get ticked off one by one!)
Enter LIV Cycling, a disclaimer – I am an ambassador for the brand, however, I am only an ambassador for the brand because I genuinely love them. Hopefully, you all know me well enough by now to know that’s just how we roll around here. LIV Cycling is a brand by women, for women and so if you’re thinking of taking the plunge and joining the world of women’s cycling, LIV should be your first port of call to make sure you have all the basics. Having female specific kit widely available isn’t just about looking good though, it’s also huge in breaking down barriers to participation!
So, female specific kit is important, never more so than when it comes to picking your bike. The geometry and fit are super important, especially if you plan on spending any amount of time on your bike. I rode a badly fitting bike for about 2 years and man did I feel it! More than one sense of humour failure, 80+ miles in, shoulders in agony… Fellow cyclists, I know you feel me. If you know you’re going to make cycling a ‘thing’ then I would highly recommend a retul bike fit (Richard Melik at Freespeed is awesome.). If you’re still on the fence but want to be comfortable I would recommend heading into any one of the Giant stores around the UK (there are 29 of them!) and ask to get on a couple of bikes to try them out. The staff members are super knowledgeable and will be able to get you sorted and on your way – plus they can answer any bike maintenance questions you might have. I would highly recommend this approach for a beginner, buying online can feel exciting but really it’s a total stab in the dark!!
Here are a few of my top cycling kit picks to see you through those gorgeous, crisp Autumn rides… (As pictured above!)
On that note, if any of you are North London based and fancy heading out on a ride, pop me a comment below and let’s get something organised before it gets icy! I have lots of training to do thanks to (stupidly) signing up for another Marathon! (Paris!) I plan on being much fitter this time around and cycling will play a huge role, although more on that later…