Bikes, bants and being female: Starting Cycling

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This remains true during this difficult period with the ongoing threat of coronavirus Covid-19
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Bikes, bants and being female: Starting Cycling

We're delighted that the first episode of our new women's chat show 'Bants, bikes and being female' proved a popular watch, with over 2,000 women tuning in to watch live on Facebook.

Cycling UK's women's chat show brings together the best of the women's cycling community to help even more women start to cycle. 

The show will create a space where woman can feel comfortable to ask for and offer tips, advice and anecdotes around starting cycling. 

There is a new wave of people taking to two wheels due to the coronavirus crisis, who perhaps don't see themselves as 'cyclists', and our panel of experts is here to help point them in the right direction, and remind them that every single one of us had to start somewhere. 

Our guests Fran Whyte (racer and buyer at VeloVixen), Caz Nicklin (a daily commuter, and the woman behind Cyclechic), Charline Jones (professional racer, commonwealth games silver medalist, and personal trainer at Dynamique Fitness), Dalaney Watkins (commuter-turned-racer, and global PR & marketing manager at ASSOS), and Jenny Box (leisure cyclist and head of behaviour change & development at Cycling UK) joined us for episode one: Starting Cycling.

Each week the show will be hosted by Anna Glowinski (multi discipline cyclist, and TV and radio presenter).

There was a wealth of knowledge on screen, but the real stars of the show were the viewers, who sent in countless comments, stories and questions that helped to shape the show.


Where to start?

One of the most commonly asked questions for people starting out cycling is where to get a bike and how much they should spend.

This is a bit like asking 'how long is a piece of string, Anna?' because everyone is unique, with different reasons for cycling and a range of budgets within reach.

Even experts can start out with any old bike, picked up for next to nothing from a second hand bike workshop - as was the case for Caz, who was inspired after seeing a woman cycle though Battersea Park on a vintage bike, hair and skirts blowing in the breeze. 

There was a general consensus that the most important thing when starting out, is to just get a bike and ride, then decide what you want out of cycling before investing too heavily. We soon discovered we have a very lucky audience, who have acquired free bikes thanks to Lotto wins, magazine competition prizes, and bike donations from generous neighbours. You really wouldn't believe where some people got their first bikes from!

With many cycling kit experts on the panel, we discussed what gear you need when you start to cycle.

There was a clear consensus that the key to starting cycling, is to wear something comfy that you already have in your wardrobe, and just get out riding.

The panel also gave us great tips on what clothing is best for all weather riding, how to correctly fit a helmet, and what padded knickers are on offer. 

Charline surprised us all when she described what she wears on her usual cycle to the shops. The ex-professional cyclist is just as happy riding in everyday clothes as she is decked out in Lycra:

What I'm wearing now! Helmet on, hoodie on, trainers on. That's it. Oh, and a rain jacket in my pocket. I'm in Scotland - you always need a rain jacket!

Other questions which came up varied from 'what are clipless pedals?', 'Will cycling make my legs tired?', and simply, 'why do we like cycling?'. 

To find see what our panel thought, and for some wonderful stories, catch up on the first show on our Facebook page.

Next week

We will be back every Friday with another show for the foreseeable future, and this week, we'll be discussing commuting, with our experts.

You can expect us to delve into topics like route planning, avoiding smelly office clothes, boring bosses (namely ones who don't encourage cycling), and overcoming worries about safety.

Tune in, share your anecdotes and bring your questions - we'll see you on Facebook Live at 1pm, Friday 5 June.

If that's too long a wait, don't forget you can join our female only Women in Cycling Facebook group where you'll find a friendly and helpful cycling community.

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