Joining a Club
As the 2017 race season comes to a close and winter approaches, many riders will be taking stock of their year, and thinking about their winter training (or the opportunity to spend a little time getting unfit). Others, who have still yet to pin a race number on, might be looking towards 2018 as the year they take the leap – and one of the best ways to do that (if you haven’t already) is to join a club.
Approaching a club can feel quite daunting. Websites and social media presences will often be dominated by pictures of men, and it can be hard to know if a club is welcoming to women riders, if they have a specific women’s committee member, or if there are other racing women. On the other hand, training and club-rides can be an invaluable place to develop strength and group-riding skills, and mixed environments can be supportive and usefully challenging. Likewise all clubs will incorporate a variety of ages, genders and abilities, and most clubs these days are at least aware of the fact that they should be welcoming and supportive of female riders.
Recently Nicole Oh of Les Filles Queen of the Mountains Racing Team (a ‘team’ being different to a ‘club’, as teams are selective) posted on our Facebook group asking for the best contacts for clubs in London and the SE, as they get lots of applications they can’t accommodate. Nic has very kindly passed on the details she collected so we can collate them here. Many of the offers of contacts were more casual ‘ask me questions I ride for this club and am keen to help out new members’ kind of way, in which case they are just named, so you can chat to them via the LWR facebook page. Others have provided a main email contact, a web link, and some extra info so you can look at what might suit your interests.
(Table best viewed on desktop or tablet)
|Club||Women’s sec/main contact||Contact/website.||Other info|
|London Dynamo||Lillian Gray on the LWR facebook group said she’d be happy to talk more with other LWR members on there.||website|
|Islington CC||Ceci Gath on the LWR facebook group said she’d be happy to talk more with other LWR members on there.||email women’s sec||A big focus on TT’s, and a dedicated women’s inquiry email address.|
|Penge CC||Kate Vergette and Frances Bonikowski on the LWR facebook group said thye’d be happy to talk more with other LWR members on there.|
|Kingston Wheelers||Helen Bridgman is a friendly member on the Facebook group who has said she’d be happy to talk people there.
Chris Hill is the KW membership sec for membership questions.
|Helen says “The link is to the Wheelers’ web site, interested riders can click on the ‘contact us’ link which diverts to Chris Hill, the Membership secretary who will happily answer any queries”|
|VC de Londres (VCL)||Helen Stacey says any interested people can chat to her on facebook, or on twitter @helenstacey||“VC Londres is a club based in South-East London with a track cycling focus. However there are also regular club road rides, and VCL women riding/racing road, cyclocross and others. The club website is here and you can contact the club at via the BC page.”|
|CC London||Ian Watson / Paul Willis / Nick Palmer.
Nick Palmer in particular has said:
|CC London race TTs and crits/road, they have a thriving women’s racing community
“CC London is a cycling club for all. We support all levels of cycling, be it social rides or sending the women’s team to race the Ras na mBan against the pro peloton. The most important thing to us is riding our bikes and having fun.
The best thing to do is come along for a spin and a chat and get a feel for the club. Wednesday morning chat laps [at Regent’s Park, Zoo Gates, 7am] are a great easy introduction to the club. Watto (Ian Watson) is our coach and often around for most sessions.”
|Elite Cycling||Juliet Sprake ays any interested people can chat to her on facebook,||Elite Cycling is a little confusing in terms of the website, as it looks like a solely coaching/turbo session company, but they do have Elite club riders.|
|Finsbury Park CC||Honor Elliott has said people can contact her with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Velociposse||Jess Green has said people can contact her with any questions.||Email velociposse||A club with a track focus currently branching out to road races and crits. Website link and instagram.|
|Brixton CC||Katie Styles has said people can contact her with any questions on facebook, and also via the official club sec.||Email Katie|
|Twickenham CC||Chrissy Harris has said you can ask for her directly.||Email the club||One of the best clubs in terms of supporting their women racers, TCC came 7th in the Women’s Team Series this year, and have dedicated support, free kit for 2nd cats, and entries paid for Women’s Team Series and National Series races, plus some accommodation expenses.
They are friendly, have a variety of club and social rides, and are keen to support new racers to continue building on their pool of talent. Crissy and Lisa are two very friendly women’s team managers/supporters, and Chrissy says that you can contact her directly. Or the club in general.
They also have a specific women’s racing info page, and feature women on their website! And Lisa organises one of the best attended women’s road races on the calendar: The Dave Peck Memorial race.
|Dulwich Paragon||Beth Hodge – you can also tweet the dedicated women’s Dulwich Paragon twitter account: https://twitter.com/Paragonette||Email Beth||Our outgoing LWR co-founder and chair Beth Bryn Hodge is the women’s sec for Dulwich Paragon, who have an incredibly supportive women’s community as part of one of the biggest clubs in London. With a dedicated page on women’s racing, women-only social and training rides, and two levels of racing support (for those starting out and those cat 2 and above), Dulwich are a great choice for a club if you’re a woman interested in racing.|
|London Phoenix||Tamala McGee has said people can contact her with any questions on facebook.||Website|
|Pearson Cycles||Allyson Fenlon has said people can contact her with any questions on facebook.||Website|
|Brighton Mitre||Alison Lewis is happy to answer any questions on facebook or over email, and is the club’s women’s sec.||Email Alison||Website|
|Verulam||Elizabeth McKie Fenlon has said people can contact her with any questions on facebook.||Website|
|Kent Velo Girls||Kary Greer is happy to chat to people on facebook and over email||Email Kary||kentvelogirls was founded by women in 2008 “Our philosophy is “motivation gets you started and habit keeps you going”. KVG are here to help you every step of the way. We have an induction process that helps you to choose the right level of ride for your first sessions with the club and there are rides for a range of abilities from Easy to Advanced.”|
LWR in part exists because of the support of local clubs, and belonging to any of the affiliated LWR clubs means that membership of the league is free, so at the very least it could save you a few quid! And most likely you make a whole raft of new friends, gain lots of experience, and find a community in which to develop your skills and ambitions…
If you want to add your club to the list, please email Hannah with a link, email contact, and if you want a bit of copy, that too, and she’ll add your details (or forward it to the new social media sec to do so). Everyone who’s linked here via direct means (email) responded to say they were happy to be listed in this manner, those who declined or didn’t respond are listed by name only.