Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Long and Triumphant History of Women in Cycling

From Streetsblog:

The Long and Triumphant History of Women in Cycling

by Angie Schmitt on January 27, 2011

The scene was America in the midst of a cycling craze. Cycling conventions were affecting the way people dressed and spoke. Enthusiasts were banding together to lobby for better road conditions.

Sound familiar? It was against this background in late 1800s and the early 1900s that the Women’s Suffrage Movement took hold.

The two phenomena were not entirely distinct. Women were enthusiastic participants in the cycling boom, trading petticoats for riding costumes and racing competitively. It was part of the impetus that led them to demand other types of independence, according to the book “Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom,” by Sue Macy.

Network blog Cycle and Style helps explain the importance of cycling to the Women’s Movement in its review of Macy’s book:

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a leader in the women’s movement wrote in an 1895 article for the American Wheelman, that “the bicycle will inspire women with more courage, self-respect, self-reliance….” It was a prophetic statement as women, who were leaving their homes (unchaperoned!) to socialize and cycle on country roads and in parks and becoming more involved in public life. Young women were gaining more freedoms and with that came confidence and a feeling of empowerment as the Victorian era drew to a close.

Susan B. Anthony also famously commented on the importance of cycling for women:

I think it has done a great deal to emancipate women. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel. It gives her a feeling of freedom, self-reliance and independence. The moment she takes her seat she knows she can’t get into harm while she is on her bicycle, and away she goes, the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood…

Remarkable how relevant those words are even today, where women continue to play an important and unique role in the cycling movement. I like to think that these pioneering women would be proud of the brave and strong women who are helping advance the cycling cause today.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Kit orders are not restricted to current club members, so if you're thinking about joining up this year, here's your chance to get one for yourself or someone else. Details on the apparel page.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Looking for some motivation? How about a Brevet?

Introduction to Brevets

by Coach John Hughes

Trashed, I leaned by bike against the wall, crawled on my hands and knees up three flights of stairs in my hotel in Paris, and collapsed on the bed in sweaty, muddy riding clothes.  I had just finished riding the 1,200 km (750 miles) Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) in 78 hours, 25 minutes -- including off-the-bike time.

What an experience! Riding through the French countryside with cyclists from many nations and learning the etiquette of European club pace lines was unforgettable.

The sport of randonneuring includes events ranging from about 100 km (62 miles) to over 1,200 km.  The term comes from the French word randonnee, meaning to ramble on foot, skis or bike. Randonneuring clubs, which exist on every continent except Antarctica, offer "populaires" (popular rides) of about 100 km and "brevets" of 200 (124 miles), 300 (186 miles), 400 (248 miles) and 600 km (372 miles).

Brevets take place on specific courses, and riders carry cards that must be signed at designated controls.  A 200 km brevet, for example, might have two or three controls.  Brevets must be ridden averaging at least 15 km/h (9 mph), including all off-the-bike time:

Brevet     Time limit
200 km    13 hours 30 minutes
300 km    20 hours
400 km    27 hours
600 km    40 hours
Brevets are non-competitive. A rider who finishes a 200 in 13 hours receives the same recognition as a rider who races through in under 7 hours. (And the 13-hour finisher probably has more fun talking with other riders, eating lunch in a cafe, admiring the scenery and perhaps taking a few photos.)

Randonneurs, coordinates brevets of all lengths in the United States and offers the R-12 award for riders who complete (at least) a 200 km brevet every month for 12 consecutive months. Many riders enjoy this challenge.

Riders who complete brevets of all four lengths in one season earn the Super Randonneur award; many make this their season's goal.  When a randonneur completes the four brevets, the rider also qualifies to participate in a grand randonnee of 1,200 km or more.

PBP is held every four years. The next one is this August and will have over 5,000 participants. In addition to PBP, every year four or five rides of 1,000 kms and 1,200 kms and longer are offered in North America, as well as AustraliaJapan, and elsewhere in Europe. Riders must finish a 1,000 within 75 hours and a 1,200 within 90 hours, including all off-the-bike time.

When I first learned about PBP, I loved riding centuries and touring on my bike. PBP, first organized in 1891 as a professional race, is now restricted to amateurs, most of whom ride it as a self-sufficient high-speed tour -- a perfect fit for my interests.

With better preparation, I learned to ride 1,200s and have fun, too! My rides ranged from finishing Boston-Montreal-Boston in 52:35 (then the course record) to touring the Canadian Rockies in 72:38 with time for camaraderie, meals, many photos and 4-5 hours of sleep every night!

If you enjoy centuries and/or touring, then riding brevets might be your next fun adventure on the bike.

A complete list of international randonneuring clubs is on the website of Les Randonneurs

(Coach John Hughes lives and coaches in Boulder, Colorado, where he served for 12 years as Managing Director of the UltraMarathon Cycling Association and editor of UltraCycling magazine. He has ridden solo RAAM twice and is a 5-time finisher of Paris-Brest-Paris. Coach Hughes is the author of 2 RBRpublications:

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's all about following a schedule and being organized

Just wanted to draw  your attention to this post from Jenn Reither, a pro racer on Team Vanderkitten, who writes about how she fits in a full time day job with her training. Just goes to there's almost always a way if there's the will.  :)

Speaking of training, get over to the shop on Monday nights (6pm) and Saturday mornings at 8 for the  trainer sessions.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snowy Commute Home

I got a helmet cam! Time lapse photography with a photo every 5 seconds made for a nice documenting of my commute home on a snowy January evening. I love how the shutter stays open longer as it gets dark. Music by Snowblink.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Multi-talented Women of Sheclismo

So, we have this KC Sprints event coming up on January 15th. Have you RSVP'd yet?

Because we have such a multi-talented crew of women on our team, we were able to harness both the drawing & illustration skills AND the papermaking skills of Kimberly Brown, who donated her talent and time (on Christmas Eve, no less) to make paper for our limited edition run of posters. On beautiful pale-blue handmade paper from Porridge Papers, they're being printed by Screen Ink -- thanks to Jesse Petersen for the layout -- and will be available for sale at the event.

Kim rolls out the pulp barrel.

Kim teaches Liz how to inspect a laid out sheet.

After pressing out the extra water, Kim explains loading up the sheets into the drying rack to Kat, Liz, and Elisabeth.

(Poster print will be in black ink only.)