Joining a cycling club can build community and confidence

The UK’s 8 best cycling groups for women

© Velociposse

Riding with other women can seriously build up community and confidence on two-wheels. Jess May, team captain of Velociposse, reveals the best female cycling groups in the land.

Riding bikes is fun as heck, so it’s a bummer that women are reporting it's difficult to get involved in cycling due to safety concerns, street harassment, and other intimidation. Which is where clubs can come in: riding with other women has proven to improve confidence, build community, and benefit motivation (peer pressure will be welcomed on a cold morning ride following a pub night).

Helpfully, the UK is represented by a number of inclusion-centered, and female-specific cycling groups that means we can all join in on the fun. Here are the ones you'll want to be joining.

1. Velociposse, London

In 1967, when Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon, critics told her that her uterus would collapse if she ran too much. Is this the sort of story that lights fire in your belly? Our velodrome-based team is built on this attitude. Now, I’m biased, but with subsidised women’s track time, race training, social rides, and weekly roller sessions, they have a lot to offer to new and experienced women cyclists.

2. Team Glow, Manchester

Team Glow are a women’s cycling social network with over 100 subscribed members, and they host an eye-wateringly long list of bike-centric socials. If you want to put your mettle to the test, hit up their active Facebook community, specifically if you’re into touring, looking at building confidence, or getting into the sport for fitness and recreational purposes.

3. Kent Velo Girls, Kent

15 rides a week. Just let that soak in. Fifteen! If you are in Kent it would be outrageous if you haven’t seen this sugary pink kit flying around town in droves. The level of Kent Velo Girls’ rides is a bit more advanced than simply easy social rides, and they do require a road bike and some skills, but if you have those two prerequisites the quality, variation and pace of their calendar is hella lush.

4. Rapha CC, Various

As luxe as cycling clubs get, Rapha women’s events and social rides (like the super fun Women’s 100) feel like a well-oiled, and miraculously clean machine. You'll feel a bit like you're in an advert. The rides are slick, fast, and, of course, always really excellently documented. Come check it out if you’re into long, pacey rides, and are keen to get even faster.

5. Isis Cycling, Oxford

A good starter club for novices
A good starter club for novices

Isis are up there with the most approachable and welcoming cycling club in Oxford. This is the club perfect for someone who hasn’t cycled in a long time, or hardly at all. And if you already happen to be experienced in the saddle, and want to help introduce your sister, aunt, mum, or other woman in your life out on the bike, this is a great place to start with shorter, regular social rides.

6. Belles on Bikes, Scotland

Belles on Bikes is less a group, and more a group of groups for women across Scotland. Belles has an impressively expansive network of social rides of all different types and areas, including the hilly terrain of the north where the landscape is stunning. The vibes are welcoming, social, and friendly.

7. Hackney CC, London

Hackney CC is a pretty traditional cycling club with British Cycling affiliation, race support, road-rides, and open club days. They do great work in the women/girls and youth scene, so if you are a young woman with keen interest in bikes, or you have a one in your life, this is a great place to explore. They also do a really sick jumble sale at their club days, which, if nothing else, is great for garish vintage kit.

8. Brixton BMX, London

If you’ve got about 10,000 times more guts, mental stamina, and rock-hard abs than I do, then you should give Brixton BMX your full attention. With three-time UCI World Champ Shanaze Reade as their club patron and among other female representation on their committee, you know your fragile bones will be in good hands.