Angela before the off – Image ©Mel MacRae
Over 600, (Wowee!) turned up at Scone Palace today in pouring rain and howling gales for Scotland’s only Cycletta sportive. It was an impressive sight!. After doing the Applecross Duathlon yesterday I didn’t think my legs would manage but my hardy pal, Angela, had headed down from Inverness for the day’s event and convinced me that it would be a good idea so I got my stuff together!
…and we’re off! – Image ©Mel Macrae
We turned up to Scone Palace in the morning to a throng of cyclists getting ready for the off. After getting our bikes sorted; labelled with our numbers and stickers for the timing chip, we headed down to the start line. We were grouped in bunches of around 20 and given a safety briefing for the day. Then we were off, pedaling out of Scone Palace grounds to start our Cycletta adventure.
There was a lot of familiar faces which was great to see. Within the first few miles I spotted fellow cycle coach Kirsteen Torrance, working with a group of girls on some ‘on through and off’ technique. Group riding is such a great experience and with practice can save you so much energy.
We bumped into Debbie (not literally), from Perth Road Runners. She won a place after entering a competition through the local radio station, Tay FM. She had looked at Cycletta’s website before but was trying to decide between it and the Stirling 10k. Winning the competition made the decision for her.
Cycling on a bit more we came across the girls from the Glasgow Green Cycle Club, a cycle club which this time last year had only 3 female members. Today there must have been at least 10 working together in a team to push on up the road.
Glasgow Green Cycle Club Ladies – Image ©Mel MacRae
Things have really taken off for them this year. Amongst them was another cycling coach Elizabeth O’Donnell, we managed a quick catch up about the club and what she has been up to recently before heading on up the road into the rain. Also out were some of the ladies from my favourite club, the East Sutherland Wheelers. They now have over 100 female members in one of the most northerly cycle clubs in the UK.
Blowing us in the right direction
It was cold and wet that’s true but once we had warmed up it didn’t really matter at all. The wind was strong but this also had the advantage of giving us a nice tailwind for some parts of the ride which we most definitely took advantage of. We stopped briefly to refill the water bottles and devour a
East Sutherland Wheelers Ladies – Image ©Mel MacRae
couple of jelly babies at one of the well-stocked food stops provided for us along the way.
This was Angela’s first cycle event. She got into cycling when she took on the Barra to Butt challenge to raise money for a Zambian charity some years ago. Earlier this year, Angela took part in some women’s specific cycle coaching sessions run by East Sutherland Wheelers. She enjoyed the sessions so much she went out and bought herself a nice new road bike. Since then, she has been on her bike getting addicted to Strava and training to tackle the Bealach climb in Wester Ross, which showed today, with her classy climbing up the Gallowhill ..twice!
Sprint for the finish
63km later we were back at Scone palace and had enough in our legs to manage a sprint over the line. There was a good buzz at the finish line and everyone we spoke to said they had really enjoyed it and were already talking about registering for next year. There was massage available for tired muscles, hot food to warm us up and cool women’s cycle wear for sale too! The event was well marshaled and had a really friendly atmosphere and for me, it was fantastic to be cycling with 600 ladies on the roads around Perth. This Cycletta demonstrated the popularity and strength of women’s cycling in Scotland today… very exciting!
Cycletta Aims to Help Get One Million Ladies on their Bikes by 2020
– Victoria Pendleton CBE hoping to see lots more ladies taking up cycling as a way of staying fit and having fun.
– 56% of all Cycletta participants were taking part in a cycling event for the first time
– 96% of participants, who weren’t already regular cyclists, said that they had been inspired to cycle more regularly in the future.
Cycletta, the UK’s leading series of women only bike rides, is showing its support to British Cycling’s plans to get one million women cycling by 2020.
Victoria Pendleton CBE launched the 2013 Cycletta series last week. Following the success of last year’s events which saw thousands of women across the UK take to their bikes, Cycletta 2013 is coming to even more stunning locations, including visits to Scotland and Wales for the first time, as well as a new Surrey location.
During the 2012 series, 56% of all Cycletta participants were taking part in a cycling event for the first time and an impressive 96% of participants, who weren’t already regular cyclists, said that they had been inspired to cycle more regularly in the future. It is results such as these that show how Cycletta has been effective in partnering British Cycling and the Breeze Network in their initiative to increase participation of female cyclists.
Cycletta 2013 is open to women of all ages and abilities, where distances include the Classic route (40 km) and Challenge (52-82km). With the Olympics inspiring a wave of new cyclists series organisers, Human Race, have added a shorter 20km distance at all venues, continuing to develop the core motivation behind Cycletta and make cycling participation accessible for as many women as possible.
Cycletta ambassador, Victoria Pendleton will be aiming to take part in as many of the events as she can, and encourages women everywhere to give the events a go. She said: “Cycletta has been encouraging women to get on their bikes since 2011. The fact that the series has grown from two events to seven over the last few years proves that more and more ladies are taking up cycling.”
She continued: “Last year just over half of all Cycletta participants were taking part in a cycling event for the first time and with the addition of the new shorter 20km routes this year, we are hoping to see lots more ladies taking up cycling as a way of staying fit and having fun.”
This year, girls aged between 12 and 16 years can also take part when accompanied by an adult, with the organisers hoping Cycletta will inspire the next generation of Victoria Pendletons and offer the opportunity for mums and daughters to take part in events together.
For the younger children, all events (with the exception of Brighton and Cycletta at Wiggle Dragon Ride) will host a Scootathlon taking place on the same day. The Scootathlon is a fun mini triathlon for children between the ages of 4 and 8 where they scoot, bike and run. Girls and boys will race together in various age categories for the title of Scootathlon champion.
Each Cycletta will take place in stunning surroundings, on safe well-managed roads and with loads of fun for all the family. Each event will feature all the unique touches that made the 2012 events so popular. A pop up spa by Unlisted, London’s leading authority in beauty, fitness and wellbeing, will be offering all Cycletta participants post-ride spa treatments to ensure that riders relax, rejuvenate and revive within the Unlisted oasis.
Ian Lulham, Cycling Events Programme Manager for Cycletta’s Official Charity Partner Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “We want as many ladies as possible to take to two wheels, get outdoors in the great British countryside and take part in Cycletta for Macmillan in 2013. Not only will you have a great day out, but you’ll be helping us on our way to raising much needed funds to help support people affected by cancer, every step of the way.”
The Cycletta website offers a host of information on training, on-the-day advice and bike maintenance. Also keep an eye on the Cycletta blog, Twitter (@cycletta) and http://www.facebook.com/cycletta to stay up-to-date with the latest news and developments. Cycletta is part of the Human Race Women Only series which includes triathlon, swimming, running and cycling events. To find out more go to: http://www.humanrace.co.uk
See below for all Cycletta events and visit http://www.cycletta.co.uk to book your place.
Cycletta Cheshire: 12th May, Tatton Park
Cycletta at the Wiggle Dragon Ride: 9th June, Margam Park, South Wales
Cycletta Bedfordshire: 30th June, Woburn Abbey
Cycletta Surrey: 7th July, Loseley Park
Cycletta Scotland: 15th September, Scone Palace, Perth
Cycletta Brighton: 29th September, Plumpton Racecourse
Cycletta New Forest: 13th October, Beaulieu