It’s International Women’s Day! What better way to celebrate the achievements of aspiring women in our lives by having a little heart to heart with the women who ride on strong against the naysayers and the doubters. Check out what these prominent women cyclists in Singapore have to say.
#1 Lizzie Hodges, Co-Founder of the Women’s Cycling Project
If you are a female cyclist, you would have seen her present at almost every cycling race in Singapore. She is none other than Lizzie Hodges. Lizzie has been actively reaching out to female cyclists in Singapore, to ride together socially or face their fears and enter a race. With the initiation of the Women’s Cycling Project together with Martin Choo, she has provided a platform for ladies to ride together in a safe and friendly environment.
Here’s what Lizzie and Martin have to say about why they started the Women’s Cycling Project:
“1) Not wanting to get dropped: make all rides no drop, have sweepers and even a support van to assist in the event of mechanicals. 2) No one to ride with: build a community. 3) Don’t know how to fix my bike: put on women’s only maintenance workshops. 4) Not confident on the bike: host sessions to build confidence and learn the skills not normally taught. It’s very specifically a women’s only community as we wanted to have community vibe which is its own entity and not in the shadow of a larger group. “
Her efforts were recognised by fellow cyclists when she was nominated as one of the finalists for the Cyclist of The Year Award 2018 .
#2 Shirley Teo, overall female title at the 2017 Gran Fondo New York, Lombok.
Check out what Shirley has to say…
What is your advice to those who are afraid to start cycling?
Best advise I can give any aspiring cyclist is to just get out there and do it – if you are worried about the roads then start on the Park Connectors or the trails, don’t worry too much. Singapore is starting to put together a great infrastructure for cyclists.
The green corridor is a great place to ride on a mountain or hybrid bike plus you have the added advantage of seeing some native wildlife.
I started on the trails which meant when I graduated to the road I already had good handling skills. There are several women-only groups/rides in Singapore which are a great way to start if you’re not 100% confident, Cycosports put on races for beginner women both on and off-road.
What would you say to those who say to you, “you’re so small how can you go faster than me?”
Never give up in keeping up. There are many riders who are faster than me such as all my matadorRACING teammates and that’s life, as long as I am enjoying my riding, that’s the most important 😉
Pacing for long rides is critical, the key for me is building up my endurance slowly for next summer as I will be attempting to become only the second Singaporean woman to complete Paris – Brest – Paris a 1230k race in Northern France which is held every four years.
“The race is a real challenge for me, not only because of the distance but also the cold. I will start training for this race after the summer riding a series of brevets with the Singapore Audax riders which I need to do to qualify me for this race,” said Shirley.
#3 Serene Lee, Singapore’s National Rider and National Champion For Road Cycling in 2018.
Just keep on keeping on! Each ride, try to aim to get a little further with the group. As long as you’re slower than the men, they’ll see that you’re trying.. and still be gentlemen and push you along so that you won’t get dropped. After you start being able to keep pace and/or get as fast as them, they may not be so nice anymore!
“In all seriousness, we ladies are lucky that we’re never short of faster riders to train with. Apart from all these group rides, we also need to do dedicated training on our own in order to improve faster than the rest of the riders – that’s how to keep up eventually yeah?
My best advice is to get a good coach that can help quantify some of the training efforts as personalised training is the most efficient and effective way of enhancing performance.”
#4 Sarah Tan, National Rider
“You should take part in local races as much as you can to see if you enjoy racing on the bike. The national team requires a commitment to training so there must be a certain level of time that you should be willing to put in for training and races.”
If you are already riding with the boys out there, what makes you think you can’t ride with the ladies up there? 😉 You’re strong, and you just have to believe you can.
#5 Joyce, Snail Queen of JoyRiders
Led by the inspirational Snail Queen Joyce, JoyRiders is Singapore’s largest recreational cycling community.
JoyRiders is a cycling group comprising of people from all walks of life who share a passion for cycling.
It’s not just about keeping fit and riding safely together, it’s about the bonds and friendships amassed from the trips and events that deemed this group a priceless gem to Singapore’s cycling community.
While in the midst of donating blood (power woman lah), Joyce managed to share with us some of her advice to other aspiring women cyclists.
Here’s what she has to say:
Money cannot buy health. Being healthy is part of looking good too! I think all women should love themselves by keeping fit. With fitness, we can have a healthier body, enjoy our food without guilt and live an active life! Cycling with JoyRiders for the past 12 years has taken me to different parts of the world that I would not have imagined. Making friends along the way is a bonus. Imagine our life would be so boring if we just do nothing! Come on, ladies let’s roll together for a better life!
Ride together, never leave anyone behind
“With JoyRiders group, we have different levels of pace, so it’s important to ride w people who are your pace so you learn how to draft and ride in a paceline.
Target to ride 3 times a week and record your time to see your own improvement on the same route. Going to the gym to do some leg strengthening work will help too. It’s important to have always had a positive attitude and to never give up!”
We hope these women have inspired you to get you riding your way to success.
Happy International Women’s Day to all the ladies out there! 🙂