Group a boost to female cycling
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Over the years, competitive cyclist Sylvie D'Aoust has ridden in a lot of bike clubs with a lot of guys, and she's always found that women have a supportive attitude instead of a competitive one.
That's why the Cyclefit spinning studio owner put together Ottawa's first female-only bike club - to encourage women to get involved with cycling in a fun and supportive environment.
Now in its second year, D'Aoust said that the benefits of Cyclefit Chicks have really become clear.
"This is a great place for a lot of those solo riders out there to come together and meet other female cyclists, network, build friendships and gain important cycling partners - women feel a lot more comfortable when they're with a bunch of other women who are there for the same reasons as them."
The 52 Cyclefit Chicks club members meet every Monday night in Gatineau Park for group cycling and skill-building, as well as some good old socializing.
"For the women who are just beginners especially, building those social relationships with other cyclists is just as important as building all these new skills," said D'Aoust.
While some of the hills and turns that the Chicks ride and practice on are quite difficult, D'Aoust said that there are just as many beginner cyclists in the club as advanced ones.
"Even if they're not training to be competitive cyclists, it's just about taking the opportunity to put yourself out there with your bike and learn without being intimidated," she said.