Newbury Velo on a mission to get women on their bikes
An evening of fancy dress and fun was had by all as a Newbury cycling club set about encouraging women to get on their bikes.
A special ladies night was held by Newbury Velo after it was noticed “nationally, time trialling has seen a dip in numbers this year - particularly for women”.
One of the organisers Rachael Elliott, who is a national record holder in tandem time trialling, said: “We wanted to try and show that time trialling can be a fun thing – and it certainly was fun that evening. You don't need a lot of ‘serious’ kit in order to take part either.
“We got more female riders than we've ever had at an event, with some male riders also joining in the fun.
“Growing female participation in cycling is a primary aim for the club, and we are not just doing this with time trialling.
“This was an evening that was primarily about fun, and times definitely took a back seat - although what splendid times there were.”
Ms Elliott said that riders were encouraged to turn up in fancy dress and they didn't disappoint, with fairies, 80s dancers on the tandem and even a glitterball on a TT bike.
Prizes were given out after the time trial, which took place along the A4.
First place female in fancy dress went to Melanie Sneddon, with first place female rider being Teresa Robbins.
Best dressed fairy was Mireille Cook, with first place junior on a TT bike going to Emma Davies and first place junior on a road bike being awarded to Evie Moran.
First ‘lady’ was Angelina Tucker, while the best dressed and first tandem award went to Beckie Hamilton Unwin and Maisie Hamilton-Unwin.
Caroline Simm was the first placed newcomer, with Rose Metalli the first place female on a mountain bike.
Strongest ride award went to Lucy Cornes and first male was Josh Clark.
“Thank you to the wonderful timekeepers, Glen Knight and Ian Greenstreet, and also to those who produced wonderful cake, Lucy Cornes, Melanie Sneddon and Gemma Davies,” added Ms Elliott.
One of the club’s regular ride leaders, James Avison, has also run a beginner club run ride on a Sunday to help women who didn’t believe they were ‘cycling club material’.
And all their hard work is paying off, as in the past month 14 new members have joined the club, including six women.