With women's cycling, although growing, making up 21% of the Cycling Ireland membership, the aim of the Women's Commission is two fold. On one hand there is the need to get more women involved in cycling, to open up the sport to more women, and on the other hand they are charged with developing and progressing the road racing scene.
The main events on the women's road racing calendar are:
An Post Rás na mBan - an International women's stage race that traditionally takes place in September.
Women's National Leagues - A league that is held nationwide, linked to open races. Riders are awarded points for their finishing positions in these leagues, with winners for both the individual races, and the overall. The winner of the league gets the Ann Behan Trophy at the end of the season.
Beginner Leagues - there are several beginner leagues that take place around the country, although to date most have been located in the East. The original beginners league was the Boot Inn League, which was established in 2001 to provide women with the opportunity of racing against each other. Beginners leagues grade the rider based on their strength and experience, and the races are run in a handicapped system, with the less experienced groups getting a head start on the more experienced riders. This leads to exciting racing, where everyone has a chance to win. The Women's Commission are always open to clubs and individuals who want to run these leagues around the country.
Ulster Women's League This is like a mix between the Women's National League and the beginners league, held in conjunction with various open races in Ulster.
Women's National Championships - these take place at the end of June every year, at the same time as the National Championships of other nations. There are UCI points awarded to the top placed riders in the National Championships. They are the main event on the women's calendar, insofar as it is the only opportunity for all riders to compete against each other, from the beginner to the high performance rider.
For more information on women's cycling check out the Womens Website
PODCAST From Newstalk Global Village, with Heather Boyle of Cycling Ireland speaking about women's cycling:
(skip to 50min)
Conference on Women's Cycling with the Dublin Cycling Campaign, Heather Boyle speaking about women's cycling in Cycling Ireland:
More information on Bike for Life below:
What is Bike for Life
A Bike for Life is a beginner's cycling programme, in which a cyclist is brought through the various skills and techniques involved in cycling over an 8-10 week period. The focus of the programme is on learning and meeting new people, with the group cycle a prominent feature in the programme.
What do I learn in Bike for Life?
In Bike for Life, you will learn a variety of skills related to cycling. The basic content can be seen below, with the level of learning depending on the start point of the rider.
1. Preparing for a Bike Ride: What to wear, what to bring.
2. Riding safely on the road: Basic road skills, advanced road skills, riding in the dark.
3. Riding as a group: Riding in pairs, riding as a group, group riding etiquette.
4. Using shared facilities: Riding in low volume traffic, riding in higher volume traffic.
5. Bike handling skills: Basic bike handling skills, advanced bike handling skills.
6. Nutrition & Hydration: Basic requirements, requirements for a cyclist.
7. Bike repair & maintenance: Basic bike maintenance.
8. Training for your cycling goals: Getting started, going further and cycling challenges
How much does it cost?
A The cost to do a Bike for Life Programme is €30 per person. This includes coaching, a training logbook and Bike for Life cycling buff as well as full Cycling Ireland insurance for the duration of the programme.
What are the three levels in Bike for Life?
A The three levels in Bike for Life are as follows:
Level One: A level one cyclist is someone who has a bike and wants to use it more. They may have bought it on the Bike to Work scheme, but are a bit rusty in terms of their cycling skills. It is someone who might be using cycling for rehabilitation from an injury or illness, or someone who is nervous cycling on the road, and wants to learn the basic skills. The focus in this group is on building confidence and competence, and introducing the concept of group cycles.
Level Two: A level two cyclist is someone who has reasonable fitness, and already uses the bike for commuting or leisure. They may already be able to cycle or exercise for up to an hour, but want to take cycling a little bit more seriously. This cyclist will be interested in building up their ability to cycle for two hours, or do a middle distance cycling challenge (eg. 50km or 60km).
Level Three: A level three cyclist has already a good level of fitness, and perhaps wants to transfer their fitness to a new sport. They are interested in increasing their cycling knowledge and fitness, and the skills will be focused on competency in groups and skills at a faster pace (for example descending in a group, or taking a drink at pace). This cyclist will be interested in doing some of the longer distance cycling challenges (eg 100km - 150km), or interested in racing.
How does Bike for Life work?
A Bike for Life is delivered by trained leaders who are located around the country. These leaders complete a one day training course which then allows them run the programme in their locality. You can find a list of all the leaders HERE. If you are interested in becoming a Bike for Life leader you can email email@example.com for more information.
To take part in a Bike for Life programme you can contact a leader in your area to find out when they are running their next course.
How do I know what Level I am?
A At registration the Bike for Life Leader will give you a questionnaire to complete, which will establish what level you are at.
Bike for Life is designed in a matrix format, so while you may be a Level Three in terms of fitness, you may be Level One in terms of skills, the Bike for Life Leader will design the training programme according to where your start level of skill and ability is.
I have completed Bike for Life, what next?
A Once you have completed Bike for Life you can either progress to the next level in the programme, or you can join a Cycling Ireland club, if you are not already in one.
Bike for Life is designed so that it can function as a pathway into the sport, while also giving the Cycling Ireland clubs a tangible programme that they can use to help develop the riders in their clubs.
If you really enjoyed the programme, you might be interested in becoming a Bike for Life Leader, so that you can pass on your knowledge and enthusiasm to other people, If you are interested in becoming a coach, and a Bike for Life Leader, just register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Why become a Bike for Life leader?
A Are you passionate about getting more people cycling? Do you like the idea of helping others become more confident on their bikes? Are you patient and positive? Why not become a Bike for Life leader?
As well as the enjoyment of helping others to start or get more from cycling, each Bike for Life leader receives training from a Cycling Ireland certified tutor, programme training guide and log book for each person on their programme. Bike for Life leaders also receive funding to cover costs of running the programme.
How do I become a Bike for Life Leader?
A To become a Bike for Life leader you must complete a one day Ride Leader training course. This qualifies you to facilitate led rides for groups of cyclists. It will also allow you to run a Bike for Life programme at Level 1.The Ride Leader assessed course costs €50. Email email@example.com for more details.
To run Bike for Life at Levels 2 or above you must also hold a minimum Foundation Level Cycling Ireland coaching qualification. For more details on our coaching qualifications click HERE