BRC Women Share Their Stories

· 9 minutes read


I was a late comer to cycling, not really starting until my mid 40s. I have always been a keen runner, swimmer, mountaineer and skier but cycling was new, I was also keen to try triathlon. My husband first joined Bristol Road Club in 2012 and he genuinely chose this club as locally they had the best looking kit! He kept telling me to come along butI was worried about ‘keeping up with the boys’ and being dropped on the hills.I eventually picked up courage to go along to a club ride in early 2013, I had a great day and was totally hooked after that. Everyone made me feel so welcome, the ride went so quickly chatting to different people and everyone waited at the top of any hills so that we were always riding as a group.

I was also really pleased to see there were several other women on the ride which made me feel much better. It wasn’t long after that first ride that I was regularly joining the Saturday rides on my own as I knew there would be lots of friendly faces and support there. My main reason for wanting to ride with the club was to improve my bike handling skills and fitness to help with my triathlon racing. Well it certainly worked, a year later I was racing my firstIronman and have continued to have more success than I ever thought was possible. I have represented GB in Masters Triathlon, finished 2nd in my age group at Ironman Barcelona, was English and British Middle Distance Champion.Aside from the racing I just love the camaraderie of the club, I have made friends for life and had great adventures both in the UK and on our trips toMallorca. I have also dabbled in TT racing and Cyclocross which was great fun.Recently a group of us have started regular off road gravel bike rides, more great adventures that still involve coffee and cake when possible.


I’d been road cycling for fitness and done a few triathlons before I moved to Bristol. I knew there were cycling clubs but they all looked really serious, male dominated and race dominated.  I’m not so interested in racing but do enjoy triathlons and challenge rides.  I was literally ‘picked up’ by a BRC ride one day by accident, riding out on my own through Long Ashton.  A group scooped me up and a few of the guys said I should join them.  I really wasn’t sure, and was seriously worried about holding them up or getting dropped on a route I didn’t know.  60 miles, a cake stop and trip up Cheddar gorge later I had a big smile on my face.  Everyone was so welcoming.  It was great to ride side by side socially and I definitely rode faster than I normally would.

The fact I know there will always be a 60ish ride going out every Saturday morning has been fantastic training for events like the Marmotte and Maratona.  It meant I covered most of the 112 miles and 5200m ascent of the Marmotte with a big smile on my face.  I was a lot stronger than the friends I’d been riding with on Sundays, and a lot more confident on crowded roads.

Really lovely bunch of girls and guys with so much experience, always ready to help and advise.  It also helps that the kit looks good 😉


Before joining BRC, I was attending the group rides with my triathlon group.However, after taking part in around 10 rides, I was informed that due to the fact I was under 18, I could not keep coming without a parent, and with 3 siblings doing various activities on a Saturday morning, this was not possible. To say the least, I was very disappointed – I was loving cycling and wanted to do more of it, not less. It was at this point that Ali recommended Bristol Road Club to me.

To begin with, I was slightly apprehensive. The details that I found on their website showed that the average speed of club rides was 15mph and that they usually cycled 50-60miles. This was both further and faster than I had ever cycled. Despite this, I decided to give it a go.

The Saturday morning of my first ride, I arrived at Brunel Lock just as the drizzle was starting, looking somewhat like a radioactive lemon in my waterproof, and was warmly greeted by Danny and Brian. We proceeded to cycle to Berkeley and back and, although the rain only got heavier and my legs grew more reluctant to keep on peddling, I had a wonderful time. Everyone was really friendly, they made sure not to leave me behind, and I got to do what I loved: cycling.

I now go every week I can and am gradually getting faster and stronger – I can keep up on some of the little hills, and even when I can’t, everyone waits for me. Every week, there are different people to talk to, and another fabulous ride waiting for us – I already can’t wait for the next one.


Whilst I was at University in Bristol I was looking for a group ride to join on a Saturday, as the University club only met on Sunday morning. I had experience with group riding but I hadn’t done many long distance rides until I moved to Bristol. I heard about Bristol Road Club through a friend who recommended I joined them that weekend for a club ride.

At first I felt a bit intimidated when I turned up and there were around 30 other cyclists waiting at the start, especially asa solo female cyclist, but I was instantly welcomed by the Club Captain. They introduced me to the ride leader so they were aware it was my first time riding with the club. We headed out riding two abreast, with the line rotating every10 minutes so you were always chatting to someone new. There was so much knowledge and experience in the group – I was learning all the tricks to hide from the wind! I got home, absolutely shattered having completed my longest ever ride on my first time with the club. I think I just lay down for the rest of the day but I couldn’t wait for the following weekend to ride with the club again and explore more of the fantastic cycling routes from Bristol.

Over the past 7 years riding with the club I have improved so much more than I would have riding alone, not just in fitness but with bike handling, positioning in a group…even in cycling clothing choice (overshoes and buffs were game changers for me). They have also supported me with my road racing ambitions. Whilst at University I was offered lifts to events, without which I wouldn’t have been able to compete.

My favourite thing about Bristol Road Club is how much knowledge there is on pretty much all cycling disciplines. Although they are a road club, through the club I have been introduced to track cycling, mountain biking, road races, circuit races, time trials and hill climbs. There is also a wealth of experience in triathlon and cyclocross. I would recommendBristol Road Club to anyone – newcomer or experienced cyclist!


I started cycling 10 years ago to do a charity ride.  I went from buying my first road bike to cycling from Bristol over the moors to Lands End in 8 weeks.  I loved it and I was hooked.

I like to explore new roads locally, around theUK and abroad, particularly with cycling friends.  I love plotting new routes, stopping to admire the view, and, of course, enjoying a cafe stop.

I first cycled with BRC in 2016.  I was a bit anxious that I would not be strong enough for the fast group, but Jenny had reassured me.  I was soon a regular, enjoying the new friends to chat to, the beauty of the two abreast group riding, and the extra speed and strength that came from pushing myself not to drop the wheel on hills and keep a good pace on the front.

I have enjoyed theTuesday BRC Friendly Chaingang throughout the summer, helping out and spectating at local races, and making great cycling friends for epic rides- it takes a special kind of friend to ride the festive 500 audax together without any complaints.  Being part of BRC means that I have friends across the Bristol cycling scene – I will always bump into someone I know at a cycling related event, there is a cheer of support if I do a hill climb, and a fabulous Zwift racing and social riding team.


Cycling has always been part of my life (my parents met through the CTC) and it is road cycling which I’ve always been most drawn to. I love the speed and the distance you can cover.

But these are also its main challenges – for years I felt too hesitant to join a club in case I couldn’t keep up with the bunch. Finding out about the monthly BRC female friendly rides gave me the confidence to get in touch with the club. The welcome I subsequently received was warmer than I could ever have expected.

After having a great time on my first women’s ride, I was encouraged to try joining the main club run on a Saturday morning. The first one almost destroyed me, but at the end everyone was insistent I should come back again, and so I did!

I am now a regular on a Saturday morning, and at Tuesday night chaingang too. Since joining I’ve developed considerably, thanks both to the motivation from regular group rides and the generous encouragement of others in the club. I’m able to go further and faster than ever. There are more roads I can now reach to explore, but more importantly I know a great group of people to head there with.

The slipstream is a nice bonus too!