The launch of the Wo(men) Who Cycle But Not In A Club Club

Post by Nicole of Bikethoughtsfromabroad

OK, no more (tongue-in-cheek) comments about cycling flouro people (crazy or otherwise).

This week….a call to arms, well…bikes.  After speaking to loads of friends and acquaintances who also happen to cycle, a few of us thought that we had something in common.  I love to ride my bike, whenever I can, and wherever the mood takes me.  But I don’t often have the time, or the inclination, to join 40 or so other cyclists in club kit at 7.30 in the morning to ride around the Surrey or Sussex hills, to be back in the family fold by 12 after having knocked out 50 miles. Sometimes, it just doesn’t fit in with what I want to do.  

How it should work

I’d prefer it if things kicked off about 11.30 and we rode around aimlessly for a bit, stopped for a coffee and a cake (this is the crucial part) and rode around a bit more until we got bored and all went our separate ways.   Or we met up for a bite to eat and then rode around a bit until we felt less guilty about the lunch and could slope off home.  

I wouldn’t be posting my embarrassing and humiliating Garmin results up on the club website because there wouldn’t be one and if I did, and there was, I’d be banned from the next ride!   It would just be a more leisurely environment in which to do some cycling and at the moment, cycling clubs don’t really cater for that.

To that end, I’m proposing a Wo(men) Who Cycle But Not In A Club Club, the inaugural meeting of which will be February 17th at 7pm at Look Mum No Hands. I’m hoping to organise a first Saturday in the month casual all-comers ride alternating in and around London and Sussex, of about 2-3 hours duration, to be prefaced by lunch or interrupted by a coffee and cake stop or indeed both!  

I’d also like to include some tougher challenges, the first of which will be this:
Women Only Sportive – 100km on 8 May 2011

It’s Women only because it’s the first of it’s kind and there are already a gazillion sportives out there for all.  I know some people object to having to pay to enter events and having to raise sponsorship and you are one of those, then feel free to click off now, but I’ve already got a small group together to do some training rides so we can co-ordinate those on the 17th February.

Anybody with any other plans for sportives or other rides, please add your suggestions at the meet up or below.

If anybody would like to join this select crew for some rides of a non-epic quality, then let us know if you’re going to pitch up by commenting below. Or just comment anyway.

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72 Responses to The launch of the Wo(men) Who Cycle But Not In A Club Club

  1. emma 01/02/2011 at 11:17 am #

    Hey – I love this idea, I also love to ride around all day but I’m not into early starts and don’t particularly care about the challenge of a Big Hill. I’m out of the country on Feb 19 but I’ll definitely join in when there’s one happening on a weekend when I’m not out of town, March 5 looks as though it could work. Can we stop at the pub too please?

    • Nicole 01/02/2011 at 9:23 pm #

      Pub stops almost obligatory, hills optional. I’ll keep you updated on my blog, but note the change of date of the inaugural meeting. I got it wrong. It’s the 17th, not the 19th February.

  2. Samantha 01/02/2011 at 1:00 pm #

    Great idea Nicole! Dottie from started a similar event here in Chicago about three months ago and it’s been quite fun. We’ve done some brunches but she is talking about expanding to a happy hour. She picks a location and we all meet there, though people have arranged to ride in together from different neighborhoods to wherever the brunch location is going to be – a nice way to make new friends. Then we ride somewhere afterwords. Here’s a post about our December brunch –

    Have a great time!

    • Nicole 01/02/2011 at 9:25 pm #

      Hi Samantha

      I’ve read about your biking lunches, on LGRAB and DingDingLR. Mutual blog respect, especially the jeggings post from the other day. Great article.

      • Samantha 02/02/2011 at 3:04 pm #

        Thanks for the nice words Nicole. Looks like you’re going to have quite the fun event! Can’t wait to hear about it and see some pictures!

  3. Iain 01/02/2011 at 2:02 pm #

    The last chat I had with someone from the local cycling club, she said they have the racing types who go of Alp-climbing, while another group meander off on a 30-40 mile trip taking in somewhere for cake. I’m still getting my fitness back so haven’t joined them for a ride yet so can’t say more.

    Be good to meet others from here, heck, being in Surrey I;m a reasonable bike ride from both London and Sussex, it’d be nice to discover new routes as I tend to stick to a regular route when out on the bike trying to avoid the busier roads, but I’m sure there’s lots of nice scenery and quiet roads that I’ve yet to find.

  4. Adam Edwards 01/02/2011 at 2:14 pm #

    If you are out in Hertfordshire, do please checkout our rides when we post them as ours are aimed at famililes and we go nice and slowly.


  5. Spinderella rockerfeller 01/02/2011 at 8:05 pm #

    Nicole, this is a brill idea. No dress code, steep hills or anything and I’m in.

    • Nicole 01/02/2011 at 9:28 pm #

      Thanks Adam. WH is too far for me but I hope others might take you up on some rides.

    • Nicole 01/02/2011 at 9:33 pm #

      No dress code, no bike stipulations (apart from having one, obv), hills optional. See you on the 17th.

  6. Kath 01/02/2011 at 10:06 pm #

    Optional hills and obligatory pub stops sounds perfect!! I can’t make the 17th but am definitely interested in weekend rides.

  7. becksldrt 02/02/2011 at 7:46 am #

    love this idea – will try to make 17th!

    • Nicole 03/02/2011 at 8:39 pm #


      I am LOVING your new blog ‘’. Genius idea to leave a card too. I love it when people like my bikes. It really cheers me up and it’s great to see lots of good shots. I’ve loads but never thought of just sticking them up for people to see. Brilliant.

      Hope to meet you on the 17th.

  8. Cafewanda 02/02/2011 at 11:55 am #

    Excellent idea (especially the food part). I’ll attend the meeting.

  9. Hannah 02/02/2011 at 1:56 pm #

    Hi Nicole,

    This sounds a great idea – I love riding my bike, but find the idea rocking up to a generic club filled with the usual lycra-clad speed demons a bit daunting, I would love to get involved in your WWCBNIACC!!

    So is the 17th just a get-together to discuss some ideas and get the ball rolling? If so, I’ll pop it in my diary, and to show my enthusiasm, I’ll whack the first Saturday in March in as a potential ride date too 🙂


  10. Nicole 02/02/2011 at 6:41 pm #

    The first meeting is to knock the ideas around, pick some routes and get a feel for how many are interested. The first Saturday in the month is a memorable date and Saturdays seem more do-able and sociable than Sundays. My aim is to have some London rides and some countryside rides, but not the usual raid on Box Hill. More like finding a nice place for lunch, and then either riding to it or from it, not 50 miles but a nice ride. Once a month seems like a nice aim, not too arduous for full-on commitment but just often enough to be interesting.

    All comers, all bikes, all clothing. You can come in hi-vis or stealth, in a dress (not you
    Andreas) or full on Lycra!

    All welcome. This is Wo(men) not Women. Just cycling.

  11. Sarah 03/02/2011 at 4:38 pm #

    Brilliant idea! See you on the 17th !

  12. Maria 04/02/2011 at 10:28 am #

    My sentiments exactly, why does it all have to be competitive? Why not for fun and exercise and for the love of cake of course!

  13. Anna 04/02/2011 at 10:45 am #

    YES YES YES!!! AWESOME! whoops sorry, slightly over excited now 🙂 What about doing a British Version of the LGRAB


  14. Alina 04/02/2011 at 10:53 am #

    This sounds brilliant. I would love to be involved. I am not in London on the 17th but please keep me posted/let me know how I can find out about future rides.

  15. Soph 04/02/2011 at 11:03 am #

    Keep updates on how it goes on the website pretty please…can’t make the 1st one but would def be interested going forwards 🙂

  16. Dawn S 04/02/2011 at 11:19 am #

    Sounds like a great idea. I shall endeavour to come along on 17th.

  17. Jim Campbell 04/02/2011 at 11:43 am #

    Hi Great idea, my present cycling gang too keen to do steepest,busiest hills available.
    Where exactly is the meeting place on the 17th?

    • Nicole 04/02/2011 at 7:47 pm #


      Click on the link to Look Mum No Hands. It’s on Old Street.

  18. RSK 04/02/2011 at 11:50 am #

    Sounds great, I wish there was one men were allowed to go to as well.

    • Nicole 04/02/2011 at 7:45 pm #


      All welcome. It’s not just for women. Hope to see you on the 17th

  19. Cara 04/02/2011 at 12:08 pm #

    I’ve actually just been thinking of setting up a similar club through so this sounds great!! My plan was to plan a monthly cycle ride each month near London (there’s a book of London cycle rides that I was going to get inspiration from). I was hoping to find a group of girls who are confident riders in London so won’t be going at a complete amble, but at the same time aren’t training for a cycle ride to Paris (and the cakes definitely sound like a plan). I’d be more than happy to help with organisation or anything else so just say the word!

    • Nicole 05/02/2011 at 11:12 am #

      Would love to have some input from whomever would like to assist. Cars, you’ve hit the nail on the head: cycling at more than an amble with other confident cyclists but not ‘training’ as it were.

      If we have a first Sat in the month ride, I won’t always be there to lead it, although I hope to be. Depending on how many we are, we may have to split and so group leaders, in the very loosest sense, would be very welcome.

      All up for discussion on the 17th.

      • Nicole 05/02/2011 at 11:14 am #

        Cara, sorry. Must check spelling…

  20. Jess 04/02/2011 at 1:48 pm #

    Yeah sounds great! I’ve been looking at CTC rides but the idea of getting up at 7am on a weekend is very offputting. See you on the 17th!

  21. Fran 04/02/2011 at 3:05 pm #

    Just what I was thinking about! I wanted to meet up with a group but the other type all seem to be men and too competitive! Love to come on the 17th. Minus bike tho. Too far, dark & scary to ride back to SE London.

  22. Zoe 04/02/2011 at 5:43 pm #

    This sounds wonderful! I love the idea of leisurely paced cycling amongst like minded women (and men) with the compulsory ‘cake stop’ along the way. I’m quite new to london cycling and abit timid when it comes to joining ‘clubs’. This would be a great way to learn my way around in a friendly non-intimidating group.

    Won’t be around for the 17th but definately interested in saturday mid-morn meets 🙂

    Keep us posted!x

  23. David 04/02/2011 at 6:26 pm #

    is this just for women or not? I love a slow bike ride (and I’m male) but the CTC ones all start at far too early o’clock in the mornings and don’t even have enough cake stops either.

    • Nicole 04/02/2011 at 7:46 pm #


      You’re more than welcome. Everybody is welcome to come along and give it a go. Hope to see you on the 17th.

  24. Nicki 04/02/2011 at 10:23 pm #

    I love the idea! was particularly attracted by the mention of cake….I’ve not really ridden very far since an accident last year and need to build up confidence again – this sounds just the thing. Unfortunately I can’t make the inaugural meeting or the first Saturdays in March or April but hope I’ll be able to join in from May.

  25. Jim Campbell 05/02/2011 at 9:51 am #

    I am in East Dulwich and would prefer something down this way. Should anyone fancy a social cycle and sticky buns I am at

  26. Fiona 05/02/2011 at 12:04 pm #

    Great idea nIcole, and thanks for making it non-gender specific. Our local club cycles at 18 mph, I cycle at 13 mph, so a gentler paced gathering is much appreciated.

    Unfortunately I live out in oxfordshire but trying to move to london so hope to join in the future.

  27. Jasmijn 05/02/2011 at 1:25 pm #

    Great idea, see you on the 17th

  28. Anna 05/02/2011 at 2:35 pm #

    Amazing idea! Not sure I can make the 17th as I’m only in London at the weekends, but look forward to hearing what happens!

  29. Cara 06/02/2011 at 6:05 pm #

    Thanks for the comment Nicole – great to hear we’re both thinking the same thing! I actually won’t be able to make it on the 17th unfortunately as I have plans already but please let me know how it goes. I am based in West London (Hammersmith) and would be keen for rides out this way and would be happy to co-organise a West London group if you’d like. In terms of organising the group I’ve used before which would be perfect for this, though there is a small admin fee each month. I’m also happy to help out any other way so just say the word.

    Hope you get a great turn out on the 17th!

  30. Liz 06/02/2011 at 9:41 pm #

    Hi – sounds like fun. I’ll be there on 17th to see if there’s space for old ladies with hub gears and huge cake carrying capacity. (Description applies to myself and the bike equally)

  31. Fiona Fletch 07/02/2011 at 12:26 pm #

    Great stuff. Bang up for rides Sussex way and would be up for helping organise. Will def be there on the 17th.

  32. joyce 08/02/2011 at 6:17 pm #

    Love this idea. Count me in. Trying to train for a 112 miler in the Summer.

    Count me in

    • Dawn S 08/02/2011 at 6:21 pm #

      112 miles in one day? *faints*

      PS You must have good saddle – bring details on 17th!

  33. Mark 10/02/2011 at 9:11 pm #

    Nice initiative and best of luck. You were almost looking for Pollards Hill Cyclists but maybe 9:30am might get classed as too early!! Our rides are all social affairs, moving slowly between morning coffee, pub lunch and afternoon cake or ice cream. It’s about time somebody did something similar and you have our full support.

    • Nicki 10/02/2011 at 10:00 pm #

      Would that be Pollards Hill Norbury way? if so, more details please if you have space for any extras!

  34. karen 10/02/2011 at 9:52 pm #

    hi I can’t make 17th feb . But would like to come along to the first ride. Would be happy to organise a ride – have seen some nice routes in kent and london I would like to try.Please publish details of first ride on this site thanks.

  35. Mark 10/02/2011 at 10:18 pm #

    Hi Nicki,

    Yes – that’s the same Pollards Hill. You’ll find info at

    Rides either start at Pollards Hill, Wimbledon or Carshalton. Occasionally we start in town or jump on a train to take us a bit further afield. As with Nicole’s, all are welcome.


  36. julian 10/02/2011 at 11:06 pm #

    hi nicole sounds like a great idea cant make the 17th but will follow your updates on here and hope to be able to join in one of these rides at a later date, at the moment i mostly cycle to work only but would like to do some gentle rides in my spare time good luck

  37. Vanilla 12/02/2011 at 10:10 pm #

    This all sounds like a great idea and I’ll definitely come along on the 17th, although unfortunately without my bike due to various boring reasons. Hope this won’t be a problem.

  38. flo go 13/02/2011 at 1:36 pm #

    I like cycling and would like to do a ride (with a cake break and refreshments). Flo

  39. Cass 14/02/2011 at 3:06 pm #

    I’ve been asking about this type of group for approximately a year, but was too lazy to set it up myself. I’ll definitely be tagging along on Thursday.

    Just as an FYI – I did notice that there is some sort of music/fundraising/fancy dress event at LMNH that evening. Is this in tandem? Might be a bit busy that evening otherwise.

  40. RSK 17/02/2011 at 6:51 pm #

    I’m in LMNH! and there’s already two groups here – one something to do with music, the other an LCC women-only thing. Plus there’s a guy taking photographs in the corner (of cycles). Don’t see any likely suspects yet…

    • RSK 17/02/2011 at 7:51 pm #

      Still no sign of any likely groups. I think it’s a bit late, but I’m going to try to make my friend’s MA exhibition now (hope I don’t miss it entirely).

  41. Bryan 18/02/2011 at 6:28 pm #

    So is this a women specific meet or is it open to guys who love to cycle but not in a club either. Midweek runs when the lighter nights arrive would be great London is fab for just exploring on a bike going aimlessly.

    Anyway if it is for women only no worries and good luck
    If it’s open to guys also then see you at the next meet

  42. Javier 04/03/2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Hi Nicole.
    Nice idea, sorry i just have learnt about it now, can’t make it 2morrow but certainly yes for 2nd April & onwards. I look forward to a nice time.

  43. Dawn S 07/03/2011 at 2:44 pm #

    How did it go?

    I’m sorry i couldn’t make it on Saturday. I can’t make 2nd April either – first weekend away for 8 months!

  44. Javier 03/04/2011 at 2:15 pm #

    Hello Nicole.

    Due to unforceen reasons I could not make it to richmond park on saturday, but defenately I will meet you all on 1st of May for the long canal ride.

    Can you please comfirm that it is still on?

    Many thanks & am looking forward to a lovely day out


  45. anne 31/05/2011 at 3:35 pm #

    Hello – just spotted this. And would love to join in… at the moment I cycle with my husband and (male) friend and am either left behind or cycle with them at what is obviously too slow a pace for them…
    thanks !

  46. LP 03/06/2011 at 9:24 pm #

    How did this work out? Is there a ride tomorrow – Sat 4th? Would love to know more and join in. Cheers!

  47. Hannah 07/07/2011 at 4:32 pm #

    British Cyclng is looking for women in London for it’s Breeze network to train to become Breeze Champions and organise small, fun and really informal bike rides in their local area. They’re offering a free cycling qualification, membership of British Cycling and kit. Be great for more women who want to get out more on bikes with other like-minded ladies? Get to go on a lovely day out, eat cake and have some fun!

    • Deborah 25/08/2011 at 4:49 pm #

      how do i get involved or find out more?

  48. Deborah 25/08/2011 at 4:48 pm #

    When are you next meeting up and approx how far do you ride?

  49. Tonia 02/09/2011 at 2:46 pm #

    Hi I am interested in meeting up – also very keen to ride in Richmond Park – with my Labrador on a springer lead if need be- to stop her ambushing the lovely deer! Anyone else in a similar frame of mind?

  50. Karen 05/10/2011 at 10:05 am #

    Hi. I’m wondering what’s happened with this and if the idea is still alive? It would be great to have a women only cycling group and longer rides. If that’s still on the cards, I’m definitely up for it. If it’s not women only then it seems pointless since virtually every other ride, even the so-called ‘Ladies’ rides at lfgss, include men. Also a bit intrigued as to why men feel the need to join a ladies’ ride when they’re generally the majority and pretty much control every other organised group ride out there already.

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