The Peddler: New Rider Starts Training for Women's 100 Cycling Event

The only bike I've ever used with consistency was beautiful. Purple and sparkly with big, thick tires, this was my weekend mode of transportation—when I was 8.

I haven't had a bike that I actually use since then. On two different occasions, I've been that person who gets excited about the idea of cycling, runs to the local bike shop and buys a bicycle. Then, after riding it once or twice, sells it on Craigslist a few months later.

That's about to change. After borrowing a beautiful road bike and asking a million questions of the few cyclists I know, I'm really going to commit to cycling this time. And by July 26, the day of The Rapha Women's 100, I will have completed my first 100-kilometer ride.

The international cycling apparel brand started the event in 2013 to promote women's cycling. More than 8,000 women participated in the Women's 100 last year, and Rapha wants to see that number double this summer.

So far, more than 4,000 women all over the world have already pledged online and are starting to train for the mid-summer event. After all, it's not something that someone like myself could just jump into right away.

"That's why this ride is important, because it's a way for women to come together, ride as one, but it's not a ride for beginners, it's a ride that people aspire to," says Sophie Ballo, North American marketing manager. "It's a ride where people work up to it and then that distance is a big accomplishment."

And in a few months, I, a yogi/runner/scuba diver, will be one of those women. Why had I not been one earlier? Why did I give up before?

Well, because it's somewhat difficult, and definitely intimidating. But, among the many things I'm finding out, I discovered that I'm not the only one who feels this way. Some women say the gears are intimidating. And there's no question that this sport generally requires a financial investment. And Ballo says there is also the issue of inequality.

"For so long, there was this 'shrink it and pink it,' ... where you kind of dumb it down a little bit—anything women-specific just means it's smaller, which is not true at all. Women have different anatomy, women have different needs," Ballo says. "So, this was the first event that really kind of wanted to do something that was hard and kind of embraced cycling as something that was difficult."

I've been on one ride with my brother—who has been cycling for more than 15 years—and one other with a group of women who are training for the Rapha ride. Both have been 11 miles around White Rock Lake in Dallas. I just need to, you know, multiply that by nearly six, and I'll be there.

So far, I can tell you that seat really hurts your tail. More updates to come next week.

For the next 10 weeks, I'll be cycling and sharing the experience with you. Keep up with these stories on, on Twitter at @active and on Instagram at @activedotcom.

To find out more information about The Rapha Women's 100 or to pledge to ride July 26, visit Rapha's site.

Read more of The Peddler series:

Figuring out Cycling Culture

Falling is a Rite of Passage

The Benefits of Cycling for Women

Active logoReady to Ride? Search for a cycling event.

Discuss This Article