I got my first road bike was when I was a junior in high school. The woman that had helped me out with buying the bike invited me to a ride she led the very next evening. It was a women's specific group ride, held every Tuesday at 5pm. It was with this ride that my love for cycling and and the cycling community began.
Last summer, after riding with friends on a pretty consistent schedule, and knowing there were so many more women in town that also rode, I started up a women's road ride here in Harrisonburg.
The Women's Wednesday Ride, at 5:30pm, took off slowly, but grew in numbers and turned into a great time. I kept the ride at 5:30pm for a year and was struggling to figure out why more ladies weren't coming out. It turns out that a lot of those women that were missing out on the ride were motheres with a schedule that doesn't really allow for evening rides around dinner time, kids' soccer practice, and family time. One of these awesome ladies did make it out for an evening ride and loved it! She later on expressed to me interest in trying to have a similar ride set up, but in the morning. That's when the idea for changing the time from the evening to the morning formed.
So now, at 10am, I have a weekly women's group ride through the SVBC; still leaving from Rocktown Bicycles. Since making this change, the ride has blossomed into a great time with many more women able to participate! The goal of this ride is to create a judgement free environment for riding that is safe and fun!
I've started saying to those that participate, "There's only one rule for this ride, really: NO apologizing". It seems that when someone feels slow for a day or has a bit more difficulty on a specific type of terrain, the first thing they do is apologize. There's no need for that here. If you're having a good time, we're all having a good time.
This road ride has become so successful that recently, some of the women requested a group mountain bike ride. So we've set up a semi-regular schedule for mountain biking through our grassroots group, The Women of Harrisonburg On Wheels. These women are awesome, and shredding with them on the mountains has been blast. We were hitting up Massanutten on Thursday mornings; riding for about 1-1.5 hours, but now that it's November and Massanutten is closed, we'll be meeting at Hillandale as weather permits. There's also a big possibility of some bigger Sunday mountain bike rides in the future. :)
These rides have become the highlight of my week. If anyone has any questions or interest in these rides, PLEASE feel free to call the shop (540-689-0070) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love for more women to come out and experience what a great time these rides are.