Mondays are Women’s Hour at West Lothian Cycle Circuit, where the women of West Lothian, and further afield, are being helped to take their cycling to the next level at weekly sessions at the Circuit.
Targeting women who want to get back into cycling, or who want to cycle more, Women’s Hour delivers two one-hour coaching sessions to three different groups of riders:
- Group 1, from 6.30-7.30pm, is for women getting the bike back out of the shed, providing support to build confidence, skills, and fitness.
- Group 2, from 7.30-8.30pm, focuses on group riding skills and progression towards group 3.
- Group 3, from 7.30-8.30pm, is for women who can confidently ride in a group, with sessions a bit like an outdoor spin class, focusing on getting a good workout.
Every session is designed to support having fun, developing a skill, feeling more confident, and getting a good workout. From learning about and making effective use of your bike’s gears, to working on your pedalling technique and cadence, cycling as a group, and improving cornering techniques, the super-friendly, knowledgeable, and experienced coaches have got it all covered.
Supported by Scottish Cycling Power of the Bike funding and Linlithgow Community Development Trust, group 1 sessions are free of charge, whilst group 2 and 3 are at the bargain price of £4 per session.
Beyond the development of skills, confidence and fitness, Women’s Hour also aims to build a community of female cyclists, bringing together women based on their shared love of cycling and desire to develop. Sessions are designed to be welcoming and inclusive, where friendships can be formed, encouragement and support provided from and to everyone, where camaraderie and mutual respect develops from sharing experiences and being bold on a bike together. Beyond the 1km tarmacked surface, there is a private Facebook space supporting the group to keep in touch, to keep chatting about cycling and share experiences and knowledge for the benefit of the whole group.
Feedback from participants has been hugely positive, with almost 100% scores in a recent feedback survey for the quality of the coaching and the venue, and how likely participants would recommend the sessions to a friend. Comments included:
“Loved the coaching, everything was relevant and informative. Loved the relaxed and friendly encouraging vibe of the group every week.”
“Different technical skills each week are great – really builds your confidence. Coaches and coaching style are first class! Make you feel extremely welcome and capable of doing anything! It’s great getting to know other female cyclists – all very friendly!”
“The coaches are awesome I leave energised wanting to do more and can’t believe how much I have learnt in such a short time.”
One session during the summer delivered a Scottish Cycling Experience The Worlds session, providing an introduction to the thrills and excitement of circuit racing and working together to race each other as part of a team.
Our Women and Girls Development Manager, Melanie Toner, went along to a recent session to find out more and to experience Women’s Hour for herself, joining in both Group 1 and Group 2 sessions. Afterwards she said:
“Wow, these sessions are fab! What a friendly environment in which to build your confidence and bike handling skills. I am not the most fearless of cyclists, and ill-health has limited my cycling over the past couple of years, but the coaches helped me to feel at ease and ready to take on some challenging drills during the session.”
“I’ve come away from the session feeling more confident in my cycling skills, and more confident I can develop these even further. It was great to take part with other women at a similar stage and to see how much everyone was getting out of the session. The coaches were fantastic; encouraging and supportive, helping us to push out of our comfort zone to do things we didn’t know we were capable of!”
Future plans include sessions on bike maintenance and bike fit, to deliver a broad programme of knowledge and skills that will add to participants’ long-term experience and enjoyment of cycling.