Bell Joy Ride – Madison kicked off the spring riding season last weekend! Since the week before brought some typical Wisconsin weather the trails were drying out and even the gravel was unrideable. So we took to the extensive paved bike paths around the city and road a scenic 20 mile loop around Madison’s west-side. The ride was a NO DROP, casual paced social ride, starting and ending on the capital square. About 30 women made up our diverse group of rider levels and skill sets. We had some experienced road riders looking to venture into off-road cycling, there were ladies just getting back on the saddle after having kids or relocating, and we even had quite a few ladies that regularly get rad on the trails together. There were younger women and some with more life experience. They road cross bikes and fully rigid mountain bikes and even a few full-suspension bikes were in the mix, and we all rode together! We stopped toward the end of the ride at the Farm Tavern for some cold beers and to raffle off awesome products from Bell Bike Helmets and CamelBak.
All-in-all, Saturday’s event left me inspired and appreciative by all the wonderful women that make up the cycling community here in Madison! I was amazing to get such overwhelming support this early into the program. Saturday’s event was more than I could have hoped for since I was uncertain how many women would show because it was a pretty simple plan this time, meet-up and ride bikes. I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t stop women from coming out and joining in. I learned the most important aspect of Bell’s Joy Ride program is just giving women the opportunity to ride and learn from other women, all the other things are just nice additions. I know when I was starting out it was intimidating to ride with the boys, a program like this would have given me the space and time to learn without the added stress of holing the anyone up. Now that I’m getting older it’s hard to make friends with similar interests. I think we all need the camaraderie that you get when you ride with other women and are pushing them to push their limits a little bit farther. I encourage every women who is looking for some support and guidance and a bit of a challenge to join us on a ride this year. I am really excited to get to know you all more and to grow as cyclists together as this year goes on!