Last month I led my first all women’s group ride, and it is likely to be the first of many. I’ve attended many group rides in the past, (once a week while traveling with IMBA) but had never actually led a one. When Karen Lynaugh from the Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay asked to me to help out by leading an Intermediate/Advance group, I was thrilled. Not only did I get to take a group of women throughout my backyard trails but I also was given the opportunity to meet other skilled female riders.
I arrived a half hour early to warm up with Jason. Since I am an asthmatic, I need 2-3 miles of hard pedaling before my lungs open up and I can breath normally. Once that happens, I am able to ride for 4-6 hours depending on the terrain. After the warm up, we said our goodbyes and I started to introduce myself to the women arriving.
We all met and started at the Chabot Space and Science Center parking lot. Once the groups were divided between the beginners (led by Karen) and the Intermediate/Advanced riders, we parted ways and got rolling. Since I often ride Joaquin Miller after work it feels like I could ride it with my eyes closed. I had a good idea which trails these women would absolutely love, and thankfully, they did.
I decided to warm us up lightly by heading to the beginning of Big Trees. (Dunn Trail kiosk) From there we climbed Big Trees, cut right to Cinderella, down Cinderella, to Sunset, then down Sinawak loop. From there it was back up Sinawak to Sunset, then Sunset back to the beginning of Big Trees. This time we rode Big Trees all the way down to the rock waterfall and back up to the parking lot. We did a solid 14+ mile day. Afterwards, we socialized, ate a small lunch and said our goodbye’s until next time. It was a great day!
I wasn’t done though- 16 miles is a warm up for me these days. Seeing how I’ve become what Jason refers to as a “hammer-head”, I did the same route again, then rode Diamond Park and back to the house. Now that’s what I call an epic day of riding and it was all in my backyard. Score!
Bicycle Trail Council East Bay puts on a women’s only ride called “Ride like a Girl”, the first Saturday of every month. For more information, please visit: http://www.meetup.com/BicycleTrailsCouncil/
Click here for more information on Joaquin Miller Park.
words by Inga Beck