I’m quite used to cycling being dominated by men. I’m the only woman in the group I cycle with on Sundays and I can’t say that it worries me at all. As a kid I was always a tomboy and as a cyclist I just feel like one of the lads but on the rare occasions I have cycled with other women I’ve very much enjoyed it, it has a different feel somehow. Instead of handbags it felt very good to be routing in saddlebags and comparing multitools! I have complained previously that ‘Cycling Plus’ barely acknowledges the existence of women cyclists, although Cycling Active presents a more balanced view. I enjoy reading cycling magazines, hearing of other people’s misadventures and drooling over new shiny goodies so when I found ‘Women’s Cycling’ in my local Smiths I just had to give it a read.
So just what goes into a magazine solely for women cyclists? It seems anything written for women or ‘leisure cyclists’ must include a piece on cycling while pregnant and then cycling with young children and sure enough both featured in ‘Women’s Cycling’. Excuse me while I yawn! Actually that is being rather unfair. They were well written and informative pieces and not everyone is of an age where they have long lost any interest they might have had in such matters! There was also a feature on pilates and stretching. So far, so predictable. But there was much, much, more to it than that. Of most interest to me was an interview with Juliana Buhring who recently set the record for the fastest female to cycle round the world – 29.060km in 144 days, a feat that has had scant mention in the more mainstream magazines. Then there was a feature on women’s pro racing and a women only downhill mountain bike series, it was all great stuff!
The magazine clearly intended to have something for everyone – roadies, MTBers, tourers, and of course those who have just bought or who are contemplating buying their first bike. There is no doubt that all novice cyclists and probably women even more than men (or is it just that they are more prepared to admit it?!) dread the thought of punctures so detailed and sensible puncture fixing instructions were a good idea. I do think they missed an opportunity though when they failed to mention that some tyre and rim combinations can be extremely tight and that it is not a sign of failure or incompetence if you can’t get the tyre back on with the ease that the instructions suggest. A few pointers towards Var Tyre Levers might save a lot of stress!
Elsewhere there was the usual mixture of kit reviews and ride suggestions covered by most mags, but the kit was, naturally, all women specific. It was great to read reviews of 12 waist shorts, 2 bib shorts and 10 3/4 tights that were all suitable for me! No longer the poor relation with only a fraction of the coverage given to men’s kit! In fact I couldn’t believe how radically different and refreshing it felt to turn over page after page and see women on bikes! I’ve nothing against pictures of men cycling but I’ve seen thousands of them, this made a pleasant change. If I was editor I’d lose the 4 page fashion spread but I suppose some people might like it. All in all I was very impressed – roll on the next issue!