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Women on Wheels cycling event will roll through Lakewood Ranch May 17

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women on wheels1Next Saturday, more than 50 women (and no men) will take a 60-mile ride (not a race) out of Village Bikes in Lakewood Ranch.
Women on Wheels, it’s called.
The idea is that female cyclists can become more comfortable and confident on a ride of their own. More support, less competition. Strength in numbers.
Last year, cyclists from up and down the Gulf Coast gathered for a long ride together.
“The whole feel of it was different,” said Cherry Dotson of Sarasota. “As a woman, you’re always in the minority, you feel like you’re out there with the big boys, so it was kind of amazing to see so many women. Really empowering.”
Kate Adams, another Sarasota rider, enjoyed a smooth ride at a steady pace. No jockeying for position. No cyclists sprinting out ahead of the group. No guy stuff, in other words.
“We had really good communication and we rode at a speed everyone was comfortable with,” Adams said, laughing. “If anyone was having a hard time, we slowed down with them. We weren’t going to leave anyone behind.”

womenonwheels2Free support
After decades of struggle to be included in athletic events with men, women athletes are rediscovering the value of having their own races. Women’s marathons and half-marathons are popping up across the country.
In cycling, the trend is picking up speed. The Village Idiots Cycling Club got the idea for Women on Wheels from Rapha, an apparel company that promotes women’s cycling. This is good business for both international companies and local shops. The Lakewood Ranch club signs up lots of sponsors, so there is no entrance fee for a 100-kilometer event with full SAG — Support And Gear — followed by lunch.
It’s a free ride — also unusual.
That’s one reason that, for now, there are no Women on Wheels T-shirts or anything like that.
Members of the club expect the ride to grow. They don’t know of any Florida event quite like it. Last year’s ride drew cyclists from Orlando to Clearwater.
“Hopefully,” Dotson said, “they went back to their local cycling clubs and spread the word.”
Adams used the first Women on Wheels as a training ride for longer bike events. The camaraderie of the event was a bonus.
“Sixty miles — that’s a not a short ride,” she said. “There’s a lot of time to ride together. Kind of a bonding exercise.”

 

<strong>Interested?</strong><br> The 2nd annual Women on Wheels bike ride will start at 8 a.m. May 17 at Village Bikes, 8111 Main St., Lakewood Ranch, east of I-75, off University Parkway. This is a 100-kilometer (60-mile) ride for women sponsored by the Village Idiots Cycling Club. Free. villagebikes.com; 388-0550.
Last modified: May 8, 2014
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