A celebration of women’s cycling. Rapha's annual challenge tasks thousands of female cyclists worldwide with riding 100 kilometres however they want to. Read more on the challenge here.
The Cyclits Cycling Collectiv is a network of many different women who share a passion for cycling. The group is based in Cologne and meets for weekly rides as well as special events such as the Women's 100 and is open for rookies as well as experienced bike enthusiasts. Alex, the head of the collective and passionate road, gravel and track cyclist wanted to rise awareness of women in cycling and offer a platform to meet, exchange experiences, give women self-confidence and independence, create a space to develop among like-minded people, learn from each other and share the love for the sport.
In order to support the girls who ride, the Cologne based community ROAAR teamed up with the Cyclits and hosted the men's ride. With the Roaar Cycling Club the four guys Olli, Vincent, Patrick and Rick want to build a community which is open to everyone who enjoys cycling and treats their counterpart with respect. Before their own clubhouse opens its doors they organize events and offer joint rides for cycling enthusiasts in and around Cologne.
Easy like a sunday morning
The morning started off relaxed in the calm backyard of the Handwerkerinnenhaus Köln e.V. When the girls and guys arrived they were registered and slit up in groups according to the speed they feel comfortable with in a group ride. It quickly filled up and a joyful atmosphere came up. Many of the over 120 cyclists knew each other from the local communities and social rides and started chatting right away. Also the unknown faces were integrated quickly through the great team spirit and the common goal for the day.
The route was set, rules for riding in the group were explained again and then it was time for the first girl group to start into their ride.
The first 50km were full of sunshine, headwind, good talks, laughs and new acquaintances. A cake and coffee stop for everyone was planned at the idyllic Nikolaus monastery. When the fastest group of the day arrived to there they attracted the attention of the other guests who were surprised about the travelled distance. With the view of the beautiful garden and a stunning bike line up the girls enjoyed home made cake and watched the next groups arriving. A versatile coming and going, updating and talking, drinking coffee and filling up bidons was taking place. Also the guys groups who rode the route in the different direction mixed into the girl crowd and it felt like a massive meet up of likeminded people.
Ride on. Grab a beer.
The guys had already masted the biggest climb of the route when they stopped for cake, the girls just had it ahead of them after the stop. It got a bit quieter in the gruppetto and the guides speeded up towards the last part of the route, coming back to known neighborhoods and streets. Knowing that the organization team is waiting at the Handwerkerinnenhaus Köln e.V. with ice cold beers gave everyone a bit of extra energy to finish the full distance. Sweaty and happy the girls grabbed the beers, opened them with their cleats as if it's the most natural thing and cheered to their Women's 100. Time by time the other girls and guys arrived and everyone was in an exuberant mood united by another challenge they mastered together. With pizza, beers and "Kettenfett" liquor not only women's cycling but also the amazing community in Cologne was celebrated.