Two of my cycling friends, Alice Monger-Godfrey and Cat Forrest and I recently collaborated with photographer James Cannon to tell the simple story of the women’s ride through a series of photographs.
He captured the hard efforts, the silliness and the unique bond that comes from road cycling with your girlfriends.
I’ve met so many great men and women through cycling but I think my journey into the sport has been particularly influenced by the women I’ve met on the road.
They’ve given me the inspiration and motivation to get up in the morning and pull on my lycra. They’ve introduced a certain depth to my weekends that used to only revolve around trips to the pub.
Cycling is like an incubator for growing a friendship. It happens quickly and it happens in reverse. You set off on a group ride with people you’ve never met before and suddenly you’re telling them your life story, your darkest fears and your five-year plan.
And then at the end of the ride, you say “oh, I’m Lorna by the way”.
I think the beauty of my rides with women is that nothing particularly remarkable happens. We chat a load of bollocks, we pedal hard, we flatten a packet of Jaffa Cakes in 12 seconds, and at the end, we feel powerful and happy.
I felt daunted when I bought my road bike so I found a women’s cycling network through Instagram and started turning up to their rides.
They stuck me in the middle, slipped me a flapjack, called out potholes, cars and branches and taught me every hand signal in the book.
They even fixed my handlebars when I crashed into an electricity pylon.
And once my confidence had been built, I started to aspire to get to the same level as the other women, push myself and explore my limits.
That’s why everything I’ve achieved in the saddle is thanks to them.