Dame Cycling, part of a nationwide initiative to get more women cycling, launches in Cheltenham

A women-only cycling team in Cheltenham hopes to break down the barriers that prevent females from entering the sport.

Dame Cycling, launched in the town by Nicky Harverson, aims to make the sport more accessible for women, especially those who already own bikes, but do not have the confidence to ride as part of a group.

According to the Gloucester Echo, Harverson got into cycling after a running injury five years ago and now hopes to attract other women onto two wheels.

“It’s for women who have a bike in the garage winking at them,” she told the Echo.

“We’re trying to get them into cycling and get the confidence to ride with a group and build up that passion for cycling they had when they bought the bike.”

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The club will hold three sessions a week for the cyclists of different abilities, with a beginner ride on Monday evenings, departing from Meadow Café on Old Bath Road at 6.30pm.

On Tuesday evenings, another ride departs from the same café for those who are comfortable with riding at a faster pace and for a bit further than the 15-mile beginner ride.

Then on Saturday mornings two more rides – 24-miles and 34-miles – take place, with the shorter ride predominantly for women and the longer one a mixed ride.

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“We’re not aiming at lycra-clad, head down to the finish line cyclists – we’re just encouraging women to be a part of it, to get that enjoyment of being on a bike gain confidence to ride more.

“In this day and age we look to sport for our recreation and I think women feel sometimes uncomfortable stepping into some of these sports that we have.

“There shouldn’t be any barriers. We all grow up riding bikes so want to break some of those barriers down.”