The call went out in search of a woman who was willing to forgo sleeping in. With a 6am start time on Wednesday mornings, her mission would be to find out about the Bella Velo skills session and report on who the sessions where ideally aimed towards.
Melanie and Kelly, the founders of Bella Velo, are aiming to inspire women to enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and the beauty of our environment wherever you are in the world. This philosophy guides the skills sessions as well as their company, Bella Velo, which produces women's cycling wear.
Jill Rigney answered the call and was willing to get started straight away, Jill explained to me that she was a confident road rider but had only ever ridden alone or with one other friend.
Bicycles Network Australia’s (BNA) Rowena Scott, communicated with Jill throughout the sessions and spoke with her about her experience and enjoyment of the free skills sessions run by Bella Velo.
BNA: How would describe your experience as a cyclist?
JR: Better then it was a few months ago!! I am confident social road rider that likes long distances, but, had only ridden alone or with one others person until doing this.
BNA: Tell me about the sessions that you have joined with Bella Velo, what’s it all about?
JR: I’ve done 4 sessions now all of an hour long on Wednesday mornings at 6am. The sessions vary depending on who turns up, so some days are straight skills training while others will be a strong ride somewhere. We get an email on Tuesday evening saying what we’ll be doing and telling us anything we need to know.
The purpose appears to be to encourage women to get into bike riding no matter what the skill level is and for it to be enjoyable. Melanie and Kelly often made the comment – if you don’t enjoy it then you won’t do it.
Participants vary in age from 20’s through to their 60’s and you can come on anything from a fold-up bike, a mountain bike to a road bike.
BNA: Did you feel nervous about joining the session?
JR: Definitely – not being sure of who they are or what their riding standard would be so I was apprehensive for sure. They make you feel very comfortable very quickly.
BNA: What time did the session start for you? Did you find it difficult to get started for that time?
JR: 6.00am – excellent time, particularly in our spring/summer at the moment with it being light by 4.30am. Still cool enough at that time as well.
BNA: What sort of skills did the sessions cover?
Skill we worked on included
• Hand signals and road etiquette
• Track standing and balancing while stationery
• Starting and stop with cleats
• Riding as a group – drafting, closeness etc
• Sprints and interval training/riding
BNA: Are there other sessions that you can do with Bella Velo, how much do they cost?
JR: There is, however I haven’t done any of them. I think they do something on a Tuesday and a Thursday for those interested in training or learning to road or track race. Invitation was given and don’t believe there is any cost but would be worth checking that.
BNA: Would you recommend this skills session to anyone and who would you recommend it to?
JR: I would, particularly if you haven’t ridden or aren’t confident riding on the road or as a large group. Also, if you were keen to step up to hard or race riding then it’s opening the opportunity to do that as well down the track.
BNA: How would you rate the skills session in relation to difficulty?
JR: Not overly difficult except for the track standing and balancing one. The rest have been about technique, practice and confidence building.