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Come Cycle with the CHICKS

By Sheila Ascroft

CycleFit CHICKS Cycling club

Do you like riding with other women? Do you live in the Ottawa, Gatineau or Chelsea area? If so, you are in luck. The CycleFit CHICKS is a women’s only road cycling club and its inviting you to join the party.

Going into its fourth year, CycleFit CHICKS wants to keep growing. In 2008, there were 42 members between the ages of 20 and 60. A year later, there were 50 members and, in 2010, more than 80 women came out to learn and have fun on their road bikes.  

Sylvie D’Aoust, the creator and operator of the club, hopes 2011 will bring out even more women. She truly believes in the club’s motto: “Where beginners are wanted and experienced cyclists are challenged.”

With her usual unwavering energy and enthusiasm, Sylvie says, “this is a place for women of any age to improve and get in shape, have fun and become better cyclists.”

She is trying to make the club better too. An end-of-the-season questionnaire led her to make several improvements for the 2011 season.

“We are very proud to announce that Level 2 Cycling Coach Sam Warskett will be joining us as a Monday night coach, along with Jim Glover, who is a Level 4 Cycling Coach, and myself. I’m a Level 2 Cycling Coach, and I’m working towards the next level,” says Sylvie.

The Monday night rides are focussed on teaching various cycling techniques. There will now be multiple leaders to help with technical skills (where cyclists can learn about riding in a group, handling hill ascents or descents, cornering, balance, and even unclipping from a pedal without falling over). Cyclists are divided into beginner and advanced groups. For those in-between, a ‘middle” group will be added as soon as numbers warrant. Besides weekly technical rides, the CHICKS can also try monthly time trials.

The regular Saturday group ride starts at 9 a.m. from EURO-SPORTS bike shop. Sylvie promises a leader for the beginner and one for advanced group. Beginners are those who cycle between 22-25 k/hr awhile advanced riders are those who can do 25-29 k/hr. There will also be a group ride for novices who cycle at 20 k/hr or less. This group will be led by one of last year’s members. Each group will wait for stragglers. Ride routes will vary north, south, east and west, but cyclists should expect to face some traffic while getting out of the city.

Sylvie says that communication was another area needing improvement. Using social media, the club now has its own website, is available on Twitter (#!/cyclefitchicks) and on FaceBook, (CycleFit – CHICKS Road Cycling Club). Plus Sylvie will continue to send out weekly e-mails.

If you’re super keen and want to register now, click here. Membership is $100 for the year.

A CycleFit CHICKS Club spring social, information, registration evening will be held on March 31, from 6 to 9 p.m., at The CUBE Gallery on Wellington Street, Ottawa. Come on out!  

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