Best of 2016: The 18 things all female cyclists know to be true

by Anne-Marije Rook


It’s the time of the year when everyone is heading off for the holidays, spending time with family and taking advantage of the opportunity to explore some new locations on the bike. It’s also a great time to unwind by catching up on your reading, so we are revisiting some of our best articles of the year.

We don’t shy away from writing about the serious side of cycling at Ella, but we also enjoy the lighter side and having a little fun with our sporting passion. Judging by the huge response to this article when we published it in July, so do the rest of you.

-Simone Giuliani


As a community, us cyclists are a weird bunch. We shamelessly wear flashy coloured lycra, click-clack our way into cafés, routinely push our bodies to the limit, and sacrifice our lazy weekend mornings to get out and hit the road or trail instead.

To the onlooker, our habits and traditions must seem bizarre, as female cyclists, here are 18 things we all know to be true:

Going commando after a long ride is a common yet unspoken treatment for saddle sores. And skirts are encouraged to ‘air things out’.

Skinny jeans and tall boots are for women who do not ride bikes. Seriously. The calves just won’t fit!

Ride selfies and podium selfies are the best selfies. After all how could you not be cracking a smile when you are standing up there.

Lizzie Williams, Chloe Hosking and Lauren Kitchen enjoy a podium selfie.

White bibs look good on no one. Plus, no one needs that added stress during that time of the month.

We say we hate them, but secretly we love our crisp tan lines. Except maybe in wedding photos when you’re in the wedding and a sleeveless dress is forced on you. Oops!

It ain’t always pretty. No matter how it’s portrayed in advertising, bike riding is hard. When you are pushing it at your limit, wet and dirty with a screwed up pain face there are no pretty pictures to be had. But they will still probably be some of your favourite cycling shots ever.

CyclePhotos favorites. Balint Hamvas. Women's cycling (42)

Finding the perfect saddle is like finding your soulmate. And you buy them in bulk once you do!

If it were more fashionable and/or socially acceptable, we’d all shave our heads. Seriously, trying to tuck all the hair under a TT helmet and the post-race entangled, sweaty hair is the worst. Even some pros think about shaving their heads. 

ceccini hair

During that time of the month, it’s nice to have a thick chamois as a back-up. Especially if you have a white saddle.

Race nails bring luck. Well, most of the time anyway.

Track Olympic Games 2012 in London VI

All lady-like etiquette is forgotten when devouring a post-ride pizza or burger. Also: #ride2eat, #eat2ride. Few things are as satisfying as post-event indulging. Bring on the beer and burgers! This is a judgement-free time to enjoy whatever you want.

Christa Ghent (LA Sweat) enjoying a Cry Baby Hill beer hand-up.
Christa Ghent (LA Sweat) enjoying a Cry Baby Hill beer hand-up.

We have lost all sense of shame when changing and getting naked in a parking lot. Girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

Sex is not happening after a long time spent in the TT position. Don’t even try.

Never too early for sausages! The grills were fired up as teams were arriving around 10am.

Skinsuit = sausage suit. Few women feel good in it.

Similarly, sausage legs are inevitable. It doesn’t matter what size or type of leg or knee warmer you buy.

droppedBeating your male riding buddies is so darn satisfying. Whether it’s right or wrong, it is hard not to feel that streak of girl power satisfaction.

There is no graceful way to eat a gel during a hard ride or race. It’s always a sticky mess.

The community of bike-loving women is the best.

Stage winner Evelyn Stevens gets a big hug from Boels-Dolmans teammate world champion Lizzie Armitstead.

Got some to add? Please add your contributions in the comment section below.

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