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  • jules

    great idea. another option is to race men’s grades. if you’re just starting out, race a lower men’s grade with me! there are plenty of clueless men in those grades, but usually also some vets with heaps of experience and racing nous.

    • winkybiker

      I don’t disagree. Why not, at all but pro-level, just race in grades based on results and ability? Everyone could race in fields that are of more consistent quality and strength, rather than the issue whereby women-only fields (due to low participation numbers) may contain extremely wide ranges of abilities.

      • jules

        women have the option of entering open (not men’s, my mistake) grades. I wouldn’t see that as a reason for removing women’s grades. racing at the amateur level is partially a social activity and I appreciate the value of women’s events, cycling or otherwise.

        • winkybiker

          Yeah, I guess I have no problems with restricted-entrant events, but just don’t complain about lack of depth or highly variable standards if that restriction limits possible entrants to a small proportion of racing cyclists.

  • Ginger

    Love this! I think more programs like this could help grow the lower category women’s fields. The most common reason I hear from strong women riders as to why they’re not racing bikes is safety and they feel that beginner fields are crashy. If everyone was coming into the sport, beginners as well, with some coaching as to what to do and what not to do, how to stay safe, etc, we might be looking at safer fields on the whole which might make more women comfortable enough to join in.

  • It’s worth noting that this isn’t entirely new. Michele Lee and Elisabeth Reinkordt started the Women Bike PHL Devo squad a few years ago with little fan fare, but so far, tremendous success in spreading the stoke and getting women from diverse backgrounds involved in cycling as a sport. This year, they’ve expanded from road cycling into mountain biking and cyclocross.

    • Elisabeth

      Thanks for the shout-out! We’re excited to launch our third cohort this spring.

  • Willem Heydendael

    This is great. I seem to recall that Ella did a piece on the DEVO team out of Philly a couple of years ago. Alison Powers’ program looks very similar. They are on their 3rd year and are having amazing success. I wonder if it would be possible to do a follow-up to see how they’ve grown and what sort of challenges they came across. Could be helpful for everyone who wants to grow a program like this.

  • Lynn M

    Wow. I wish we had programs like this here in NJ. If you know of anything here, please let me know!

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