Last Saturday, my local Alpine Bikes (Tiso) store hosted their very first ladies’ bike night featuring some basic bike maintenance demonstrations, a raffle and discounts all while enjoying drinks and nibbles. As a newbie to the world of cycling, this was something I would have been keen to go along to anyway, however I was contacted by the team at Macmillan, the title sponsor of the Cycletta event I’m taking part in next month, who were also going along and asked if I would join them in my Macmillan cycling top and try to help encourage more ladies to sign up to the event. I quickly agreed and duly went along, unsure what to expect.
I was met by April from Macmillan, who I had previously met during the Edinburgh marathon weekend, and Kim, who is working on the PR for Cycletta Scotland. There were a few ladies already there and several staff members who were all very friendly. I had visited the store the previous weekend to begin the process of choosing a road bike and had been struck then by how friendly and helpful the staff were. They spoke directly to me and asked about my needs, explained everything in terms I could understand and made me feel really comfortable. This is really important when visiting a bike shop, particularly as a female, as it can seem a very intimidating and daunting situation to be in. Already impressed with the staff there, I was pleased to see how welcoming and patient they were at this event.
I was quickly handed a glass of prosecco and chatted to April, Kim and some of the store staff as some of the maintenance workshops had already begun. Soon, though, my turn to take part came.
First of all, I was shown how to take the back wheel off a bike and take out the inner tube. I’ve never done this before and although I had some idea of how to do it, having the chance to get a shot at it hands-on (and under the supervision of someone with much more expertise!) was brilliant. I kind of couldn’t believe I was doing it, but at least now I know what to do if I get into difficulties during a ride.
Next, another member of staff went over some basics of looking after the chain and various checks which should be done regularly. He also showed me how to adjust the gears so that the changes are smooth. In both workshops the staff were good at finding out what I already knew, telling me it was ok if I didn’t know things as they would show me, and patient in both their demonstrations and observing me in having a go. Basically, the evening gave them a chance to go over things that they don’t always have time for during opening hours when the store is busy, and I was pleased to have that dedicated time to give me a bit more essential know-how.
As part of the evening, I took advantage of the discount on offer and bought myself a chain cleaning gadget so I don’t have to keep scrubbing away with an old toothbrush!
Sadly I didn’t win anything in the raffle, but that’s ok as the main prizes were Cycletta entries and I’m already signed up. I was pleased to find that everyone got a goody bag though. Mine featured a water bottle designed like a fire extinguisher, a pair of socks, an energy bar, a mini light and some leaflets.
And of course, I was able to gaze longingly at the bike I want to get…
This was a great event and hopefully the first of many ladies’ nights at this particular store as I’d love to go to something like that again. As a result, I feel a lot more confident about maintaining my bike, which in turn increases my confidence when I’m riding it.
In just two weeks I’ll be taking on my first ever cycling event as part of my fundraising for Macmillan this year. Although it’s a completely new type of event for me, I’m really looking forward to it and have been enjoying my training. If you’re looking for something different to do, why not join me?
Does cycling play a part in your training?
How did you learn how to look after your bike?