Friday, July 30, 2010

Gears Girls update for the week of August 2nd

Hi Girls.
I'll be on holidays in St. Andrews, NB (lots of cycling and lobster!) until August 9th so thought I'd send this out in advance of leaving.
Remember that there's no Gears Girls ride tomorrow...but if the weather is good I expect that you'll all be out riding!!!
In my absence, I've arranged for ride leaders for the various nights and next Saturday so you'll all be well looked after. Here's who will be leading rides in my absence:
Tuesday, August 3rd: Sue Trainor
Wednesday, August 4th: Ann and Markus Herten
Saturday, August 7th: Lisa Heil and Tania Corbeil
If, due to rain, snow, sleet, etc., one of the ride leaders needs to cancel the ride, I've asked them to post a message to the blog. So be sure to check there for weather updates.
Sunday, August 15th - Heart and Stroke charity ride update
I've received quite a few emails about the event and it looks like we'll have a good group for the event. I think we'll stick with the 60km option. You can pre-register or register at the door...which is what I tend to do as I wait to see what the weather is like day of. Will be a fun but challenging ride!
Enjoy next week. I'll be back for the Tuesday, August 10th ride.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Gears Girls ride cancelled tonight! Wednesday, July 28th

Hey Girls.
Don't know what the weather is like by all of you, but here in Oakville the sky is pretty dark and it's thundering. Looks like it's going to rain any minute. Think it's best to cancel the ride for tonight due to the impending weather. If you do choose to ride, be safe!
Remember, there's no ride this Saturday but regular club rides will resume Tuesday.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Special spin class tonight and upcoming charity ride

Hi Girls.
For those of you looking to do something other than ride with Gears Girls tonight :), Darren Cooke - spin instructor extraordinaire - will be offering a special 1.5 hour spin class from 6:30pm until 8pm tonight at Gears. If you're interested, best to phone ahead to Gears to book a spot: 905-271-2400.
Also - on Sunday, August 15th, the Heart and Stroke will be holding a charity ride in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area (about 45 minutes from Oakville). Distances vary from 30km right up to 160km. Tim and I have done the event the past couple of years and it's quite a fun event.  Some good hills and nice scenery!  Registration is $40 and can be paid at the door or in advance. Past years have been hot and humid day of, so I've opted to do the shorter 60km route...but still a nice ride!
Let me know if you're interested in doing the above event and also what distance you would consider (either 60 or 100 would be best). Would be nice to do this event as a group!

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Gears Girls weekly update and important club information - please read

Hi Girls.


We'll have our regular Tuesday and Wednesday night rides from Gears (at 6:30pm) this week. NB: There will be NO Saturday ride on July 31st as many members will be out-of-town for the long weekend. We'll resume our regular rides on Tuesday, August 3rd.   Please read on for important information and updates with regards to the Tuesday night rides and the club in general.


This weekend marked our 13th Saturday ride and this week will be our 9th week of riding. As we're more than half way through the season, I thought it was time to review some important aspects of the club and make a few changes to suit the developing needs of the members.  


Let me start by saying that I'm truly impressed by the direction Gears Girls has taken over the past three months.  My goal for the club has always been to develop a strong women's road group; something that is rarely seen on the roads not only in the area, but also the country. My vision has always been to create a true women's road group – one that is safe, efficient, social and always improving.  I think we're definitely heading in the right direction!


What makes group riding challenging – and often times unsafe – is when people unfamiliar with the etiquette and skills needed to ride in a single or double paceline join the ride.  I believe this is a challenge with all road groups – it's certainly not limited to Gears Girls. Riding in a paceline takes not only practice but also confidence in both yourself and your fellow rider. 


I chose to stop accepting new members last month so the existing members would be able to work and develop together as a road group; I did this to ensure the safety and enjoyment of the group. The women who have been riding together regularly have made huge strides.  Every time I head out on a ride with the club I'm proud of how hard everyone is working.


I chose to add a Tuesday night beginner ride because I knew that not all of our members could comfortably ride in a group or maintain a certain pace or ride a certain distance. I'm proud to say that the women that have been regularly attending the Tuesday night rides are, for the most part, no longer beginners and can now hold their own within the larger group! Kudos to you ladies – you've made me proud!


I also changed the Saturday rides so that members would have the option to ride various distances at various paces. This has worked extremely well and the women that have been attending the Saturday rides do seem to appreciate and enjoy the options.


I feel we're at a pivotal point in the season as members that have not been riding regularly with Gears Girls (or with another road group ) will no longer be able to keep pace or ride comfortably with what was once the beginner group or with any of the Saturday pace groups. I'm surprised that more of our members have not been taking advantage of the beginner nights or the shorter distance, slower-paced Saturday ride groups as they were started expressly for the newer riders or riders struggling with the pace of the Wednesday night rides or with the multi-paced Saturday rides.


With the above in mind, I have decided it is best for the group to make the following changes to the club:




Because the majority of women that ride regularly on Tuesday nights are no longer beginners; and because it does not appear that any other beginner riders will be coming out to the rides, Tuesday nights will no longer be considered "beginner rides". The rides will always be a slightly slower version (approx. 25km/hr average) of the Wednesday night rides, but the pace will be dictated by the majority of the group and, unless unsafe to do so, double pace line rules will apply.  We'll still work on skills development, but with the understanding that beginner skills have already been covered – these skills will be more fine tuning than anything else.  




Wednesday night rides will continue to be slightly faster and tighter rides. Again, the pace will be dictated by the majority of the group. Unless unsafe to do so, double pace line rules will apply.




Gears Girls has always had what's referred to as a "no-drop" policy. That is, if someone could not keep up with the group we would either slow the entire group down or someone would break off from the group and would ride with the slower rider. Again, this is something that is challenging for all groups.   While I am certainly not revoking the "no-drop" policy, I believe it must be adjusted to suit the developing needs of the group as a whole. 


In fairness to the group, please know your limits and ride within them.  Please know that the group will ride at a pace and distance that is comfortable for the majority of the group. If you choose to attend a ride that is not within your comfort or ability range, please do not expect that the group will slow to your pace or turn around at your preferred location.  


The above is not to say that we won't stop for mechanicals; for regrouping in certain locations; for injured or sick riders; etc. What it does mean is that members need to know their limits and ride within them. If you choose to attend a ride and you are unable to maintain the pace of the group or ride the entire distance, you may have to make your way back to the start of the ride on your own.




People often ask me how they can become stronger and faster on the bike. The answer is pretty simple - spend more time on your bike.  Time on the bike and consistency is the only way to improve as a cyclist.  Don't worry about things like speed and distance if you're just struggling to put in the time – just get on your bike and ride it. If you're not comfortable riding alone, find friends that ride at a similar or slightly faster pace as you and start riding with them. If you're having trouble keeping up with Gears Girls, there are other cycling options out there that offer more "touring pace rides" such as the Oakville Cycling Club and the Toronto Bicycling Network. If you can't get outside to ride a couple times a week, consider a spin class – Gears Bike Shop offers spin classes 6 days a week.


Gears Girls is and always will be an inclusive club; the above adjustments are being made so that the group can ride safely together and so that it can continue developing and improving.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments regarding the above information.


See you on the road!



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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Saturday Gears Girls Ride

Hi All.
Once again they're calling for rain on Saturday. Check your email around 7:30am - if I have to cancel the ride (from Dundas and Walker's Line) I'll send out an email and update the blog by that time. If no email, then the ride is a go.
Hope to see you Saturday!

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Saturday ride update and reminder

Hi Girls.
Just a reminder that the ride this Saturday will be starting at Dundas and Walkers Line. I have only heard from one or two people interested in riding from I won't be planning a second ride group to leave from Gears Saturday morning.
Details for the Saturday ride are as follows:
Based on those riding, the route will be approximately 60kms. The terrain will be hilly and the route challenging although everyone that has told me they will be riding will be able to do the ride. I promise good times will be had by all! For those of you worried that the distance is too short, fret not! There will be ample hills and climbing so you'll be sure to get a good workout. We'll make a stop in Carlisle so bring some money for a cold drink or snack.
Ride time will be 9am so plan to meet around 8:45am. Park in the Longo's plaza at the southwest corner of Dundas and Walker's Line in Burlington. Park by the Tim Hortons. Here's a link to a map of the location:,+Burlington,+Ontario,+Canada&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=48.555061,113.994141&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=2900+Walkers+Line,+Burlington,+Halton+Regional+Municipality,+Ontario+L7M+4M8,+Canada&z=16
Depending on what time we finish and how everyone feels, we can head to Sunset Grill after the ride at Dundas and Appleby for brunch/lunch.
Let me know if you'll be joining us Saturday morning or drop me a line with questions or concerns.
See you then!

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gears Girl update for the week of Monday, July 19th

Hey Girls.

Another great week of riding! Everyone did great on all three rides this week. The group is really riding well together...I'm thrilled with the focus and direction in which the group is heading. Well done ladies!

We'll do our usual Tuesday and Wesnesday rides this week - 6:30 pm from Gears. Both nights rides will be approximately 2.0 hours in duration. As a reminder - if you do not ride regularly with the group or are a new or slower rider, please ride on Tuesday night; the Wednesday night rides are faster and tighter and are not suitable for those unfamiliar or new to group riding. If you're not sure which night is best for you, drop me a quick note and we can chat.

Saturday, July 24th - Saturday ride

I am planning a ride to celebrate the end of the Tour de France. Plan is to meet at Dundas and Walkers in Burlington at 9am and ride from there. The route will be challenging and hilly - I will vary the terrain and route depending on who is there. Distance will also vary (between 65 and 75 km - but quite a lot of hill climbing) depending on who is there. Please drop me a line as soon as possible to let me know if you will be at this ride so that I can adjust the route accordingly.

Also, let me know if you would like to do a shorter, more relaxed ride from Gears Saturday morning. If there is a group of you interested, I can send out an announcement later this week and a group can head out on their own for a ride.

Hope to see lots of you out this week!


Great ride yesterday girls!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Gears Girls clothing available for purchase

Hi Girls.
We just received a shipment of Gears Girls jerseys - same jersey, but a bunch of different sizes are once again available. If you paid your membership fee but did not receive your jersey, you will receive a separate email with instructions about picking it up at Gears.
If any of you would like to purchase additional Gears Girls jerseys, you can do so at any point (or at least until we run out). Cost is $110 plus tax. Drop in to Gears anytime to pay and pick up a new jersey! celebrate the final week of the Tour de France - Gears Girls vests will be available for $60 (regularly $90). A wind vest is definitely something you want to have in your cycling wardrobe for the Spring and Fall - and this one is great because it has 3 rear pockets (something that is often times difficult to find in a vest) and a mesh back. Looks awesome with the complete kit! Sizes and quantity are limited so buy them while you can. The sale price will only be available until Sunday, July 25th.
Drop me a line if you have any questions. Otherwise, will see you out on the road looking sharp in your kits :)

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In case of rain tonight!

Hi Girls.

They're calling for thunderstorms and rain starting at about 5pm today. If necessary, I'll cancel the ride tonight - but we'll play it by ear until then.

I'll send out an email and update the blog by 5:30pm if the ride is cancelled.

If you're not working today I might suggest getting your ride in this morning....just in case :)

Fingers crossed for good weather tonight.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Gears Girls Update for the Week of Monday, July 12th

Hi Girls.
Great riding this week! Even with the heat and humidity, everyone that came out to the rides did amazing.
I have to say, I'm so impressed by how well the group is progressing - regardless of if you're a new or experienced rider - the group is advancing on every ride and is riding together just as a great road group should. Keep up the good work!
Some of you have asked me why I decided to stop accepting new members. While a lot has to do with safety reasons, a lot of it also has to do with how the group grows and advances. A big part of group riding is trusting and knowing the people you're riding with. Considering how closely you have to ride with the other members, it's important you feel comfortable with those around you. Every time a new rider joins the group - or someone that doesn't attend regularly - it makes it tough for the group to gel...and to anticipate the ride style and abilities of the other riders.
So, that being said, seeing as we're a good way into the summer and with the above in mind, I thought I'd put the following points out there:
1) If you are a new rider, if you are uncomfortable riding in a paceline and/or at faster speeds, or if you are a member that does not ride regularly, please ride on Tuesday nights. I started the Tuesday night rides to give newer riders or anyone not yet comfortable riding in a group, the chance to ride in a less intense, less intimidating environment. Everyone that regularly attends the Tuesday night rides is doing great and is advancing amazingly well. We'll still be practicing group riding skills, promoting proper group riding etiquette, and offering progressively more challenging rides on Tuesdays, just at a more relaxed pace.
2) The Wednesday night rides have been very well attended and will continue getting faster and more challenging as the weeks progress. Please respect your fellow riders and only choose to ride on Wednesday nights if you are comfortable riding at faster speeds and in a tight group. Please keep in mind that we do not always have a sweep riding on the Wednesday rides as the women that choose to ride with the faster group feel comfortable dropping off the back and/or making their way back to Gears on their own if need be. 
3) I think since we started offering various distance and pace options, Saturday rides have been very successful. For the most part, we'll continue riding the same, or similar route so that members know where they are at all times and are able to find their way back to Gears if need be. Again, please be respectful of your fellow riders and ride within your limits and within your comfort zone.  There are generally 3 distances/paces to choose from so everyone should be able to ride quite comfortably. Keep in mind, that as the distances progess so do the speeds, so you can and should plan your ride accordingly.  If you would like to do a slightly longer ride within your chosen group, there's no reason why you can't add on some additional mileage either with the group or one your own. Just be sure to ride safe!
Again, great work everyone! Keeping in mind the above information, here's what's happening this week:
Tuesday, July 13th: Recovery/relaxed pace ride 
New riders, riders looking to improve/work on group riding skills, riders that don't attend regularly, or anyone looking for a more relaxed environment to ride in are welcome to attend this ride. Group riding and basic ride skills are covered during this 1.5 to 2.0 hour ride.
Leaves from Gears at 6:30pm sharp.
Wednesday, July 14th: Faster paced ride
Leave from Gears at 6:30pm sharp.
Please only ride with the Wednesday night group if you are comfortable riding at faster speeds and in a tighter group. Ride duration is between 1.5 and 2.0 hours.
Saturday, July 16th - Saturday ride. All are welcome!
Ride leaves from Gears at 9am. Various distances (depending on who attends - usually distances of 35, 50 or 70+kms) and paces. Pace progresses as distances progress.  
Drop me a line if you have any questions. Otherwise, will look forward to seeing everyone throughout the week!

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sunday ride to Moffat

Hi All.

For all of you planning to do the ride to Moffat tomorrow: ride leaves from Gears at 8:30am. Distance is approximately 120km with a stop at the half-way point for buttertarts. Remember to bring some money!

I just checked the weather and it looks like there's a possibility of rain...but I think that's not until the evening. If the weather is such that we do need to cancel the ride, I'll send out an email and update the blog ( by 7:15am. If no email, then the ride is on!

Andrew - can you please forward this info on to your group and to anyone from Gears that may be joining us.

Drop me a line if you have any questions. Otherwise will see everyone tomorrow morning at Gears!


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sunday ride to Moffat

Hi Girls.

For those of you doing the ride to Moffat on Sunday...we'll be leaving from Gears at 8:30am. Distance is approximately 115km. Pace will be around 25 to 27km/hr. Bring some money as we'll be stopping in Moffat for buttertarts!

Just so I'll have an idea about numbers, please drop me a quick note to let me know if you'll be joining us Sunday.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Remember to hydrate!

Hi girls.

One thing I neglected to mention in my weekly update was the importance of hydration. With this heat, if you plan on riding (or doing anything outside) you need to focus on hydrating well before, during and after your rides. If you're riding tonight or tomorrow night be sure to bring two full water bottles - at least one of which contains a high quality electrolyte powder such as eLoad (you can buy this by the serving or by the container at Gears). Also be sure to hydrate well before the ride and after. Again, a good recovery drink will help ensure you're ready to go the next day!

I made the mistake of heading out for a ride yesterday at noon - well over 30 degrees with humidity. I didn't really prepare for the ride and only drank coffee, toast and a protein shake. Needless to say, I was only 10 km in to the ride and at the foot of a not-so-steep hill before I had to get off my bike and lay down in the grass in order to keep from doing myself in altogether. I used a gel, drank a bottle of water with electrolyte powder and ate something. And this was only after about 10 km! I got back on my bike and felt only marginally better. I rode another 20 km and then called it a day. This was definitely because I hadn't drank enough or eaten enough before the ride! Moral of the story - just because you're going on a short, easy ride - if it's hot and humid outside...don't neglect proper hydration and nutrition!

Be sure to prepare well - nutrition and hydration wise - for all the rides this week. I suspect the heat will be with us for all our rides this week!

See you on the road,


Monday, July 5, 2010

Gears Girls update for the week of Monday, July 5, 2010

Hi girls.

Hope you all had a great Canada Day and got some good rides in over the weekend. Here's what's going on this week:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - beginner/recovery ride

Ride at 6:30pm from Gears. Ride will be between 1.5 and 2 hours. NB: this is a slower paced ride than Wednesday. All are welcome!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 - fast paced ride

Ride at 6:30pm from Gears. Ride will be about 2 hours in duration. NB: this is a faster paced ride with little to no regrouping. If you're not comfortable riding in a tight group or at faster speeds, please select the Tuesday or Saturday ride options.

Saturday, July 10, 2010 - Saturday ride

All are welcome on the Saturday ride. Depending on the turnout, there will be distance options of 35km, 50km, and 95+km. Starts from Gears at 9am.

Sunday, July 11, 2010 - Tour for Tarts with Mel and Andrew - start time to be determined

Join Mel and Gears' Andrew Blair on this 115km ride from Gears to Moffat. Of course there will be a stop at Dar's for buttertarts so be sure to bring some money! Please note there will not be a shorter distance option on this ride - total distance will be between 115km and 125km. Please let me know if you plan on joining Andrew and I on this ride! I'll forward start time details within the next couple of days...will be sometime between 8am and 9am.

Hope to see lots of you out this week! Drop me a line with any questions.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Gears Girls Saturday ride - reminder

Hey girls.

Hope you all had a great Canada Day!

A number of you have emailed to see if there's a ride tomorrow. Yup - we're riding! Saturday, July 3rd, 9am from Gears. Depending on who's there, we'll have a couple distance options.

See you tomorrow!