Ashleigh Girona Cycle Tour
It’s the off-season but I’ve just finished a week-long five stage tour. It included lots of coffee stops, all my favourite roads, and a bunch of new friends. It was my inaugural Girona Cycling Tour that I hosted and it really opened my eyes to a new way to push women’s cycling forward.
The Girona Cycling Tour at it’s most simple was a cycling holiday but it’s part of a bigger vision we are working to achieve at Rocacorba Cycling. When it comes to tackling the complexities of women’s cycling, it took a long time for us to manifest something actionable but, after the tour, I knew we were onto something powerful.
It seems obvious but not every sport allows people of all levels to come together. Not anyone can join the Springboks for rugby or FC Barcelona for football but pro women’s cycling is a bit different. We have the ability to not just allow, but also to welcome supportive cyclists and fans into the process. By reaching out and making real-life connections with other cyclists/fans, we can access and strengthen the support we desperately need.
As in any new endeavour, I was excited but unsure of how the week would go. Would everyone get along? How could I make sure everyone felt included? Was the weather going to hold up? As the riders arrived, I saw they also had “new experience” jitters but as soon as we hopped on our bikes, all of our concerns melted away. There was a wide range of abilities, different experience levels, and different approaches to cycling but it didn’t matter. By the end of the week we were all happily physically tired but mentally energized.
That energy stayed with me. By taking down all the barriers and allowing people in during a simple cycling tour, I felt that I had made actual change! It seems small but I know everyone left with a sense of connection that will touch their relationship with women’s cycling forever.
The future of our sport is in connecting the dots, making deeper lasting connections, and doing that in as many different ways as possible whether that’s a minimum wage policy or a coffee with a new friend during a holiday tour. The beauty of women’s cycling is that it has the opportunity to be open and welcoming to different models and practices. There are so many different ways to advance women’s cycling and, with a multitude of attack points and an open mindset, everyone (especially professionals) can contribute to the growth and sustainability of our sport.