International Womens Day | A Q&A with Lucy Sturgess.
As part of International Women's day, we have decided to launch a series of blogs written by Women for Women. Laid out as a Q&A, these are some of the frequently asked questions and inspirational stories from around the industry as to why people have started to ride bikes and how it has changed their lives. Starting off with our #TeamRutland ambassador, Lucy Sturgess.
Can you remember how you got into cycling?
I took up cycling about 7-8 years ago now, I was training for a charity challenge and was cycling to gain some fitness.I really was quite unfit at the time but really loved it. It started on a bike from my parents garage that had seen better days but nonetheless it didn't stop me. My first few rides were 10-12 miles and I built up the distance gradually... it soon became a really big part of my life. I joined a local group and then a cycling club and raced my first season the following year.
How did you discover it was road biking you enjoyed the most and have you tried any other disciplines?
I just started by going out on the local south Leicestershire lanes. I have dabbled in lots of different areas over the years; road cycling, competed in road and circuit races, dabbled in a little Cyclocross and competed in a Mountain bike race. I have done some gravel cycling also but road cycling is my main interest. Bike packing is my new obsession though!
Where would you go to learn? Anything from bike mechanics, to new gear, to routes and places to ride?
The best thing I did as a new cyclist was to join the British Cycling women’s development sessions. They cater to all different abilities, but I joined a group which focused on group riding skills and skills for racing. I met so many amazing like minded ladies and friends who I am still in touch with, it’s a really supportive and encouraging environment.
Do you prefer to cycle alone or in a group?
I'm a big fan of a long solo ride and will frequently ride a solo century! I enjoy riding in groups too and have some great friends I ride with. Sometimes it’s a social ride and chat with a café and sometimes I'm put through my paces and am left wondering why I enjoy cycling at all! I love it though, riding in groups is great. So the answer to that is both!
Any tips for how to find a group?
I would say don’t be put off if the first group you try isn’t the right one for you and try a few, there are suitable groups for all abilities. Cycling club runs are great, but sometimes your less formal groups are great too. In Leicestershire we have the ‘Tour De Queniborough’ which has something for everyone, from 10 miles at 8mph to a 20mph plus chain gang.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve set yourself with cycling? Why did you set yourself that challenge? How did it go?
I have done a few big challenge rides. The hardest ones have been completing La Marmotte sportive in France and the Vatternrudan in Sweden. Last year I did a solo unsupported cycling tour from Leicestershire to Orkney, I carried my kit and was wild camping for the majority of the trip. It was amazing! I am now always thinking about the next bike packing trip.
Any cool cycling plans for this year?
I am riding the Etape Caledonia with friends which is a sportive event in Pitlochry. After that I am doing a bike packing trip around the Outer Hebrides which has been on my to do list for several years. I have a few friends who have been there and it looks amazing. I would love to ride the Transatlantic Way in Ireland and have a few other European trips on my radar but my main cycling aim is just to enjoy cycling.
What are your top tips for being comfortable on a bike?
I have never had a bike fit, but have taken advice from people I trust around me and have tweaked the position to one I'm comfortable with. I then use those measurements on any new bike set up and am protective about changing them. A saddle you're comfortable with and good shorts are essential!
What are your three pieces of Cycling kit you can't live without?
- A good saddle paired with a quality set of bibshorts
- Garmin Edge 830 GPS Computer
- My Specialized Tarmac SL7
What inspirational Women in the cycling world have inspired you and that you would suggest to follow?
- Emily Chappell (@emilyofchappell) – Round the world cyclist and winner of the Transcontinental Race, two things I have a large fascination with! Her book ‘Where Theres A Will’ is worth a read.
- Vera Ngosi-Sambrook (@pedalling.to.and.fro) – Adventure and endurance cyclist. I loved following her preparation for the Panceltic race.
- Jenny Graham (@jennygrahamis_) – Adventure cyclist who holds the women’s record for cycling round the world.