When local women’s cycling club Velociposse came to us looking for a subtle redesign and some new kit, we were incredibly excited to be working with one of the trailblazers in grassroots cycling.
Velociposse is a women’s cycling club based in London. They run rides, take part in races and hold skills sessions with the goal to get more women into cycling. Run by women, for women, Velociposse is growing through inspiration and support.
Being women only sets the club apart from others. Their sole focus is on inclusivity for women in a largely male-dominated space.
“Many women find as they get more interested in cycling that traditional cycling clubs don’t cater to their needs or feel too daunting to join. Some mainstream clubs insist you are a certain speed or fitness level before you can go on a “beginners” ride, which can be hard to judge until you’ve been on the ride!”
Whatever your level, Velociposse aims to make all rides accessible and welcoming. That’s why they have riders from all levels within their ranks, from first time group riders to international racers.
Starting as a track team, Velociposse has evolved into a club with 65 members doing all kinds of rides, on all kinds of bikes. For them, it’s about enjoying riding, whatever your experience level, for the satisfaction of pushing yourself, exploring and trying new things.
“Our motto is “Riding on our own terms,” whether that’s racing, training rides or exploring the Essex lanes whilst having a chat. For us, racing isn’t about winning, but about riding at your limit, testing your skills and tactics, and the massive endorphin rush. (Maybe also the race day photos!) To get a bit political - we don’t recognise the expectations to value some bodies over others because of their physical capabilities. We do value everyone being able to find their own way of having fun and challenging themselves.”
The idea of inclusiveness and equity made its way into the design of the new kit. With an already distinctive look, the idea was evolution not revolution. For many, a cycling kit is a big investment. With a new club kit can sometimes come pressure to move your wardrobe on, especially if it differs greatly from the one before. Two key components to carry over were the eye motif designed by artist Jess May and the words “Femme Brutale”, a motto that “everyone has their own take on but at its core is about being brave and doing something that challenges you.”
One of the key areas the club works in is skills training. Running sessions to help new and experienced riders feel confident riding at low speeds, in bunches and around town.
“Thanks to Groundwork’s grant we have been able to train some of our members to become Level 2 British Cycling coaches which means we can hold these skills sessions weekly without putting too much pressure on volunteers to coach every week.”
“low skills give an opportunity to talk to other members of different ability and experience levels. It’s a safe and supportive atmosphere where it’s not about being the strongest, just about self improvement. Learning these fundamentals will make you safer and more confident at any race or event.”
The Covid-19 lockdown presented a new challenge.
“We normally run these over summer but the C-19 lockdown happened just as we were about to restart. It was hard to spend the spring inside, watching the trees turn green and the weather warm. We kept going with Zoom training sessions (weights, rollers and yoga) and socials - a weekly pub quiz including the famous Cat round and Pizza round!”
“Our strategy is to make sport cycling inclusive to everyone. By adapting our skills sessions to be covid safe, we can be mindful that the reason lockdown easing is happening so quickly is because of the economy. Not everyone trusts the government guidelines on this. We are not a cog in the machine of capitalism, we are a club that empowers women.This means we want as many of our members as possible to feel safe to attend our skills sessions.”
Over the summer, skills sessions are being expanded. With some catering specifically to beginnings and others to more experienced riders.
This is an amazing time for cycling to become a mainstream, equal opportunity activity as uptake goes through the roof and society examines its relationship with diversity. Clubs like Velociposse inspire us as they appeal to all riders from adventures to commuters to seasoned roadies. It’s about adventure, trying new things and seeing the world around you in a different way. At the end of the day, cycling is a fantastic form of mobility. A joyous and freeing way of getting from A to B.
“By adapting the sessions to be covid safe with strict social distancing and a focus on bike handling rather than bunch riding, we can be sure that we are still teaching vital skills and looking after the health of our more vulnerable members and their households. After months of riding alone, on Zwift or with our households, the sessions have been really popular. We hope to welcome many of the women who have taken up cycling during lockdown - if that’s you, please do come along!”
For more information, you can check out Velociposse across on Instagram @velociposse or get in touch via email.