Three distances, top level sportive facilities, pre-event training rides & £10 entry as part of drive to get more women cycling

The second of the CTC's Cycle Champions women only sportives takes place on the 18th of September with organisers looking to build on the success of the first event in Leeds which attracted a big field in June despite atrocious weather.

Riders can expect the full top level sportive experience tailored to their ability on the bike, but thanks to Big Lottery funding the entry fee has been pegged to just £10 – these rides are part of a programme to encourage female participation in cycling getting more women to ride more often.

Three ride distances are on offer : 25, 50, and 80Km aimed at novices, those looking to build their distance, and experienced riders respectively. All the usual top level sportive ingredients will be on offer, each of the routes will be fully signed and the riders will have the benefit of electronic timing, well stocked food and drink stations, mechanical back up at the start and finish and out on the route, plus support vehicles out on the route.

Each course has been designed to offer terrain according to the level of participant so no big climbs or steep descents on the shorter routes. The 80km route heads out towards Hermitage and Goring and features several climbs and fast descents and we recommend this route for more experienced riders.

There will also be plenty of activities going on around the start finish area with lots of information and advice available on all things cycling and the CTC Cycle Champions project Local cycling groups will be on hand to offer more information about cycling in the area as well as local cycle retailers with advice on bikes and accessories.

The aim of the CTC Cycle Champions programme is to encourage traditionally hard to reach groups to start cycling or help them cycle more. The local Cycle Champions Cycling Development Officer in each region will be running a series of training rides and courses in the run up to each sportive with the emphasis on building up to the sportive day.

Steve Bailey, UK Manager CTC Cycle Champions, explains the reason behind the events: “Having made huge strides in the effort to bring more women into cycling, the natural progression was to create larger events like these where like minded women could cycle together. With a selection of routes to suit all abilities, the emphasis is on taking part and getting out in ‘real world’ riding conditions to encourage more cycle usage not just leading up to the event but also after.”

2011 has seen a marked increase in women only cycling events with the Diva 100 attracting a field of 500 for its debut in May, the high profile Cycletta series being backed by a number of female celebrities including Olympic Gold medallist, Victoria Pendleton, and British Cycling and Sky staging women only Sky Rides over the summer too.

For more details on the Reading CTC Challenge Ride Women Only Sportive check out www.ctcchallengerides.co.uk

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.