21 July 2019
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

Event Review: Cycletta New Forest

November 23, 2012
Event Review: Cycletta New Forest

Cycletta (Cycling Events For Women) is now in it’s second year and has grown from two events in 2011 to six in 2012. This was my second Cycletta event, the first being  Cheshire last year, so I knew what to expect and having enjoyed the experience last year was very much looking forward to this year’s outing.

Event Review: Cycletta New Forest

The New Forest at Beaulieu is without question a very lovely place to go for a bike ride, especially in the Autumn. In fact, my only gripe with the venue is that having to leave my house in the dark at 6am to get there for the 9am start, rather takes the fun out of it. It also made it impossible for me to persuade any family or friends to join me for a day out, which is a shame as one of the perks of these events is free access to the wonderful venues, in this case the famous motor museum.

On a more positive note, finding the venue was really easy (even without sat nav or co-pilot to assist) and parking was totally stress free. I do love an event where there are smiling marshals to help make you feel welcome and guide you seamlessly to the start and this was very much the case here.

Having spent many years doing events of all sorts and growing up competing in sport I don’t really get nervous, plus this for me is all about enjoyment, but many women were  nervous. I overheard tense exchanges in the loo queue, I saw others being reassured by loved ones and the atmosphere at my start was a mix of nervous laughter and slightly stressed seriousness.

But what is lovely at Cycletta is the genuine feeling of support from the organising team; it’s not patronising, just breezy and light-hearted with banter, smiles and cheers all round. I really hope it helped to calm the nerves of my fellow riders because the appeal of these events is that they are designed to be personal challenges rather than races and although you are timed and ranked at the end this is very much secondary to the actual event.

Cycletta - Start line

The early start does of course mean that there is not a lot of time to faff about, so before we knew it we were off. The riders doing the longer 80k route set off ahead and then the rest of us doing the 40km route followed soon after in batches of eight. This system works well, and as someone who likes a bit of space I found I was never boxed in or intimidated by other cyclists. The route took us through pretty villages and open countryside and although there were a few undulating sections near the beginning it was never overly taxing unless you wanted it to be.

The course was well marked and there was very little chance of getting lost or going wrong, and in the unfortunate event of a puncture or worse there were mobile mechanics from British Cycling to help you back on your way. Of course the pro’s carried repair kits with them, I did too because I like to be as independent as possible, but the honest truth is it’s a real battle to get my mountain bike tyres off, so I was glad there was another option.

I didn’t stop at the re-fueling station, but many did take advantage of the drink, food and loo stop en-route which look well organised and more importantly well stocked!

Cycletta- New Forest-route

The ride took a little less than two hours, so as I approached the end it was around 11am. Traffic had not been an issue at all until 10.30, but the draw of the picturesque tourist location, narrow roads and possibly it being the first weekend of many schools half term meant that there were times when it became pretty busy. I am used to traffic, but a few riders around me did panic slightly as frustrated car drivers struggled to get past. It was a shame because up until the point it had all been calm and tranquil, it didn’t spoil the event for me at all though especially once I turned back into the finish area to cheers and a name check from the announcer.

Ride over, I parked my bike up at the secure drop-off point and headed to the much publicised event village. In the main tent massage sessions were in full swing, women were having their hair done, nails were being painted and great goody bags were being handed out. All in all people were enjoying themselves and taking full advantage of the free services on offer, the atmosphere was happy and friendly and that pretty much sums up the event.

Watch our event video – you may even spot yourself!

Good points:
– Friendly, supportive environment
– Two different distances to choose from
– Pictureseque route
– Lots of additional treats
– Well organised

Bad Points:
– Roads became busy towards the end of the ride
– Early start (obviously important for quiet roads but limits the audience)

Fancy taking part in next years events?
www.cycletta.co.uk

Danielle Sellwood, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

 

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