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Thursday, February 29

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Cycling Thu Jul 07 2011

Women's Meet & Greet Aims to Aid Beginners

Cycling has always been a boys' club. Many local teams make efforts to host women's clinics and women-only group rides to encourage more female racing, but pack-riding and talk of pelotons can be intimidating to true beginners, even in a learning environment. Heading out a group ride alone as a new rider takes guts.

"It's a lot less intimidating if you can make some friends who have been through the same thing," said Becky Welbes of Kinky Llama Racing. "[Friends] can answer a lot of your basic questions, give suggestions and be a supportive, smiling face at the races."

That's why Welbes organized a Women's Cycling Meet & Greet at Logan Square's New Wave Coffee (2557 N. Milwaukee) this Friday from 7 to 10 p.m.

The all-ages event will give female riders a chance to mingle, ask questions and learn more about opportunities for women's riding and racing in Chicago. For more seasoned racers, it's always fun to chat without wearing the helmets and jerseys -- if anyone still recognizes each other. All attendees will receive a handout with details about female-friendly rides and practices as well as upcoming clinics and races that feature separate a beginners' category.

Welbes said there is also a long list of raffle prizes waiting to be given away, donated by local bike shops, teams and other supporters of women's racing. Prizes include two Chrome messenger bags and a pair of Sidi cycling shoes. She's encouraging everyone to bring a friend, "because spreading the word is the best way to get more women racing."

For more details, email


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