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Pedalling Forward: Inspiring Women in Cycling with Nicole Stanners

By 3 July 2024July 10th, 20242024 News

Cycling has always been a sport that brings people together, offering a unique blend of challenge, camaraderie, and exhilaration. For Nicole Stanners, it’s been a journey filled with memorable rides, incredible achievements, and a passion for encouraging more women to take up cycling. From her first triathlon in Singapore to breaking records in the Race Across America, Nicole’s story is a testament to the power of determination and the joy of finding your tribe. As she prepares for the Bowral Classic, she shares her experiences, the barriers she’s faced, and her vision for a more inclusive cycling community.

What inspired you to start cycling?

I have always been into sport and decided to do my first triathlon when I was living in Singapore 15 years ago. Over time they got longer and longer until I did an ironman and competed in Hawaii at the world championships a couple of times. I always loved the bike part of triathlon, and it quickly became my strongest leg, so I floated into long distance cycling.

Tell us about your favourite or most memorable ride to date?

Even though it was 9 years ago, my most memorable ride was the 2015 Race Across America for Australia’s first all-female team of 4 called the Veloroos. It’s basically a crew supported, non-stop 5000km relay race from one side of the US to the other. We won and broke a record (6 days, 13 hours and 26 minutes) which was super exciting at the time.
It’s memorable not only for its uniqueness, the distance and our result, but also for the teamwork required with 4 riders and 13 crew plus how ridiculously delirious I was at the end from lack of sleep!

How are you preparing for the Bowral Classic?

I have to be honest; I am not super fit at the moment. I have been busy with work, Muze Women and recently got knocked over by COVID, so Bowral Classic is perfect as a goal for me to get back on my game! My preparation will be consistency and a mix of hills, fast interval riding, longer rides on the weekend and training with a group of rockstar women!

What limitations or barriers have you encountered as a woman cyclist?

I have to say, I think I was lucky to have come to cycling from triathlon, which is much more gender balanced. That gave me a level of confidence around my riding and bike skills before jumping into pure cycling with lots of guys! I think it can be quite intimidating for women new to the sport – finding safe places to ride, a welcoming group to ride with, understanding the technical side of things, the overt masculinity in the sport and even finding kit that is made specifically for women. For more experienced riders, it can be challenging as the infrastructure for women isn’t there yet – the races, the prize money and teams. One of my personal frustrations is that fast women tend to ride with guys because 9/10 times a women’s ride is held, people feel the need to run it at a speed of 20 kms / hour!

Do you have any recommendations for women specific initiatives, training groups, etc that you are involved in or aware of?

Team MUZE at this year’s Mudgee Classic

I started Muze Women to support getting more women into cycling at every level. As a
As a female-specific brand, team Muzeare kicking off a few initiatives to connect the female cycling community and create a “women’s cycling groundswell”.
In May we had a group of about 20 North Sydney-based “Muze Women” who trained for and tackled various distances at Mudgee Classic.

We have set up our Muze Strava group and will be kicking off monthly North and East Sydney Community Rides led by our Ride Captains, catering for fast to easy speed levels. All women are welcome, provided they have insurance and sign our waiver. Sign up to our newsletter, join our  Strava group or keep an eye on our socials for event announcements.
And of course, we are also gearing up for another team takeover of Bowral Classic, so our monthly rides will be a way to train for that. Once again, there is an open invitation to join the Muze Women team and train with us if you are Sydney based.

What advice would you give to other women who are interested in taking up cycling but may feel hesitant or intimidated?

Cycling is such an amazing sport when you find your tribe and get the support you need. It’s social, builds fitness, improves mental health and it’s great for the environment. I would say come and join the Muze Women community, but if not, here are my 3 tips:

  1. Find a group to ride with that will support you and make you feel comfortable and safe.
  2. Reach out to groups, forums, or friends who can teach you a few basics to start with, like what bike to buy, what kit to wear, and what groups to join.
  3. And lastly, don’t be afraid to be yourself and ask silly questions. Everyone was a beginner once, and the people that want to make you feel stupid are few and far between.

As Nicole prepares for the Bowral Classic, she continues to inspire women to break barriers and find their place in the cycling world. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a newcomer, her advice and initiatives offer a welcoming path to embrace the thrill of cycling.