Welcome to womenscycling.ie where we hope you find all you want to know about women’s cycling in Ireland.
Our aim is to be a central point of contact for the women’s cycling community in Ireland. Whether you want to get started, try your first race or keep up to date with what’s going on you’ll find everything you need to know here.
Womenscycling.ie is run by the Women’s Commission of Ireland, a voluntary group of women who want to develop women’s cycling in Ireland. The Commission receives support from Cycling Ireland; however the members of the Commission are volunteers, who have been involved in cycling for a number of years.
The Women’s Commission are constantly looking for energetic women to get involved. If you’d like to get involved and give something back get in touch now.
The Women’s Commission
In 2001 the Boot Inn League, the first women’s only cycling league, was established to attract more women into road racing. The following year the first meeting took place of the newly assembled Women’s Commission. Their aim was to put together a strategy for women’s cycle racing to attract greater numbers to the sport.
In 2004 the National League was established and in 2008 the development of the womenscycling.ie website gave the Women’s Commission a platform to communicate and attract more riders. The establishment of the Commission has led to the organisation of a calendar of women’s racing and increased opportunities for female racers in this country.
The sport is growing and over the past few years the numbers of female members of Cycling Ireland has quadrupled. Women now make up between 15 – 17% of the Cycling Ireland membership. The challenge for the Women’s Commission now is to get yet more women involved in cycling and to continue to develop and progress the road racing scene.
Whether it’s for fun, fitness or to get to work, cycling is a great way to get around. You’re going to need a bike that fits you and a helmet the best way to meet fellow cyclists is to join your local club. You can check out Cycling Ireland’s list of clubs here. You’ll also need a licence from Cycling Ireland. You can find out more on their website.
What is a sportive?
Once you’ve started cycling you might like to try a new challenge. A sportive is a non-competitive long distance cycling event. Some of the most famous cycling sportives, like the Wicklow 200, the Sean Kelly Tour Series & the Orwell Randonnee, are annual events that are held every summer and attract huge crowds of participants. They’re a great way to challenge yourself while enjoying some new scenery and meeting new people. You can find Cycling Ireland’s calendar of sportives here.
How do I get into racing?
Beginner Races: Now you’ve been bitten by the bug why not try a race? The Orwell Crit League runs every April & May and is aimed at those interested in getting into racing for the first time. It’s great for improving fitness, cornering and bunch skills. When the league finishes weekly racing continues in Corkagh Park, with these races also graded and handicapped to give both beginners & more experienced riders something to aim for.
Inter Club Leagues: Local club racing is another great way to get into racing too. Many clubs will participate in inter club leagues with races held midweek during the summer. Some of the larger clubs, like Orwell Wheelers even have their own summer league for club members.
The National League: The National League was set up in 2002 to attract more women to road racing. Over time the standard of the league has developed and it is now the most competitive and tightly contested women’s league in the country. Races are not handicapped but the National League races are very popular and attract riders of a wide range of abilities. After you’ve tried your first club league racing or the midweek crits the National League is a natural progression and a great way to try open racing.
The National Championships: Probably the biggest race of the year, the winner is crowned National Champion, earning the right to wear the Shamrock jersey for their reign as champion and the National Champion stripes for life. Full time riders will travel from abroad and some riders will base their entire season’s training plan around this prestigious race. Previous winners include Olivia Dillon, Siobhan Horgan & Mel Spath.
Ras na mBan: We’re lucky to have one of Europe’s best women’s stage races right here on our doorstep. Rás na mBan is Ireland’s only women’s international stage race. This premier multi-day event takes place in September in the beautiful scenery of County Clare. Along with the National Championships Ras na mBan is another opportunity to pit yourself against some of the best riders in the world. To find out more go the the Ras na mBan website.
Offroad cycling in Ireland is a growing area for women’s cycling, with an exciting range of different disciplines including cross country (XC), downhill (DH), marathon and enduro mountain biking, cyclocross and BMX.
The offroad racing season is all year round with cyclocross and indoor BMXing in the winter months, and multi-discipline mountain bike races during the rest of the year.
The Biking Blitz series of races held at trail centres around Ireland is the perfect introduction to mountain bike racing, with both beginner and more experienced categories held from February to March.
There are a great number of both national and regional mountain bike races including the National Points Series (NPS) for XC, the Irish Downhill Mountainbike Series (IDMS) for DH and the Gravity Enduro Series for enduro which are all becoming more and more popular with women. With the growing number of BMX tracks around the country, this sport is popular with women looking to learn key bike skills in a fast and exhilarating format.
BMX Ireland holds many interclub and national races throughout the year. This year the prestigious European Marathon Mountain Bike championships will be held in Ballyhoura, Co Limerick with a large number of women expected to take part from all over Europe.