Women's cycling: Progressing to the next level

Women's cycling: Progressing to the next level

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The pursuit of personal goals and continual progress on the bike are signs that the cycling bug has well and truly bitten.

For all cyclists who like a challenge, however don’t feel a competitive race is for them just yet, a sportive graded 3, 4 or 5 is an ideal way to test your legs within an organised event.

For those cyclists who have tried the rider development sessions, or feel they would like to try their hand in a racing environment, there are over 4,000 races listed on the British Cycling calendar. These races include all of the different cycling disciplines, so narrowing your search by the type of cycling you most enjoy would be a good place to start.

If you are new to road racing, the ideal first step is to enter a race at your local closed circuit.  These races are separated by ability using classifications and, for beginners, the entry level classifications to be looking out for are 4th Cat only, Regional C (non-ranking) or women only. Women-only circuit races will be the best option, as the circuits offer a supportive, safe environment in which to gain experience in a racing situation. Once you have gained enough experience and have a few circuit races up your sleeve, it may be time to try a women only road race.

If you prefer off-road cycling, it is important to know that most off-road races are split into age categories with opportunities to enter women-only or girl-only races within cyclo-cross, MTB and BMX.

If you are planning on taking part in a competitive bike race, there is a good chance that you will need to add on a full race licence while purchasing your membership, particularly if you are going to be competing in road or track races.

As a general rule, the higher the standard of race, the more likely it is that you will need to buy a full race licence with your membership. You can enter all British Cycling races online using the British Cycling event management system. The information as to the classification of event and the entry requirements will also be listed on the events page.

Following the entry level categories, riders can progress through the pathway, collecting regional points as and when applicable. All riders must have a full racing licence to gain points within all disciplines, and more information on this can be found here.