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There are dozens of cycling clubs in metro Atlanta, but only a handful are women-only. Back in 2006, the first women’s-only club was started after a group of women saw a lack of space for them within the cycling community. Eighteen years later, the cycling group is still around and stronger than ever.

Sorella Cycling has had the same mission since it started 18 years ago: to foster a supportive environment for women of all ages and abilities to bike for fitness, recreation, and racing. Sorella, which means sister in Italian, is a concept the group truly embraces. Lea Rolfes, who is part of Sorella’s board, says this group is a safe space for women of all ages. “We’re all about sisterhood, camaraderie, and mentorship. It’s really an opportunity to ride in a judgment-free zone.”

Unlike a unisex group, this group provides the opportunity for women of all ages to discuss issues specific to women. “We can talk about and ask questions specific to women and bikes, like saddle fit, riding in different life stages, pregnancy, and menopause,” Rolfes said. Having a women-only club allows women to discuss these issues without feeling judged or discouraged from riding.

According to 2023 data from Strava, 73% of women globally said they were more likely to feel comfortable riding with other cyclists of their gender, but only 12% of women reported participating in rides that were all women. This is one of the reasons why it is crucial to have women-only cycling groups. Having a group of women allows participants of all ages to connect and learn from each other. Rolfes mentions that there are women of all skill levels in the club. “A great thing that the club offers is that you can meet people who have expertise or interest in different disciplines and learn more about how they got started or get started with someone together,” Rolfes said.

You won’t encounter any “mansplaining” on these rides, and they hope to eliminate that altogether. Rolfes said women are still treated differently, even at bike shops, and they want to change that. “We want to communicate with bike shops that our money is good here and that we know what we’re talking about.” They are continuing their advocacy to show that women belong in the cycling community.

The club also allows women to write blog posts about their experiences at races and other events and to have an open dialogue with the public. They can write about anything from how they felt at an event being one of the few women there, how other groups treated them, and their experience as a woman cyclist in the city. You can read some of the latest posts here.

To continue encouraging more women to ride, the group has specific rides for all ages and skill levels. Rolfes encourages beginners to come out for a ride. “If you’ve recently started riding, come ride with us because we’re creating this learning environment so you can learn how to ride safely and about different pacing. We want to make sure that not only are women getting on bikes but that they are staying on bikes.” Within this inclusive setting, women from diverse backgrounds can exchange knowledge not only about cycling but also about life itself. Rolfes highlights the range of participants, spanning from women in their 20s to seasoned national champions in their 60s.

To join Sorella Cycling, head over to their website where you can purchase a membership for $29 a year. The membership price includes access to the rides, events, and discounts at places around town. Check out the website for membership details, upcoming events, and blog posts from fellow members. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just starting out, Sorella Cycling offers a supportive community where women can thrive and grow in their love for biking.

Photo Credit: Sorella Cycling

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