Easy riders

Last updated 05:00 30/09/2012

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No cost, no commitment, no obligation - except to have a bike and a wish to ride it.

On Monday a women's recreational cycling group starts a new summer season of road rides and everyone with a bike and an hour or two to spare is invited to join it.

"And it's not just for speed bunnies,” says one long-term Monday group rider, Jill Bugler. “If you've got something rusty hanging up in the garage, dust it off and come along.”

Giving her age as "not far off 65”, Jill says she is probably the “grandmother of the group”. Other participants include women who use the Monday rides as an after-work wind-down and young Mums who strap a toddler on to a carrier seat behind them.

Depending on levels of fitness and time commitments, riders might complete a 20-25 kilometre circuit or take a short cut and ride for just four or five kilometres, Jill says.

The group is led by Lynne Haines and when riders have gathered outside the Avanti Plus cycle shop on Queen St each Monday evening, she usually asks everyone how far and how fast they think they will ride.

“Nobody ever rides on their own,” Jill says.

She likes to look after any “tail-enders” and offers tips to women who haven't cycled much on the open road or are new to group riding. There are protocols to learn, she says.

Safety is always paramount so riders are urged to ride no more than two abreast and to wear bright clothing for increased visibility. Fluorescent vests are recommended.

"Bunch riding” methods, where cyclists regularly rotate their position in a group so everyone takes a turn at the front and in the rear where it is more sheltered, are implemented.

“We get a lot of wind here through the summer,” Jill says, and those at the front bear the brunt of it.

She has never cycled competitively but loves the camaraderie that develops among a group of women who meet regularly to ride together.

“It's pretty social and we often end up at Fairweathers and have a coffee and a muffin together - or even stay and have a meal

The group is also an easy forum for newcomers in town to meet others, Jill says.“We're not connected to a club . . . there's no cost, no commitment. The only obligation on [riders] is to have a bike and to want to ride.

‚óŹ The Monday group riders meet outside the Avanti Plus cycle shop, Queen St, Blenheim, between 5.30pm and 5.45pm.

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- The Marlborough Express

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