Central Oregon’s largest women’s cycling club emphasizes fun, skills, and confidence building — on the road and on mountain trails.
When I lived in Vancouver, WA the local cycling club (Vancouver Bicycle Club) proved to be my social lifeline. Through it I met a great group of people who quickly became some of my best friends. Outside of riding together, we’d meet for coffee, happy hour, hiking, kayaking, and skiing. So when I moved to Bend, OR finding a cycling club was high on my list of priorities as a way to make my new town feel like home.
Enter the Bend Bellas. There are lots of cycling clubs in Bend, but the Bellas have a special place in my heart. The club offers road and mountain bike rides throughout the season with a ‘no drop’ policy. While there are many skilled, competitive riders in the club, there’s a strong social element to club outings. The Bella’s mission is to provide fun, safe rides for women that develop knowledge, confidence, and skills.
“You meet great people and there’s always someone to do something with,” said Club President Barb Smith.
Barb’s right. I’ve met a great group of women through this club. And, on special Bella’s N Fella’s rides, some of the guys have connected as well.
The Bellas have helped me to develop my mountain biking skills and endurance in an encouraging setting. Coming from a road riding background, my sense of self-preservation far outweighs my technical skills. On a Bella mountain bike ride you can walk over or around or over an intimidating obstacle without it being a big deal. Of course, it’s important to choose rides according to your skill and fitness level.
“Live to ride another day” is the motto of the newly initiated, the out of shape early-season riders, and those recovering from injury and/or illness. There are riders who excel at uphill riding and those who soar on the downhill. Bellas encourage one another to switch positions throughout a ride to take advantage of their personal strengths and preferences. “Go, girl!” is our victory cry.
During the ‘off’ season, when roads and trails are covered in snow, the Bellas like each other well enough to continue gathering together for book club, skiing, snowshoeing, and craft nights.
Newcomers are invited to try one ride for free to see if the club suits them. As club Administrator Moe Slater said, “For $25, you get a lot of friends.” Go, Bellas!
To read more about the Bend Bellas check out this 2015 feature article in Bend Bulletin’s Ageless Magazine (print).