The Case for Women-Only Camps

The five-year-old son of one of my friends has the uncanny ability to find the fastest route to any mud puddle or pile of dirt within 10 meters. Within 30 seconds of opening the car door, this kid, guaranteed, will have dirt on his face. It seems that boys will be boys, no matter what nationality they are.

The other day I went mountain biking with a group of middle-aged men. In the middle of the ride, one of the guys just disappeared. I inquired about his whereabouts, and the other guys told me that the fellow was upset that one of the other guys in the group was stronger than him. Apparently, the disappearing dude is usually the fastest, and couldn’t handle the possibility he might have been de-throned. On a Thursday. On a fun group ride. If the adage “boys will be boys” applies worldwide,
“men will be men” might apply as well.

Women's Cycling Camp ToscanaMy point is, as a woman, sometimes you just don’t need MAMILs (middle-aged men in lycra) around. We can be just as competitive and just as muddy, but there is something affirming and positive about exercising with a group of only women. Statistics show women are more likely to pick up cycling later in life than men, and it’s often difficult to learn new skills when more experienced (and often louder)
“experts” are around, giving advice and regaling all those around with play-by-play analyses of a Masters race that happened around the time leisure suits were still hot.

I think it’s important to note that the historical relationship between women and bikes actually goes back to the very first bicycles; one book I’ve come across is Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way) by Sue Macy. This book discusses the way bicycles helped subvert the traditional notion of femininity by emancipating women from huge dresses and corsets; women couldn’t wear 20lb bustles and ride bikes. Less-constricting clothing was necessary for women to ride these new mechanical inventions, and fashion followed.

We’re past bustles, but I’m a huge fan of women-only camps…

Velo Veneto is embracing the Women-only concept whole-heartedly. This August, experience a unique week at our Women’s Dolomites Cycling Camp. Not only is it for women, but it’s been designed by women and run by women.