Chicks Who Ride Bikes aims to help women and non-binary people find and enjoy cycling – however they ride and whenever they start.
The group is based in Brisbane, Australia, but they now run two weekly Zwift rides to connect cyclists from all over the globe.
“While we are a women’s community and tailor towards women, it is open to all,” says Katey Bates, a CWRB leader, about the Zwift events. “We have a few fellas who regularly come along (who are usually +1s) and so long as everyone is respectful, they are welcome.”
CWRB was founded by Jordana Mullan, who learned to ride as an adult and now inspires other women to ride bikes, and Katey, two-time Olympian and 2007 Points Race Champion in track cycling.
We asked them to tell us more about this group and how you can join them on Zwift, and here’s what they had to say.
Zwift: When did Chicks Who Ride Bikes form, and who started it?
Katey Bates & Jordana Mullan: Chicks Who Ride Bikes is a grassroots women’s cycling community created by Jordana Blackman in Brisbane in 2013. We help women, those who identify as female and non-binary folk to find cycling and enjoy the wonderful freedom, independence, and joy that riding bikes gives them. Jordana joined forces with Katey Bates, and they now run CWRB and all it entails.
We believe that adventure – no matter how small – lights a flame within us that helps us understand who we truly are. We believe in the power of lungs filled with fresh air, no matter what you look like, where you sleep at night, or how you choose to live your life.
Our vision is to encourage as many women as possible to take up cycling for fun, fitness, and transportation.
We started our Zwift club at the end of 2018, as with two young kids, Katey wasn’t able to find the time to ride her bike and was missing not just the fitness but the social and community connection.
Z: What would you say the group’s core purpose and goals are? Why do you believe your group is important to the Zwift community?
K&J: Our Zwift group’s core purpose is to provide a supportive online community where our members can challenge their fitness, connect on a social level, and feel supported and empowered by like-minded ladies.
Z: Who are the group’s leaders on Zwift?
K&J: Katey and Jordana are our two main ride leaders. Katey was a world champion in track cycling, a dual Olympian, cycling commentator, and has most recently turned her hand to Zwift commentary with the crew from Zwift Community Live and Zwift Live.
Jordana started cycling after being diagnosed with cancer and wanting to get fit, find a community, and fundraise for cancer research. This led her to a charity ride…. Which was all well and good except Jordana didn’t know how to ride a bike. Her journey is from grassroots up and she is incredible at supporting the new riders who have all the questions and need to know they aren’t alone in finding bike riding a bit intimidating from the outset.
Z: How do you think participating in cycling can empower and benefit women and girls?
K&J: This is without doubt the best show of equality cycling has! There is equal race distance, equal prize money, and equal broadcasts. Zwift was built for all users – whereas IRL sports were predominantly built for men, and women's participation was an afterthought.
On top of inherent built-in equality, Zwift provides access to women in a way that IRL riding does not. The virtual world removes a lot of the barriers that women and girls have for entering cycling – which is headlined by fear of riding on the road and in traffic, lack of confidence in skills, and intimidating male-dominated clubs and groups.
Further, women are often in caregiver roles, and exercise falls off the priority list. Zwift provides access to exercise as well as community on a flexible schedule from the comfort of home while balancing life duties.
Z: What are the benefits of being involved in a community of women who ride?
K&J: It’s such an awesome way to stay connected to a like-minded group of women from all over the world, chase your fitness goals in a supportive environment, and keep yourself motivated simply by wanting to catch up with the girls for a chat.
Z: Are there any special memories or experiences with this group that you'd like to share?
K&J: We find the CWRB group spend the entire ride waffling about life. Just stuff. From how everyone’s kids are, to how everyone is hanging in. Through Covid the conversation was often about making sure everyone was okay and chatting about isolation life hacks, we swapped recipes (sourdough anyone?!) and did Meetups to conquer the likes of Alpe du Zwift or Ventoux.
Chicks Who Ride Bikes Group Ride (mixed gender)
- Schedule: Tuesdays at 6:30 Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time
- Pace: 1.3-1.8 w/kg
- Length: 50 minutes
- Description: The focus for this group ride is to have fun and encourage all women to join, especially those new to Zwift, or wanting a more ‘relaxed’ way to start the week. So join in and let’s keep growing the women's community on Zwift!
Chicks Who Ride Bikes Group Workout (mixed gender)
- Schedule: Fridays at 6:30 Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time
- Length: 50 minutes
- Description: This ride is a Chicks Who Ride Bikes Friyay workout designed to introduce us to workouts on Zwift and the benefits which come from training in specific zones. This is a great all-around workout where we will work across a variety of zones, but keeping it mostly under our thresholds. After all... it is Friyay!
See all CWRB events at zwift.com/events/tag/cwrb