Ark. women's cycling group offers tips, techniques

Cycling can be intimidating if you are just starting out, but one local women's cycling group is proving it doesn't have to be.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -  Cycling is a male-dominated sport and industry, making it intimidating for some women. However, a women’s-only cycling group in Little Rock is hoping to make it more approachable.

After suffering a back injury in October of 2014, Allison Smith's husband encouraged her to start cycling.

“He thought that that would be good because it's low impact. I didn’t want to at first. I was very reluctant I was a little scared,” said Smith.

It only took a couple of rides before she was hooked.

“Now I cycle all the time.”

In May, Smith joined a women's cycling group, the Women on a Roll Road Ride, geared toward beginner cyclists.

“I was really nervous about joining a group of women who were more experienced than me, but it turned out to be the best move I made.”

The group rides Monday nights for about 20 miles, stopping along the way to teach each other tips and techniques.

“We actually have a USA cycling coach who helps us. Her name is Emma. We stop in empty parking lots and do cornering drills and basic communication skill drills. I think that really helps a lot build the confidence,” said co-leader Susann Szmania. “Another thing we really work on is safety. It’s all about riding together as a group.”

“I have learned so much about my bike and how it works. I have learned to change a flat on my own. I’ve learned little things like how to shift gears, things that were intimidating before,” said Smith.

Smith has put that intimidation behind her and is hoping to encourage other women to go the extra mile.

“If you just now are starting to ride you really need to jump into a group because it will kind of propel you forward. It will give you more confidence, more experience and will just add to your skill level,” said Smith.

The Women on a Roll Road Ride meets Mondays at 5:45 p.m. at the Pitstop on the Little Rock side of the Big Dam Bridge.

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