Rapha Women’s 100 attracts thousands

Women across 40 countries undertake 100km rides

The second edition of the Rapha Women’s 100 ride took place on Sunday, 20 July, and saw women from all over the world complete a 100km ride on the same day.

UK-based brand Rapha launched the Women’s 100 initiative to try to get women riding bikes around the world. This year's event saw 7,470 riders, at 320 locations, in 40 countries, complete the distance.

The number of riders taking part this year was nearly double the number who rode in the inaugural 2013 event.

Riders working together in a paceline during the Rapha Women's 100 Sydney edition

The difference between the Women’s 100 and other cycling events is that anyone can organise a ride. This year, rides were held in locations as diverse as Romania, Puerto Rico and Samoa. There were 33 rides held in Australia, 58 in Rapha’s native UK, and 78 in the USA.

Arguably one of the tougher group rides took place in Dubai, where 15 women rode into the desert at 5am in order to beat the heat of a 43ºC day.

Riders used the ‘#womens100’ hashtag to share their experiences with other participants around the world – the hashtag was used on nearly 8,000 Instagram posts on the day.

Tina McCarthy, who organised the Wheel Women ride in Melbourne, a ride mainly for novices, said her main focus was to “support first-timers to go the full distance, especially the ones who didn’t think they could do it”. 

Those who participated in the Rapha Women’s 100 Sydney edition sat down to enjoy some bubbly after a big day on the bike

Her strategy clearly worked; all 15 of the Wheel Women riders completed the distance.

Lisa Winther, a rider in her mid-40s who didn’t even own a bike until two months ago, rolled out with the Wheel Women ride and said afterwards: “I have blown myself away by doing this. I can hardly stand up right now, but I am ecstatic.”

Whether participants were novices, club riders, or somewhere in between, the overwhelming message was that the spirit of this global event struck a chord with them all.

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