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7 Female Cyclists on What it Means to "Ride Happy"

There's no denying that cycling is still a male dominated sport. ⁣⁣In honor of Women's month, we interviewed female cyclists from the Ciclo community. By sharing their experiences, it is our hope that more women are encouraged to start riding their bikes.

No two stories are exactly the same. Read on to get to know the 7 cyclists we had the privilege of talking to. They also shared helpful tips for beginners who want to get into cycling. 

Maia Nazareno

Maia wears the Ciclo Women's Arrowhead Jersey while riding her bike in Makati

Maia is wearing Ciclo's Arrowhead Jersey and Endurance Cycling Shorts

1. What got you into cycling?

When my boyfriend and I started dating, I made an effort to do things he likes, including cycling. I barely knew how to ride a bike but he patiently taught me so I could commute to and from work. Eventually work became too stressful so I resigned just as the pandemic started. ⁣

My family and I temporarily moved to Clark. That's where I fell in love with cycling again. I biked everyday. I wasn't athletic so I started with 2.5km, then 5. The farthest I've gone is 50km. It may not be much to others but for someone who was sedentary (and sometimes still is lol), it's a feat!⁣

2. How does riding a bike make you happy? And can you tell us about your best cycling experience?

Riding a bike makes me happy because there's absolutely no external pressure (at least for me). There are days where I'm motivated to do hill reps because I want to see how strong I'm getting, and there are days where I just want to stop every 5 minutes to take in everything around me. The best part is that I get to go to places with two wheels and my own strength. ⁣

My favorite cycling experience is climbing Boso Boso for the first time. I went up with guys who have climbed it probably over 10 times but they never pressured me to go faster nor go beyond my limit (see what I mean about no external pressure!). I finally reached the top and man, the view (and the food LOL) was so worth it! Little did I know that I was already sick with a respiratory disease. In hindsight, it made the experience a little more epic because I was able to do it when I was sick. Imagine how much further I can go after I recover? That's all I keep thinking about when I get sad about how much weaker I've gotten since. But I'm doing my best to get my stamina back. Can't wait to climb Boso Boso again but with stronger lungs!⁣

3. What advice would you give to other women who want to start cycling?

⁣Don't be afraid to get on the saddle. Happiness & fulfillment after every ride trump falling and getting hurt. Falling is inevitable but saddle sores are avoidable with some cream and a pair of women-specific bib shorts. No cap, my fave bib shorts are from Ciclo. Unlike "unisex" shorts, it's great and the length is just right. HAHAHA! But for real, there's nothing to be afraid of when it comes to cycling. You can easily find a girl or a group to ride with."

Teresa Delos Reyes

Teresa wearing the Women's Coral Endurance Jersey

Teresa is wearing Ciclo's Coral Endurance Jersey

1. What got you into cycling?

I got into cycling for health reasons. I'm also into running, so for me, cycling has the same feeling but on two wheels. In one of my conversations with a friend, he suggested that I buy a bike so I can go to other places. I bought one and I enjoyed it! I use cycling as an alternative exercise to running.

I like being exposed to nature. Riding a bike allows me to do that. My bike and I have been to a lot of interesting places. At first, it was hard especially when the roads were steep or uphill. I eventually got used to it because I would bike before I went to work.

2. How does riding a bike make you happy? And can you tell us about your best cycling experience?

My best cycling experience was the first time I did a long ride — more than 100 kilometers — going to Tanay, Rizal. It was so beautiful and I saw a lot of mountains. I love nature. Any chance I get to see it, I’ll take it. That’s why aside from running or cycling, I’m also passionate about hiking.

I challenged myself to experience that long ride because I’m generally scared of cycling on roads or highways. The roads leading to Tanay were tough because they’re mostly uphill and can really test your stamina. However, I knew it was worth pushing myself to overcome these challenges because of the sights I was going to see in the end.

3. What advice would you give to other women who want to start cycling?

Do it because you want to and it's something you will enjoy. Getting into cycling is an investment, from the equipment and gear, but the experience of getting to see nature as well as keeping yourself healthy is worthwhile.

Mixi Ignacio

Mixi is wearing Ciclo's Olive Endurance Jersey

1. What got you into cycling?

My mental health wasn’t in a good place. I was experiencing major burnout as an effect of the pandemic. My friend asked if I have any outlets for this stress. So it got me thinking, "Bakit nga ba wala?" Haha!

That’s when I, together with my boyfriend, decided to try cycling for the first time. Matagal na akong interested to bike pero ngayon lang talaga na-fuel yung urge nung nagkaroon na ako ng time for myself. At first we were being safe pa na baka hindi namin ma-tripan, but we were wrong! We actually love the sport so much.

2. How does riding a bike make you happy? And can you tell us about your best cycling experience?

When I tried to bike solo, that’s when I realized how cycling makes me feel. I get to stop for a while and observe the places around me. I’d feel happy after every ride. Just simple joys of cycling!

My best cycling experience so far was when me and my best friends tried the Active Woman Challenge! The challenge requires achieving 200km distance for two weeks. It’s fulfilling to be able to finish this especially as working girls! We really bonded and gave time to cycle. Also, achieving this with your best friends feels so awesome! We felt strong!

3. What advice would you give to other women who want to start cycling?

If you feel like you can’t do it or are feeling any self-doubt, remember that there’s a learning curve. That’s what I would always remind myself. Everyone started somewhere and you are allowed to pause, and to make mistakes. Just keep riding!

Kristina Diaz

Kristina is riding her bike in full Ciclo Women's Apparel: Nightrider Jersey, Endurance Shorts, and Haru Socks

Kristina is wearing Ciclo's Nightrider Jersey and Haru Performance Socks

1.What got you into cycling?

I started cycling in 2019. At first I was just looking into coffee rides near my home. As my rides progressed, I believe I have found the reason why I started cycling: it's to enjoy and find purpose in my life amidst all struggles. It was to push both my physical and mental capacity to the furthest it can reach

2. How does riding a bike make you happy? And can you tell us about your best cycling experience?

Riding makes me happy as it is a way for me to be able to reset my mind aside from being able to escape Metro Manila and find bike-friendly food spots.

I think the best cycling experience was my first ride in Marilaque. It was pre-COVID but during that time there were very few cyclists. I remember being cheered on after a big climb by a group of cyclists in their 60s. On that same ride, it was my first time to see saw such majestic views of the mountains in its complete unobstructed view. This really made me so happy and I have never felt more alive!

3. What advice would you give to other women who want to start cycling?

For women who want to start or who have just started, make sure you are with someone who can guide you with cycling. Start with short distances on familiar roads. Study how to change your own tires and how to take care of your bike. Always make sure you are visible on the road and don't let other road users bully you.

Ira Bragat

Ira smiling while holding her bike helmet. She is wearing the Women's Coral Endurance Jersey

Ira is wearing Ciclo's Coral Endurance Jersey

1. What got you into cycling?

When I was a little girl, I really loved the thrill of biking on mixed terrain—feeling the wind and getting all grubby from the ride. It was at that moment that I decided that I wanted to cycle, and so I did. 

2. How does riding a bike make you happy? And can you tell us about your best cycling experience?

I don’t really have the best cycling experience yet but one thing’s for sure; the best rides are always the unexpected ones. What makes me happy is being in the saddle with people who have the same interests in riding a bike. Cycling tends to be better when you’re in the company of people you enjoy. Besides, we all need that uphill pace partner right? *wink*

3. What advice would you give to other women who want to start cycling?

To the women who want to start cycling, I want you to start however you want. It takes courage to ride a bike. Start slow and go on short rides. Find your ride style and get comfortable with it. Enlarge your comfort zone and enjoy while you’re at it. Do whatever it takes to accomplish your passion for the saddle. When you slowly progress from your starting point, that’s when you begin to love the essence of cycling. Being fast doesn't happen overnight. But with grit and a few rides, you can be wherever you want to be—literally!

Thea Celestino

Thea poses with her bike wearing the Women's Cerulean Cycling Jersey

Thea is wearing Ciclo's Cerulean Endurance Jersey

1. What got you into cycling?

Two of my work friends are big into mountain biking. After about a year of listening to them talk incessantly about trails, epic rides, bike parts, etc., I gave in. I bought my very first bike and went from being a couch potato to this crazy person who gets up at 4 AM to go on a ride.

2. How does riding a bike make you happy? And can you tell us about your best cycling experience?

Where to begin? There is something about cycling that makes me feel so connected - to my body, my thoughts, to nature, to every root, rock, and tree. It forces me to live in the present. As an adult, I also find that it’s the one thing that gives me that sense of adventure I used to have as a kid. As a bonus, I get to spend lots of quality time with some of my favorite humans: my hubby (who also caught the cycling bug and bought his first mountain bike around the same time I did) and my friends.

My best cycling experience happened pretty recently. A couple of weeks ago, we planned on riding from QC to Pililla and back. At 120+ kilometers and a total of almost 900 meters of elevation, that was already a bit of a stretch for me. When we got to Pililla, I decided to test my limits and go further. Long story short: we ended up doing the Laguna loop. You know what they say - sometimes the best adventures are the unplanned ones.

3. What advice would you give to other women who want to start cycling?

Go for it! Cycling is super fun and it can be such an empowering experience. It can be intimidating at first and I get that, especially here in Metro Manila where cycling is a dangerous enterprise given the lack of infrastructure. Find someone who can teach you the ropes and ride with you while you’re getting used to riding in traffic, etc. My friends played a huge part in boosting my confidence and teaching me everything I needed to know when I was starting out.

But the most important thing is don’t get discouraged. It can be really hard at first, so push yourself to get through the first few weeks or so until you get the hang of it - you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll progress.

Dianne Rosales

Dianne is wearing the Ciclo x Cycling Matters Jersey

Dianne is wearing the Ciclo x Cycling Matters Jersey 

1. What got you into cycling?

Before I started cycling, I had a very sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits that led me to become overweight. At that time, I didn't really have any outdoor activities. But one day, a friend asked me to try cycling. I enjoyed my first ride and immediately felt like I wanted to do it more often. So I got myself a 10-speed folding bike. That same bike was what I used for my first century ride! As time passed, I got myself a proper road bike, kits, shoes, and a cycling computer.

2. How does riding a bike make you happy? And can you tell us about your best cycling experience?

I dragged even more friends to get into cycling with me. Before we knew it, we were already training for the AUDAX Randonneurs Philippines 200km category. It was my first big event and my first win so to speak. I hit the finish line with only 2 minutes to spare! I really felt victorious! It was such an exhilarating experience!

Cycling has made me feel a lot better about myself. I lost weight during the process. I gained a lot of friends and I became more sociable. There's a thing about cycling that sets my mood right, relieves my stress, and releases my endorphins!

3. What advice would you give to other women who want to start cycling?

My advice to all the women who want to start cycling… DO IT! Enjoy the process because cycling is an exciting sport. It may seem intimidating and scary at first. But with good research, equipment, and buddies, your 5km ride will quickly turn into 20k, 50k, and eventually into a century ride!

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