mare kicking. Road bike rides for women only.

Stutenbeiken. Rennradausfahrten nur für Frauen.

What happened until now…

In 2013, for the first time, we tried to mobilize as many women as possible for the Rapha Women's 100 as part of the classics ride. The call was followed by the usual three suspects, accompanied by about 30 friendly men who were willing to be included in the women's rankings, which we politely declined. In 2014, the women's quota looked different : 16 girls in a good mood accompanied by about as many men. Now it was actually obvious that we absolutely had to offer regular racing bikes – only for women. We spoke to many women who find the distances their husbands drive too long. Or where the men simply drive too fast. Or who don't like the competition within groups of men. When Susi, a second woman who wanted to get involved, joined our team, we expanded the ideas and made the decision: We'll do it together.

In principle, Susi and I have just as much fun riding with our buddies, but we also like to be pulled through the wind by them. Actually, we don't see ourselves as a "typical woman", we don't like pink and we absolutely want to build and repair our bikes ourselves, as long as we can manage it. But apart from "in principle" and "actually" we also find it wonderful to do something with and for our fellow women. Because there are still far more men than women who ride road bikes. And because that's absolute nonsense. We find.

Cycling was a path of liberation for previous generations of women, and the example of the Afghan women's cycling team shows that it has not lost this importance.

"Wait!" one might object, "You cite road cycling and cycling as a factor in the emancipation of women and then call your trips "Stutenbeiken"?"

Okay, okay... I see a little clarification is needed as to why we christened our child that way.

On the first part of the word: mares

In English-speaking countries, it's perfectly normal to ride your bike ("I want to ride my bicycle"). The reference to the horse is therefore almost natural, "horse", "mare", "stallion", "gelding" are all synonyms for a bicycle (cf. also "steel horse"). By choosing the synonym "mare" only the meaning of femininity is included. (For those who still don't get it: We mean the bikes and not us.)

To the second part of the word: Beiken

This is an artificial word. The diphtong (German: "Zweilaut" , here: "ei") exponentiates the effect of the English term ("to bike") with German conjugation (cf. "uploaden") as Denglish in top form. Especially in connection with the first part of the word "mares": here on the level of the meaning of the word (semantics), in the second part of the word on the level of the word structure (syntax). (For those who still don't get it: "Stutenbeiken" means: (racing) cycling for women".

Phonetic similarities to well-known terms such as mare biting or something like that are of course intended and should contribute to the general amusement, especially about one's own shortcomings.

After this little excursion into wordplay, now to the essentials - the character of the mare's pony.

We drive in a group, which means: drive together, arrive together. The strong support the weak by donating slipstreams, motivation and valuable tips. Nobody needs to prove how great they can ride a bike, nobody has to be the fastest up the mountain or at the place-name sign. Uphill, however, it makes sense to find your own rhythm - regardless of whether you're a mountain goat or not - and that's why the field stretches out here and there. People wait at the top, not only until the last one has finally arrived and "Let's go!", but until the last one has been able to relax a little and suckle at the water bottle in peace. Always remember: it's better for the overall group pace to strengthen the weakest link in the chain than to break it so that it slows down even more on each upcoming climb. So far, we think it's always worked out well. Is that just because the women keep to themselves here? No idea. But it definitely has something to do with it. Nevertheless, it can of course also happen that someone has misjudged the route or the speed. Then you have to find an individual solution along the way. But we don't just leave anyone behind.

Stutenbeiken are also not classic training rounds. They are – here comes Denglish again – “social rides”. In the case of men, one would also say "gentlemen's ride". "Ladies' Ride" just doesn't put it properly. It's about doing and experiencing things together, mutual consideration and communication. Yes, there should be chatter and the tempo has to leave enough room for that. So you can even find one or the other training team, if you notice that someone else from the group suits your own pace, driving style and head. And they should like to meet up for training, in which you can better plan and build up stress and recovery times. But training, goals, performance and success are not everything. We're happy when it's fun and you can enjoy the thing itself.

That's why we start our trips comfortably with coffee and mares, cake or other soft drinks and are happy to end them the same way.

We drive between 40 and 60 km. Sure, you could also go longer, and many women regularly go on longer tours, but we want to get those on board who don't otherwise dare. The fact that many women tend to underestimate themselves is nothing new. We are happy if we can contribute to these women riding more confidently in other groups after a few rides with us. In spring we stay in flat areas where only wind and rain can play a bad part, in summer we look for routes with hills, a little shorter but with a beautiful landscape.

At the end of the summer season, we have now considered that we will continue, that is, from October to February we will call for mare training every third Sunday of the month, albeit with a slimmed-down "supporting program". Understandably, most people want to go home and take a warm shower after physical exertion on colder days. We include ourselves in that too. That's why there will be a meeting point on the Rhine, from which we'll quickly set out on the route. Goodbye is simply waved in a friendly manner and "See you next time!" called.

We will create a Facebook event for each appointment. Here is an overview of the dates for all non-Facebook users:

October 18, 2015,
November 15, 2015
December 20, 2015
January 17, 2016
February 21, 2016

Attention change! There will be no mare training on February 21st because we have another event on that day. So no meeting at the Rheinterrassen, but the start of the BROOKS Ride from Schicke Mütze, Talstrasse. See you!

Meeting point and departure:
11:00 a.m. at the Rheinterrassen, Joseph-Beuys-Ufer 33, 40479 Düsseldorf

flat, about 40-60 km

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