Calling All Women Cyclists: Velo de Femmes is For You

The Westchester Cycle Club is hosting its second annual Velo de Femmes on Saturday, June 1, to build community among all levels of female cycling enthusiasts.

The event starts in Armonk and is geared toward encouraging more women to participate in recreational cycling.

Velo de Femmes, a cycling event for women, will be held June 1 starting in Armonk. Photo by Ilona Miller.
Velo de Femmes, a cycling event for women, will be held June 1 starting in Armonk. Photo by Ilona Miller.

“We want women to know that there’s a connection out there for those who are interested in riding,” said Christine Schopen, immediate past-president of the WCC, whose almost 800 members are about one-third female.

Rides of 14, 30 and 50 miles are free to join, and participants are encouraged to stick around afterward to socialize and enjoy a catered lunch of wraps, salads and beverages supplied by DeCicco’s for a $23 fee. All participants will get a free membership in the Westchester Cycle Club for the rest of the year. 

Ride leaders will be doing a pre-ride clinic for all riders who haven’t experienced group riding in the past.  

Velo de Femmes, which roughly translates to a women’s bike ride, offers a chance to make new friends and learn about cycling while touring some of the area’s quiet, scenic roads. All the rides will be “no-drop,” meaning no one will be left behind, and groups may be split into faster/slower speeds to make sure everyone’s riding at a comfortable pace.

Riding in all-male groups can be intimidating for some women. Last year’s inaugural Velo de Femmes drew more than 175 women of all ages and riding capabilities. The turnout demonstrates that when women riders feel comfortable, they are more likely to come out, ride, and socialize with other like-minded or like-skilled women.  

Westchester Cycle Club ride leader Ilona Miller. Contributed photo
Westchester Cycle Club ride leader Ilona Miller. Contributed photo

“I started with the WCC club as a new rider many years ago,” says longtime club member Amy Goldman. “I had never ridden in a group, but taking that first step is so important, and now I regularly lead WCC club rides.”

WCC member Jess Rieder said the Velo de Femmes was the first time she had experienced the thrill of riding paceline with an all-women’s group. “What an amazing feeling,” she said.

Another longtime WCC member, Beverly Thornhill, said “Riding has really been life-changing for me — some of my closest friends now are the women that I ride with either locally or on bicycling vacations.” 

The Westchester Cycle Club is a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to educate the public about safety and the benefits of bicycle riding, promote awareness and enjoyment of cycling through organized events, tours, lectures and demonstrations, and to promote bicycle use as a non-polluting, non-congesting, quiet means of recreation and transportation. 

The event is open to first-time riders with WCC. Rides will begin at Armonk Sports Center, located at 205 Business Park Drive in Armonk’s Community Park, which is at the intersection of Route 22 and I-684, Exit 3. There is a sign labeled “Armonk Indoor Sports Center” for the correct parking lot. 

Riders do not need to be a member to sign up for this event. Riders must sign up in advance, be at least 18 years of age, wear a helmet and arrive with a bicycle in good working condition. There will be staggered start times so that riders can all arrive back for lunch around the same time. Participants must be checked in and with their group no later than 30 minutes prior to their start time. At check-in, participants will need to sign a waiver in order to be allowed to ride. Riders will be directed to their ride leaders at check-in. 

Here are the routes for the Velo de Femmes on Saturday, June 1:

Visit to sign up.

Email with questions.

Ilona Miller is a ride leader with the Westchester Cycle Club.

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About the Author: Ilona Miller