Chicks Who Ride Bikes app bringing together female cyclists for group rides
After Jordana Blackman recovered from skin cancer in 2010, all she wanted to do was give back to people who had helped her.
So, when she saw a flyer for a charity bike ride raising funds for the exact hospital she was treated at in Melbourne, she was determined to take part.
But there was a problem.
“I never learnt to ride a bike as a child,” Ms Blackman said.
“I was in a position where I set a goal and decided I would do it, but I had to learn how to ride a bike as a 25-year-old.
“That came with a lot of hysterical and challenging days.”
Ms Blackman would eventually compete in the Ride to Conquer Cancer challenge in 2012.
More than just a meet-up app
After she discovered her passion for riding, she wanted to make it easier for other women to do so in a safe environment.
She has since founded an organisation called Chicks Who Ride Bikes (CWRB), which aims to connect women through cycling, no matter their experience level.
“It’s based around my personal experience and trying to navigate this sometimes confusing world and set up an inclusive community,” she said.
The organisation has released a world-first, free online app that allows women to discover like-minded riders in their area.
“The design for the app is actually taken from modern-day dating apps,” she said.
“That’s because the focus of what we’re trying to do is get women to meet up with one another.”
Women can also self-designate their rider level, so they can find friends at a similar stage of their cycling journey.
“Bikes are a way for women to have something in their life that’s not just about work, or family, or children,” she said.
“For me, the bike has been incredibly freeing.
“It gives you a sense of independence that I had never found before.”
The app — which was partly founded by the Queensland government — will also include resources so women can learn more about cycling and a safety feature, which makes users take a picture of themselves, on the spot, to verify their identity.
“And that means we can keep out catfish and bot profiles, which makes women feel a lot more secure,” the CWRB founder said.
Tour Down Under inspiring women
Ms Blackman says women will be even more inspired to take on riding with the women’s Tour Down Under event underway in Adelaide.
South Australian rider Alex Manly claimed stage 2 of the first ever women’s UCI World Tour event held in the southern hemisphere.
Speaking at the finish line on Monday, Manly echoed how the support of her team had helped her achieve her goals.
“I was set-up absolutely perfectly by the team all day,” Manly said
“It was the perfect lead out, and I’m just so thankful to do this in my backyard. It’s just so nice.
“I’m so lucky I’ve got the best support out there.”