Bon voyage

Posted by:
June 22, 2015 00

In 2012, I launched as a place online where any female who wanted a little inspiration or advice to start cycling could find a few pearls of wisdom and a friendly online community of female cyclists. Women and girls came by the hundreds and I was happy to help and I did this for three years.

In 2015, I felt it was time to stop. My love of cycling remains undiminished and I love cycling as a mode of transport, for exercise or simply for fun.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope there are a still a few nuggets of useful info for you.

Keep on cycling!


Rachael AKA BikeGal 🙂

May 19, 2015 2

So because I’ve been asked so many times, I am finally relenting and sharing some more about me, who I am and why I started BikeGal….

As many of you know, I started because I only started riding as an adult and I saw a need for women like me who wanted good advice to start cycling or get back on a bike.

But here is a bit more about me and what inspired me to do this…I get asked these questions often…

What is your real name? Rachael but you can call me BikeGal, I don’t mind! The photo below is me during the Sydney to Gong two years ago.


How old are you? 38

What do you do for a living? I am a corporate communications professional, so yes, I like to write. Could you guess?

Do you make any money from the site? No, it’s a labour of love at the moment.

Where do you live? I’m very blessed to live right across the road from Centennial Park in the Sydney suburb of Queens Park.

What inspires you?  I’m often inspired by doing the things that scare me most. So starting to cycle and then commuting to work by bike, really scared me! So of course I had to do it. Starting this website was a bit the same – I was terrified, but I figured nothing ventured nothing gained.

How was City of Sydney involved? As most people know, it costs money to build websites. So I applied to the City of Sydney for a matching grant and I got it. The next thing you know the website began.

Who else was involved? I am lucky to have many female friends who ride and gave me great advice along the way. Plus a sister who is a fantastic writer and a few other writing friends, who helped me pull together the content. Everyone who helped write content for this website is a cyclist.

How long did it take to build the website? Much longer than we thought. It was a bit of a labour of love. Plus we spent a lot of time getting the look of it right and the logo right.  When we started with the brand we were talking about the girl on her bike – was she too thin? Should her ponytail be longer? Should the ponytail be pink?  And then of course a million options to find the right name for the site.

How was it working with City of Sydney? Bloody fantastic! They pretty much granted the money and let us run with it. They checked in along the way, but gave lots of scope and help whenever it was needed.

What’s been your favourite thing about the site? Definitely receiving emails from women who have started cycling or returned to cycling as a result of finding the site. That’s really great feedback. I also love being out on my bike and running into women with a BikeGal water bottle on their bike. That’s pretty cool. Winning an award is also pretty exciting from Bicycle NSW.

Do you accept written submissions for sharing on the blog? Absolutely. If you are female and have something to say about cycling, we want to hear it! Ideally a few hundred words plus a photo of you and your bike. Email it to – if you are a budding writer who also cycles, we would love to publish your work.

What’s next for Good question! We probably need to find a sponsor or two  to keep it running now that the grant has ended. Probably a little bit of advertising but nothing major.  Also many people have asked about BikeGal merchandise – so stay tuned.

Happy cycling!

November 12, 2014 00

I came across a fascinating post the other day about female cyclists getting waxed (he hem) down there and some discussion around if you get the whole lot removed (AKA Brazilian wax), is it going to hurt to ride? Should you groom or not groom then? And how much grooming is too much grooming?

From most reports, it’s best to avoid cycling (or gym or running) for 24 to 48 hours after waxing. Let everything settle down.

Also investing in a good chamois cream is a good idea and I’ve found a good cream called Bump Eraiser which is pretty effective for avoiding in grown hairs.

What’s your advice or tips on waxing as a female cyclist?


Row of topiary trees of various sizes

April 17, 2014 01

When I’m driving, I hate the way they run red lights. Who said the road rules don’t apply to them?

I hate how they are allowed to ride two abreast and I can’t get past them.

I hate being stuck behind them because they are going sooooo slooooowly and then I get in front of them and get stuck at the lights and they zoom past (running the red). Then the lights change and I’m stuck behind them again!

There I said it. Bet you weren’t expecting that from a cycling advocate!

angry motorist

So who hasn’t thought this way at some point?

Even I confess to thinking this way sometimes and getting frustrated in the traffic. We’ve all been there.

But I want to tell you what I also hate.

I hate being on my bike and scared witless that the guy driving very closely behind me is going to take me out.

I really hate when cars pass me in the lane and come so so close and I’m over in the gutter already with nowhere else to go.

I hated the day I was on my bike and watched the tyre of a 4WD roll about two inches away from my foot.

I hate the verbal abuse I cop nearly every time I ride my bike when I’m obeying the road rules and not doing anything wrong.

So this easter, you can expect many cyclists to be out and about.

If you are driving, give cyclists a metre of space. They are a person – they could be your daughter, or son, your friend, your work buddy.

If you are cycling, obey the road rules and help us all earn a bit of respect from motorists. Don’t jump red lights. Don’t ride more than two abreast.

Please share this with all your motoring and cycling friends.

Happy easter peeps and…

Happy cycling!


April 6, 2014 00

Nga Haerenga is Maori for the journeys and those kiwis seem to have journeys via a bicycle all stitched up. Now I know Australia also has lots of great places to ride (and yes we have an equally great rugby team)  but I really don’t think we can compete with what’s going on across the ditch with cycling trails? (feel free to argue with me).

Five years ago, our kiwi neighbours had this idea about a cycling trail network across New Zealand. The NZ Government chipped in $50 million and made this idea possible and next thing you know the project was underway.

Now you may think that sounds expensive. But considering the recent news story  about converting a lane of the Pacific Highway through North Sydney into a bike lane would cost $15 million, I think that $50 million for a whole country seems quite reasonable?

I guess NZ was lucky too as once they worked out where the cycle paths were going to go, the local communities saw the value and came up with another $30 million of co-funding.

And they also had quite a lot of pre-existing off road networks to work with – so they weren’t starting from scratch and trying to convert a lane of a very busy main road.

In total our Kiwi friends created 23 rides – both new and existing trails – through some of New Zealand’s most beautiful and spectacular regions. And one of these regions is Hawke’s Bay – east coast of the North Island. This is New Zealand’s oldest wine growing region.

The cycling trails there are predominantly flat (easy to intermediate). Perfect for beginner riders and also the opportunity to visit all the lovely wineries. The images below are from some of Hawke’s Bay trails, looks like nice cycling.

HAwkes Bay 3

Hawkes Bay

There are cafes, wineries and toilets along this particular winery trail with mobile phone coverage in case you want to stop and call a friend to gloat about the amazing holiday you are having.

Aside from all the wines to try while you are there (this region is known for cabernet merlot, syrah, pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc) the other thing Hawkes Bay is well known for is the town of Napier.

It’s known as the art deco capital of the world. After a devastating earthquake hit the town in 1931 and pretty much flattened it, they began rebuilding at the height of art deco popularity.

Today, everywhere you look, there is beautiful art deco architecture from the shops, the town hall, banks, office buildings.  Even their McDonalds is an art deco building! You can view some of the other lovely art deco buildings in Napier here.

Even McDonalds in Napier is art deco.

Even McDonalds in Napier is art deco.

So don’t wait – start planning your cycling holiday to NZ today! And I have the perfect option for you…

My friends from Tour de Vines are hosting a cycling holiday visiting some of Hawkes Bay’s best wineries – and giving friends of a very special offer for their upcoming easter trip.

By mentioning when you book on the easter trip, Tour de Vines and will together make a $100 donation to the Amy Gillett Foundation for each booking!

It’s a five day/four night trip fully guided, all inclusive tour with 4/5 star accommodation, gourmet meals and winery visits. Click here to request a detailed itinerary. The daily cycling on this trip ranges from 20 to 50 km each day but is mostly flat with lots of stops.

There are only a few spots left and it will sell out. And as it’s over Easter, you can go without even having to take time off work! So why sit around at home this Easter, when you can escape to NZ winery country for a holiday on two wheels?

*This blog was sponsored by Tour de Vines. They provide food & wine based cycling tours all across Australia, New Zealand and Europe. BikeGal is actually a kiwi (yes born there!) and loves Hawkes Bay. Sponsored blogs are aligned with our disclosure policy.

Photos thanks to Hawke’s Bay Trails.

Cycling + wine

Posted by:
March 25, 2014 00

Two of my most favourite things in the world are probably cycling and drinking wine. However, it’s not often that you get to combine the two (I don’t tend to have a quick glass of red before jumping on my road bike on a Saturday morning). Nor do you often get to combine these with a long weekend holiday.

If you are like me and you love wine, the Hawkes Bay region of New Zealand is the place to go.

I have actually spent lots of time in this area as I have family who live there – so hand on heart, I can tell you it’s beautiful. Hawkes Bay is on the east coast of the north island and has spectacular scenery and perfect weather.

But the other great reason for sipping wine in New Zealand’s wine country is that you can easily do it with a bicycle as this is a country with an entire network of cycling trails that are mostly off road.

Cycling in NZ's Hawkes Bay trails

Cycling on NZ’s Hawkes Bay trails

Those kiwis are a smart bunch  – they have really got it together. Back in 2009, the NZ Government decided to build a national, world class network of cycle trails and invested $50 million to do this. And the trails cover all parts of New Zealand.

Now if you’ve been to NZ or watched Lord of the Rings you may want to tell me that it’s a country of big big mountains. This is true, but the Hawkes Bay region is not that and cycling in this region is flat, easy, off road and safe.

Cycling trails in Hawkes Bay – flat, easy and off road

If you haven’t heard of Hawkes Bay it is famous for quite a few different wine varieties including cabernet merlot, syrah, pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc (yes they seem to cover all bases).

This easter, my friends from Tour de Vines are hosting a cycling holiday there visiting some of Hawkes Bay’s best wineries – and giving friends of a very special offer.

By mentioning when you book, Tour de Vines and will together make a $100 donation to the Amy Gillett Foundation for each booking!

It’s a five day/four night trip fully guided, all inclusive tour with 4/5 star accommodation, gourmet meals and winery visits. Click here to request a detailed itinerary to find out more. There are only a few spots left on this trip.

The best part is that all you have to do is rock up. You don’t even need to bring a bike with you – they will provide a 24 gear lightweight Scott hybrid bike.

Daily cycling ranges from 20 to 50 km each day but is mostly flat with lots of stops.

They are visiting some of the region’s most famous wineries such as Church Road Wines and Craggy Range Winery to name only a few – which are great for wine but also serve stunning food – which you can enjoy because you’ve burnt off all those calories just cycling there.


Cycle off those calories and then enjoy the food and wine!

It’s not all non stop cycling. They have factored in some non cycling transport too, so when you go for a nice dinner, you don’t need to worry about cycling back to your hotel.

As this tour is running over the easter break (Thursday 17 to Monday 21 April), you can actually do it without even missing a day of work.

Alternatively if you have some spare holidays up your sleeve, you could finish this tour and head down to Wellington visiting the equally lovely Martinborough wine region on the way.

Flights from Sydney to Napier in Hawkes Bay (where Tour de Vines will pick you up) go via Auckland or Wellington.

Why sit around at home eating easter eggs, when you could be cycling around kiwi wine country sipping syrah?

And don’t forget to mention when you book, to guarantee a $100 donation from Tour de Vines and to the Amy Gillett Foundation.

Don’t delay, there are only a few spots left and it will sell out soon.

*This blog was sponsored by Tour de Vines. They provide food & wine based cycling tours all across Australia, New Zealand and Europe. BikeGal is actually a kiwi (yes born there!) and has spent A LOT of time in Hawkes Bay which she loves.

Sponsored blogs are aligned with our disclosure policy.

October 25, 2013 00

If you have never had a cycling accident, I’m sorry but I’m pretty sure you are in the minority! I was chatting with a few friends recently about cycling accidents and one has broken her jaw and the other has fractured her thumb.

Many cycling accidents don’t even happen at speed – but regardless they can be incredibly painful and dangerous to other cyclists around you.

1. Not looking where you are going

not looking

Sounds a bit silly but it’s a big cause of accidents. You are tired, you are looking down or you are a bit distracted. What can you do? Stay aware and if it’s all too late, break slowly and carefully.

2. Cornering


It’s wet, it’s slippery, it’s dark, there is gravel or sand on the road – lots of reasons lead to dangerous cornering. Best advice here is to go into the corner at a sensible speed, don’t break suddenly in the middle of the corner (break before you enter it) and look ahead as you go into the corner.

3. Hitting a car door

car door

Ouch. This one’s going to hurt. You are cruising along and the next thing you’re doing the superman over your handlebars. Look ahead when riding parallel to parked cars and look in their mirrors to see if someone is getting ready to get out. Call out to them (yoo hooo!!!) or try and ride a little further over and away from car doors if you can.

 4. Slipping in the wet

wet 2

This is a no brainer. When it’s wet, it’s more slippery. Have a rest day and catch the bus, or just like driving in the rain, ride slower and more defensively.

 5. Motorist doesn’t see you


How many times have you seen or been involved in a near miss where a motorist has narrowly avoided hitting you or has side swiped you? Why? Because they never knew you were there! Best way to avoid this one is to not ride in a car’s blindspot and appreciate the fact that are smaller than a car and harder to see.

 6. Road rage

angry motorist2

Angry motorist who is mad about life in general, causes you to come undone. What’s the solution for this one? Ride predictably, always indicate, help motorists know what you are going to do.

What do you think are the top five cycling stacks? Do you have others? Share your stories here and advice on how to avoid here.…

August 9, 2013 00

So just a little over a year ago I had a brain wave. Why wasn’t there a website dedicated to female cyclists in Sydney? Why couldn’t I find all the info I needed to get cycling in one place? And info that was female specific and presented in a fun way?

And was born!

As you probably know, the City of Sydney provided a 12 month matching grant to build the website and with a little help from a few friends, the website began to form.

It’s been a great year and lots of great things have happened.

Since the site went live in October last year, we have had 3,106 facebook shares of the 36 blogs! regularly attracts well over 1,000 visitors each moth with 64 per cent of all site visitors being from Sydney.

And the site has received some really great feedback from you – the mission was achieved. It got women on their bikes!

Inspired by the Tour, I’ve borrowed a bike and started out with this today!! Thanks for all your great info and tips – really helpful for nervous newbies!

And another…

I was scared about riding on the road but I have decided not to live my life in fear.

And there are loads more comments just like these one.

So thank you to you for getting on board, facing your fears and getting out there on bikes. Well done.

And on our facebook page, we have a 71 per cent female audience with most of you being between 25 and 54 years of age.

We loved handing out over one thousand free water bottles at the Ride2Work Day breakfast, the WOOP! Rolling Festival and Spring Cycle.


And you seemed to like receiving them too!


Rachael featured in the April issue of TimeOut Sydney and on their website – Saddle Up Sydney! even became a Gear up Girl ambassador!

And lastly, but not least, won a kindness award from WakeUp Sydney and was the 2013 Advocacy Award winner at Bicycle NSW’s annual awards.



But all of these things would not ever have been possible without your support.

So thank you.

What’s next for Good question! Well BikeGal is going to have a little holiday for a few weeks and come back fired up.

Due to lots of people asking, there is a plan to launch some merchandise – probably cycling tops to start with and probably a small test run to see how they go, followed by a larger batch if there is interest.

These tops will look fantastic (of course!!), be predominantly white (so good to see at night or at dusk) with a donation included in the price to the Amy Gillett Foundation. So watch this space!

I can’t wait to see you on your bike in your gear.

Happy cycling!



July 12, 2013 2

July is flying past and we are heading into August. You know you will click your fingers and it will be Christmas (argh! Christmas shopping – stop it, it’s only July!) So today, we are reviewing the blogs that were the most viewed and shared so far this year.

What you liked and what caused a flurry of conservation on facebook – just in case you missed some of the good stuff!


We started off the year taking a look at the top six things you need to commute by bicycle in Sydney.

And one of the most read and shared posts ever, “Your saddle changed my life – or how to find the right seat for you and your bike” – starring Jo, my lovely demonstrator of how to get your bottom measured! If you get a sore bottom from your saddle, read this one.

Also in February we started the couch to cycling in six weeks program – lots of shares there too. Do you need help to get started? If so, read this blog.


In March, BikeGal convinced her Mum to get out on a bike, go Mum! Have you cycled with your Mum?

We also had a great guest blog from Sarah – an Aussie chick cycling in Kathmandu, Nepal.

And BikeGal gets a kindness award from Wake Up Sydney!


April saw BikeGal out and about, exploring cycling in a developing country (Cambodia) and discovering the link between paddle boarding and cycling.


Another guest blogger, showed us that you are never too old to become a cyclist – as she tackles some serious kms and terrain in NZ.

We also learnt about cranky cyclists who can’t share and Leichhardt Council ditching their cycling budget.

In May, there was also a post on bike rules, part 1 – which caused lots of comments and discussion on facebook (and a bit of rage – yes, really).


And just last month we shared the results of the survey to find the best bike store for the women of Sydney. Some hilarious comments in there from many peeps. I’m still laughing about the person who went to a bike store and was told, “you don’t need to test ride it, it will be fine”.

We also met the team from Omafiets who won best store.


And this month as Tour de France has hit our screens, we took a look at how fast these blokes really go –  Could you keep up with Cadel?

And lastly, another popular post….how to stop your … ummmm…. bits… you know… down there from ummm hurting…

Thanks for all your support so far this year.

Happy cycling!

July 2, 2013 3

 There comes a time in every new female cyclist’s life where you can’t help the feeling that after a lovely ride on your new trusty bike, the nether regions are feeling a little delicate!

The worst part about this issue is you may not have anyone to ask about it. Well never fear, is here to help you. (Be grateful, BikeGal had to ask her older brother which was quite embarrassing.)

There are a few things to consider if you are a bit sore downstairs….

Do you have the right saddle (bike seat)? This is crucially important, so that you are riding on your sit bones and not the soft tissue between the sit bones. Read more here  about how to get the right saddle for you.

At Jet Cycles they can measure your sit bones and make sure you have the right sized saddle for you

Is your bike set up correctly for you? If you are getting pain, take a trip to the bike store and get some adjustments. Some stores also offer comprehensive bike fits that take several hours and can cost several hundred dollars. Sometime to consider if you are doing a lot of riding.

Get the gear – buy yourself a good quality pair of padded bike pants (or knicks as they are sometimes referred to). These provide a bit more padding for your sensitive lady bits! Note you don’t wear undies underneath these. I have some perl izumi ones which I just love. I’ve tried cheaper brands but found they weren’t all that comfy and they died in the washing machine. If you buy some good quality ones they should last.

Get yourself some good quality knicks.

Harden up princess! In some cases, it’s just a matter of getting a bit tougher with yourself. As you ride more frequently and a bit longer everything should settle down. But if it doesn’t you really need to consider adjusting your bike or saddle as in points 1 and 2 above

Have you had sore ….um ….bits? What’s your secret to fixing this issue?

Happy cycling!