OCBC Cycle: All-female Pedal Bellas cycling group offering a platform for beginners

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SINGAPORE — When business development manager Jane Baldovino received a Facebook message inviting her to join founder Annabel Buidon’s all-female cycling group Pedal Bellas, the 28-year-old was hesitant.

“I didn’t really want to join cycling groups because I was afraid to do so,” said Baldovino, a Filipina who has worked in Singapore for six years. The cycling enthusiast said she was not as fit or athletic as the other members.

After being persuaded by Buidon, a 34-year-old Filipina who has worked in Singapore for 12 years, Baldovino agreed to join the group on their weekly Sunday walks from Mandai to the city.

“At first I felt intimidated because I didn’t know anyone and when I arrived everyone looked professional and athletic. I was the only one with a heavy gravel bike while the others were using bikes expensive route,” recalls Baldovino.

“But the moment they started talking to me, all those feelings of hesitation and insecurity disappeared.”

She has now been part of Pedal Bellas for nearly 18 months and said joining the group gave her a sense of belonging.

“They are approachable and made me feel good to start from scratch because they did the same too. You don’t have to know how to ride a bike, you just want to be able to know.”

For Buidon, starting the group in October 2020 was a laid back adventure with the friends she had made in other cycling and triathlon groups.

Competing in triathlons since 2014, the facilities manager wanted to form an all-female group to cycle casually on weekends after finding that most of the cycling groups were overwhelmingly male.

Now, the 30 or so female cyclists ride in groups of five every Sunday at 5 a.m. and end their 40km journey with breakfast in town.

“We want the women who join us to be confident on the road,” Buidon said.

A few months after the group formed, the members took to social media sites like Facebook and Instagram to document their weekly commutes. Accounts now double as a recruitment page for other female cyclists looking for a cycling group.

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