Girona Gravel Girls

Leading the development of women’s cycling in Catalonia

What started out as a WhatsApp group of seven women keen to ride gravel together has evolved into one of the biggest cycling groups in Girona, and one of the leading female-only clubs in Catalonia. Girona Gravel Girls (GGG) is a club with a clear aim: inspire, feel freedom and create happiness. 

The driving force behind GGG is Anna Gibert. After buying herself a gravel bike in 2018, she set up an Instagram account to organize group rides together with other women in order to motivate herself to get out riding amidst a busy work schedule. Six years on, GGG is now a booming club with more than 200 female members.

Castelli Girona: Why did you decide to create a girls-only group?

Anna Gibert: Among girls, we feel more comfortable when out riding. We don’t have as much rivalry, nor are we as competitive as men. I like riding with groups of men, such as on the social rides from Castelli Store, but it’s a different experience. With women, I love to hear their stories, their emotions, and the feelings of guilt we have to manage to allow ourselves a few hours for ourselves whilst we leave our partners in charge of the kids. We may be in the 21st century, but there are still many women who don’t feel able to dedicate a few hours to themselves, and to their health. There’s still a lot of gender discrimination in today’s society, and subconsciously women still think we have more obligations than our partners. GGG is like therapy in this respect, and we want women to feel like they are part of a majority instead of a minority.

CG: What activities do the GGG organise?

AG: We organise a monthly outing, usually on the second Sunday of each month, which sets off from Pont de Pedra in Girona. Sometimes the rides are themed around aspects of Catalan culture, like during the ‘castanyada’, for example.  We also participate in various events that take place in the region, such as Sea Otter Europe, The Traka, and M&M in Santa Susanna. These are competitive challenges in which some riders aim for podiums, whilst for others it’s a personal challenge whereby reaching the finish line is already a victory.Another goal is to revive the women’s event ‘La Gerundona’, which was held locally some time ago.

CG: What does one need to join GGG?

AG: Only a gravel bike. In fact, we are also part of the Catalan Cycling Federation, and for a small fee one can join more events than those that we organize. All women are welcome at any time. We understand that Girona is a city where many women come to enjoy cycling for a certain period of time, it may be a week, a month… and we also love that these visiting cyclists can enjoy the atmosphere of a GGG ride.

CG: How has women’s cycling evolved worldwide?

AG: There are countries where the bicycle is used only for transportation, such as in India, where I had the opportunity to learn about the projects of the Vicens Ferrer Foundation. TheFoundation provides bicycles to girls living in rural areas so that they have the opportunity to go to school quickly and safely. When they are on a bicycle these women are less likely to be attacked and raped. More recently, gender-specific cycling products have been developed. There are designed to accommodate the physiological and morphological differences between men and women cyclists.

CG: And in Girona?

AG: As for Girona, women’s cycling has changed a lot. Before there weren’t many female cyclists, whereas these days there are more and more. Girona has become a place of temporary or permanent residence for many female cycling enthusiasts and professionals. It’s very interesting to build a community with them to talk about their culture and experiences, either on the bike or in town having a coffee or a glass of wine. Women’s cycling is now soaring.

This story is part of Nafent Magazine volume 10. Read the full story in our digital or paper magazine. Go to our webshop to get yours.

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