Founded in 2020, Zharbor.cc is an all-women cycling club comprising experienced cyclists who share a common love for cycling
Amidst the covid-19 pandemic, cycling became a popular Singaporean past-time. Driven by the desire to stay active during a period of inactivity, long-distance cycling groups have experienced an influx of new blood.
Despite this, the sport remains a male-dominated one owing to outdated stereotypes such as women being “bad drivers''. Shifting the needle is Zharbor.cc, an all-women cyclist group that is showing no sign of slowing down.
Inspired by the colloquial term, Zharbor which translates to ‘girls’ in Hokkien, Zharbor.cc (ZBCC) began in 2020 with three women who wanted to ride together. Dorothy, a pioneer member of the club, fondly recalls how they got to know each other through massive cycling rides with the boys a decade ago.
As word of an all-women cycling club got out, in the blink of an eye, they became a club of 17 local women who share a love for the sport. In fact, ZBCC consists of experienced cyclists – a number of them have even represented Singapore in the competitive racing arena.
Described as both a social group and a space to train for competitive events, ZBCC organises and hosts weekly rides that clock a typical mileage of 60-100km – an impressive distance!
Dorothy emphasises that planning for the routes is usually minimal, it’s more about bringing everyone together for a good ride, nothing too fancy.
“Some want to hoot (attack), some want cafe pace. So it’s really up to the pack,” she says.
These challenging rides where the members push their limits together and egg each other on, breeds a strong sense of camaraderie. Over the years, the close-knit group has come to resemble a family, making it a point to hang out over meals as well.
“Some of us used to do massive, crazy rides at LH5, Esso, and Crazies prior to Covid. That’s how we know each other, because we were suffering together,” Dorothy recalled fondly.
Using old-timer lingo to allude to the cycling routes frequented by riders over the years, Dorothy gives us a peek into the peculiarly-named popular routes. LH5 or Long House 5am, a meeting point in the past at a Hawker at Upper Thompson called Long House – usually a weekday event.
Esso quite literally refers to the petrol station, it is also a meeting point for cyclists. ‘Crazies’ refers to a group or weekend ‘event’ that was, to say the least – crazy intense. Pre-covid, there was an unsaid agreement between riders to turn up at these spots and just ride together.
As opposed to the handful of female riders back in the day, the marked increase in numbers today is an encouraging sight. However, considering that the traffic is heavier and there are more errant drivers today, it is also a cause for concern.
Understanding Traffic Laws
Dorothy remarks that being aware of the traffic rules and learning how to handle tire punctures or accidents is of utmost importance for newer riders.
Recently kick-starting a Zharbor Developmental Team initiative (ZB/DT), ZBCC strives to build an inclusive space for girls to ride better and to share their valuable cycling experiences. While the initiative is still in its starting stages, the future for female cyclists is looking more hopeful than ever!
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