The Wokingham Paper

Female-run bike workshop sets up in Twyford studio

A NEW cycling workshop has opened up in Twyford — and their goal is to empower women to get in the saddle.

The Bia Hub on Waltham Road was halfway through opening preparations when the coronavirus lockdown began.

But determined to keep people exercising throughout the pandemic, founder Jenni Green decided to open the workshop part of the building on Monday, April 13. 

With 22 years riding experience under her helmet, Ms Green launched Bia four years ago in the hope of helping women to become more confident in the world of cycling.

“Bia actually is the Greek goddess of strength and force,” explained Ms Green. “As women — whether consciously or subconsciously — we have been taught that we can’t do things, and that’s absolutely rubbish.

“I wanted to bring that idea to life, and cycling was my way of understanding that. Believing you can do something is half the battle.”

Since launching Bia, Ms Green has been organising weekly group cycling events.

“On Friday mornings, we do something called Friday Rideday and organise group cycling sessions, between 20 and 30 miles,” she said. “And we always stop for coffee and cake.

“We break away into groups based on ability but stop for coffee together.

Picture courtesy of Jenni Green

“And we have a whole spectrum of ages in our members, our youngest member has just finished her masters degree and our oldest member is a granny at 75 — the support and camaraderie is incredible.”

The team at Bia had been scouring across Berkshire for the perfect location, before settling upon Twyford. 

“We had been looking for the right premises for a while, sort of within a 20-mile radius of where we are,” said Ms Green. “We had originally settled on a site in Goring, but that fell through last year.

“When we found the Twyford spot, we talked to the owner of the building about our concept and they loved it — this is the perfect place.

“The community around us has been amazing — they’re really embracing the use of the building in a community way.

“The Hub will be a culmination of things. We’ll have a cafe, a workshop, our cycling kit for sale and help people with bike fittings.

“Then as we grow, we can offer things like sports massages and training workshops on bike mechanics.

“We’re a place to empower women who enjoy cycling. Some ladies find that they’re scared of entering into conversations about bike mechanics — but we can help. It’s about feeling comfortable.

“We’ll also be showing top-tier women’s racing on the screens inside the Hub. It’s all about women supporting women.

“Cycling is very much a male-dominated world. And whilst we are focussed on women, men are of course welcome.”

Picture courtesy of Jenni Green

Ms Green is looking forward to developing the Bia Hub once social distancing measures have been lifted.

“After lockdown is finished, we can install a coffee machine here. After all, cycling without coffee is like cake without icing.

“And we can get back into running Escapes, which are cycling tours combined with a weekend away. 

“We plan all the routes and manage the hotel bookings, and then take a group of ladies away. We had to cancel one due to the coronavirus but we’ve been to Devon previously.”

But for anyone in need of a repair, the workshop is currently open Monday to Friday, 10am until 4pm.

“Our workshop offers full servicing and repairs, and for any NHS staff we are offering a free bicycle service and 20% off repairs at the moment too,” added Ms Green.For more information about the Bia Hub, visit: biacycling.com/the-bia-hub/

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