A chat with Tour de France winner Cadel Evans at a high school reunion inspired Doreen’s Rachel Jones to give cycling a go.

Ms Jones said Evans spoke to her about the Swisse People’s Ride, which forms part of the Great Ocean Road Race, and encouraged her to sign up for this year’s event.

“I thought, if someone who’s won the Tour de France tells me I can do it, I can do it,” she said.

Ms Jones said she found this year’s 111-kilometre ride tough, with the challenging Challambra Climb section of the course getting the better of her.

That hasn’t stopped her from signing up to tackle the ride again next year.

She hopes more women will sign up for next year’s ride.

“The bonus [of cycling] for me has been the amazing new friends I’ve made within a very supportive women’s cycling community,” Ms Jones said.

The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Ride begins in Melbourne on January 25 with the women’s and men’s elite races, before moving to Geelong on January 27 for the Swisse People’s Ride and the Great Ocean Road Race on January 28.

To register visit: www.cadelevansgreatoceanroadrace.com.au