Way back in November 2014, I spotted a tweet from BikeBiz, the UK cycling industry publication. They were planning on putting together a list of the most influential women in cycling, and were asking for nominations.
We’re compiling a list of the Top 50 Women in Cycling: http://t.co/Yigsl0Qfqe
— BikeBiz (@BikeBizOnline) November 4, 2014
Now, I thought this an excellent idea. There are actually a lot of women in the cycling industry, and although the numbers are a long way from parity with numbers of men, they are growing. Women hold some senior positions with companies, distributors and media organisations, not to mention the fact we have a wealth of talented cycling athletes in the UK. There are also a dedicated number of women at grass roots level working to encourage more women get into and progress within cycling.
But the visibility of women in cycling industry isn’t great, so I welcomed the opportunity this would represent to increase their profile and celebrate their achievements, and sent off a few nominations. It was arranged in collaboration with The London Bike Show, and the Total Women’s Cycling Awards, which were the first awards to celebrate women’s cycling in the UK.
“Back in November last year we asked our readers to nominate the 50 most influential women in cycling and we were overwhelmed with the number of responses – so overwhelmed that we were spurred on to highlight 100 women in the cycle world.
“Congratulations to all the women in our first ever Top 100. These are the ambassadors and role models for the future female leaders of the cycle world.”
Jonathon Harker, BikeBiz Editor
The results of the BikeBiz Women of the Year 2015 list were revealed on Thursday 12th of February, and I have to say I was completely shocked and incredibly honoured to find my name included on the list. Given the caliber of names included, all I can say is I am incredibly proud to have been selected, and thank you so much to those who nominated me.
Back to the other amazing women on the list. I’m not going to go through all of them; suffice it to say that they have all done so much and richly deserve their place on the list. I will however give a few special mention, as they are women I’ve had the honour of getting to know over the last couple of years.
Ally Campbell, Campbell Coaching and CTC
I met Ally a few years back when I signed up for the Campbell Coaching women’s only Drops and Jumps course. She was a great instructor; friendly, encouraging and supportive. The course itself was organised brilliant, and saw a great group of women decamp to Llangollen for bike skills, downhill action and general fun.
An avid 4X MTB racer, Clare has raced in the British 4X series and even represented GB in international races. She’s one of the founding members of TrailTakeover, a social MTB riding group that organises group rides for women alongside Ruth of Trail 42 (MTB clothing company based in the Forest of Dean) and Michelle (The BikeYard, a bike shop in Leamington Spa, and RLSCC). If that wasn’t already enough, she’s friendly, cheerful, a talented rider and also taking on the Megavalanche this year! Good luck, Clare! Hopefully it isn’t as muddy as last year.
If you’ve seen pictures of me mountain biking, you’ll probably have seen me in my favourite Flare Clothing Co. MTB shorts. Flare is the company Hannah set up a few years back, and it’s going from strength to strength. She’s designed some great looking kit, and has also branched out into supporting athletes and riders around the world. An astute business woman, she combines design know-how with an excellent understanding of the women’s cycling market.
A senior lecturer at the University, of Westminster Dr Rachel Aldred has conducted several pieces of academic research into cycling, transport and traffic. As a scientist by training, I’m a big fan of this. I feel that too often in cycling opinion is presented as fact, and lacks evidence to back it up. Dr Aldreds research is helping to provide a strong evidence base on which important decisions about cycling infrastructure she can be made. She is also an elected Trustee of the London Cycling Campaign, and Chair of its Policy Forum.
I’d not actually met Dr Aldred before Thursday at the Total Women’s Cycling Awards, where the Near Miss Project she developed was nominated for (and won!) Cycling Initiative of the Year.
There are so many more women I’d like to mention, but I’d be typing for hours! Sarah Pain (Category Marketing Manager for online shop Wiggle), Sarah Connolly (women’s cycling blogger and commentator extraordinaire), Rachel Atherton, Tracy Moseley, Natalie Justice (British Cycling Breeze Network Project Manager), Katy Curd (4X MTB World Champion), Manon Carpenter…see what I mean? But hopefully I’ll get to write about their incredible achievements somewhere, sometime, and if not on this blog then hopefully elsewhere.
Lastly, I need to give mention to two people in particular. Kirsty Ho Fat was the editor of Total Women’s Cycling back where it all began for me. She hired me, welcomed me into the cycling world, and pretty much changed my life. After a stint at Women’s Cycling, she’s now working her magic at VeloVixen. Thanks Kirsty! Secondly, Heather Irvine was the Editor who took on and grew Total Women’s Cycling after Kirsty departed. I learned a lot from Heather, and had the chance to experience some amazing things like the Friends Life Women’s Tour and L’Eroica in Italy.
I hope this list continues year on year, as – and it’s the same with the majority of industries – we need to encourage talented women to join the industry, recognise their abilities, and support them. We also need to work on increasing their visibility outside the industry itself. As women’s cycling itself grows, we need an industry that reflects the growing market, that understands it, and that that market feels understands and respects their experience, opinions and needs.