Social media can be a big time thief but sometimes you accidentally come across something, like an event, you would have missed otherwise.
A FB friend’s update showed up in my feed: “going to Take the Stage event”. As she is a great cyclist and a triathlete who recently competed in the Chicago World Championships representing team GB I had to look into it. It was taking place at Look Mum No Hands cycle shop and café in Old Street and this was the description:
A strong group of female cycling ambassadors including Marianne Vos, Hannah Barnes, Lauren Kitchen, Lucinda Brand, Manon Carpenter, Rebecca Charlton, Juliet Elliott and Marijn de Vries will launch one of the most unique and important initiatives in the history of ”women’s” cycling.
Now even if you are not a hard core women cycling follower you must have heard of Marianne Vos at least! She is a 28 year old Dutch cyclo-cross, road bicycle racer, mountain bike racer and track racer who has been called “the finest cyclist of [her] generation”.
I couldn’t miss that opportunity hence even having no clue what they were launching I decided to go. Lara was running an hour or so late and I didn’t know anyone but when did that stop me, huh?
I arrived there and positioned myself strategically next to the front and a big screen. Within minutes I was chatting to Helen, a mature cyclist in her 50s who rode a secret Twitter ride with Marianne in London last year. As we were chatting away the press and women sports journalists were milling around and then low and behold! The camera got pointed at my new friend and me and we were being interviewed by a YouTube TV channel! Helen, we are famous!
Finally all the ambassadors were brought in – all the big names in women cycling. Wearing frocks and heels 🙂 What is the initiative then?
The point is to get more women into cycling, create a virtual and an actual community. Some women would like to start cycling but they don’t know where to start. They are a bit intimidated by cycling clubs thinking they are not fit enough to ride with stronger women and even more intimidated by riding with men. Or maybe there is no club where they are. What was your experience when you first started cycling outside? Did you go it alone?
This initiative provides support for women cyclists in 3 ways. Number one is the website here
. I think the name Strongher is brilliant and quite powerful. You can get loads of helpful advice, blogs, stories, learn about events etc.
Second is the app that will be available soon on both iPhones and androids. They haven’t talked in detail about it but in a nutshell you would be able to link up with women in your area and get a ride buddy, amongst other things so please keep your eyes peeled.
Finally they are organising women focused rides. These can be found on the website.
I think the whole initiative is fantastic. And having some SHEroes to talk about it and promote it was a great idea.
I couldn’t miss the chance of taking a cheeky selfie with Alex Dowsett:
Sometimes you may not realise when you inspire someone to try a sport. I was so happy and proud to get my friend Nick into running years ago. He has completed many races since, including a marathon. These days I have a few friends, some of them take my classes (that would be you Lara and Maria), who inspire me to ride outdoors and who I look up to as cyclists. Believe it girls, you could all be sheroes!
One of mine is Sara Storey the inspirational Paralympian cyclist who is exactly my age. What this girl has achieved in two totally different sports is outstanding. What about yours?