Monday, 23 November 2009

5 Inspiring Women to Get You Cycling!

(This is another post that I did for BitchBuzz)

More women than ever are taking to the London streets on their bikes in a bid to go green and save some money on bus fares. We enjoyed a summer cycling in chic city shorts, mini skirts and whimsical summer dresses. We didn't have to worry about getting cold or wet, we felt proud about getting around under our own steam and we acquired a healthy glow.

And then, over night, everything changed. It's freezing cold, rainy and blowing a gale. On days like these, cycling doesn't just seem unappealing, it seems like total idiocy. Your steely resolve to cycle into work every day starts to waver and soon it's been a fortnight and your bike needs therapy for its abandonment issues.

So to give you that little shove through the door with your two-wheeled ride in tow, here are a few women with serious pedal-power. If they can do it, you bloody well can too.

Beryl Burton

Beryl Burton is one of the greatest female cyclists of all time. And it wasn't just her fellow women that she beat. In 1967 she set a record for the twelve-hour time trial that wasn't beaten by a man for two years. If the Olympics hadn't thought women too fragile to cycle competitively, she would probably have dominated there too. Sadly, the seven-times world champion died of heart failure at 58.

Suffragettes (Susan B. Anthony)

'New Women' at the turn of the century recognised the revolutionary potential of the bicycle. Susan B. Anthony, the feminist civil rights campaigner, said, "I think [the bicycle] has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives a woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance.”

Victoria Pendleton

Victoria Pendleton is a British world champion track cyclist. She also won the gold medal for the individual sprint at the Beijing Olympics (apparently we're not too fragile to pedal really fast anymore). Amazingly, Pendleton is no longer allowed to run because her muscles are honed specifically for cycling. That's how good she is.

Juliet Elliot

It's disheartening to see this great fixed-gear rider drooled over, rather than admired, by hipster boys. She's sponsored by Charge which is something most of these plaid-shirt-loving guys could only dream of. She pulls off some pretty brilliant tricks, proving that she's not 'cute', but awesome. I do wish she'd wear a helmet though.

Jemina Pearl

Jemina Pearl was the ultra cool singer from now the sadly defunct Be Your Own Pet. There are so many reasons to love Jemina - she used to puke onstage and throw it at boys for goodness' sake - but her love of cycling is what gets her a mention here. I'll leave you with some lines from their classic 'Bicycle, Bicycle, You Are My Bicycle', “Have fun, and be safe with it, Just kidding, f*** s*** up! We ride bikes, cars are for idiots.”

Exactly Jemina, exactly.

Image via RandomDuck's Flickr


  1. I've got to suggest Shanaze Reade too:
    she beats all the boys hands down.

  2. Juliet ftw!

    When Beryl was breaking the world record she overtook the man who was currently breaking it and apparently gave him a liquorice allsort!

  3. when i did my fashion history course we learnt about how the bicycle (along with tennis) was a major factor in women abandoning stupid corsetry, and also it gave them freedom to travel without having stupid chaperones all the time. the start of the proper girl about town era. no wonder men were terrified about lady cyclists early on.
    penny farthings ftw!

  4. I wish America had better bike culture. I love your picture of that pink bike. Guess I never realized that bikes and women had that much in common.

  5. I can't cycle. I never learned when I was a kid, and now it's too late. I mean, where can you go to wobble along the pavement on a bike when you're 27? :(

  6. @fortuneandglory - it's never too late! Lots of local councils give free adult cycling lessons - a 26yr old I know who couldn't cycle took advantage of the ones in Nottingham & is now number 1 bike about town lass.

    Also, wow on the crazy Victoria Pendleton fact.

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