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Interviews

Five minutes with Victoria Pendleton, Cycletta ambassador

A real good sport, Victoria really is an advocate for getting “women’s bottoms on saddles.”

In its third year, Cycletta launched its 2013 series of female only cycling events yesterday. We were lucky enough to have a spinning lesson with Olympic legend and Cycletta ambassador Victoria Pendleton and we managed to grab a rather literal 5 minutes with her.

I was involved with Cycletta from the start; I’ve always kind of appreciated that women are really good at doing mass participation events, they love it. Women are sometimes afraid to do it by themselves, so they take part in big events, and when there’s a charity involved, suddenly there’s more of a reason to do it. Whether it’s the pressure or what ever. Women are great at events like Race for Life and all that. I was like, “well why can’t we do a cycling one.” And everyone was telling me that “you can’t make it just for women.” But I said “we can do it really well, women do this stuff all the time if you hadn’t noticed.” It’s a great opportunity for people perhaps who haven’t had the confidence to do something like this, to get started.

Having a giggle with the girls. It was nice to meet a relaxed and genuine Victoria, she seemed truly behind getting women on bikes.

I’m all for performance cycling, don’t get me wrong, I’ve lived it. But I think it’s much nicer to get women’s bums on saddles through things like Cycletta because cycling offers everything women need in terms of being social, it’s functional and it works wonders on your lower body.

I’m getting married late this Summer. The wedding plans are going well, I’ve got my dress, that’s ordered. Haven’t had the measurements done yet though.

Talking weddings. It turns out, we’re both getting married on the same day.

I think we’ll definitely be able to maintain the Olympic legacy now there’s a strong women’s team in the UK, because for so long I trained with the boys. There was the men’s sprint squad and I was part of that squad, because there was no women’s team. Another couple of girls who didn’t have their own squad, they just trained on their own, which wasn’t an ideal situation. Most of the women, road wise in particular, were sent to Belgium to train because there wasn’t the team infrastructure back then. So I think now that the teams are established, the female’s side of the teams are established, it’s more likely to perpetuate and continue to create fantastic athletes.

Spending time with the girls from Herne Hill velodrome.

I loved mountain biking as a kid; I would really like to get my mountain bike out more. I need to pimp my ride a little bit, it’s a bit dated, like circa 1996. But I love mountain biking, I did a lot of it with my Dad and brother growing up, it was probably my favourite aspect of cycling.

I’ve met a lot of the current GB team, a long time ago, when they were a lot younger. There’s a good 10 years, plus, between us, to be honest. I’ve seen a lot of these girls, without sounding like a mother hen, starting out their track training and you know, it’s really good to see that they’ve made it and stuck with it. It’s a good thing and the fact that they’re doing so well and actually out performing the men, per capita of female elite cyclists. So that’s kind of cool, I’m really pleased with that, and I think they’re hopefully creating more role models. The more the better, because if there’s someone you can identify with, you’re more likely to stick to it.

One of the rides I love to cycle is the one I’ve been doing the longest. I come from Stotfold in Bedfordshire and there’s one that goes through a village called Old Warden and its got lovely chocolate-box cottages. It’s just a circular route round there, I think it’s only about 30km, it’s normally a recovery ride but it reminds me of growing up.

You could really hear in Victoria’s voice that she misses cycling, both in a professional capacity and on a personal level.

I miss it, I really do miss it, it’s made worse because I probably only cycle a couple of times a week at the moment, but I’d like to cycle more. I’ve been running and cycling just because my schedule’s been all over the place.

Click here for more information on the events Cycletta have organised for 2013.

 

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