Words by Vicky Balfour
Sometimes all it takes is one person to sense a buzz in the air and you can start a movement.
Sitting amongst a crowd of women at Look Mum No Hands!, it really felt that we’re on the cusp of something. The inspiration behind the event is Adele Mitchell; award-winning cycling journalist, blogger and bike rider. She’s right when she says ‘older women are riding the crest of a wave: they are so interesting and have great stories’. What’s more is that women in their 50’s and 60’s have 60% more spending power than Millennials, so it’s worth paying attention to them!
Kicking off with an explanation of their cycling and industry backgrounds it became clear that though the panel was diverse, there was a common passion for enabling as many women as possible to enjoy cycling in whatever form they choose.
With a background in fashion, Alex Feechan started Findra out of frustration at not being able to find stylish yet practical women’s cycling gear that worked on the bike and in the rest of life. She looked at the ‘amazing women in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s who were making brave decisions and facing challenges on the trails’ and felt they ‘deserved better’.
It took redundancy from the city in 2008 for Belinda Scott to decide to make a career out of cycling rather than simply cycling for transport and recreation. Belinda approached her local bike shop and asked if they needed any help over the summer. She’s never looked back and now runs the hugely successful women’s Bella Velo cycling group in South West London.
A leading figure within Cycling UK (formerly CTC), Julie Rand sat down a couple of years ago and asked herself what are the main barriers to women accessing cycling. After coming up with more than 30 off the top of her head she decided to do something about it and with the Cycling UK campaigns team established the Women’s Festival of Cycling and the Women’s 100 cyclists list. Her passion for cycling as a form of transport shines through with a tenacity that is helping to secure a real change in UK infrastructure.