The Total Women's Cycling Awards were launched in 2014, and the prestigious gongs are set to be handed out once again this September to celebrate the most successful brands and individuals in women's cycling of 2016.
We'll be presenting the awards at the Birmingham Cycle Show, on Friday 23rd September. There will be nibbles, fizz, and Joanna Rowsell-Shand - fresh from her Olympic success - will be presenting the awards as well as giving us a glimpse into her post Olympic life and plans.
We want the awards to be 100 per cent reader decided - and you've got a little over two weeks to vote - with the ballot closing on Monday 12 September.
There are 9 categories, and to give you some ideas, we've shortlisted some of our top picks on each category. However, there is also an other box - and we'll count up all of the votes - so do make use of it if you've got suggestions we've not mentioned...
Here's a look at the categories....
Best Bike Brand
The debate over whether or not we need women's specific bikes is ever ongoing. We reckon the best bike for you is the one that you've test ridden, and fallen in love with -and we aren't going to dictate whether that should be female specific or unisex.
However, we do value brands who take the time to explain WHY they create women's frames, or why they don't. Here are the brands that have impressed us - with their bikes, and their marketing approaches and support of women's cycling...
Best MTB Clothing
The women's mountain bike market has really improved over the last year. Where once female mountain bikers were seeing the stunning outfits created for their roadie colleagues, yet finding themselves still stuck making do with men's kit, now there's an array of choice.
Best Road Clothing
Women's road cycling has been on an upward trajectory for a while - most brands have realised, and followed suit with some women's fit gear. If they haven't, man they're going to have problems in the next few years!
Of course, some have done it better than others. These are the brands we rate - and you can read why here:
- Queen of the Mountains
Read about why we selected each of these brands here...
Best Cycling Retailer
It's not just about brands making kit available, of course - someone actually has to believe in women's cycling enough to stock their female friendly gear! Again, some stores do this better than others... here are the major players, but you can vote for your own...
- Chain Reaction Cycles
- Evans Cycles
- Velo Vixen
- Cycle Surgery
Read about why we love all of these retailers here.
Best Mass Participation Event
Sure, women can enter the same events as the men - if they want to, and many will have an excellent time. However, sometimes it's just really nice to ride in an all female environment. It's just - inexplicably different.
Here are some of our favourites, we've gone into more detail on each here...
- Red Bull Foxhunt
- Ride the Night
- Air Maidenduro
- Cycletta Rides
- Daisy Chain Events
- Ladies of the Lake
- Two Wheels and a Piece of Cake
Read more about these fantastic events here.
Best Cycling Initiative
A number of groups and organisations have sprung up over the past few years, with a focus on growing and nurturing women's cycling.
Most will agree that it's best to focus on one area well, rather than being a jack of all trades - so most of them dedicate their time to a specific group or level of ability. We've explained more about the aims and direction of each here:
- This Girl Can
- London Women's Racing
- Racing Chance
- Pro Women's Cycling / @_pigeons_
- Pedal Parity
Of course - it's not all about the big groups and organisations, we want to know which athletes and personalities get your vote. We've left these completely open - and we'll do a major tally to work out the winner.
Here a little more info on each category...
Best Pro Road Cyclist
Who is that one rider in the peloton, or on the track, who has most inspired you? There are so many you could choose from. Laura Trott, for becoming GB's most decorated female Olympican, Marianne Vos, for returning from injury after so much struggle, Megan Guarnier, for bossing the WWT, or maybe it was Kristin Armstrong who most inspired you with her third Gold in the Time Trial in Rio?
Best Pro Off Road Rider
The women's mountain bike scene is bustling at the moment! But who does the best job of shredding the trails, AND inspiring you? Could it be Rachel Atherton, with her faultless record, and her dedication in welcoming women to the Atherton Experience Day? Or perhaps Tracey Moseley and her women's coaching?
This one is quite possibly our favourite category. Last year's winner was Judy Robinson, who at the age of 77 was the oldest volunteer Breeze Champion in the program. It's a category for someone who has done amazing things to progress women's cycling, but perhaps has stayed a little behind the scenes. If you know someone perfect for this, vote for them - and why not get campaigning to encourage others to do the same?
Voting is now open - head over to this survey to make sure your opinions are heard.
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