Next month’s weekend of Women and Bicycles is looking set to be a corker, with new speakers added and women attending from as far away as Edinburgh and Mid Wales.
The event, hosted by Oxford’s Broken Spoke Bike Co-op, is being held in partnership with The Adventure Syndicate on March 4 and 5. It’s open to all people, of all genders, but will include motivational talks from women in cycling, as well as practical workshops to help visitors to overcome some of the barriers coming between them and cycling.
Oganiser Karen McCallum said: “It’s about helping people find practical solutions. Broken Spoke and The Adventure Syndicate share an ethos of helping women to acquire the tools and skills they need to take matters into their own hands, whether it’s learning how to fix a puncture, or finding out how to make themselves more comfortable on the bike, so that they can go further."
The full programme has now been published, and ticket sales are accelerating with women attending from all over the country. Newest speakers include:
- Rickie Cotter – mountain bike champion and adventurer
- Sarah Connolly – women’s cycling commentator and podcaster
- Kimberley Tew – founder of The Roasting House
- Lee Craigie – Adventure Syndicate director and cycling legend
- Naomi Mahendran – founder of The Cycling Store
- Polly Clark – yoga teacher and mountain bike guide
There’ll be a focus on fitting bodies to bikes, with yoga sessions from Polly Clark and Becci Curtis, aimed at improving riders’ strength and flexibility, and Isla Rowntree’s much-anticipated workshop on ‘The Science of Saddlesore’ – part of her lifetime quest “to improve the usability, fit and comfort of bikes, particularly for those other than medium-sized fit adult men."
There will be several rides available too – including road rides of various lengths organised by famously female-friendly local cycling club the Cowley Road Condors , and an off-road excursion led by Lee Craigie, plus a more meandering tour of Oxford’s feminist history with Marta Lomza. For beginners, Breeze champion Maryam Amatullah will be running a cycle training session for first-timers and ‘not-for-a-long-timers’.
Adventure Syndicate director Emily Chappell explained: “We’re catering for everyone. No two women are alike when it comes to their cycling abilities and ambitions, their physical strengths and limitations, and their confidence levels. That’s why we’ve made sure we have such a wide spread of speakers and activities."
Speakers have been hand-picked to make sure that they’re approachable as well as inspiring. Alongside the talks and panels, the weekend will include plenty of coffee-and-cake time (thanks to bicycle entrepreneur Kimberley Tew, who roasts her own beans and delivers them by bike), encouraging guests to mingle with speakers, ask questions, and be personally inspired to challenge what they think they’re capable of.
A highlight of the weekend will be Saturday’s keynote lecture by endurance junkie Rickie Cotter - one of the team of seven women who launched The Adventure Syndicate by riding Scotland’s North Coast 500 route in 36 hours last May.