We are proud to reveal the finalists in the Unsung Cycling Heroine category brought to you by BGi for the Total Women’s Cycling Awards in association with Velo Vixen.
We challenge you to read the stories of these incredible women and not feel inspired and motivated. They have all worked tirelessly to achieve not only incredible personal triumphs, but also put something back into the world of women’s cycling. All of these women, nominated by Total Women’s Cycling readers, deserve to be on our list of finalists, but only one can be crowned winner.
The winner will be decided by a panel of expert judges within the cycling industry and will be announced at the TWC Awards ceremony at The London Bike Show in February 2015.
Professional cyclist Helen Wyman has been competing for over 20 years, and her cycling accomplishments are numerous. Although she races road, cyclocross is where her heart lies, and she has been crowned British National Cyclocross Champion 8 times in her career. Her career spans a period that was particularly challenging for women’s cycling, but her experience and expertise means she is the perfect person to mentor the members of the Matrix Fitness – Vulpine road cycling team, who made a huge impact as the only domestic team in the inaugural Friends Life Women’s Tour.
7 years ago, Diana Higman heard the news that she desperately needed a new liver to save her life. 2 years later, after a successful transplant, she took up cycling. 4 years after that she won a Gold medal and two Silver medals at the World Transplant Games in the South Africa, 2014. She also has two Gold medals from the British Transplant Games, and Bronze medals from the European transplant games. She continues to campaign to raise awareness of organ donation and fundraise (have a look at her Just Giving page), and is part of the GB Transplant Cycling Team, training up for the 2015 World Transplant Games in Argentina.
Glynis Francis is a woman with an impressive array of personal achievements, who was also motivated to encourage more women into cycling. A keen track cyclist, she took the Sprint Champion title at the World Masters Track Championships in 2000 aged 46, then regained her sprint title again in 2013. She also set up Team Glow, a women’s cycling group and network with over 120 paying members, and over 600 followers on Facebook, they run weekly rides with something available for all level of cyclist, plus holidays and events. She recruited 100 women to ride the Manchester 100, and in 2014 Team Glow became affiliated with the Cycling Time Trials Association.
‘Age is no barrier’ states Judy Robinson, and at 77 years of age and the oldest volunteer Breeze Champion in the program, you can see where she’s coming from. Judy got back into cycling after a 50 year break, and became a Breeze Champion in 2011. Since then, she’s organised over 100 bike rides, and was a founding member of Breeze Network Bradford. Heading out whatever the weather, rain or shine, Judy credits cycling with keeping her active and giving her the chance to meet many lovely people. She also has no plans to stop riding in the future!
Dutch cyclist Annefleur Kalvenhaar started racing aged 13, and was a raced competitively in Cyclo-cross and MTB Cross Country events. In 2013 she won the European Under 23 Cyclo-cross Championships. Tragically, her life was brought to a premature end when she crashed during qualification runs at the 2014 Meribel World Cup Cross-Country Eliminator MTB race. A well-loved member of the race scene, riders agreed to compete in the race the following day in her honor, wearing yellow flowers in memoriam.
The self professed City Exile, according to her blog title, moved from ‘the edge of Zone 1 to the middle of nowhere’. Author Sally Hinchcliffe, city dweller and town mouse, made a monumental change in 2008 and moved from the urban environment to a more scenic location in Scotland. An avid cyclist, she not only blogs about her escapades, but is a vocal cycling campaigner too. She co-ordinates Cycling Dumfries, an advocacy group consisting of local cyclists, and has set up networks like the Women’s Cycling Forum on Facebook.
Dr Rachel Aldred
If you want things to change, to make a compelling case you need evidence. If the change you are looking for is safer streets for cyclists, then one person who has worked tirelessly to amass evidence is Dr Rachel Aldred. A cycling sociologist, she works as a Senior Lecturer in Transport at the University of Westminster, London. She is also an elected trustee of the London Cycling Campaign and Chair of their Policy Forum. Her research projects include the uptake of cycle commuting, researching cycle advocacy, and cycling and equality. In 2014 she initiated the Near Miss Project, which aimed to gather data on the near miss experiences of cyclists in the form of a one day diary.