This year has been hailed as a new era for women’s cycling. In May, the UK welcomed its first women’s professional cycle stage race, the Women’s Tour. On the international stage, the inaugural La Course spotlighted women’s cycling by introducing it into the Tour de France with a 90km race around the Champs-Elysées.
Great progress is clearly afoot within the professional cycling world. UCI gained its first female vice president, Tracey Gaudry, and just last week, Ironman champion Chrissie Wellington praised UCI president Brian Cookson for promoting women’s cycling beyond his manifesto.
Women are also emerging in the world of adventure cycling. The first woman to cycle the world on a bicycle was the astonishing Annie Londonderry, who spent 15 months on a global adventure in 1894. However, it wasn’t until 2012 that any records were set.
Juliana Buhring, after only eight months of training, set the World Record for Fastest Woman to Circumnavigate the World by Bicycle, completing her trip in just 152 days.
Not content with cycling the world, Buhring was the only woman to race the inaugural 2013 Transcontinental Race from London to Istanbul, coming in 9th place overall. This year, there are seven women taking part.
Buhring, however, is not one of them; she already has a major race under her belt for 2014. In July, she rode the 4,233-mile Trans Am Bike Race, placing joint fourth overall. She was congratulated by people around the world, astounded by her achievement, which ranked her a phenomenal cyclist regardless of her gender.
Yet her success also exposed the discourse simmering just beneath the surface – perhaps the real reason why it’s taken 111 years since the founding of Tour de France for a women’s race to be organised; why women’s cycling suffers, like many women’s sports, from a disparity in funding when compared to the men’s. It exposed views that women simply aren’t supposed to achieve as much as men, and if they do, there must be foul play.
We’ve decided to kick back against this resentment and unfair denigration of women’s achievements. Here at Apidura, we’re launching our own Women’s Cycling Month. Over the next four weeks, we’ll be profiling inspirational female cyclists, asking for your stories, and releasing Juliana Buhring’s riveting account of her experiences on the Trans Am Bike Race.
Calling all cyclists, young and old, male and female, fast and slow: join us in celebrating all that women have to offer the cycling world.