In case you still didn’t know, SheCycles is a growing series of posts that highlight a bunch of completely different, completely amazing women, in their own words, and you really should read their stories.
Produced in Portugal, continuously under development in London. Vegan, cyclist, wife, animal lover, judgemental about people. Loves to ride solo and uninterrupted.
What does it mean to you, as a woman, to also be a cyclist, and how (if at all) do you feel it’s different from what men experience?
Well, I pretty much grew up in a “men’s world”, though that never held me back. If nothing else I grew up as a bit of a tomboy and I find cycling can actually be quite liberating and empowering.
Do you feel women are treated as equals in the world of cycling, and if not, what can be done about it?
Absolutely not. There’s still quite a long way to go for things to change so the scales balance equally for men and women. For that, we need more women to not only cycle but be placed in higher positions within the cycling world. And we need the bigoted and sexist old fashioned men who are in those positions of power to step down.
What got you into cycling?
My other half used be a sponsored rider, riding trails and downhill, and it was him who eventually got me into cycling. I first tried a Pashley, then I cherry part picked a trails bike, then got a hybrid, but none ever felt quite right. Until this one day when I got a chance to get this amazing road bike for a fraction of the price, and that was it, I was hooked.
To you, what’s the best thing about cycling? And the worst?
The best thing about cycling is the freedom, empowerment, both a gym and therapy in one. The worst thing are, the conditions of the roads and drivers.
Tell us some of your cycling dreams and aspirations?
My cycling dream would be to travel the world cycling. I’ve tried a couple of crits, did a time trial, a few sportives, some cycling holidays… but really, just to pack the bike and go and live on a day by day basis.
As a woman, what can you do to make cycling more normal, and more inclusive? And what are the biggest obstacles in your way?
Any woman that gets on a bike and cycles is already making cycling more normal. More women presence, that’s the most important. Nobody can become a role model without doing the role, so as I said before, we need more women in positions that represent cycling.
Tell us about you – what motivates you, what scares you, and what makes you happy?
The actual human-powered physical motion of cycling is what motivates me. There’s something about being part human and part machine, the movement of propelling forwards at such efficient speeds using my body and bike, that motivates me. Time off for myself, that also motivates me. Singing along on my bike, seeing sunsets and sunrises whilst riding, the wind and rain on my face, catching glimpses of wild life whilst many people are a sleep, being connected, mindful and centred… those things make me smile and fill me with content. I try not to think of fear, I find it holds me back from living.
What was the biggest challenge or obstacle you’ve had to face?
The major obstacles are time as I have to work, and also the fact that we do share the road with so many vehicles. There’s far too many cars nowadays and it’s just not nice. Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of? Maybe riding to France, or doing 100 miles in just over 5 hours… Getting one point on my 1st ever Crit. Inspiring a few of the women I know to cycle… Wouldn’t say I am proud, just feels good.
How did cycling change you?
I would say it hasn’t really changed me, I’ve always been very strong minded and independent. Perhaps just more mindful and centred. Without cycling I do start to feel a bit off sorts.
How has your cycling impacted on your family life, and your life overall?
For a while it added quality to my relationship with my partner, we did some amazing rides together. I’d say the best part is that it has showed me and help me understand why he needs to cycle. Personally, I’ve never felt healthier and fitter than I am right now. In fact, I know for certain that cycling is to many, not just a way to get fitter but also as a means of therapy.
What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you?
I once stopped, got off the bike, and then fell to the side. Till this day there is no explanation to what happened, I was no longer clipped in, I had laced my leg over the bike, both my feet were on the floor… I did not have wobbly legs from a long cycle or anything like that, I just fell.
Where would you most like to go cycling? Why there?
Everywhere and anywhere that is cycling friendly and preferably has a beach nearby. Not something I’ve looked into in minor detail, if the weather and roads are good then I’m game. Although Yorkshire weather was awful and I was still game… I can compromise easily.
If you could change ONE thing about cycling, what would that be?
Make cycling priority, a bit like they did in the Netherlands. I don’t just mean as far as infrastructure, I’m also talking about changing laws so that drivers are easily held accountable and have to change how they view bicycle riders on the road.
What bike do you ride? What made you choose that one? If you have multiple bikes, which is your favourite, and why?
I currently have two Giant TCRs and one Brompton and if all goes well I am hoping to add a single speed to my bike fam. At first I never really wanted anything from a big company but as Rob says, the best bikes are those from the companies that have the most capital to invest in R&D. And when he started to work for Giant, that was my chance to get a top of the range bike at a not so top of the range price. Plus with Giant, the set up you get for your money is so much better than some other brands who don’t have as good contracts with parts manufacturers, so it was a no brainer.
What advice would you offer to women who are thinking of starting to cycle, or are new cyclists?
Life’s too short to not do the things you want to do. Even if it is just trying it out. Yes you could have an accident… Even having a bath. Don’t let fear stop you but instead let it power your courage.