June 24, 2014 at 6:02
Posted by Rachael Woolston
Described as the battle between some of the world’s best cyclists, the Tour De France still only allows male competitors. Isn’t it about time that we took to our bikes, girls?
In less than a month, 180 cyclists will join the Grand Depart of the Tour De France, all of them men. One of the greatest cycling events in the world and yet in the year 2014, women are still not allowed to participate.
Why? Because it is deemed too hard. Yet, over 30 years ago, Beryl Burton from Leeds, held the men’s 12 hour time trial record. This in 1967, when the opportunities open to women in any sport, let alone cycling were slim.
She showed true Fitbitch spirit when she pedalled 277.25 miles in 12 hours, famously overtaking her rival, Mike McNamara, and giving him a licqourice allsort as she passed. Her record held for two years.
We’re determined to help encourage more women into cycling in honour of Beryl’s record and are joining the cycling brand,#RaphaWomen’s 100 campaign, which aims to get women cycling 100k on the 20th July 2014, to coincide with the 22nd edition of L’etape Du Tour, where amateurs ride a stage of the Tour de France.
This year, they’re hoping to double the number who took part, to 8000 women. You can take part in an organised Rapha route or cycle independently with your own group.
Here at Fitbitch though, we’ve decided to carry on their initiative and get women involved in cycling for good, not just on ONE day with our #Fitbitch Rides Series.
Launching in August, every Saturday or Sunday morning we will meet for either a MTB ride (starting Sat or Sun 2/3rd August), or road cycle, alternating each week.
Our MTB rides will be a mixture of distance rides of around 2 hours, and single track through Stanmer Park. Our Fitbitch Road Rides Series will start at a distance of 15 miles and build progressively every alternate week to reach 75miles. Our aim for both groups is not just to create a community of competetent female bikers but to enter teams into events.
Our first challenges? Stilletoes on Wheels MTB Race at Stanmer Park (you can do a trial lap or a relay race) and/or the Wiggle South Downs 73mile.
We would LOVE to see a the Fitbitch bike community at Stilletoes on Wheels, September 6th AND a female peloton at the Wiggle Event in Fitbitch jerseys.
So, come on, are you going to carry on Beryl’s legacy?
You DON’T have to be experienced, nor super fast or super competent, you just have to WANT to do this. Live Bravely. Be inspired, be Inspiring. That’s our motto. Although we may have to appropriate licqourice allsorts as our motif!
Interested in the Rapha Ride? Click here
Want to become part of the Fitbitch Rides Community? Join our online Facebook group by clicking HERE. Remember these rides are FREE and are about building a women’s biking community. You will be expected to know the route in advance (shared via our Strava account Fitbitch Run & Ride) and be prepared to be supported and be supportive.
If you want to know more about Beryl, read her autobiography Personal Best.
A play about her life, Beryl will also be showing at the West Yorkshire Playhouse from 30th June.