This International Women’s Day we thought we’d celebrate some amazing and inspirational women in cycling. Here they are, in no particular order...
Dervla Murphy is a legend in the world of cycling. A strong independent woman she set out in the 1960 cycling through Europe, Iran, Pakistan and India. As well as being an incredibly hardy and adventurous woman, she is also an excellent wordsmith building a career for herself as a travel writer, pedalling (sorry) out such classics as Full Tilt, her first book recounting released in 1965.
As anyone who has watched the Olympics well knows, Laura Trott is a machine. Not only is she the most successful female track cyclist in Olympic history but she is also Great Britain's most successful Olympic female competitor in any sport. And, she’s only 25!
Juliana is a British-German ultra-endurance cyclist and writer. In 2012 she set the Guinness World Record as the fastest woman to circumnavigate the globe by bike, riding over 18,000 miles in a total time of 152 days. And that’s whilst carrying all of her kit! What’s even more incredible is that Juliana only learnt to cycle 3 months prior to departure! She is also co-author of Not Without My Sister, an international best-seller translated into 11 languages, detailing her life growing up within the oppressive cult of the Children of God. This woman is incredibly inspiring. We’d also recommend watching Inspired to Ride, a race across America, in which she features.
Annie became the first woman to cycle around the world in 1894. Two rich businessmen had wagered that no woman could cycle around the world whilst earning $5000, a feat a man had achieved a few years earlier. Annie was an unlikely challenger. She was a Latvian immigrant, a jew at the time America was highly anti semitic and a mother of three children all under five. Despite all this, she set off having only just having learnt to ride a bike a few days earlier. As sponsors were an important part of making the ride financially viable, she attached a trailer to the back of her bike, acting as a billboard for companies looking for promotional opportunities.
Let’s also remember bikes back then were single speed, with no freewheel mechanism and no brakes! She arrived back the following year to claim the $10,000 prize money. Papers at the time described her adventure as ‘the Most Extraordinary Journey Ever Undertaken by a Woman’.
Our last shout out to inspirational women cyclists goes to a friend and Brake the Cycle alumni, Harri. After spending time volunteering at Calais refugee camp she decided she wanted to raise funds for grassroots refugee initiatives. After having come on our LEJOG ride she realised a fundraised cycle tour could be a great way to raise money for refugees. She set up Thighs of Steel and has successfully organised two cycle tours from London to Athens fundraising over £150,000 for grassroots refugee projects in Athens.
In 2018 Scottish endurance cyclist Jenny Graham became the fastest person to cycle around the world unsupported, shaving 20 days off the previous record. Jenny started cycling in 2004 and was introduced to ultra-distance racing when planning a bike trip to Romania, after coming across the Highland Trail 550.
Riding 16 hours and averaging 180 miles a day, Jenny’s remarkable tale of endurance and single-mindedness to achieve a lifelong goal relying on her own resources is nothing short of outstanding!
In 2019 Fiona made history and won The Transcontinental No.7, a self-supported bike race across Europe, in a time of 10 days, 2 hours and 48 minutes. In other words, a total of 4,000 kilometres, averaging 400 kilometres/day, often riding deep into the night!
Representation really matters in competitive cycling, so Kolbinger represents a real example of a woman taking victory in the most prestigious bikepacking race in Europe. The Transcontinental has maintained a positive action policy since its inception and race founder Mike Hall’s legacy and ambition of an inclusive race that reflects and celebrates the many and varied individuals in our communities lives on.
Fiona herself said: "This TCR community is really warm and welcoming and I felt at home even though I’m doing it for the first time. That’s the character of the race."
Fancy an empowering bike adventure?
Want something to look forward to after a challenging, exhausting year? Check out our 5 tours this year.
Did you know?
Over 60% of people on our tours are women and over 70% are first time tourers. Whether with us or on your own, get on your bike!