Working as a young corporate lawyer, I reluctantly ended up making the move to London. Career-wise it was a great move. But socially I feared the concrete, the lack of countryside, and leaving my clique. Little did I know, this move opened by eyes to how cycling could become more diverse and inclusive, and barriers to entry for women and so-called riding disciplines needn’t dictate our relationship with cycling.
During those first weeks in London, I met one of my now best friends, Anna Glowinski, who was a great mountain biker. She hated traditional MTB clothes, which at the time were generally baggy and masculine. We’d go riding and she’d wear tights with knee pads over the top and glitter on her face. She didn’t care about passing comments or whether she fit in with the mountain bike community's unsaid rules.
In London, I was introduced to the Herne Hill community and the Mule Bar Girls, which were very much road cycling focused. The women were strong, welcoming, loved cycling and the party. I was amazed these groups existed. I’d never come across anything like this before. I turned to the road and the community around it but was acutely aware this scene was so different and separate from the downhill community. I also knew either you were a downhiller, a road rider, or an XC’er...Find your box and fit in it. The question always niggled me: How do we get more women cycling if there are so many barriers? Getting women to the “start line” of riding a bike was one thing in a male dominated environment, but getting them to find a type of riding they like was another thing.