Inspiration comes in different forms, and it’s often worth remembering that it can also come from the most unlikely of sources.
In February 2013, I wrote an article about the Manchester & District Ladies Cycling Association (“M&DLCA”) for CyclingShorts.cc. In the article, I explained how these events were great for people who wanted to have a go at time trialling.
At that time, I was in the middle of getting the North West’s first ever women’s road race league up and running. Two completely different things, I hear you cry. Well, actually they’re very much linked together, although most people won’t realise it. Let me explain…
As a teenager riding for Stretford Wheelers Cycling Club, I rode a number of the M&DLCA events (indeed, I won the Schoolgirl Championship in 1994 and the Junior Championship a year later). At that time, there were very few women involved in cycling however the M&DLCA was run purely by women, having been set up in 1949 as the women weren’t allowed to participate in the men’s events at that time. As a female teenager in what was then a massively male-dominated sport, these women proved to me what was possible if you had a “can do” attitude.
I’m not saying that these women were my sole inspiration in cycling at that time, as there were many others, but the atmosphere at their events was something that I felt was missing from road races. So the #partyontheroad concept that we use to encourage women to get involved in road racing stems from the M&DLCA.
As you can see, inspiration doesn’t have to be in the form of a World or Olympic champion, and it may not be obvious at first glance, but there are many female role models out there, both in sport and elsewhere.