Inspiration and aspiration – Emily Chappell and Lee Craigie on The Adventure Syndicate

Podcast interview logoI’m really excited about this brand new cycling-and-women project, The Adventure Syndicate, that brings together nine amazing women who have incredible adventures on (and off) the bike, to share their stories, and inspire other women (and men too) to have their own cycling experiences too.  I interviewed two of the Syndicate members about it – cycle courier, solo round-the-world-ish cyclist, and author Emily Chappell, and Scottish cross country MTB star and Cycletherapy founder Lee Craigie.  They told me how it came about, who else is involved, and where they want to take it all in the future – including how everyday cyclists can get involved in their North Coast 500, and hang out with them in Inverness on the weekend of 16th May.

 

 

This is just the start, so make sure you bookmark The Adventure Syndicate website, and follow them on twitter, instagram and facebook. There’s more information about each of the Syndicate cyclists here, including links to their personal sites.

You can find Lee at her website and on twitter, and learn more about the Cycletherapy Project.

Emily is on her twitter and website – and if you missed my interview with her about her excellent book, What Goes Around, the audio is here, and a partial transcript is on Podium Café.

Emily wrote about the North Coast 500 here – and you can follow them on the Adventure Syndicate media – and join them en route, as well as before and after in the Velocity Café in Inverness, on 14th and 17th May.  Emily’s post about riding up Mont Ventoux is here.

Emily and Lee talked about Findra, the Scottish cycling clothing company for women (which men are wearing too!) – and here’s that snowboarder being chased by a bear…

Big, big thanks to my Patreon supporters, who fund me to do interviews and lots more women’s cycling work – you can join them from as little as #/€/$ 2 a month over here.

Podcast 2016, Episode 14 – It’s OK, he’s an Aussie

Podcast logo

G’day from sunny Manchester this week team! Dan’s on holiday and enjoying the snow in the English spring. This week we’ve got heaps to talk about and it’s not all scandals involving Australians in Manchester. We also talk the end of the Assos Girl, the penalties for motor doping, crowd-funding and that big Marianne Vos crash.

On top of that, there’s heaps of racing to cover off. We’ve got Joe Martin Stage Race in the US, Omloop van Borsele, Dwars door Westhoek, and heaps of Cairns MTB activity. Of course there’s the usual hilarity and this week an added bonus of technical difficulties (which we’ve done our absolute best to correct, but sorry/not sorry).

Before you do anything else, make sure you vote for all the great cycling-related entries in the 2016 #BeAGameChanger awards – voting closes on 1st May, so hurry!

Things we talked about included….

Read more…

How to watch the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire, LIVE!

April 28, 2016 2 comments

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 16.58.11

Saturday 30th April 2016

It’s a super-busy weekend of racing, with two stage races, and over in Yorkshire, the revamped Asda Tour de Yorkshire women’s race, which is on the same day, and exactly the same route, as Stage 2 of the men’s race. And we get to watch it live – including World Champion Lizzie Armitstead racing on her home roads, and Emma Pooley‘s return to the peloton.

The race is being shown on ITV4, where the awesome ex-top sprinter and Wiggle High5 boss Rochelle Gilmore and Ned Boulting are commentating, and on British Eurosport, where I’ll be part of the commentary team with Matt Stephens.  It’s a very early start – the race begins at 08:15 UK BST (09:15 Euro CEST, 3:15am USA EDT, 5:15pm Australian AEST) and is due to finish around 12:10 BST (13:10 CEST, 7:10am EDT, 9:10pm AEST).

TV coverage starts at 08:30am BST on British Eurosport (ES2) and the Eurosport Player, and 10am BST on ITV4, which people in the UK can also watch for free via the ITV Hub.

If you can’t watch the TV, you can follow the race on twitter with the #TdY hashtag, and #WTdY, which is specific to the women’s race, and via the Tour de Yorkshire twitter.  There’s more on their facebook and instagram.

Route details and race timings are on the race website, where you’ll find a lot more information and there’s a startlist here on Cycling Fever.

An incomplete list of British Cycling’s issues with women riders

April 28, 2016 8 comments

This week there’s been tons in the news about British Cycling and discrimination, particularly relating to allegations of sexism, saying a rider’s too old to race at 25, and most recently, discrimination against para-cyclists.  This started when British Cycling talked to the Telegraph about dropping sprinter Jess Varnish from the programme – which wasn’t a surprise, as she had voiced her frustrations about how BC had handled the Team Sprint, when GB failed to qualify at the 2016 Track World Championships.  Varnish’s issue then was the choices BC had made about the teams they put into races for the Olympic Qualifying period, and so BC’s sacking her was expected at the time.

She then responded, and what was surprising is that she’s alleged to have been told to “go off and have a baby”, and that at 25 she’s too old to improve.  It was followed by British Cycling’s Performance Director, Shane Sutton, denying that in the media – and some great pieces by former Olympic and World Champions Nicole Cooke and Victoria Pendleton speaking out in defense of Varnish, Varnish’s official statement, and an interview talking about a ‘culture of fear‘ at BC, an interesting comment from Lizzie Armitstead, a piece on the MTB issues from Jenny Copnall and then (Daily Mail link) Para-cyclist Darren Kenny and “multiple sources” talking about offensive language and behaviour towards Para-cyclists – which lead to Sutton’s suspension, and then resignation.

Update! Olympic Champion Rebecca Romero also talked about the toxic velodrome atmosphere

So that’s this week! But this is very much part of a pattern.  While big name men like Bradley Wiggins have come out defending Sutton, and track superstar Laura Trott doing the same, this is part of a LONG pattern of top-name women talking about their bad experiences with British Cycling and their approach to women’s cycling (whether they use the word “sexism” or not), and Shane Sutton.

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Women and cycling – 2016 marketing I love

I’m always interested in how women are portrayed in cycling media, and I talk about the bad, of course, but also the good – and I was already collecting examples of great advertising, when this popped up in my twitter-stream:

This is such an amazing move!  For years, the ‘Assos Girls’ – topless models wearing bibshorts and caressing their boobs, jerseys allegedly advertised to women with a woman on her knees in stilettos and spray-on PVC leggings (check out the 2nd photo here, and read the post, it’s hilarious!) have been an embarrassment to cycling for years.  My post about the Assos Girl, and cycling companies who market well to women has had one of the biggest number of hits since I posted it in 2013 (despite all the pictures having disappeared because they’re all gone from the sites now).  So of course I immediately clicked through to the Ella Cycling Tips article to see what’s going on – and I loved the quotes from the new Assos CEO Phil Duff, including:

“Yes, I am quite painfully aware of how Assos has portrayed women in the past,” said Duff, who had been an Assos customer himself since its founding days.  “Not only do I know that from the market place, but in my first few weeks of getting involved with the Assos, I’d come home every night and my wife would say, ‘when the hell are you getting the naked women off their website?’”

and

“There are some things that are changing, particularly with respect to the customer-facing side of this company, one of which is that everyone here is now fully on board that we are now going to portray women the same way we portray men –as athletes,”

So hooray, Assos is now off my personal blacklist!  Their site is completely down, in development, but you can sign up to get notified when they’re back.

And one other good thing to celebrate?  It’s clear from Duff’s comments, and the comments from USA Cycling about their relationship with the company, that public opinion played a big part in this too – so when we see terrible advertising (‘I hate Jeffsy‘, #Sockgate, Six Six One’s kneepad imagery, the Maxxis calendar, to name some recent examples), talking, writing and tweeting about it may not have an immediate effect, but it does help effect change – isn’t that great to know?

So, onwards to more good that I’ve seen so far this year.  I’ve talked about these in podcasts and elsewhere on the site, but they’re so good, they deserve to be celebrated.  As always, if you’ve got 2016 examples of cycling marketing featuring women, please do share with me, in the comments, on twitter or on tumblr, and I’ll put up a second post.  And as usual, I get no benefits, incentives or rewards for talking about these – it’s just things I personally like.

Liv Cycling’s #ActuallyICan

The most recent advert I loved was from Liv Cycling, part of their #ActuallyICan campaign.  In my defense, I was feeling ill when I saw it, but it really did give me a lump in my throat – the moment when the cyclist stopped, looking exhausted, and then carried on.  It sounds so cheesy, but done so well.  I love the different kinds of women, and the way it shows what’s awesome about achieving in sport.

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Rain forest racing – video, photos & more from the 2016 Cairns MTB World Cup

One of the things that made me fall in love with Mountain Bike was getting to see all these extraordinary landscapes, all over the world – and the Cairns round is incredible.  It’s in the Australian rainforest, with all the snakes, spiders, stinging-trees and difficult conditions that comes with that – although this year it was damp, rather than 2014’s torrential (for the women, at least!).  But beautiful!  And the other reason I fell so hard for the sport is that the media is fantastic.  Here’s my collection of videos, photos and more fun stuff from the 2016 Downhill Round 2, and first Cross Country World Cup of 2016.

Downhill World Cup #2

Let’s start with the amazing Red Bull Bike coverage – we can watch the full race replay (top 6 women, and top 20 men) over here.  I love the winner’s interview (no spoilers!) around the 33:15 mark  – and I really love the Red Bull video highlights too.

There’s more highlights here:

But there’s so much more!

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Watch the 2016 Cairns MTB World Cups live

I love that American-style voiceover, it feels so incongruous!

But wow, the Cairns 2016 MTB World Cup will be an amazing weekend of racing, and as always, we get to watch the exhilarating racing in the Australian jungle, full of rain, mud, spiders, snakes and stinging trees live, and get a whole load of incredible media.  It’s SO easy to fall in love with MTB, so if you’ve never watched any, start now!  Click the links to go directly to the streams, with clever countdown ticker to the start – and if you miss the races live, they’ll be archived there as well.

  • Downhill finals, Saturday 22nd April, 2:30pm Aussie AEST (5:30am UK BST; 06:30 Euro CEST; half past midnight Friday night USA EDT)
  • Women’s Cross Country, Sunday 23rd April, 11am AEST (2am BST, 03:00 CEST; 9pm Saturday EDT)
  • Men’s Cross Country, 23rd April, 2pm AEST (5am BST, 06:00 CEST, midnight Saturday EDT)

Now, this being MTB, there’s already been a TON of fantastic media, from the race practice days and qualifications…

Read more…

Categories: General rambling
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