Sarah interviews…. Jenni Gwiazdowski on the London Bike Kitchen

Hopefully you listened to the recent BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour programme dedicated entirely to women’s cycling, and set at the London Bike Kitchen.  If you did, you will have heard LBK Director Jenni Gwiazdowski talking about their work teaching people to repair their own bikes – or maybe you’ve heard the Wheel Suckers’ podcast Jenni runs with Look Mum No Hands’ Alex Davis, which I was on that same day.

You can imagine, being in the LBK space, and being on the podcast made me want to know a whole lot more – how and why did Jenni set up LBK in the first place, and what do they do?  Why’s she podcasting?  What’s her superhero secret origin story?  There’s only one way to find out – by asking her!

Listen to us here, or download directly from Soundcloud.

 

Watch Jenni teach Woman’s Hour presenter Jane Garvey to change a puncture, and get a good look at the London Bike Kitchen too, here on the BBC website.

 

To find out more about the London Bike Kitchen, head over to their website, and follow them on twitter, instagram and facebook.   There’s information about their Women And Gender-Variant Night here, and the WAG twitter and facebook too – and if you, like me, love the LBK’s work, you can support their work through donating to them, or buying things from their online shop.

Jenni and Alex’s Wheel Suckers podcast can be found on Soundcloud and iTunes (here’s the episode I was on, where I tried to convince Jenni she’d love bike racing…)

To follow Jenni herself (and get all the news about that forthcoming book) head over to her twitter and instagram.

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Big thanks to my amazing Patreon supporters, who make all my work possible.  You can join them over here, from as little as £/$/€ 2 a month.

Sarah interviews… Isla Rowntree, on transforming cycling

Isla Rowntree is most well-known for starting IslaBikes, a company that transformed children’s bicycles, with all kinds of child-friendly innovations.  If you look up reviews, or ask online, they’re always the top recommendation and influencer, and right now there are kids everywhere loving cycling because of Rowntree’s work.

But she’s also helped transform women’s cycling before that, being a key figure in the fight to let women race cyclocross.  When Rowntree started, the GB National Championships were only for men, as were the World Cups and World Championships – and she was a major part of the fight to change that.

And she doesn’t stop taking risks and fighting for change.  Rowntree is currently working on the Imagine Project, to make children’s bikes sustainable, in a future where resources will become scarcer – through recycling, but also exciting new models of renting rather than buying bikes.  It’s a fascinating project – and as she says, a risky one personally and for her company.

We talk about all that, the challenges of effecting change – and you can listen to our conversation, or read the transcript below.

We didn’t get into the questions specifically about children’s bikes, because there are a lot of interviews with Rowntree about that out there.  A selection of interviews and articles:

And more about the Imagine ProjectBBC news item on the Circular Economy and on the project, and interviews on the Guardian and Cyclesprog – and watch the video:

Find out more about Islabikes on their website, twitter, facebook, instagram and YouTube – including their great articles on teaching a child to ride, cycling to school, and lots of ideas and tips including riding as a family, starting kids racing and more. And you can follow Isla Rowntree on her twitter too.

If you want your child to test-ride a bike, there are events all over the UK – including the Islabikes pop-up shop in Battersea, on 7-9th April 2017.

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ProWomensCycling:  Can you start by telling us a little bit about how you got into cycling?

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Catherine Marsal’s amazing life in cycling – now in writing!

Catherine Marsal has had an amazing life in cycling.  The Frenchwoman was an Olympian at 17 in 1988, the first ever women’s Junior Road World Champion in 1987, and the Elite World Champion in her first year as an elite in 1990; struggling for a few years, then becoming World Champion in the Hour Record in 1995; winning the Giro and the Tour de l’Aude Grand Tours; working as a Directeur Sportif before retiring from cycling, and then coming back to the sport as women’s road coach for the Danish Cycling Federation.

She’s seen a lot, and I talked to her about all this, the difficulties of becoming World Champion at a young age, racing with (and against) Jeannie Longo, and of course, the amazing results of the young Danish women, especially in the last week, when 2016 Road World Champion Amalie Dideriksen won 2017 WorldTour #2, the Ronde van Drenthe, and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig won the GC at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, and then came third in WorldTour #3, the Trofeo Alfredo Binda.

Of course I think you should listen to my podcast with Marsal, but for those of you who prefer to read interviews, I’ve written part of it up below.

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ProWomensCycling:  It’s a little bit exciting for Danish cycling right now, isn’t it?

Catherine Marsal:  We are on a cloud!  Things have been going very well since the beginning of the season, the girls are improving so well, every race sees a new adventure, and I’m looking forward to every weekend, to see what’s going to happen next.

PWC: Did you expect that the Danes would do so well this year?

Marsal:  I was expecting – and hoping – that Amalie Dideriksen could express herself, and show her rainbow jersey.  Amalie is not World Champion by chance, she’s a rider who has being working so hard and getting results – maybe not always seen by the media, but she’s been progressing, and the World Champion’s title is something she had in the corner of her mind.  It was very important for her to win a WorldTour race in that jersey, and confirm to the world that she is the World Champion.

PWC:  She won Drenthe in such beautiful style – Boels-Dolmans rode the race so well, and she got into a break with some really clever riders, and just trusted herself.

Marsal:  She has such an instinct for racing, that is unbelievable for her age.  She knows how to handle a very tricky situation like that, and she has a very strong capacity to handle the pressure, and what we expect from her.  That will give her so much strength for the future. Continue reading

Sarah interviews… Catherine Marsal, on her amazing career in cycling

Catherine Marsal is a legend of women’s cycling and French cycling in general. Racing her first Olympic Games at 17, becoming the first ever Junior Road World Champion, and then the first woman to ever be Junior and Elite Road World Champion; winning World Championships golds as a Junior on the track in the Individual Pursuit and in the Team Time Trial; winning the Giro d’Italia, and another of the (now lost) Grand Tours, the Tour de l’Aude twice; and becoming the World Hour Record champion… and much more.

After she finished racing, she was a Directeur Sportif for Team SATS, and then after a break from cycling to do a degree and work in business, three years ago she took the job of women’s coach/manager for the Danish National Team – which has, of course, included being team coach when Amalie Dideriksen became the 2016 Road World Champion.

We talked about her amazing life in cycling, the ups and downs, racing with/against Jeannie Longo, and of course, the incredible results of the Danish women, and a lot more.  Marsal is fantastic to talk to, and was super-patient despite technical issues in the call, and if you’re at all interested in how cycling’s change since the 1990s, the experience of young riders who become World Champions, or Danish cycling, please do listen!

Update!  If you prefer to read interviews, I’ve written up part of it, over here.

You can follow Marsal on her twitter, and on facebook.

If you want to see the videos of some of the races we talked about, links to the 2016 Road World Championships, the 2017 Ronde van Drenthe, and Marsal breaking that Hour Record:

Podcasting on podcasting – the meta interview with Lindsay Bayer and Abby Mickey

I have always been a fan of how women bike riders have made their own media, so I was really excited when two American riders started their separate, and very different podcasts.  Abby Mickey, who rides for Colavita-Bianchi, has been interviewing riders she’s raced alongside, and with; while Lindsay Bayer, who’s the co-owner, manager and rider for Hagens Berman-Supermint, is talking to people involved in women’s cycling in different ways, and a different setting (mostly involving alcohol).

I wanted to know more about them both – so I invited them on for probably my most meta podcast ever – podcasting about podcasting!  We talk about a lot more too – why Bayer started her own team, how both of them have almost always ridden for female-run teams, how to spot Mickey’s mother at races, and much more.  Have a listen – it’s only half an hour long!

 

 

You can find Lindsay Bayer on her website, the Dirtfield, and on her twitter, facebook and instagram, and her podcast, Dirtfield Recordings, is part of the Wide-Angle Podium network, and also on iTunes and the podcast twitter.  She also writes a regular column at Peloton Magazine.  The team she co-owns, Hagens Berman Supermint, has a website, twitter, facebook and instagram.

Abby Mickey‘s podcast, Wheel Talk, is on her website, on the Wheel Talk podcast page and iTunes, and also on the Wheel Talk twitter, and you can follow her personal social media, too: twitter and instagram.  Mickey rides for, Colavita-Bianchi, which you can follow via their website, twitter and instagram too.

Big thanks to my Patreon supporters, who generously fund me to do this kind of work.

Sarah interviews…. Ellen Noble on her amazing cyclocross season

Podcast interview logoThe 2016/17 cyclocross season has been an amazing one for Ellen Noble, the 21-year-old American rider who not only won the U23 Cyclocross World Cup series (and came 6th overall in the elite women’s series), but finished the season coming second in the U23 Cyclocross World Championships, with some incredible descending skills.

She tells me all about how it’s been, what’s helped her get here, and where she wants to go next, with a lot more – including how she felt when the USA cycling media said there was no chance of an American getting onto the podium at the U23 Worlds!  Listen to our interview here:

 

 

You can find out more about Ellen on her website, and follow her adventures on her twitter, her instagram and her facebook.  Ellen’s teams are Aspire Racing in cyclocross, and she’ll race the 2017 road season with Colavita Bianchi.

Watch the videos of the women’s races at the 2017 Cyclocross World Championships – both the U23 and elite races are some of the best you’ll ever see!

Big thanks to my wonderful Patreon supporters, who fund me to do this kind of thing.

What do riders think about the 2017 Cyclocross World Championships? Q&A with Marianne Vos, Sophie de Boer and Christine Majerus

It’s the Cyclocross World Championships!  And 2017 has probably the biggest field of possible winners ever – it’s going to be a fantastic race, and such luxury that we can watch it live.  I asked Marianne Vos, Sophie de Boer and Christine Majerus some questions about the race, and you can read what they said.

Marianne Vos

Vos is going for her eighth World title!  Listen to her talk, or read the transcript below:

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