Podcast 2017 Episode 36 – It Could Be Like Giorgia Bronzini

This is a significant episode for us, as this week we are announcing the end of our regular podcast series. We talk through the reasons behind our decision to take a step back, what’s changed over the nearly six years we’ve been doing this and also reminisce about some of our favourite things. This is a positive episode and we’ll really love for you to share it with us. Thanks for listening, we hope you’ve had as much fun as we have. (53.30 MIN / 48.99 MB)

You can also get automatic updates via our RSS feed here, or via the iTunes store here.

 

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Let’s change women’s cycling – the 2017 Ardennes Week edition

The 2017 Women’s World Tour and season in general have already shown us an increase in live women’s racing – from streams from the Australian 2017 openers, the Mitchelton Bay Crits and Deakin Women’s Race at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, to the entirely live Omloop van het Hageland, and the live last parts of the WorldTour races Strade Bianche, Ronde van Drenthe and Trofeo Aldredo Binda, we’ve been able to watch some amazing racing.

But the season won’t continue like that.  There will be some fantastic live racing at the Healthy Ageing Tour and maybe at the Ronde van Vlaanderen, but what about at the Ardennes Week?

Just having an Ardennes Week is fantastic.  The three races, Amstel Gold on 16th April, Flèche Wallonne Femmes on 19th, and the first ever Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes on 23rd, will each have a women’s race that’s part of the Women’s WorldTour – but as yet, we’ve had no news about whether we’ll be able to see them live, or even a good length of highlights, beyond 10 minutes on the UCI YouTube.

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Three women’s cycling crowdfunders

One of the things that’s both frustrating and inspiring is pro athletes having to crowdfund to compete in their sport.  Frustrating, for obvious reasons, but inspiring because the fan community really helps them.  There are three very different ones running fro British women cyclists right now – Para-cycling, MTB and road racing, and here’s how you can help.

Hannah Dines’ Crowdfunder for a new racing trike

Hannah Dines is a Scottish Para-cyclist, who competed in the 2016 Paralympics in the tricycle road races.  She’s having a hard time right now – she recently lost her UK Sport funding, and on top of that, has had her racing trike destroyed, when her car was stolen and set on fire, with the trike inside it. As you can imagine, these both put a large dent in her goal of medaling at the 2010 Paralympics.

Her insurance won’t cover the cost of a new trike, so she’s raising the money herself – and anything she raises over her goal of £7,454 will be donated to the Neil’s Wheels bike shop, so that other disabled people can get their own specialised sports equipment.  The

Read more about her crowdfunder, and please do donate, if you can.  Follow Hannah on twitter, find out more about her in this articles by the Herald, read her blog about why ride a trike, and in this video about Rio, which also was crowd-funded, by handcyclist Karen Darke:

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Bex Baraona’s raffle to fund her racing the 2017 Enduro World Series

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Let’s play a cycling game! Three for 2017

February is an important month for the cycling fan, with the end of the cylocross season, the start of the Classics… and the launch of all the Virtual Directeur Sportif games.  I’ve written about my love for DS games before, so before I tell you about the 2017 versions of the Podium Café FSA DS game, and ChicaBike, this is why I love them so much:

If you’ve followed the sport for a long time, they’re the perfect opportunity to show off your skills.  We’ve all been armchair tacticians, and have views on who’d be the best rider for which race, and this gives you a chance to prove it!  Or not, and then sob all season as your favourite rider makes mistake after mistake…

But if you’re not already a die-hard women’s cycling fan, they’re a fantastic way to get to know the sport.  You don’t have to have a team you can spend hours over – some people pick their FSA VDS team purely on nationality, all the Aussies, or all the Canadians, eg, and one team that did especially well one year was all riders whose names began with E (with Emma Johansson and Evie Stevens, that was fantastic!).  There’s always a huge helping of luck involved, too.  Years ago I played a Tour de France game, and as well as my own lovingly-picked team, ran a “Team Random” that was auto-generated by the site, and it was depressing how well that did – and the person who picked the “wrong Feillu” by accident ended up winning a TdF game stage!

DS Games are such an excellent way to get to know more about riders’ skills – even if you don’t know that much when you choose your team, you’ll definitely learn.  And with so much live women’s racing being shown and streamed in 2017, you can cheer them on in real time.  And most importantly… there will always, always be someone who does worse than you in the game, and hundreds of players, so you don’t need to worry about people laughing and pointing.

So, how do you play?

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Take 5 minutes to help women’s cycling in 2017

 

It’s 2017, and a lot of us are really looking for positives, and one of the best ones I’m finding is doing something to help women’s cycling.  We can all do this – just set aside five minutes a week, get online, and you can make a difference, to your favourite riders, teams and races.  You can do this at lunchtime at work, on the bus or train – I do it in ad breaks, when I’m watching TV!

But the key is, even five minutes can definitely help the sport.  Whenever I talk to anyone involved in cycling, these are the actions they recommend, and they’re super-simple.  None of this is new – we’ve talked about a lot of this since we started the site, for example,  a few years ago, when Amber Pierce started her #ClickThruThurs initiative – but with the internet moving so fast, it’s always worth re-visiting.

Basically, the key is to take a tiny little bit of time a week (or more!) to engage with riders and races, their sponsors and team media and thank them for what they do, and to share media that covers women’s cycling.  It’s so simple, that it almost seems too easy, but it really, really makes a difference.  I’ve got ten suggestions that I try to make time for whenever I can.

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Presents for women’s cycling fans 2016: Part 3 – things that help everyday women’s cycling

An annual tradition I’ve got is to pull together ideas of presents for Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/holiday/birthdays etc for women’s cycling fans, and women who love bikes – but part 3 is especially aimed at everyone.

Part 1 of the 2016 guide was a book list, Part 2 was things we can buy or do to support professional women cyclists and teams, and now Part 3 is about things we can do to support organisations that are working to help increase “everyday cycling” for women.

It includes some gorgeous things that just happen to have proceeds going to good works – and ways to help women in developing countries, as well as the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.  I’ve included ways to donate to all of these, either in your own name, or as a gift on behalf of someone else.

I love all these organisations, and it’s really helping my 2016 blues to think about the great work that’s going on.  Like always, if you think of organisations I’ve forgotten, please do let me a comment, or tweet me, and I’ll edit it in – I’m especially interested in organisations working in non-English-speaking countries.

Things we can buy to support everyday cycling

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Black Girls Do Bike

Black Girls Do Bike is a fantastic USA organisation, set up with a pretty self-explanatory purpose:

“…growing and supporting a community of women of color who share a passion for cycling. We champion efforts to introduce the joy of cycling to all women, but especially, black women and girls.”

They run rides, meet-ups, skill-sharing sessions and more, and do a great job sharing positive imagery that proves that despite what the average portrayal of everyday cycling in the media, black girls do bike.

There’s lots more information on their website, including how to join in, and how women can start their own chapters, and some interviews with founder Monica Garrison on Bicycling.com and on Bike Radar – and we can all support them by donating directly to them, or through their online shop.

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Why I love Virtual DS games

After a wonderful-busy 6 weeks of road cycling, we’ve got space to pause, before the Spring Classics start with a bang on 27th February.  It’s a good time to look back on the racing we’ve had so far… and to plan your Virtual Directeur Sportif team for the season!

If you’ve never played DS or other fantasy cycling games, there are a lot of them about, and two particularly good ones for the women’s road racing, at Podium Café (FSA VDS) (including a game for the men’s side too) and Chicabike. I’ll tell you more about them below, but I want to take a moment to sing the praises of playing them in general.

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