Podcast 2017 Episode 3 – She Rode It Geniusly

Podcast logoThis week we talk about all the racing that’s happened in the last couple of weeks from the Deakin Women’s Race as part of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race through to the Cyclocross World Championships in Luxembourg. There’s been some amazing racing and even more to discuss! There’s also been some disappointing news from around the traps and we cover those important events as well. We finish on a high note though, with Sarah’s wrap up of how you can help women’s cycling in practical ways! (1:24:46 MIN / 77.61 MB)

You can get free automated updates via iTunes here or via our RSS feed here.

Things we talked about this week included

The Philadelphia Classic has been cancelled, and we’re really depressed about it – but there is a petition to change that decision, that you can sign.

This week’s racing

Videos and media from the 2017 Cyclocross World Championships in this collection.

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Race Melbourne

Team videos from Wiggle High5 and ORICA-Scott

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Nicole Cooke’s evidence to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Combatting Doping in Sport

I’m sure there will be 101 articles about this, in the mainstream as well as the cycling press, but Nicole Cooke gave evidence to the UK Parliamentary Inquiry into Combatting Doping in Sport.  Cooke is one of the cycling superstars, who defined an era of women’s racing, becoming the first ever rider to become the Olympic and World Champion in the same year, and winning pretty much everything of importance.

If you’ve even vaguely followed Cooke, you won’t find much new here – she’s been talking about doping for years, and has always raised issues with and about British Cycling.  But I really recommend listening to her, because she handled herself excellently, and there’s so much to think about.

If you’re not familiar with what a Parliamentary Inquiry is, or the Committees that investigate them, there’s lots of information on this page – but basically, it’s where members of Parliament take an in-depth look at an issue, and make recommendations to Parliament.  They take submissions in writing, and then call witnesses, and they can question them about basically anything.

Some of the MPs/Lords may have a special interest in the exact issue, or may know about an issue in general, but not this aspect, and others can be new to a topic.  They research it, and they read the written statements, and like in this case, it often can lead to questions around things we take for granted, but are totally new to the members.  I loved that here. There’s so much that I realise I am resigned to, these days – prize money, sexism built into the sport, equal pay, etc.  It’s all things I want to change, but it’s things I’ve become used to, so it’s always refreshing for me to see people come at things for the first time, especially like this, when they’ve been researching a subject, so they’re genuinely surprised/shocked.  I can completely see how an MP with a general interest in sport, who’s used to athletics, swimming, tennis, etc, could be completely taken aback by cycling.

Of course the focus was on doping, but the Committee was also asking questions about women’s cycling, sexism, British Cycling etc – so things like (I paraphrase), if Simon Cope was the BC women’s team coach, why was he couriering for Team Sky, etc – and given that British Cycling is funded by public money, it felt very apt.

Anyway, if you missed it, there are various ways you can catch up:

If you’ve come to it from quotes, or tweets, one thing to bear in mind is that Cooke was always very careful to put things in context, and to be very clear where she didn’t know something for sure.  On twitter the 140 character limit naturally condenses things down, and takes a lot of nuance out, and I’m sure the same thing will happen in quotes, because there were a lot of things that were very strongly worded.  But I really appreciated Cooke’s thoughtfulness, and her making sure her parameters were clear.  She was always very careful to say where things were her opinion, not fact etc.  And I did laugh out loud at some of the leading questions, which she side-stepped very nicely – anyone who knows anything about Nicole Cooke knows she’s not easily lead!

If you’re new to women’s cycling, or to Nicole Cooke, here are some great places to start learning more:

Naturally, a lot of the questions were around British Cycling, and if you’re interested in their history with women riders, I collected a set of mainstream articles from the last 10 years of issues women riders have had with BC.

UPDATE – there’s more added to the Committee’s page – including the written and video version of the evidence from the former British Cycling women’s team manager, Simon Cope, which of course talks about his delivery of that package to Bradley Wiggins, but also about his role at British Cycling, including a cross-over with Cooke’s evidence.

I’ll edit in articles about her evidence as I see them, but I’m pretty sure you’ll find them everywhere!  As always, if you have any you’d like to share, please do let me know, in the comments, or on twitter.

Presents for women’s cycling fans 2016 – this year’s books (and a giveaway)

It’s become a tradition that I pull together posts full of present ideas for women’s cycling fans and cycling fans/cyclists who are women, for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice etc etc, or birthdays, or just because you want to treat someone (yourself).  And it’s also a tradition that I start with books published in 2016, either by women, or about women and cycling, because I do love a good cycling book.

If you want to see the previous posts, the 2014 booklist was the first, and included everything from autobiography to poetry, chicklit to history, science fiction to economics, and even books about men’s races!  Last year’s booklist had cycling and women’s health, more autobiography, photography and art, and more.

This year’s collection includes autobiographies, of course, but also a Young Adult novel, photography, economics, colouring books, fiction, city planning, global warming, a cookbook and some general bikey books.  It’s amazing how many things I found just from this year, and I always love the variety – and while this year’s theme was definitely ultra-endurance, and colouring, there are books about track, road, cyclocross and “everyday” cycling, including cycling for amputees – even a love story set at my favourite race, the Aviva Women’s Tour!  If you can find more that have been published in 2016, especially books in languages other than English, please do let me know in the comments, or on twitter, and I’ll edit them in.

As always, I don’t get any financial benefit from sharing these books, BUT if you buy though my Amazon Associates, I get a little cut of Amazon’s costs (don’t worry, this doesn’t affect the writers’ royalties, it just helps me).

Like last year, I’m going to start with a giveaway, courtesy of Microcosm Publishing.  They sent me a copy of Pedal, Stretch, Breathe: The Yoga of Bicycling, by Kelli Refer, which was published in 2013, and if you’d like this book leave me a message below or tweet me at @_pigeons_, telling me you want it, and I’ll pull a name out of a hat for whoever gets the free copy on Friday 25th November.  There’s another giveaway later in the post, too….

If you don’t win it, it can also be bought directly from Microcosm, and if you browse around the bike section of their catalogue, you’ll find all sorts of other books about bikes by other authors, as well as a whole section of bike zines.  So what else have Microcosm published this year?  All their books can be bought from their site in paperbacks, e-books and more – click through the title link for that, author interviews, little videos about the books and more.

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-18-47-45The Velocipede Races by Emily June Street (Microcosm Publishing, ISBN 978-1-62106-058-1)

I am always delighted by the different genres Microcosm link bikes to – so a Young Adult Feminist Steampunk novel was always going to make me smile.   Here’s how they describe it:

“Emmeline Escot knows that she was born to ride in Seren’s cutthroat velocipede races. The only problem: She’s female in a world where women lead tightly laced lives. Emmeline watches her twin brother gain success as a professional racing jockey while her own life grows increasingly narrow. Ever more stifled by rules, corsets, and her upcoming marriage of convenience to a brusque stranger, Emmy rebels—with stunning consequences. Can her dream to race survive scandal, scrutiny, and heartbreak?”

Order from my Amazon Associates linkUpdate!  Feargal McKay’s review on Podium Café.

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

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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Links to make you smile

In England it’s cold and dreary, in Australia it’s apparently far too hot, so we need some women’s cycling links to cheer us up.  Luckily I have some for you!  I’ll start with lip-synching, but there’s all kinds of things that made me happy this last month in here…

It’s team camp season, and just like they did in the stage races this year, Rabo-Liv set a high bar for other teams to reach….

while over in the USA, Lindsay Bayer is shaking it…

 

Same song, different version…  CX rider Ellen Noble had one of those embarrassing premature celebration moments, and Dirtwire made this video, showing how she vindicated herself.  Lovely interview at the end.

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Presents for women’s cycling fans 2014 – the booklist

Every now and then I do posts about gift ideas for women’s cycling fans and women who cycle.  It’s always a case of things I like, or that are recommended to me, I don’t get any personal benefit – I just want to help you buy nice presents for the nice people in your life!

Now, I love reading, so I’m starting with books, and I’m pretty sure there’s something here to suit every taste.  I’m roughly dividing this into books by women cyclists, about women and cycling, and books about cycling written by women, but it includes everything from autobiography to poetry, chicklit, history, science fiction, economics, books about men’s races and more.  My big thanks to Feargal McKay, whose reviews have introduced me to a lot of these (I’ll link to the reviews, to give you more of an idea about the books).  The link to each book title takes you to the publisher’s page where possible, which usually has information on how to buy. Update! I don’t get any financial benefit from sharing these books, BUT I’ve just set up an Amazon Associates account, so if you buy though my links, I get a little cut of Amazon’s costs (don’t worry, this doesn’t affect the writers’ royalties, it just helps me!)

Of course there are tons more books out there, so if you have any recommendations of womensy-cyclingy books, please get in touch, and I’ll put together an second post.

Books by women cyclists

Nicole Cooke:  The Breakaway (Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-1471130335)

If you’re interested at all in women’s cycling in the UK, you have to read this one.  Cooke was the first cyclist to win the Olympic and World Championships road race in the same year, in 2008, and she fought all the way, on and off the road.  She wrote this without a ghost-writer, so it’s very much her own voice, and if you know anything about Cooke, you’ll know she doesn’t pull her punches.  Read the reviews by Feargal on Podium Café (part 1 and part 2) and on the Guardian.

My Amazon Associates link: The Breakaway

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Marianne Vos/Rick Booltink:  Op de Troon (ISBN 9789462280564)

From one World and Olympic champion to the next – this is the story of Vos’ 2012, where author Rick Booltink followed her around for the year. It’s very honest, talking about how she became anorexic in the push to win the Olympics, and then came back from that to win, and she talks about all the pressure and doubts.  Vos is this incredible character, and this is very honest…  but! it’s only available in Dutch!  It’s available on Dutch book-seller Bol.com, and my Amazon Associates link is here: Op de troon: Marianne Vos fietsmalle wielerkoningin

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Women’s cycling links 25th March

This week we’re not podcasting, but we’ve had all kinds of news and videos from women’s cycling in the last week or so – so here’s a random round-up, with videos, blogs, articles and all kinds of things I’ve liked in the last week in women’s cycling – road, crits, MTB, BMX, breakfast tacos, how to cool down a laptop and more!

This week’s racing

Cholet Pays de Loire

No video yet, but Emma Johansson won, for the second year in a row.  She was racing with the Swedish National Team, but still has a race report on the ORICA-AIS website, and there’s a race report from Hitec too.  Full results on the race website.

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GP Comune di Cornaredo

UPDATE! Another video, from Wiggle Honda

Race report on Tiffany Cromwell’s websiteResults on CyclingFever

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Delray Beach Twilight

The first round of the USA Crits, the Delray Beach Twilight, was livestreamed, and you can watch the full race video – the women start around 2:30:00 – or just the women’s highlights

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