Isabelle Clement, Wheels for Wellbeing, and their work helping disabled people cycle more

Isabelle Clement is the director of Wheels for Well-Being, a charity dedicate to helping disabled people cycle more, through both their sessions giving people in London with a hug range of disabilities try a massive range of bikes, and through their national campaigning work.  She told me all about these aspects of her work, and talks about barriers to disabled people cycling, both physical, in terms of infrastructure, and emotional, as well as the charity’s successes, plans for the future, and what we can all do to help support disabled people’s cycling.

Listen here, or download on Soundcloud.

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Watch these films of Isabelle riding her wheelchair cycle around London and read her article from the Guardian last year about disabled people’s cycling.

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Podcast 2017 Episode 4 – Why Make It Harder?

cropped-podcast-logo.jpgThis week we talk through the last few cyclocross races of the season. We also take a quick look at all the track racing that’s coming up soon, including the Paracycling Track World Championships. We take some time to kick off the great team kit voting challenge for 2017, so make sure to visit the post to see the pictures, videos and (of course) to vote! We do talk about some of the tougher stories to have come out recently regarding the types of abuse that have been uncovered in the sport. It’s tough reading and listening, but it is good for the sport to bring these problems to light. (58:23 MIN / 53.47 MB)

You can sign up for free automated updates from iTunes here or via our RSS feed here.

Things we talked about this week

Sarah has pulled together the kits for the top 20 women’s teams into one big post, with links to where you can buy them, and most importantly, the 2017 Best Kit poll.  Head over here, check them all out, and VOTE!

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Four sobering pieces on bullying, harassment, sexual abuse and other unacceptable practices within women’s cycling:

One of the things that’s being done about these issues is the Dutch Cycling Federation’s project to find out the scope of bullying and harassment in Dutch Cycling – listen to Sarah’s podcast with KNWU’s Anne Loes Kokhuis to find out more.

Recent racing

IJsboerke Ladies Trophy #8, 2017 Krawatencross Lille

Such an exciting way to round of the series – and it finished with Sarah’s absolute number 1 favourite cycling move!  Full race replay, and highlights:

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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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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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Rio 2016 Paralympics – Road videos, media and more

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-21-21-37First, all my thoughts are with the family, friends, and team-mates of Iranian cyclist Bahman Golbarnezhad, who died during the men’s C4-5 road race.  So tragic, and a reminder that cycling is always a dangerous sport.  Articles about his death on the BBC and the Guardian – and about the tribute to Golbarnezhad at the Closing Ceremony.

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While the Rio 2016 Track Para-Cycling was almost all broadcast live, so we got a LOT of video, the Paralympic Road Racing wasn’t, so there’s less here – but I’ve got you some video, photos, articles, tweets and more.

Unfortunately, a lot of the videos are geo-restricted – some of the Paralympics YouTube clips are only available in countries without their own TV (but it’s hard to tell, so click each one to check – sorry), and the individual TV stations and often videos on news sites are often geo-retricted to their countries.  However, you can use VPN services like Hola or Betternet, to see them (if you don’t know about VPNs, INRNG explains them)

Please forgive that fact I’ve got a lot of British-based coverage – it’s because it’s really good, and obviously because I get to see it.  I’ve got coverage from other countries when I’ve seen it, but if you’ve seen good coverage from other countries that you want to share, please do let me know, and I’ll edit it in.

First, some general links and media – the Rio 2016 Road Cycling page, including all the schedule, results, and other general information about the courses.  Overall report of the whole Paralympics road cycling on the UCI’s website.

UK-based highlights on the Channel 4 Paralympics site.  USA video highlights on Team USA‘s website, but it’s all forbidden from my UK-based server.  There are lots of video highlights of the Australian Paralympics on the 7Two YouTube, and the New Zealand Paralympians on the Attitude Live YouTube – for example this video profile of Amanda Cameron.

Day 1 – the ITTs

 

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Meet some of the 2016 Paralympic Cycling women – Part 5, Trike riders

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-21-21-37As we’re into the Road Cycling races at the 2016 Paralympic Games, and unfortunately they’re not being streamed or broadcast, I’m writing about some of the riders competing in the Time Trials and Road Races.  I’ve looked at the Tandem pairs, C1-3 and C4-5 bike riders and the H1-3 and  the H4-5 Handcyclists, and now it’s time for the smallest Paracyling category, the tricycle riders.

The main reason a rider would use a trike is if she had a condition that affects her balance, for example Cerebal Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, or a brain injury.  Some riders use bikes adapted to three wheels, and others are specially designed for racing.  racing trikes can be expensive, are heavier, and less maneuverable than 2 wheel bikes, especially taking corners and on any kind of off-camber surface – although watching the top tricyclists cornering is a thing of beauty.  There two subcategories of UCI trike riders, T1 and T2, with T1 riders more effected by their disabilities than the T2s, but their races are combined for the Paralympics, with only 1 gold.

The Tricycle Individual Time Trials are on Wednesday 14th September, and the Road Race is on Friday 16th, and I’ll tell you a little bit about the course underneath the rider information.  If you click those links, you’ll get the startlists, live timing for the ITT and hopefully for the Road Race too.

Let’s have a look at some of the riders racing trikes in Rio

Carol Cooke, T2, Australia

Cooke is a Canadian who had worked in the Police Force, including working with in an undercover drug squad, before moving to Australia in 1994 and taking citizenship.  She talks about how when she was first diagnosed with MS in 1998, she was told to basically prepared to die – you can watch a video about that, and how she coped with change.  But obviously she didn’t, citing cycling as what keeps her out of a wheelchair – and now she’s in Rio, aged 55, racing her third Paralympics

Her first was in Beijing, where she was a Para-rower, before switching to Para-cycling, after buying a trike “on a whim”, and winning gold in the mixed gender T1-2 ITT at the London Games.  As a born-and-bred Londoner, I love how she talked about 2012 in this video:

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Meet some of the 2016 Paralympic Cycling women – Part 1, Tandem riders

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-21-21-37Last week we got to see pretty much all the 2016 Paralympic Games Track Racing, which had some beautiful and brilliant moments, and was luxurious to see.  Unfortunately the Road Cycling won’t be shown live, so we’ll have to rely on TV stations filming finishes, live timing on the Rio 2016 website (we hope) and maybe twitter.

Because there won’t be commentators telling us about the riders, I’ve pulled together some facts about some of them.  I haven’t been able to get to every one of them, so if I’ve missed anything about your favourite rider, please do tell me in the comments or on twitter, and I’ll edit in the information, because there are some fantastic stories out there.

I’m starting with the Tandem riders, which I’ll do in country order, and I’ll tell you a little bit more about the Rio Tandem racing below the riders.  Simply, a visually impaired Stoker sits behind a sighted Pilot, who’s in charge of steering.  Tandem racing is all about partnership, as while racing tandems are really well engineered, they’re still a lot stiffer and harder to maneuver than a standard bicycle, especially in the corners and technical parts of the courses.

So who’s racing?  The first rider in each pair is the Stoker, and the second is her Pilot.

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