“I used to think that the worst thing a woman could do was smoke, but I've changed my mind; The worst thing I've ever seen is a woman riding a bike."
July 25, 1891, was the date on which a Chicago Tribune correspondent stated in a small column in the local newspaper that she could make life miserable for her future daughter-in-law if she showed even the slightest inclination towards cycling . The first steps towards women's liberation, because it was thanks to this medium that gave rise to individual autonomy and freedom. The trigger to the rights!
In the mid-19th century, Amelia Bloomer invented Turkish-inspired baggy pants that were practically a skirt split in two; the well-known “Bloomers” . This rescue broke the biggest obstacle that women's clothing experienced in terms of mobility, since it was made up of heavy dresses and tight corsets. Although it was a great achievement, unfortunately, it caused a major scandal.
Little by little, the image of the woman on a bicycle ceased to be strange. A multitude of women's clubs emerged offering the opportunity to travel in company and thus avoid street harassment. The greatest example was the feat of Annie Londonberry in 1895, who cycled around the world , proving that women were capable of achieving the same feats as men. The impact was such that doctors recommended riding a bicycle more than ever, and journalists saw the “new woman” in the cyclist.
But Annie was not the only one who made the change, since later there have been recognizable figures who, due to their incredible sporting achievements, have inspired many women:
Alfonsina Strada (Italy, March 1891 – September 1959)
The Italian who challenged the men's cycle races was the first female cyclist to compete in such races , including the first woman to compete in the Giro d'Italia. Despite always being behind, she did not make those failures beat her, because her competitiveness gave her the strength to establish the women's hour record in 1911 . There were organizations that offered financing and sponsorship, even unofficially, and the result was to finish all the stages without support from any organization.
Beryl Burton (UK, May 1937 – May 1996)
She was unique in her country, as she managed to be the best British cyclist for a total of 25 years , constantly breaking records. His record is made up of: 11 medals in the Track World Championship (between 1969 and 1973), 3 medals in the Road World Championship (between 1960 and 1967), 90 national championships , 7 world championships , and between records, his most notable mark was the world record of 446 km against the clock obtained in 12 hours.
Marianne Martin (USA, November 1957)
This incredible cyclist was the first winner of the first Tour de France of modern times , in 1989. Her victory was recognized worldwide, since her achievement had much more merit for having been fighting anemia months before the competition. and claim victory after more than 29 hours of pedalling.
Jeannie Longo (France, October 1958)
He began his career as a professional ski athlete, but changed his modality to track and race cycling , where he proved to be unique and unbeatable. During his professional career he achieved : Olympic gold in the road modality in Atlanta 1996 , 13 world championships and 59 national championships.
According to the Network of Bicycle Cities (an association with the aim of promoting the use of bicycles), it stands out that in recent years the presence of women cyclists in cities has increased by up to 5 points . And currently, there is a high level of women cyclists who perform in different disciplines and have a great impact on this sport. In addition, its presence on social networks encourages more and more women to try cycling both as a sport and as a daily means of transport. Even companies dedicated to sports clothing have received a greater demand for cycling clothing , especially jerseys, jackets, shorts and sports accessories, causing a difference of 40% in favor of male demand.
Highlighting some of the current cycling athletes, the following professionals should be mentioned:
Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France, February 1992)
The young cyclist is currently one of the most awarded , as her showcase is made up of: 6 world titles, world title in Cyclo-cross modalities, road cycling title, Cross Country title, 10 medals in the World Championship of Mountain Biking (between 2014 and 2021), 4 medals in the European Mountain Biking Championship (between 2016 and 2021), 2nd in the Women's Giro d'Italia and participation in the cross-country event in the Olympic Games London 2012, Rio de Janeiro 2016 and Tokyo 2020.
Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands, October 1982)
Specialized in road and track modalities, considered a "prodigy of national cycling" by several journalists, she has achieved great achievements during her elite career: Winner of the general classification of La Routte de France Féminine (2010), Giro d´ Women's Italy (2018 and 2019), 6 medals in the Road Cycling World Championship (2013 and 2020), 3 Olympic medals in Tokyo 2020 (2 gold in time trial and 1 silver in road race) and 1 medal in silver in the Track Cycling World Championship (2018).
Laura Kenny (UK, April 1992)
Recognized in the world of the Olympic Games, as the most ambitious elite athlete despite having asthma problems . This ambition has made her work constantly to achieve the incredible record she currently has: 6 medals in the omnium and team pursuit modalities (2 gold) in London 2012 , 2 gold medals in the modalities in Rio de Janeiro 2016, 2 medals in the madison and team pursuit modalities (gold and silver respectively ) at Tokyo 2020 , 15 medals at the Track Cycling World Championships (between 2011 and 2020), 18 medals at the Track Cycling European Championships (between 2010 and 2020), member of the “ Hall of Fame ” of the European Cycling Union and officer of the Order of the British Empire (2012).
Our main objective with these words is to promote women's cycling by showing that there is sporting potential regardless of gender and that historically women have had that additional handicap due to the prejudices of society. Fortunately, much has already been done in this regard and we continue to be on the right track. Both the social fabric and the clothing brands have come a long way and it is now common to find jerseys , culottes and all kinds of sportswear adapted to the female physique. At ROGERBRIZ ® we have all the patterns available for both sexes and you can be sure that it will always be that way.