Girl Bike Love is on a mission is to be The Hub and Soul of Women’s Cycling. We exist to tell the story of women riding bikes. We approach this purpose with heart, soul, and authenticity. We believe in our role as storytellers. Through our online publication and social media, we are building a rich cycling culture for women and girls.
Now with a dedicated following all over the world, we are proud to honor yet another aspect of women’s cycling–the athletes who inspire, astound, and empower us, captivating our hearts and minds, filling our imagination with new possibility–every single day.
We are proud to announce Women Race Bikes.
Women Race Bikes gives voice to women’s professional cycling, covering all aspects of women competing on bicycles, from downhill to road racing, from cyclocross to BMX, from training to victory, from domestic to international. We tell the courageous stories of women on two wheels inspiring fans, empowering riders, encouraging equal opportunity, to honor and grow the sport of cycling.
Women Race Bikes is redefining traditional race coverage, using all the storytelling tools at our disposal to report on the under-exposed sport of women’s professional cycling. By providing consistent coverage of athletes and events, we reveal the heart and soul of women’s cycling, elevating its presence in the U.S. and abroad.
Since the very first time I saw Le Tour de France broadcast live I have been a fan of bike racing. Who doesn’t love every second of Le Tour? Every. Last. Second.
I watch each July as the men battle it out on the flats, the climbs, the insane descents at nail biting speeds. I sit poised on edge as the finish comes in to focus and the powerful sprinters unleash their legs. I struggle daily with the realities of life, work, sleep, riding or watching the day’s stage.
Every year I watch and I wish I could be closer. I want to touch it. I’m like oxygen to a hot flame, being sucked in to the fire.
It’s addictive like a soap opera, complete with devilishly attractive men, immaculately manicured women in high heals, lavish productions, secret plots, and scandalous speculation–but on skinny wheels, dressed in really strange suits, in France.
We all become a part of the spectacle. Normal hi’s and goodbyes are are traded for “Oh, did you see the stage today?”
With TV coverage in 190 countries, even non-cyclists know the lingo. They get involved in the conversation because they see the highlights–the sprints, the finishes, the crashes–on the internet. You would almost have to live under a rock to not know it is tour season.
But for all of it’s excitement and spectacle, I’m always left a little disappointed that it is so one dimensional, that the beauty of the race is reserved for one gender, that the greatest part I could ever hope to play in Le Tour de France is that of a fan.
Ok, let’s be honest, gender aside, I don’t have what it takes to be much more than a fan. At least I don’t think I do. But how could I really know? How could I possibly know of my potential if I never had that aspiration?
I started riding mountain bikes almost two decades ago. My riding partners were all men, well, boys really. I was a bit of a tomboy growing up and rode BMX bikes as a kid so they didn’t have much teaching to do at the outset. I just went riding with them one day and never stopped.
It wasn’t until several years later when I started running a bicycle shop, that I realized that women race bikes. I mean REALLY race bikes. I soon competed in my first race. I entered at the beginner level and crushed the field. Yes, I know now, I was sandbagging. But I had never lined up next to a woman. I had no comparison.
For awhile I was told I was one of the faster women around, but again with few local races, I had little comparison. At some point I even remember thinking to myself, “wow, I probably could have been pretty good at this bike racing thing if I had tried.” But it was never an option. High school cycling didn’t exist, my university didn’t have a team, I didn’t know or hear of any women racing bikes. Heros in the sport, for women, were rarely talked about. More importantly, we didn’t hear the stories of women racing on all levels, creating a virtual path, connecting us to what was possible.
Since that time, there are a lot more women riding and racing bikes. While the starts are still not as big as men’s racing, the sport of women’s cycling has grown significantly in the last few years.
As a matter of fact, from 2003 to 2012, the number of women and girls participating in cycling rose 20%, while falling .5% among men and boys.
This year Le Tour de France has added La Course, a one day circuit race in the heart of Paris ending just before the men’s peloton rolls in for the final stage. And even better, Universal Sports will air the race live.
And it is going to be awesome. Absolutely awesome. Every step toward more women’s racing and the coverage of such events is a step in the right direction.
Leading up to La Course, you might also like to follow Giro Rosa. In the midst of all the excitement of Le Tour de France, the most sought after women’s title on the UCI calendar is racing through Italy from July 4-13, yet media coverage falls far behind the prestige. You can find daily updates on their site in Italian, Bicycling Magazine is covering the race with their Instagram, Chloe Hosking is blogging on Cycling News and there are a few other outlets listed here, outside of the US.
But who is sharing this story with the general public? Where are the fans lining the streets of Italy to watch the women race by?
Last year Mara Abbott, an American woman racing for United Healthcare brought home the pink jersey, yet American fans will need to scour the internet for the full story.
We now live in an era of new feminism. It’s a softer feminism, one that most of us don’t even realized we are a part of. Women’s beauty and personal hygiene companies are taking pride in what they make and who they make it for. Their marketing campaigns are no longer about how to conceal, coverup, or pretend to be something you’re not, but how to be strong and powerful, to believe in yourself and one another.
Our entire culture is changing in favor of equality, to be more supportive of women and girls. Encouraging young women to reach for careers in STEM, striving for balance in board rooms, in media, and in sport.
And it is time we do the same in cycling. What better way to empower women and girls than by telling the stories of women’s professional cycling?
One of the first female American bike racers, Elsa Von Blumen said “Success in life depends as much upon a vigorous and healthy body as upon a clear and active mind.”
For women and girls, the bicycle offers both. So let’s tell these stories of bravery, grit, determination, strength and power. Let’s give women and girls the aspiration to climb higher mountains on and off the bike.
Let’s give women’s professional cycling the exposure and the voice that it deserves. Let’s create new fans and build the sport.
Join us in making history.
By Sarai Snyder – Founder, Girl Bike Love, CycloFemme, Women Race Bikes – Boulder, CO