TV presenter Gail Porter, four-time Olympic gold medal winner Laura Kenny and Olympic gold-medallist Nicole Cooke are among 100 women who have been recognised by Cycling UK for inspiring women to get on their bikes. The awards come as the national cycling charity officially launches this year’s Women’s Festival of Cycling.
Although the number of women cycling has increased during lockdown, men are still riding nearly twice as much as women.
The Women’s Festival of Cycling aims to address that imbalance by inspiring more women to get in the saddle.
As part of the festival, each year Cycling UK highlights 100 exceptional women who are in some way or other promoting cycling and encouraging others to take part.
The charity’s head of engagement, Helen Cook, said: “Every woman on our list is an incredible ambassador for women’s cycling, and with the surge in interest in cycling over the past few months we want to make sure women continue to get on their bikes and more women join them.
“During the festival we are asking women who cycle to share pictures of their rides with us using the hashtag #BeYouByBike to show the fun, freedom and adventure we can all have on a bike.”
Porter was nominated for regularly speaking about how cycling has helped keep her well following a number of issues with her mental health which included being sectioned under the Mental Health Act in 2011.
She says she has been a keen cyclist ever since her mother gave her a Raleigh Chopper as a child.
“I’ve been riding as a way of keeping myself active and mentally well and I hope that during the festival women give it a go so they can see all the enormous benefits it brings to their lives,” she said.
“I love my bike. I’ve got one of those old-school bikes like Mary Poppins with a basket on the front. It just makes me happy. I don’t go fast, I just enjoy being outside. I love cycling."
Other well-known names who have made Cycling UK’s list include Paralympian Hannah Dines, who has pushed for better female saddles since having to undergo labial surgery; Lizzie Deignan, the 2015 World Road Race Champion; and Fiona Kolbinger, the first woman to win the Transcontinental Race.
The Women’s Festival of Cycling takes place from July 11 to 31. To find out more and to read the stories of the 100 inspiring women, visit www.cyclinguk.org/womensfestival