Viv Mackay - former Chair of Cycling UK Southampton Member Group
Viv Mackay - former Chair of Cycling UK Southampton Member Group

100 Women in Cycling - Numbers 41-60

Our series of inspirational women in cycling continues, in no particular order, with a look at people from a wide range of backgrounds and cycling experience who encourage and promote other women to cycle, including campaigners, a bike mechanic, a bike shop owner, local ride leaders and group founders plus many more.

41. Esther Boyd - Committee member of Push Bikes in Birmingham

Esther is former Vice Chair and now a committee member of Push Bikes in Birmingham. Esther says: "'Cycling for me is mainly as a mode of transport - we stopped owning a car in 2004. And now, with Howard unable to cycle on road, I very rarely cycle just for fun. I took my Cycling Proficiency test in the Fifties to enable me to cycle to primary school from Glastonbury to Street, along the main road.
My first cycling holiday was in 1967 with Howard to Ireland. Since then, I've had regular cycle holidays, many with rough camping, including Iceland, Madagascar, Montana, Canada and in Europe with our children. I cycled when pregnant with our first child until past my due date. The photo is of our last cycling holiday in the Hebrides. I now cycle with Howard on our tandem trainer in the garage at 80+ rpm to keep him (and me) fit - as well as getting about in Birmingham."

42. Dr Gill Anlezark - a founder member of campaigning group Cycling Opportunities Group for Salisbury

Dr Anzelark says: "After cycling as a child, I took it up again as a means of transport in my early forties and it's still my main transport as I near my seventies. I was a founder member of our local campaigning group COGS in 1994. I am now the membership secretary, one of the rides leaders and I also respond to planning applications where there are implications for cycling and walking.  I ride for pleasure and fitness on 3-4 days per week, do all my errands and shopping by bike, and enjoy cycle camping and touring."

43. Gill Greaves - founder and director of Streetbikes CIC

Gill, pictured above with veteran Tour de France racer Brian Robinson, is a director and co-founder of Streetbikes CIC cycling club. The group last year won Best Group Achievement or Cycling Event at the Cycling UK member conference for organising the John Radford Memorial Ride, and for its work promoting cycling for all ages and abilities in the Kirklees area of West Yorkshire.

44. Judy Robinson - Breeze Champion

Judy is a Breeze Champion and ride leader. She says modestly: "I'm not quite sure why you should want to hear my story, but I was asked, so here it is: "I was never athletic, and was hopeless at 'games' at school. Then when I was 14, I got a bike. I loved it. A bright red Hercules (they sponsored the likes of Eileen Sheridan and Dave Bedwell) with half drop handlebars, really sporty. I started cycling to school 7 miles away, and it wasn't long before I came across other cyclists at my school who were also club cyclists, so I joined a club. I enjoyed myself so much in this new-found active lifestyle, that I failed miserably in my O levels, because I spent much of my revision time buzzing round the lanes of Yorkshire."

She added: "I'm lucky in that I'm retired with time on my hands (or that's the theory), I also live overlooking the middle of a long rideable stretch of the Leeds Liverpool canal. So that's where I started. My aim never was to be competitive, but to be encouraging to women who had need of building up their confidence for a variety of reasons. I have made many friends along the way and the experience has been life changing. Breeze have taken me under their wing and encouraged me all the way."

45. Lynda Collins - Secretary of Essex CTC Member Group

Lynda is the long-term Secretary of Cycling UK's Essex CTC Member Group. She told us her story: "I joined the CTC at the start of 2008 after a chance meeting with the Southeast Essex Group, who had decided to have lunch at the same pub as me.  I observed members of the group tucking into their hearty meals and thinking ‘they can’t be racing after all that food!’. My curiosity led to me approach the group of cyclists and I was introduced to the Cyclist’s Touring Club. The very next Sunday I turned up for my first group ride. Although struggling to keep up, I really enjoyed the social camaraderie of group cycling. As they say I never looked back. I have since continued to ride with the Southeast Essex Group and also lead rides. I went on to become Registration Officer for the SEG’s and then 6 years ago, took over the role of Secretary for the Essex CTC Member Group. I help organise events and competitions and marshal events and also take part in events. I was a volunteer for Dr Bike at RideLondon in 2016. 

She continues: "Our numbers of female cyclists are very low, I am the only female on the committee and when out with my local group, often the only female to be out all day. Two or three women do come to elevenses, however.  Our other local groups share a similar pattern with low female turnout.  I am passionate about getting more women cycling and next year with hopefully more time on hands, I aim to be more active in organising rides for women. I have recently attended the very interesting and useful Cycling UK Ride Leader Workshop, this has helped boost my knowledge and confidence ready for this challenge."

46. Amy Aeron-Thomas - Advocacy and Justice Manager for RoadPeace

Amy is the Advocacy and Justice Manager for RoadPeace, the national charity for road crash victims. She was introduced to RoadPeace in 2000 whilst working for TRL on a DFID funded scoping study on community participation in traffic law enforcement. Her work focuses on challenging the complacency in the justice system towards road danger and the discrimination faced by road crash victims.  She coordinates RoadPeace’s collision investigation campaign with thorough and effective collision investigations the cornerstone of justice. Her advocacy role includes producing guides for victims, including on collision investigation, inquests and criminal prosecution, along with providing casework assistance to victims.

Amy initially worked as a transport planner, with degrees in MSc Transportation Engineering, MPA Public Administration and MP Urban and Regional Planning, from the University of Virginia.

47. Viv Mackay - former Secretary and Chair of Southampton Member Group

Viv is currently a Breeze ride leader in Romsey, Hampshire but she’s been involved in the local cycling scene since the early 1980s. Most of this time Viv has championed the needs of easy-paced riders and jointly with a cycling colleague set up the local easy-paced group known as the ‘Hares and Tortoises’. When the group merged with the new Southampton Cycling UK CTC group in 2013, Viv became chair for Southampton CTC (as it was then called) and set about creating a vibrant new group. She stood down at the 2016 AGM after 3 years in the post.

Viv is a firm believer in the need to turn over club leadership to new people every few years, and tells us the club is now thriving under the new leadership.

As a disabled cyclist Viv feels she makes a good role model to encourage others to start riding. You can just see from the photo that she rides a recumbent trike.

48. Isla Rowntree - founder and owner of Islabikes

 

Isla is the founder and director of children's cycle manufacturer Islabikes. She began riding at aged four and joined Stourbridge Cycling Club aged 12. She started working at her local bike shop whilst she was still at school. As a rider of petite stature, her progress to multiple national champion went hand in hand with developing and building her own custom frames and adapting components for maximum comfort and efficiency. As the trophies started to pile up, Isla turned to pro racing for Raleigh. She later became head of sourcing and design at one of the biggest bike companies in Britain, learning invaluable skills along the way. Her frustration with the heavy, poorly designed bikes that her sister’s children were struggling to enjoy gave her the Eureka moment she needed, and Islabikes rolled into action in 2006. 2017 sees Islabikes embark on an exciting new journey, the “Imagine Project”. Concerned about global consumption of finite natural resources, the goal is to ensure families will still be able to enjoy cycling in the future through the sustainable supply of bicycles.

49. Joy Anibaba - founder of Joyful Fellas and Bellas Community Cycling Club

Over a number of years, Joy has taken part in cycling sessions in Birmingham and decided to form a group that meet every Saturday at Edgbaston Reservoir. Come rain or shine, Joy has been there with the bike hub key and enabled others to cycle – she is now the Club Secretary, a Ride Leader and a figure head for the Community Cycling Club. Joy was a recent speaker at Cycling UK's 100 Women in Cycling event in Birmingham and described how learning to cycle has given her confidence and inspired her to help others to do so.

50. Melanie Carroll - Freelance cycle instructor for Outspoken Training in Lincoln 

Melanie mostly teaches adults to ride from scratch, or trains them for confident commuting. She's a BC, Breeze and Cycling UK Ride Leader and the Lincolnshire Breeze Area Coordinator as well. She says: "I set up the Cycling UK Lincoln Women's group in 2016 and we continue to go from strength to strength, or more likely coffee shop to pub to coffee shop ;). I also lead the Lincoln Cycle Chimps, which is an all ages, genders and abilities social cycling group. I'm also the Cycling UK Lincolnshire Safety Officer & Local Campaigner. I usually just point out to folks that I just do what I do because I like riding my bicycle and enjoy it and want to share that with others, too!"

51. Chantal Lewis - long-term Secretary of Cycling UK Bedfordshire Member Group

The group has leisurely rides on first and third Saturday of the month, Easyriders, as well as slightly faster rides, Classic, on the third Sunday of the month. All these rides are led by an experienced leader. There are also Easyriders Sunday rides which are informal, therefore not advertised. Leisurely paced, often longer than on Saturdays but destination and length are decided on the day.  

52. Vicki Jackson - founder member of Melrose Community Association Community Cycling Club 

Like many people, Vicki had always loved cycling but a fear of traffic and lack of confidence in her fitness meant that she was restricted to short distances and off-road routes. That all changed when Vicki went along to a Dr Bike session organised by Cycling UK and Hampshire County Council's sustainable travel programme back in 2015. After hearing about how Community Cycle Clubs aim to get more people active and socialising, Vicki immediately saw the potential for setting up a club at the Melrose Community Association in Basingstoke where she worked. To get started, Vicki attended Cycling UK’s group ride leader, maintenance and bicycle fleet management training. She persuaded a good friend to join her and with a new bike, a helping hand and pool of bikes to lend out to residents, Vicki was and ready to start her club.

That was back in July 2015 and since then Vicki has been offering weekday morning five mile rides to encourage local residents to be more physically active, and for those who haven't cycled in a while to get back on their bikes. And she loves it! She says: "“I have learned new skills and my own confidence in cycling and fitness levels have increased massively”. In addition to the weekly rides for example, Vicki also offers she offers one to one skills coaching for those who lack confidence, might be a bit wobbly or feel otherwise intimidated."  She added: "The cycling club really is an all-round great motivator for a locally minded community like this one.”

53. Roxanne De Beaux - Cycling Campaign Officer for Camcycle

Roxanne is the Cycling Campaign Officer for Camcycle, the cycling campaign in Cambridge, cycling capital of the UK and possibly the only place to have almost equal rates of men and women cycling. As the first cycling campaign employee outside of London, her challenging role includes the day-to-day running of the campaign, facilitation of volunteer activities and getting involved in campaigning and policy work both locally and nationally. While she has been involved in some ‘sports’ cycling in the past, Roxanne is particularly passionate about everyday cycling and the benefits it can bring to people and the places they live. Her bicycle of the moment is an upright, navy, Dutch transport bike with rose gold rims which is as comfortable as an armchair to ride!

54. Lowri Evans - Secretary of Chester and North Wales CTC

Lowri is the long-standing Secretary of one of Cycling UK's largest Member Groups, Chester and North Wales CTC. She is also a former CTC Volunteer of the Year and regular overall female winner of Cycling UK's Tourist Competition. Lowri's nomination reads: "She is a small powerhouse of dedication and practical support. Not only does she hold repeated titles for the Cycling UK Competition as part of our storming team and also in the Ladies' category, but she is our stalwart Secretary, keeping our committee in check and always wearing her Welsh flag with pride. She appears to show undying patience with the rest of us, organising events and rides but also supporting my women's cycling whims and incorporating them into our programme. She is just ace!"

55. Karen Hope - Secretary of Fylde Bicycle Belles Member Group

Karen is from Preston, Lancashire and says: "I am  so pleased to have been nominated for Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling. Although I have always had a bicycle, I used to just cycle a couple of miles to work. However in 2010, my life changed when I met Sarah Crozier from Fylde Bicycle Belles and joined the group. The Belles introduced me to routes in my own area that I didn’t know existed.  I have since cycled in Cyprus, Lanzarote, the Cotswolds, York, the Lake District and many more wonderful places. I also trained as a Level 2  cycling coach.  

As well as being Secretary for Fylde Bicycle Belles, I also organise rides for local ladies. We average 25-30 miles each ride and always include a coffee stop. In September I will be cycling Hadrian’s Cycleway from Silloth to Tynemouth, which is approximately 120 miles and seven of the ladies that ride with me are also completing the ride. This will not only be a great achievement for myself but also the ladies joining me, some of whom only got back on a bike a couple of months ago. Without Fylde Bicycle Belles, I would still be cycling locally for a couple of miles."

56. Isabelle Clement - Director of Wheels for Wellbeing

Isabelle is Director of Wheels for Wellbeing, an award-winning charity based in London that supports disabled people to discover or rediscover cycling. Established in 2007, the charity works with around 1,300 disabled and older people each year, supporting them to discover that they can cycle and helping them grow their cycling ambitions. As an urban commuter handcyclist, Isabelle has extensive experience of what it takes to create the right environment so everyone can cycle. She hopes to bring an understanding of cycling to disability groups and of disability to cycling groups. She initiated #BeyondTheBicycle, an alliance with parent cyclists and cargo cyclists who encounter many of the same issues as disabled and older cyclists, and has become a leading influencer in the field of inclusive cycling. She is a regular attendee of the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, an elected member of the London Cycling Campaign’s Policy Forum and appointed member of Sustran’s London Advisory Board. She speaks regularly on issues relating to disability and cycling.

Her charity continues to work with cycling campaigners and professionals to ensure they realise disabled people do cycle. In 2016, Wheels for Wellbeing outlined its key campaigns and policy priorities in its mini manifesto, Beyond the Bicycle, and continues to fight to see inclusive cycling becoming the norm in the UK.

57. Ingrid Brusokaite - runs BikeULike bike shop

Ingrid runs a bike shop BikeULike in Portsmouth. She is a significant female cyclist in the area who is consistently promoting cycling, engaging in cycling-related issues and encouraging more women to cycle.

58.  Emily Chappell - A co-founder and Director of the Adventure Syndicate

Emily was a guest speaker at our recent 100 Women in Cycling event in Birmingham and is an author and long-distance cyclist. She cut her teeth working as a cycle courier in London, before setting off in 2011 to cycle across Asia, starting in Mid-Wales and finishing in Japan, crossing some of the continent's highest, hottest, and most inhospitable regions. She has won the 4,000km Transcontinental Race across Europe and the fearsome Strathpuffer, one of the world's toughest mountain bike races. She is a director and co-founder of The Adventure Syndicate, a collective of outstanding female cylists who challenge what others think they are capable of so they can reach their full potential.

59. Hannah Milton - Co-founder of Lady Pedal Community Cycling Club

Hannah says: "I first got properly into cycling when I was living in rural France and a colleague of mine lent me a bike. It wasn't long before I was hooked and would spend sunny evenings after work tracing the lines between the villages around me and creating my own mental map of the region. I'd made cyclist friends and joined an association with a tool club where I made my first in-roads to becoming a bicycle mechanic. I enjoyed the challenge of diagnosing the problem and relished the satisfaction of fixing my own bike. 

Two years later, back in the UK I was linked up with a new group - Lady Pedal, who were getting together to launch a festival to promote Women's Cycling in Manchester and got involved immediately. Our first festival was a roaring success and we're now gearing up for the second. In the meantime, through Lady Pedal and Cycling UK I've completed a mechanics course and am now working part time at Manchester Bike Hire doing repairs and organising events as well as spending my free time collaborating with local bike recycling projects such as The Bike Hive MCR. On my days off I like to get away on mini-cycle tours but the next big plan is to get away and try life in the saddle for longer....

60. Lisa Percival - Secretary of Central London Member Group

Lisa is the long-standing Secretary of Central London Member Group. She says: "Cycling is the Great Escape for me from a chronic health condition (kidney failure) and anything else stressful or annoying. Cycling to and from work every day (20 miles) soon developed into the wish for something more social. I led small bike rides for women and went out with a local group for a couple of hours each week but then discovered the Central London CTC, which does rides in the countryside around London with a  pub lunch and afternoon tea, which, for me, was the perfect escape. The different levels of ride also mean that I can step down a level on weeks when when my stamina is not good."

She adds: "The best thing about the group is that most regular attendees lead rides so there is always somewhere new and interesting to see. I like leading the slowest group (it has improved my map reading no end!) as it is a good opportunity to find places of interest along the way, which make the ride that little bit different. I was lucky enough to receive a kidney transplant at the end of 2015 (how can I ever say thank you enough to those people who sign up to the Organ Donor Register?) and have since been on several wonderful tours - truly an escape with wonderful companions and awe-inspiring scenery!"