Winner of the Arthur Moss Medallion and CTC Volunteer of the Year for the North West Region – Glynis Francis

Winner of the Arthur Moss Medallion and CTC Volunteer of the Year for the North West Region – Glynis Francis

Glynis Francis is a World Champion, a grandma and an inspiration to hundreds of Manchester women. Her ground-breaking cycling network for women, Team Glow, has attracted a steady stream of women – some of whom had not picked up a bike for decades – and turned them into accomplished cyclists.

Glynis's own personal achievement of reclaiming her gold medal from 2002 to become Sprint Champion at the World Masters Track Championships held at Manchester Velodrome in October 2013 is the pinnacle of Team Glow's success, and her speed of 43.5kmh / 27 mph has won her the accolade of the “Fastest Grandma in the World”!

In an era when cycling’s popularity has soared, Glynis has been working doggedly behind the scenes to bring more women into this traditionally male-dominated sport.

In February 2011, Glynis had a goal: to have 100 women cycle the Manchester 100 sportive in the 100th year of International Women’s Day.  She call the initiative 100/100 Glow. 

A lifelong cyclist, Glynis was aware that most cycling clubs had few women members and that many women did not feel confident of their cycling ability.  The solution was obvious – to create a network that could support women to cycle and encourage them to take up the sport.    

Under Glynis’ guidance, the Team Glow website and a Facebook page were created and the target of the Manchester 100 sportive was set.

To build up to the event, weekly rides were organised and ride leaders trained and recruited, with the support of BikeRight!, a female-owned cycle training company based in East Manchester. 

The target of 100 women at the Manchester 100 was achieved and the group has gone from strength to strength. 

TeamGlow now has 100 paid members and 400 Facebook friends.  We have lost count of the number of new bikes that have been bought as a result of women coming along and receiving peer support to make a new purchase.  Glynis has been instrumental in engaging the support of a local bike shop in Chorlton, CycleLogic, who offer TeamGlow discount and an excellent back-up service. 

Team Glow offers a graded group ride every week.  ‘A’ rides are for beginners, ‘B’ and ‘C’ are for intermediate cyclists, and 'D' are for those who want a fast and challenging ride.  The rides provide not only a stimulus for getting out on their bikes, but also act as peer support and information for those taking part.

As a consequence, women are now also using the Facebook page to organise their own rides, enter sportives, and arrange their own tours and holidays. There is at least one group ride a week, and often more.

In 2013 alone, TeamGlow will have hosted approximately 70 rides.  With an an average of 10 women per ride going 30 miles, that is 21,000 TeamGlow miles in 2013 alone!

As well as TeamGlow rides, members have taken part in numerous sportives and have organised their own tours - Anglesey, Yorkshire Dales, Hadrian’s Cycleway, Way of the Roses, Majorca.  This includes an intrepid bunch completing the Land's End to John o'Groats route. 

In July 2013, Glynis introduced over 30 women to the Manchester Velodrome, many of whom who had not ridden on the track before, leaving the track coach to exclaim  “I’ve never had so many women on the track!”

On 25 May, Team Glow riders will complete a circuit of the Tour de France route in Yorkshire that a few weeks later will form the Grand Départ for the race itself.