Elaine comes from a cycling family, she was brought up on a diet of race talk and results. This led her to race on the track and road at a national and international level. Alongside her own racing, Elaine is also part of the organising committee of the Scarborough Cycling Festival and Scarborough Paragon Cycling Club, has participated in community events for the Tour of Yorkshire in Scarborough and acts as a mentor for junior and U23 riders.
Elaine Ward said…
"My first recollection of being on two wheels was the fear of my Dad letting me go when the stabilisers were removed. I must have been about six or seven years old and spent most of the time up and down the road looking round checking Dad was still holding the saddle!
"It wasn't long before I enjoyed the freedom and exhilaration of riding along under my own steam. I come from a cycle racing family on the Wirral; both parents competed successfully in time trials in the North West of England and beyond. I was brought up on a diet of race talk and results. It was a case of eat/live/breathe cycling.
"We travelled far and wide in a variety of vehicles over the years, camping and meeting lots of fellow cyclists and made a lot of lasting friendships. I don't feel my sister and I missed out on the more conventional family life. It can be a tough sport on a competitive level but I soon recognised my strengths, was always sports-mad at school and was hungry to see how far I could take my cycling as a personal challenge.
"This culminated in advancement through the local Centre of Excellence training and new experiences provided to me on an outdoor velodrome and road racing, before selection for the ladies Great Britain Team and Olympics and World Championship shortlists in 1988.
"I gained multiple British Championship medals over set time trial distances between 1985 and 1998; a bronze medal in the British Track Championship pursuit and fourth in the National Road Race. I represented my country in France in a stage race with a ladies team in the days before cycling become a popular sport in the UK with more funding and support (we were the poor relation back then).
"I recall sharing our team winnings to hire an extra vehicle to get the girls home from Dover as we were spread all over the country from Wales to Liverpool and Yorkshire. It was a great experience and I have always remained forever grateful to those who helped me along the way to achieve what I did.
I feel a debt has to be repaid and my passion for the sport should be shared with novice riders and I want to pass on my advice and knowledge
"Due to that, I feel a debt has to be repaid and my passion for the sport should be shared with novice riders and I want to pass on my advice and knowledge. I have lived in North Yorkshire for over 30 years now and most of that time I have held an official position within my local cycling club, Scarborough Paragon, as General Secretary, event organiser, annual dinner organiser, qualified timekeeper.
"I resurrected a Come and Try It time trial series with the support of the club members to encourage local people to have a go at a time trial. Grass roots cycling is where it can all begin, as I know Chris Boardman did; I grew up with his family.
"For the past 10 years I have been involved in the committee of the annual Scarborough Cycling Festival and our club organise a hill climb open to anyone to turn up and ride (we try not to be elitist). I am on the Board of Trustees for the CA Rhodes Memorial award, for services to cycling in the Yorkshire area. We meet annually to discuss and nominate contenders for this prestigious award.
"I was a Tour Maker volunteer at the 2014 Tour de France stage in Yorkshire and remained involved in subsequent editions of the Tour de Yorkshire for charity and media.
"Nowadays I enjoy social cycling to a cafe on my days off and aim to keep active for as long as possible. I look back on my competitive years with fond memories but really enjoy encouraging newcomers to try everything to see what they like best. The main point is to enjoy what you do on the bike."
Elaine was nominated for the 100 Women in Cycling by Chris Goode, who said:
"Elaine is from a family of cyclists and could equally be a sporting hero as well as a community champion. In 1990 she won the Women's Best All Rounder competition over 25, 50 and 100 miles.
"Over the past 25 years Elaine has given back a lot to cycling in terms of being Secretary of Scarborough Paragon plus organising and timing races. Elaine is also part of the organising committee of the Scarborough Cycling Festival, has participated in community events for the Tour of Yorkshire in Scarborough and acts as a mentor for junior and under 23 women.
She shares her expertise in a generous and unassuming way and has a great ability for organising and contributing to cycling events
"She shares her expertise in a generous and unassuming way and has a great ability for organising and contributing to cycling events.
"Elaine is involved in cycling, as a sport, and more widely as a way of keeping fit and as a means of transport. She speaks on the local radio station, writes articles for the Scarborough news and is a positive voice for cycling and fully merits being in the 100 influential women in cycling 2021."