I’ve heard a lot of arguments lately about why we need more women’s cycling on mainstream TV. I watched The Women’s Tour and loved it, but it wasn’t accessible to everyone…it wasn’t on any of the main four tv channels and it was on later in the evening than I would have liked to have seen.
My daughter is six. Very nearly seven. Up until just over two weeks ago she couldn’t ride her bike. Regular readers will have grasped my frustration at her apparent lack of interest. We’ve tried to encourage her to learn on a number of occasions – shiny new bike was delivered for her birthday last year and she just wasn’t all that interested. Fear seemed to set in and she refused to go anywhere near her bike. In recent months, the mere mention of giving it a go has sent her into a trembling mess, which was really sad to see. I was about to give up trying to encourage her altogether and was ready (reluctantly) to accept that maybe cycling wasn’t ever going to be something she would want to do. But then a wonderful thing happened…
It was like a light bulb moment!
We watched Nottingham’s Milk Race on 25 May. It was only the second year there has been an elite women’s race. It wasn’t televised but we were lucky, we were there, right by the start/finish line. It was like a light bulb moment for my daughter. As she waved her cowbell from the sidelines, you could see the excitement in her face.
‘They’re going really fast aren’t they mummy!’ – my daughter
I think mummy getting to meet Laura Trott and Katie Archibald may have had something to do with it, but ultimately she was completely inspired by what she saw: the pro women cyclists looking cool in their brightly coloured kit, wearing their helmets, lined up on the start line raring to go. She was inspired by the pro women cyclists mingling with the ordinary folk, smiling happily, saying ‘hi’. She was inspired watching them take the sport seriously, warming up pre-race on their rollers. She was inspired by the effort, the determination, the camaraderie that she witnessed, by the roar of the crowds as the women sped past. She was inspired watching the winners receive loud applause and cheers as they approached the podium.
As we climbed into the car to head home I asked her if she’d had a good day.
“It’s been a great day! The best day!
“Tomorrow, mummy, I’m going to learn to ride my bike. Maybe one day I’ll be as good as Laura Trott or Katie Archibald.”
Whoop! – me
And that’s why we need more visibility around women’s cycling, why we need more women’s cycling races and why we need more women’s cycling on TV. Inspiration is a wonderful thing.
In her own words….