Mondays mean Ella Picks here at Ella CyclingTips. We’ve rounded up links to the content we’ve came across over the last week that we thought all of you might like to read. Stumble across something we miss? Feel free to let us know in the comment section.
The Cyclist’s Guide to Crashing with Friends
Loren Rowney shared her “roommate rules” on Ella last week, and now Bicycling Magazine has published another set of space-sharing guidelines. These tips are for cyclists who spend time in host housing – which is a fairly popular practice for teams at races across the the US.
We talked to Barbara Dowd, a woman famous amongst starving young riders as the owner of a “home for itinerant cyclists” in Athens, Georgia. Barbara and her husband John have been welcoming cyclists into their home for years, and it’s never a quiet spot. To paint a quick picture, on one recent weekend in their five-bedroom home, there was a cycling journalist from New Jersey (myself), a duo of cycling photographers (Ashley and Jared Gruber), a Jamaican pro cyclist, a Quebecois pro cyclist, and a few Americans who’d pop in for a day or two at a time to hang out and get in some training hours.
Sound noisy and jam-packed? You bet. That’s just how Dowd likes her house… most of the time. While she’s had many great experiences, sometimes the cyclists in the house are less than mannerly. I talked with her about the best way to keep a host happy—and the fastest way to piss her off.
Marianne Vos Prepares for Baku 2015 European Games
The first European Games are fast-approaching. Held in Baku, Azerbaijan from June 12 – 28, 2015, the European Games are the final Continental Games to be hosted after the Asian Games, Pan-American Games, All-Africa Games and the Pacific Games. Twenty sports will be represented in Baku. Cycling is amongst the 16 Olympic sports and offers qualification opportunities for the 2016 Rio Olympics. In the video below, Marianne Vos talks about her journey to Baku.
New research on Women’s Bicycling Participation reveals insights and surprises
People for Bikes commissioned the U.S. Bicycling Participation Study late last year to better understand what stops American women from riding bikes. The study, what they called “an unprecedented comprehensive survey of bicycling participation”, measured riding of all kind by all sorts of people. The conclusion? Much of what People for Bikes thought they knew about women and riding was wrong.
We asked our participants to tell us whether they ride for recreation or transportation and found that 95% of the 45 million women who rode in 2014, did so for recreation. Nearly two-thirds of women who bike, ride only for recreation. And among women who do ride for transportation, the most popular types of transportation trips, coming in at 68%, were related to social or leisure activities.
Subaru assumes title sponsorship of Australian Women’s Development Team
We’ve written much about the Australian Women’s Development Team on Ella over the last month – mostly dissecting the methods and measures used at the selection camp that will determine the majority of the team that will race in Europe later this season. Last week, Rochelle Gilmore’s management company announced that Subaru would assume title sponsorship of the team, which is now called Subaru High5 Australian Women’s Road Development Team.
With the commercial partnership comes what the pressure has called “dedicated television footage and documentary style films” that will air on Fox Sports’ new cycling program, Full Cycle.
Featured on the show will be exclusive footage of the selection camp, training regimes and overseas racing with this new team as they undergo a ten week racing stint as part of the professional women’s peloton in Europe starting in mid July.
Scheduled to air weekly on Fox Sports from the 11th of June, The Full Cycle program will be hosted by Gold medalist Scott McGrory and Aussie cycling legend Brad McGee.
Amber Pierce on the ‘Long Sure Path’ of recovery
Amber Pierce (Pepper Palace) broker her pelvis during the USA Cycling National Criterium Championships in mid-April. She writes with candour, humour and humility about her recovery process from the painful injury.
Crutching sucks, but the real low point is when you start thinking a fanny pack could be a good way to carry things around the house.
— Amber Pierce (Rais) (@ambermalika) May 4, 2015
We athletes love to believe that we’re special, that our vascularization and muscle tone (for which we admittedly dedicate great effort) grant superhuman healing abilities and allow us to hurry back to competition faster than the average jane. While those adaptations certainly don’t hurt, we are nonetheless very human indeed and rely on the same physiological healing processes as all other human beings. My human body needs rest and time and very tedious physical therapy exercises to re-gain mobility and stability, which must come before the training necessary to re-gain strength and speed.
Sure, I could let desperation get the better of me and attempt to shortcut to VO2max efforts and five hour training rides, but that would be hubris. I would have to bypass critical steps and risk further injury, further setbacks. There are no shortcuts without consequences.
When in a hurry, take the long sure path.
i Like Elisa Longo Borghini
If you follow UCI Women’s Cycling on Twitter, you may have noticed tweets with links to a new interview series they feature sporadically on their website called iLike in which they interview professional female cyclists about (yep, you guessed it) the things they like. Elisa Longo Borghini was the latest to step up to the plate and enter the prompts posed.
Selection of responses:
An artist: Vincent Van Gogh
A book: The wind’s Shadow – Carlos Ruiz Zafón
A colour: Purple
A meal: Pizza
A country: Italy
A race: La Flèche Wallonne
Another cyclist: Greg van Avermaet
According to the video description:
The Calling is Rapha’s salute to women who rise and ride, alone or together. It’s our commitment to inspire and support women to clip in for longer days, steeper climbs, and roads less travelled. The Calling is for women who hear themselves more clearly when the road is beneath them and the sky is long before them. The Calling is for women who love riding their bikes. For women who try a little harder, dig a little deeper, push a little further. The Calling is finding that little slice of magic in an otherwise rough ride, rough place, rough day. The Calling is not wanting to be anywhere but here, on this bike, in this moment. If you feel this, you are not alone.
Cycling on the upswing in Philadelphia
An appropriate read one week out from the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic World Cup and on the heels of our features on Women Bike PHL, this opinion piece in the Philadelphia Weekly examines the progress made for cyclists, particularly female cyclists, in a major American city.
— ISEPTAPHILLY (@SEPTAPHILLY) May 27, 2015
The progress has been especially apparent for women. Organizations like Women Bike PHL have done a great deal in making riding more accessible: Members swap advice, vent frustrations and coordinate meet ups, making the ride home from work feel more like a community experience and less like The Hunger Games. Women-only courses in urban riding basics are available for noobs who crave the freedom of biking but lack the experience to do it safely, and restorative yoga classes are offered specifically for the weary cyclist.
The good news in Philly extends to the professional level, as Union Cycliste Internationale is holding its only Women’s World Cup at this year’s Philadelphia International Cycling Classic. The Classic—also commonly known to locals as the Manayunk Bike Race—is making history by framing the women’s event as the feature competition of the day and offering equal prize money to male and female winners.
This kind of gender parity is almost unheard of in professional sports. But given that the bicycle has long been intertwined with feminist empowerment, as a tool that enabled women’s freedom physically and politically starting in the age of the suffragettes, it’s awfully satisfying to see a bike race rolling out as one of the first places where male and female athletes can truly be treated equally.
Female-Friendly Bike Shops
Bicycling Magazine asked their female staffers what bike shops can do to be more welcoming to women. The question is an important one as local bike shops struggle to compete with online retailers at the same time that the majority of new adult bicycle owners are women.
It’s a common experience for many women cyclists—even those of us who work at Bicycling: You venture into a bike shop for a few specific parts, and the mechanic talks down to you like you wouldn’t know a Presta valve from a hole in the ground. Or worse—only addresses your male riding partner, even when you’re the one asking all the questions.
A new 27-page report from the League of American Bicyclists on strategies for making bike retail more welcoming to women shows we’re not alone in feeling like bike shop owners could stand to pay us a little more respect. The bike shop as we know it is dying, reads the report. Plus, although women “represent the new majority of adult bicycle owners, accounting for 51% of ownership,” 62% of women who own a bike did not make a single visit to a bike shop last year (compared to 56% of male bike owners).
There’s the sense here that many women feel intimidated or uncomfortable in bike shops—particularly if they’ve already had a bad experience in one. Certainly there are a lot of female-friendly bike shops that are getting it right. So how are so many of them getting it wrong?
Paid to Play
This story from the Guardian is cut from the same cloth as our story on women’s wages in professional cycling. It explores the recent progress in women’s sport in terms of financial viability and the challenges that remain. Rochelle Gilmore and Wiggle Honda feature.
Australian cyclist Rochelle Gilmore, then suffering injuries, was commentating for British Eurosport on the women’s road race at London 2012 as ecstatic British crowds cheered on Lizzie Armitstead’s contest, in the pouring rain, against Marianne Vos. As she watched, Gilmore, a former Commonwealth champion, realised something. “It was the amount of people on the side of the roads who were engaged in the race,” says Gilmore. “It showed me there was clear potential to go to sponsors and ask them to invest. I said to myself: ‘When I take these earphones off, my new ambition is to build a women’s cycling team.’ ”
At 30 years old, Gilmore was too young to retire from competition. Her family told her she was throwing away the best years of her career on a whim; the industry said she was mad to invest in women’s cycling. Gilmore admits that she was driven by passion, not business sense. As a young professional she had shared a house with former Olympic champion Nicole Cooke, and the two would spend hours discussing how they would change the sport. Gilmore had promised herself she would be the one to make a difference, to put an end to the nepotism that plagued women’s cycling teams “run by boyfriends and fathers”, the missing pay cheques. Even today cost-cutting jeopardises race-day preparations as teams send riders out to race on too little sleep, having dragged their own bike bags on to trains travelling across Europe through the night.
Ella Reads You Don’t Want to Miss
Here are a few of my favourite stories published on Ella in the last week:
- Racing Round-Up: Three Aussie wins across six UCI races
- Women Bike PHL Devo Team: What I know now that I wish I knew then
- Roommate rules: How to share a hotel room like a pro
- Ask ALP: How do I become a better climber?