Ella Picks: how do we get more women on (mountain) bikes; Afghan women’s cycling team up for humanitarian award; new women’s WorldTour team and more

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In this week’s internet roundup, we explore what it takes to get more women on mountain bikes. We also want you to meet National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year honorees, the Afghan Women’s Cycling Team. And we catch up on latest team signings, new teams and more. So grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

Let’s talk:

How do we get more women on (mountain) bikes?

Jessica Douglas. Photo by Erik Peterson.
Jessica Douglas.
Photo by Erik Peterson.

How to get more women racing mountain bikes? How do we get more women riding bikes more often? Three-time World solo 24 mountain bike champion mountain biker and coach Jessica Douglas addresses these questions and more in this post on Travel Play Live.

Best line:

“It’s an honour to be a female role model and to do it via the platform of riding my bike. So I always try and remind myself of this simple fact, especially when I am a little scared to learn a jump or am underprepared for a race; that if other women before me can do it and I gain strength from that, then I must pay this forward and give strength to those women who see me as a role model. With this in mind, you my mountain biking sister must do the same!”

Chamois panties: now “pretty”

Latvian company Zib seeks funding to produce more colourful women’s cycling underwear collection. Stating that current options are all function and no flash, Zib wants to revolutionise the market with more colorful, prettier penty designs, complete with roses and animals. CyclingWeekly has the story.

What do you think? Yeah or nay? Would you wear these?


Afghan Women’s Cycling Team


For 11 years, National Geographic has combed the globe to find the Adventurers of the Year, each selected for his or her extraordinary achievement in exploration, adventure sports, conservation or humanitarianism. Among this year’s honorees are the brave women of the Afghan Women’s Cycling Team.

Legally, Afghan women are not prohibited from riding a bike — unlike Saudi Arabia where women riding bicycles is a criminal offensive punishable with jail time — but it’s certainly a cultural taboo. Women riding bikes are considered immoral and dishonorable. Until now. In this post-Taliban generation, an increasing amount of girls are stepping outside of cultural gender norms. Women are voting and running for political offices, women are becoming artists and also, becoming athletes. But it remains highly controversial and dangerous. And the women of the Afghan Cycling Team are slowly changing cultural norms just by pedaling a bike. National Geographic wants to recognise them for their brave efforts.

Learn more about theAfghan Women’s Cycling Team and vote for them here.


European cyclocross champion Sanne Cant claimed the third round of the 2015 World Cup series in Koksijde this weekend, moving ahead of defending champion Eva Lechner to lead in the overall standings.


New Canyon-SRAM team announces roster and sponsors
Canyon SRAM
The new UCI WorldTour team Canyon//SRAM was officially launched in London today. Made up of many of the same staff and riders as the highly successful but disbanded Velocio-SRAM team, there had been much speculation about what the new team would look like and who would be on its roster. All rumours were put to rest today with Team Manager Ronny Lauke’s announcement of his new women’s cycling team.

Mayuko Hagiware renews with Wiggle Honda for two more years
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling announced last week that Japanese Champion Mayuko Hagiwara renewed her contract for an additional two years.
The winner of our Ella Award for the year’s biggest feel-good victory, Hagiwara took her first professional victories in Europe this season with a stage win at the Giro Rosa.
A part of Wiggle Honda since 2013, Hagiwara is a self-less worker and one of the most popular riders with her teammates and the staff.

Read more here.

Optum changes up its 2016 roster

Emma White, left, will join the orange and black squad in 2016. Photo courtesy of Cor Vos
Emma White, left, will join the orange and black squad in 2016. Photo courtesy of Cor Vos

Optum Pro Cycling has announced its women’s roster for 2016. The 10-women strong roster is made up of Americans Erica Allar, Elle Anderson, Heather Fischer, Jessica Prinner, Hannah Ross and Emma White and Canadians Jasmin Glaesser, Kirsti Vivian Lay, Katherine Maine, Sara Poidevin.

UCI hosts its first all-women African development camp

Photo courtesy of UCI
Photo courtesy of UCI

Seven young cyclists from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rwanda and Botswana completed the first all-women’s African development African camp held at the UCI World Cycling Centre’s African satellite in Potchesfroom, South Africa.

For one month, the young women aged between 18 and 22 worked on all aspects of high-level training and competition including power, endurance, mental strength and racing in a peloton.

Their camp ended with their participation in a Class 1.1 event, the Momentum 947 Road Cycle Race, in Johannesburg where they rubbed shoulders with leading UCI Women’s Teams such as Bigla Pro Cycling Team, Team Liv Plantur and Team Tibco SVB.

For some, it was their first experience racing at such a level, and three finished in the top 15: Ethiopians Tsega Gebre and Hadnet Kidane took fourth and ninth places respectively, while Jeanne Girubuntu (Rwanda) crossed the line in 15th place.


+ How I became one of the world’s best cyclists in 5 years—and what you can learn from it: a Q&A with Australian cyclist Rachel Neylan.

+ How bike fits can help women who are passionate about cycling. Pretty Damned Fast has the story.

+ Doing some holiday shopping? Check out Total Women’s Cycling’s Christmas wishlist for roadies.

+ Osloh Bicycle Jeans have launched a women’s line of jeans with chamois build in. From the standpoint of a woman cyclist, this collection is important because the more choices for women, the more women will get onto bikes. These jeans have all of the same features and quality of the Osloh Traffic Jean, but cut for our silhouette.

This week’s feature image by photographer Veeral Patel was taken at the inaugural Giro della Donna. We had a wonderful time at the event and we hope you did, too! 

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