Ella Picks: technology to ease biking for transportation; Kung Fu Nuns on bikes, race coverage from Tour Down Under, and more

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We’ve got a lot of racing to catch up on with the Santos Women’s Tour ongoing in Australia and UCI world cup events for both track and cyclocross happening over the weekend. Additionally, we catch up on technological innovations that might make cycling for transportation even easier in the near future; and introduce you to the bike-pedaling Kung Fu nuns and one of the pioneers of women’s cyclocross racing. We’ve also got an entertaining podcast and the latest news. So grab a cup of coffee and join us as we catch up on (women’s) cycling news from around the interwebs.


New technology to ease biking for transportation

Two technology features caught our eye this past week, both could make biking for transportation easier;

Green lights everywhere you go

The bike tags. Photo courtesy of Tech Insider
The bike tags. Photo courtesy of Tech Insider

How would you like to never stop for a red light while cycling again? It may soon become reality.  European cities are using new RFID tags to switch stoplights to green when cyclists are approaching.

The Danish city of Aarhus is one of four European cities currently testing the technology.  It currently has ‘tagged’ 200 bikes with these barcodes to work on one identified intersection. If the trial is successful, the city may invest in 1,000 more tags and install the systems in additional intersections.

Tech insider has the story

Robotic bike parks to solve bicycle parking problem in London

London’s shortage of secure bicycle parking might be solved by ‘robotic bike park’. Already used in Japan, these bike parking vault are space efficient and  robot-run.

How it works: bikes are loaded on to an automated rack before a robotic lift slides them into a cylindrical vault. Riders swipe a smartcard on a pavement machine to retrieve their bikes – identified by a barcode on the frame – from the facility.

The BBC has the story


Hanka Kupfernagel

Hanka Kupfernagel

I am really digging the cyclocross history pieces published by the UCI this month. In the past week, they celebrated all riders who have made cx history in the past 65 years including four-time cx world champion Hanka Kupfernagel and seven-time cx world champion Marianne Vos.

A pioneer of women’s (cyclocross) cycling, the now 41-year-old Hanka Kupfernagel was the first Women’s Cyclocross World Champion to be crowned in the inaugural women’s event in 2000. She would continue on to climb on to the World Championship podium eight times in a row and winning win the world title three additional times (the last time being in 2008).

She was also an excellent road cyclist, ranking first in the UCI ranking in 1997 and 1999, and was the silver medallist at the Olympic Games in Sydney. She also became the German mountain bike national champion in 2007.

Still riding like the best of them, Kupfernagel appeared at this past weekend’s World Cup event in Lignieres-en-Berry.


Kung Fu Nuns cycle over 2,000km to spread message of empowerment 

Hundreds of nuns from the Drukpa Buddhist order –famous for its Kung Fu discipline –have ridden 2,200 kilometres across India to raise awareness about women’s empowerment and environmental conservation.


FattyCast with Rebecca Rusch

Fatty and The Queen of Pain
Fatty and The Queen of Pain

Eldon Nelson, better known as The Fat Cyclist,  interviewed Rebecca “The Queen of Pain” Rusch in a recent podcast. They chatted about mountain biking, Leadville and pie.

listen button




With the world championships just two weeks away,  the UCI World Cup races are a good indication of what we might expect in Zolder.  This weekend’s world cup event in Lignières-en-Berry saw Sanne Cant once again crossing the line solo ahead of fellow Belgian Ellen van Loy and Italian Eva Lechner. This was Cant’s third world cup win and with  a 32-point lead over Lechner and just one more world cup event left, she’s in a good position to win the overall title.


The unstoppable Laura Trott. Photo courtesy of the UCI
The unstoppable Laura Trott. Photo courtesy of the UCI

While the road race season is just starting, track season is ramping up toward the world championships taking place in March. All the best track stars traveled to Hong Long this past weekend for the final round of the UCI Track World Cup.

The unstoppable Laura Trott won the Omnium with Sarah Hammer coming in second and Laurie Berthon finishing in third place.

Lithuanian Simona Krupeckaite took out the women’s keirin; the Canadian women bested Great Britain and the US in the team sprint; China’s Lin Junhong won the individual sprint; and the Russian duo of Daria Shmleva and Anastasiia Voinova took out the women’s team sprint.

Tough girl award: Belgian’s Jolien d’Hoore won the points race on Friday night but was among the crash victims in the following scratch race. She sustained two broken ribs but took on a “quitting is not an option” attitude to finish the omnium.


(c) Tim Bardsley-Smith
Katrin Garfoot (Orica-AIS) has been in the Santos Women’s Tour leader’s jersey since day one. (c) Tim Bardsley-Smith

It’s heating up in the land down under. As temperatures rise, so does the level of racing with the Tour Down Under. The Santos Women’s Tour is concluding tonight with an evening criterium in Victoria Park.

We’ve been providing daily race reports and photography from each stage. Catch up on the action here:

10 riders to watch this 2016 season

riders to watch

Getting excited for the 2016 road season? We are! We picked 10 riders you should follow this year. These 10 will likely play a major role this coming season. Watch for them to come across the line first or animate the race or race their heart out in support of their teammate.

Read here.

Optum is now Rally

Rally Cycling

Rally Health, a Washington, D.C. digital health company, has taken over title sponsorship of the Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies men’s and women’s teams operated by the Minneapolis-based Circuit Sport sports management group. The title sponsor begins immediately, into 2016 “and beyond,” the team announced Friday.

The women’s roster sports a mix of experienced and young talent with riders coming from all disciplines. Olympic and Pan Am medalist Jasmin Glaesser returns to anchor the team. A strong all-arounder, Glaesser is joined by Kirsti Lay, her teammate on the Canadian pursuit squad on the track. Together Glaesser and Lay will feature strongly in road races and are sure to play a part in Canada’s Olympic ambitions.

In addition to Lay, new recruits include all-arounder Heather Fischer and time trial specialist Hannah Ross. Cyclocross racer Elle Anderson comes on board, along with sprint specialist Erica Allar and all-arounder Jessica Prinner to headline the team’s criterium contingent. Also joining the team is a quartet of young up-and-coming riders; Sara Poidevin, Catherine Ouellette, Katherine Maine, and Emma White, who earned silver medals at the junior world road and time trial championships in September


This week’s feature image, taken by Kristoff Ramon, is of the Belgian National Cyclocross Championships earlier this month. Sanne Cant won her seventh consecutive national title and had enough time to walk her bike across the finish line. Cant is among the favourites to win the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Zolder on January 30th. 

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