….Well maybe Queen of Richmond Park!
Today I rode out with the lovely Alicia Bamford, founder of Queen of the Mountains, a new women’s performance cycling brand launching via Kickstarter.
Queen of the Mountains is building a strong community of female cyclists, with regular rides on Tuesdays in Regents Park, Thursdays in Richmond Park and a variety of Sunday rides with brunch!
This morning’s ride was super social, with everyone chatting and enjoying the winter sun. The ethos of the rides is to welcome all women (and men), of all abilities. No one is left behind and the chat continues over coffee post ride.
Information about the rides can be found on the website where you can sign up for the newsletter for regular ride updates. A longer ride is planned for Mothers Day from Giro Cafe in Esher; what a perfect way for mums to get some me time!
Alicia told me they have adventurous plans for future cycling events to inspire women to challenge themselves.
“We want to inspire women to ride and to climb their own mountain, to set their own challenge and feel that sense of achievement on the way up, as well as at the summit. We’re introducing more women to the beauty, freedom and sense of achievement that comes with cycling.”
I got a sneak preview of the Spring/Summer collection, inspired by Mont Ventoux, which is available for pre-order on the Queen of the Mountains Kickstarter page. There is only 7 days left, so act swiftly if you are keen to be one of the first to wear this stunning kit.
The first range includes beautiful, technical jerseys, shorts, gilets, socks and more, all designed for women. Manufactured in Italy, using performance technical wicking fabrics, the kit is cut specifically for the female body shape in the riding position. It has well thought out features such as a waterproof zipped jersey pocket for your smart phone and no scratchy labels!
We are hoping to get some kit to try out on a ride soon so watch this space……
You can also find Queen of the Mountains on Facebook and Twitter
Saturday saw the launch of a new women’s cycling team – Team Jadan, hoping to change the image and progression of how women are involved in road racing. Team Jadan had its official presentation in the historic East Yorkshire town of Beverley at the eponymously named Beverley Arms Hotel.
As you may or may not know the Cycling Shorts collective has taken it’s first foray into cycling team sponsorship. We are very proud to announce our Official sponsorship of the new women’s Cycling Team – Team Jadan.
When I met the women on the team I knew they had the right attitude and mindset that I like to see in sportswomen. Cycling Shorts had to be involved!
I’m really impressed with the team’s attitude towards promoting women’s racing to all levels of riders. They are a great group of strong focused women. The team are out to prove you can have a family, career and study but still be part of a structured cycling team. As we all know the cycling world is male dominated and it’s a place where women are still not given equal standing, it needs these ladies to shake it up a bit from the grassroots!
I should also point out we have a vested interest because our Sub-Editor (and women’s cycling game changer) Heather Bamforth will be one of the team’s key riders this season. So no pressure Heather!
AnnaBel Sill & Frankie White – Hull Thursday 2-Up TT – ©TeamJadan / chrismaher.co.uk
Team Jadan is the brainchild of Victoria Hood who believes that the perception of what women of all levels can achieve in cycle road racing needs to be changed.
The concept behind the team is to provide a stepping stone for women to progress through the racing categories, keeping the experience friendly and supportive. The goal of the team is to break down the barriers for non-elite riders and to prove that road racing is accessible for women and that they have other options than just breeze rides and charity events if they want to gain more experience.
This year’s team is made up of a variety of levels of experience, all very strong cyclists in their own right, but the riders have also been selected for their attitude and because they are good ambassadors and role models for women’s road cycling. Team Jadan are here to prove you can have a full time job and family life as well as competing at a high level in what is a tough competitive sport.
The team will play a key role in the new Yorkshire Women’s Road Race Series (promoted by Victoria Hood) and the successful CDNW RR League (promoted by Team Jadan rider Heather Bamforth), both of which exist to provide a springboard for women’s cycling talent without the intimidating atmosphere of some of the traditional events on the race calendar.
Victoria Hood & Pam Wainman – ©Team Jadan / chrismaher.co.uk
When Victoria was looking for sponsors she chose the more continental style of sponsorship by including local businesses as well as international sports brands. The principal sponsor is Jadan Press, a Hull-based digital printers. The owner Pam Wainman was approached by Victoria and the two clicked immediately. Pam’s mother was a keen cyclist in the 1950’s and she sadly passed away just before Pam and Victoria met. When Pam heard Victoria’s plans for a women’s cycling team to encourage development of riders she decided she had to be part of it, “I know my mum would have been proud of the girls”.
The Sports brands on board are:
Bioracer UK who provide the women’s team kit.
Cycling Shorts an online cycling magazine who are providing the team’s website and PR.
Torq Fitness provides the team with performance nutrition products.
Vankru Cycling have fitted the team’s bikes.
Cycling Photographer Chris Maher who is the team’s official photographer.
Jadan Press – Printers.
Neil Thompson Strength & Fitness a personal Trainer – Neil wants to promote strength training for women as it helps fight off osteoporosis.
Riley’s – a designer clothes retailer in Beverley.
Prestige – an East Yorkshire company specialising in damp proofing, fire and flood restoration.
Hugh Rice Jewellers – A Jewellery retailer with stores across the North of England.
The team aims to give back to its sponsors too. The team will all write about their training and racing experiences during the season. Through the www.TeamJadan.com website, sponsors are also encouraged to share their latest news.
The team is packed with personality, with different skills and backgrounds; A-level students, trainee teachers, mums and career women. They are out to prove that women can be involved in cycling with the same level of commitment and professionalism as their male counterparts, organising themselves as a dedicated competitive team with quality sponsors.
Meet the team:
Victoria Hood – Team Captain – East Yorkshire
Victoria is a qualified ride leader and an NSI cycle instructor.
“The team I have is amazing they are all really strong riders but the important thing to me was that they had to be friendly and approachable, cycling is tough but it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun at the same time as racing. I want to promote women’s cycling, make it more accessible and help to bring more girls into the sport.”
Heather Bamforth – Manchester
Heather has over 20 years’ experience of cycling, and has raced at both national and international level on the road in the past. A qualified cycling coach, Heather has proved to be one of the key people in bringing about a change to women’s competitive cycling by making it appealing to all levels of female cyclist.
“Victoria asked me to join the team as she wanted to set up a similar level of racing in Yorkshire to what I helped to instigate in the North West. 2014 sees the inaugural Yorkshire Women’s Road Race Series which I hope will prove to be as successful as the North West races. I am looking forward to being part of the team and we have a beautiful kit from Bioracer, which definitely helps us look the part!”
Olivia Tomlinson – East Yorkshire
Olivia is the youngest member of the team and is in her first year as a senior rider. Olivia had some great results last season and is looking to build on her success last year.
“I have been riding since I was 14 – I took part in a local club’s time trials and joined in on their Sunday rides. When I was 16 I began to enter races and really enjoyed taking part in the events. For this year’s season I am looking forward to racing in a women s team, I’m hoping to progress and learn from the other more experienced team members”.
Annabel Sill – Hertfordshire
Annabel has been riding for 6 years. “Cycling and racing has been a big part of my life since university, and my current housemates put up with me having four bikes in the house and a turbo in the corner of the kitchen. I’ve been time trialling for five years, and started doing a mix of crits, road races and TTs in the 2013 season – and that’s how I met Victoria, she asked if I would like to join the team. I’m keen to promote women’s racing and I’m currently doing a British Cycling Level 2 Coaching course to help bring on youth and junior girls at my cycling club Welwyn Wheelers. I’m really looking forward to building on my strengths, and being able to race with and support the other girls on the team this year!”
Lauren Brown – Carlisle
Lauren is a feisty rider, who has a number of local victories under her belt over the last few seasons.
“Having raced for Abergavenny WCT last season, I’m looking forward to racing with the girls in National Series events and the CDNW women’s road race league and the new Yorkshire road race league. I’m from a sprint and track background then two years ago I switched to road. I’m a Level 2 British Cycling Coach and I help little kids improve their skills… well I certainly hope I do!”
Frankie White – Manchester
“I’m very much looking forward to racing in the UK and beyond with this lovely group of ladies. We have a great mix of characters on this team, each inspiring me to work hard and develop as a rider. I really enjoyed our first training camp in FebruaryI much prefer the long races, 3 hours is good for me, I’m the complete opposite to Lauren, she’s really good at 1 hour long crits. I find it’s not nearly enough for my style of racing, I love the endurance.”
Sam Thoy – Lincolnshire
Sam has been racing cyclocross through the winter, with 5 wins under her belt so far – a latecomer to cycling but with a fell running background she’s a very strong athlete.
Sam said “I am looking forward to this year, with our team doing some proper damage at the national team series events. I also fancy trying the round town circuit races and there is a race up Alpe d’Huez that I must do! I just love biking and racing, why did I not discover it earlier!”