International Women's Day is approaching and people all over the world are celebrating the achievements of women and also pushing more and more for gender equality. British Cycling is currently running a long-standing campaign which aims to get a million more women on their bikes by 2020 which is amazing to see.
Here at See.Sense, we thought we would celebrate IWD and women's cycling by asking different female cyclists what was it that first got them into cycling (and why they now love it) for a bit of inspiration and to get more people on their bikes this International Women's Day. And also, before you ask, yes - there is an International Men's Day too, it's on 19th November.
Ottilie Quince - @ottiliequince
"I was bought a bike as a wedding present after my kidney transplant from my Dad, I've been riding ever since! I love the freedom I get riding my bike. It's the best therapy for the body and mind, plus I get to eat cake!"
Hannah Lord - @hannahlord1
"I got into cycling because I wanted to start competing in triathlons, but I quickly fell in love with the sport in its own right. For me, it's the best way to explore new places and I love the ground you can cover and the freedom it brings."
"What got me into cycling was my parents, who were both cyclists and bought me a road bike when I was 12, 6 months later I'd done my first trip around France. We also had no car so a bicycle was essential. They were 80s hippies and very much pro-bike and anti-car. The other story behind it is that my Dad has an aortic heart valve replacement and he needed to cycle to get fit and live basically. He's still alive now - and I attribute that to the bike. We all got bikes to join in with him."
"Ultimately, commuting to work lead me to immerse myself in cycling and racing fully - I love it because it gives me mental clarity and the feeling of being completely free."
Photo Credit: @the_nltcbmbc
"Initially injuries from running got me into cycling and I did it as a way to rehab - but once I started riding with groups and exploring more, I realised there is a fantastic community and I've met so many amazing, inspiring people!"
"Running got me into cycling, or an injury did. I love it because it gives me SO much - both physically and mentally, and I have met all these amazing people through cycling that I never would have met otherwise."
"Very soon after arriving in London, I got a very simple bike to move around the city. I never thought at that point that I would end up cycling as much as I do today. I wasn't enjoying my commutes on crowded trains and people nearly fighting to get in, so the bike was the perfect solution to that. I never covered big distances with my fixie but it allowed me to discover so many hidden gems in London. Not long after I joined a group of work colleagues to do a sprint triathlon in Dorney, I had to get a better bike to train for the occasion and it was then when cycling became much more than a daily commute to work, it became part of my life."
"I got into cycling because of my father's passion. Thanks to cycling I've met many wonderful people who have helped me discover my own passion for it."
So, this International Women's Day we challenge you to go out on your bike, or better yet, encourage someone you know to go for a ride with you. It really doesn’t matter if it’s an hour away from where you live, or right on your back door, you’ll discover new places to explore on two wheels!