100 Women in Cycling 2022

WORDS | Charlotte Hartwell

Today, 24th November, this year’s 100 Women in Cycling has been announced. This year it includes our very own co-editor, Charlotte. Here she tells us how it feels to be part of a growing number of incredible women.

At the end of the incredible Chase The Last Long Day in 2021

Since Cycling UK launched their yearly 100 Women in Cycling list in 2017, the industry has seen a phenomenal change in the direction of women’s cycling. This has been felt acutely in the last 3 years in particular as there has been a considerable increase in the amount of community groups being established across the UK. From the School of Rocks, set up by Eleanor Jaskowska (from the 2019 cohort) to the New Forest Off-Road Club, co-founded by Nic Carass (of the class of 2022), the lists from the last 5 years are made up of 600 truly inspirational individuals. To now be amongst such incredible women as Ayesha McGowan (2017), Jenny Graham (2018) and Fiona Kolbinger (2020) is indescribable!

The wallflower that is Taylor Doyle at this year's PCR

Whilst being included this year is an honour, it also comes at a time when I am re-evaluating my own feelings towards cycling. 2022 has seen me on my bike very little as life throws all sorts at me and this year has seen a house move and job change, amongst other things, so cycling has fallen down my list of priorities. I have long been of the opinion that cycling should be a form of transport first and a hobby second. The strain that pursuing any form of cycling other than getting to and from places has had on my time and resources has reinforced this view. I have had to pull out of a number of races and scratched from the biggest I have ever attempted.

This has been further compounded by what seems to be frankly bizarre decision making from our national governing bodies on the inclusion of transgender and non-binary athletes in cycling.

However, despite not being able to ride my bike as much as I wish, I have tried to encourage those who want to get on their own bike to do so. Despite the weather, we had a positive turn out to the first Women in Tandem ride of the year in January (we called it halfway when we couldn’t feel our toes and spent the rest of the ride defrosting in a café). The rides with Women in Tandem since have only grown in size. Lily and Steph have established a truly wonderful workshop space in Nottingham this year and hosted some fabulous classes. It has been a pleasure to be part of the Women in Tandem team, alongside Rachel and Aman as directors, as we go from strength to strength. I am already excited about our plans for 2023!

With Tamzin and the rest of the clan at the start of the PCR 2022

Despite Shiftr only just turning a year old, it already has a modest following of cyclists who want to hear from a more diverse range of voices. It would be nothing without the support of Nick who took my idea and made it real in November last year, or without contributors such as Varun, Lindsay and Pat. Being able to support the PCR team in Llandudno was a privilege and being able to document the rolling of so many wheels over the finish line was a joy. Being able to host our first ever film night in September was a fantastic experience as we brought a different view on cycling to audiences in Nottingham, and we look forward to doing this again in the near future.

Inspired by others setting up online communities and using their powers for good, setting up the Ultra-ish Cycling Discord server and watching that grow has been heartening. Existing in male-dominated spaces both professionally and personally can be hard for me but being able to create a space where everyone has the chance to share their experiences and seek out advice has reinforced the Shiftr ethos that creating space for the full spectrum of cycling community can only make the community a more positive one.

It would be remiss of me not to give an honourable mention to others, some of which I can call friends, who have made the 2022 list.

  • Taylor Doyle is a force of nature and has changed the shape of Ultra Distance cycling over the last 3 years.

  • Josie Lees has inspired many London based cyclists to get out of their comfort zone over the last 12 months.

  • Iona Hassen is a fearless mechanic and wheel builder who has a boundless enthusiasm for community cycling.

And there are others not listed this year, or hiding on previous years lists, who deserve to know that they make the cycling community a better place: I am looking at you Mildred, Jane, Phoebe, Nat, Katie , Rebecca and Tamzin.

Now, on the matter of being an “industry mogul”...I don’t think I know how to mogul if I tried but if it means carrying on what I have started I would be happy to.

I have, however, worked hard to attain the reputation of Snack Wagon