News: Pedal Club March Lunch

The guest speaker at the Pedal Club’s March lunch was Victoria Hood, who delivered a passionate and inspiring speech on the problems and possibilities of women’s racing.

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News: Pedal Club March Lunch

The guest speaker at the Pedal Club’s March lunch was Victoria Hood, who delivered a passionate and inspiring speech on the problems and possibilities of women’s racing.

Victoria was originally a dancer, and through this was familiar with working in a gym. It wasn’t until she was well into her twenties that she was even aware that bike racing existed, but once seen, the passion took root quickly. She bought a basic ‘racing’ bike and a BC licence and found herself on the start line of her first women’s road race.

It was at this point that she discovered a flaw in women’s racing: there were no categories so, as an absolute beginner, she found herself competing with elite internationals who had disappeared before she had clipped onto her pedals. Clearly some sort of apprenticeship was necessary, but wasn’t available; in men’s racing beginners start together as fourth cats.

Essentially, she says, this situation was caused by race organisers (all men, naturally) not seeing women’s racing as being significant or worth bothering with. Now she developed a second aspect to her passion: to organise better provision for women’s racing.

She has created a sponsored women’s race team (Jadan Vive le Velo) and created a youth, junior and senior pathway. In 2014 she was instrumental in the creation of a Yorkshire Women’s Road Race Series which, even in its first year, put on six races, all with full fields of fifty riders (and no elites!).

Victoria is confident that women’s racing is highly watchable, and that if it could be easily seen by the public it would find an enthusiastic audience – this would open up the possibility of much needed sponsorship.

By co-incidence the Pedal Club itself is currently moving to provide support for one promising young woman rider, and so members came away with the feeling that, in this area, exciting developments are possible.

Forty eight members and guests attended this meeting.

By Chris Lovibond, 10th March 2022.

 



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