Four women from South Wales have been named in Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling. Elinor Barker MBE, Vera Ngosi-Sambrook, Sian Donovan and Ally Campbell were all included for their work encouraging women to cycle.
They join TV and film actress Maxine Peake, BBC Radio 4 presenter, Melanie Abbott and gold medal winner Katie Archibald in the cycling charity’s list recognising significant achievements in promoting women’s cycling.
The women have all been recognised in celebration of the amazing work they have done to inspire other women to cycle, as part of Cycling UK’s Women’s Festival of Cycling which runs between 17 July and 1 August.
The list also includes less well-known names of women who have been working tirelessly at grassroots level during particularly difficult times to encourage and support more women to ride: people such as Vera, Sian and Ally.
Elinor Barker MBE (pictured top) is a Cardiff-born track and road cyclist who became an Olympic champion at just 21 years old in 2016. She has been recognised for using her platform to support mental health charities and initiatives and her passion for encouraging others to reap the benefits of cycling at all levels. She recently became the first ever guest editor of Cycling Weekly magazine and used this to showcase her vision of the future where the stories of women achieving in the sport are covered in the same way and as much as men’s.
Vera Ngosi-Sambrook is an ultra-distance cyclist and influencer from Cardiff. Vera caught the bug for cycling four years ago when taking part in a tandem charity ride. With group rides paused in 2020, Vera became more independent and through Instagram she connected with the Women of Colour Cycling Collective.
Sian Donovan is director of Pedal Power Cardiff. A few years ago at the age of 57, Sian plucked up the courage to cycle again with the help of Pedal Power, and using a trike, her confidence and love of cycling grew. Seeing the amazing work of Pedal Power, enabling everyone to cycle, regardless of age, gender, size, shape and ability, drove Sian to volunteer then eventually work for the organisation as a director.
Ally Campbell, from Port Talbot, is a mountain-bike coach and founder of the Sisters of Send women’s mountain-bike festival. The main driving force behind Campbell Coaching, Ally focuses on running female sessions. Her mission is to help people develop their skills and confidence on the bike.
To launch its annual Women’s Festival of Cycling, Cycling UK has also released figures showing that more women have taken up cycling during the coronavirus pandemic. A survey found that 31% of women surveyed switched from a car to a cycle for everyday journeys, and those who cycled regularly reported improvements to their wellbeing.
Although the number of women cycling increased during lockdown, men are still cycling nearly twice as much as women.
Cycling UK is encouraging women to stick to the pedals and continue to replace their car journeys with cycling, and is highlighting women who are inspiring, teaching and encouraging others to do so.
Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK chief executive, said: “Congratulations to Elinor, Vera, Sian and Ally for making it into our 100 Women in Cycling in 2021. It’s an incredible achievement and testimony to the tireless work they’ve done to raise the profile of women’s cycling.
“Every woman on our list is a powerful ambassador for women’s cycling, and many have done outstanding work supporting women to cycle during lockdown. But sadly, women remain underrepresented when it comes to everyday cycling.
“During this year’s festival we’re asking every woman who already cycles to find just one more woman they can help and inspire to get on their bike.”
The Women’s Festival of Cycling features a range of virtual events, local group rides and a social media challenge asking women to share pictures of their ‘bicycle face’.
Find out about events in your area and to see a full list of nominees, visit our website: cyclinguk.org/womensfestival
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